I haven’t always been enthusiastic about Halloween since becoming a mom. But recently I’ve rediscovered an appreciation for “macabre lite,” as I like to call it. You know, how it’s OK to for preschoolers to celebrate with decorations of cute little skeletons, ghosts, mummies, eyeballs, etc—without stopping to think about what they really mean (i.e., death).
So that’s why it was thrilling to visit the real Sleepy Hollow (yes, it does exist) and see the inspiration for Washington Irving’s story. Read about it in my latest Huffington Post piece!
Do you like Halloween, or find it too gruesome for young ones? What is your kid(s) dressing up as for Halloween? Do you dress up?
My son has not carved a pumpkin yet and it’s October 29. I have a feeling we won’t get around to it before Halloween.
I know this doesn’t make me a bad mom. But as I drove down the road today, looking at the yellow and red leaves blowing across the street, I realized that Halloween was almost over, and I hadn’t taken time to truly relish the season.
The thing is that life with a toddler doesn’t work like that. We’ve done Halloween-themed events, but the notion of actually enjoying them as a parent is tricky — we are like the puppet masters behind our kids, making sure they are fed and clothed and clean and safe, not too cold and not too hot, not about to run into traffic or shove something in their mouth that isn’t food or trip and fall and bang their head on something. So we go to a Halloween party, or a pumpkin blaze, or a pumpkin patch, but it’s hard to really take in the moment.
And then there is the business of life. I’m still trying to figure out how to balance taking care of LM and writing part-time and keeping my house clean, while at the same time doing things I enjoy, like reading and blogging and watching TV. It sucks when the shows on your DVR end up feeling like one more chore to get through.
On top of all the normal busy-ness, the thing that been occupying my mind for the last couple of weeks and made me have less time to update this blog, has been what’s causing LM’s speech delay. Because it turns out there might be more to it than speech. He might — well, actually, likely does — have permanent hearing loss.
As I was driving on that leaf-strewn road today we were coming back from a failed non-sedated ABR test, which will tell us for sure where the hearing problem is coming from. It was a fail because LM wouldn’t sit still no matter what we offered him. Typical two-year-old, I know. So that means I have to schedule another test, this time under sedation. Yikes.
But the audiologist said that based on the information she was able to get, he does have some permanent hearing loss. An overwhelming feeling came over me, a feeling that superseded Halloween and blogging and the normal busy-ness of life. But we still went straight from the appointment to his school, where he was late for his Halloween party. I struggled to get him into his costume without crying. It all just seemed so pointless — to me. To him, Halloween is still something fun. He has no idea that he’s facing a lifelong medical issue.
I know hearing loss is not the worst diagnosis. I do know that. But anytime your child is dealing with something that could potentially make them different or not “normal,” it’s hard to accept. There are going to be lots of tests and doctors and hearing aids that aren’t covered by insurance (WTF insurance???). Maybe special schools or at least special therapy.
I walked into the classroom to see LM happily sitting at the table in his dinosaur costume eating his snacks. The other moms chatted around me. It all felt surreal. They talked about things their kids had said to them, and I couldn’t help but feel left out. LM doesn’t say a whole lot to me — because he can’t. I want him to enjoy Halloween, but does he even know what it is?
My head is still reeling. I want to be able to enjoy these everyday moments. Holidays, traditions, birthday parties, seasons. But it’s so easy to overlook them, to do them but really just go through the motions, when your to-do list of things to worry about and try to accomplish just seems to get longer and longer. I feel like I can’t keep my head above water. But I have to, for LM’s sake. I hope that no matter whether I’m able to do it myself, I can let him have special moments without worry. I need to give him that much at least.
Do you sometimes feel like life gets in the way of appreciating or enjoying life? How do you deal?