Have you ever noticed how young children begin thinking about special events like birthdays and holidays months in advance? They will babble on about who is going to be there, what presents or treats they want or perhaps what they want to wear. They will pester us to death with questions of: “How long until Christmas?” “When will it be my birthday?” “Now, how many sleeps until Halloween?” This is all beside the fact that the blessed day is seasons away.
The upshot to this is that we as parents, the providers of all that our children are dreaming of, have time to do our own planning. We all know do we not, that it takes time to dissuade a child from inviting his entire school to his party, or convincing her that there is no possible way Santa can deliver a live horse down the chimney and deposit under the Christmas tree? It takes time to gather the accoutrements of that desired Halloween costume or mull over how to construct a Harry-Potter-inspired-wizard-hat-shaped cake.
So amidst the pestering from summer to winter, from July 4th to October 31st we have time. And life can be less rushed than it normally is. And all things having been taken care of well in advance, we can sit back and enjoy the celebrations, knowing that we have listened to our children’s dreams and done what we could to make them come true.
Unless of course you have children like mine, who love to change their mind at the last possible moment, expecting without a care in their little beating hearts that mummy or daddy cannot deliver what they wish for. Now. On the eve of the big day.
No, it is not enough that for three, four, five months I participate in discussions regarding where, when, what and how the all-important next holiday will be carried out. It is not enough that we have hashed out the party favors, menu or costume details to the nth degree. Nor does it matter in the least that I have already scoured every local and online retail outlet and made my purchases for the big event. And it certainly does not matter that I have already organized that Halloween costume, gathering bits from here, there and even the neighbor’s dress-up bin to, in order to pass the muster of a very discerning five-year-old
Because “today is a different day mom, and I have a different idea,” and my children know that they can trust me to produce from thin air the Alice in Wonderland outfit they now, on October 29th feel they need. They know that they can come to me at 7:40 am on October 31st and tell me they really don’t want to go to high school dressed as a hobo, but would rather (“Please” with sad eyes) go dressed as the Center of the Universe – which our course they think they are at the age of seventeen.
What’s a mother to do? I am sure that John Rosemond would say “forget it, they are stuck with what they planned.” And a small voice in me agrees saying, “yes, natural consequences.” But there is also that voice, a bit louder, that intones, “you must pick and choose your battles…and you love this child and want to help her…and is it really going to take that much time to find a blue dress and white apron and sew some red hearts on it?”
So, this weekend I went to three stores searching for that white apron of my youngest’s costume du jeour, and this morning I stood at the kitchen counter in my bathrobe cutting out yellow paper hearts and pinning them on my eldest.
All because they changed their mind and I, at times, can be a pushover.