Trick or Treat, Postscript

Two-thirty a.m. Tuesday found me in the bathroom, listening the pelting rain of an unpredicted storm on the windows and combing June’s wet hair. There’s only one reason to bathe a toddler in the middle of the night. She was, in fact, still sick. We had to skip the special wear-your-costume Circle Time at the library the next day, much to my disappointment. We’ve been going to Circle Time for less than a year so we’ve never been to the Halloween one, but I’m sure the sight of that many infants, toddlers and preschoolers in costume is something to behold. I thought it might be adequate compensation for missing the parade on Saturday.

At two-thirty on Wednesday morning, June was sick again. This time it wasn’t so bad that she needed a bath, but we sat out Kindermusik the next day. I was starting to wonder if she was ever going to get better, and then she did. It’s been a gradual thing. She’s still easily fatigued, but she has kept down everything she’s eaten since Wednesday breakfast and she’s able to play. (Since she started playing again there’s been an outbreak of stomach illnesses among her stuffed animals and rubber ducks and she’s been busy taking care of them.) We sent her to school yesterday and today.

It was because she’d missed so many fun things this week that I decided to let her go trick-or-treating. Before she got sick, I’d been undecided. She’s shy around new people and I thought going to house after house of new people might be overwhelming for her. In the end, we decided to give it a try and if she wasn’t enjoying it, I’d bring her back to the house where Beth was giving out candy and Noah and I could continue without her.

We explained how trick-or-treating worked to June. She seemed alternately concerned, saying she was “too shy” (I think she must have heard us talking about whether or not she was) and game, but she grew more confident the longer she thought about it. All day long today she kept asking to “go to Halloween.” I told her it would be later– after school and lunch and nap and after Noah came home and after dinner, when it was dark. Gradually, the list of things that had to happen first got shorter and shorter and then it was time to go.

I changed June into her ladybug costume while Beth pinned the seaweed boa to Noah’s arms. She examined herself in the mirror with satisfaction. “I’m a cute wittle wadybug,” she said.

I needn’t have worried about June. She did fine. She was too shy to say “Trick or Treat” or “thank you,” (though I kept trying to prompt her to say that last one), but she held out her bag and by the end she was brave enough to reach into the proffered candy bowls herself. Noah was chatty enough to make up for her silence. (He explained his costume over and over–he was seaweed, not a fish–and he told one of our neighbors, “You have a fancy house” after surveying the antique-filled living room.) Both kids posed for photographs at two or three houses.

We went up and down the length of one long block. It took almost an hour and for the last quarter or so of our route I was carrying June from house to house. (One side of the block is built into a hill and the houses all have steep steps up to their porches so there was a lot of climbing.) Then we came home and sat on the porch, watched the skull of our half-buried skeleton flash in the darkness and ate candy.

It was a sweet ending to June’s first trick-or-treat.