To All Dump Trucks...

My son turned three the other day. It was the first birthday on which he was aware of the fact that he was celebrating his birthday and turning a year older. He had been excitedly awaiting his turning of age,  in which he assumed the role of a "kid"; no longer a mere baby (in his words), immediately fending off requests for aid getting off the bus and climbing up the stairs to our home because he assured us is he was now old enough and capable of doing it on his own. Some of his good friends had turned three a few weeks before him and might have impressed this new attitude of independence upon him, for he couldn't wait to join the club. He was also enthusiastically immersed in the planning of his birthday party, choosing the location and the decorations, including a grandiose number three electric blue balloon that he anthropomorphized into a sycophant that paraded to all and sundry his ascension into his next year, requesting with somewhat rabid intent that we retain Three's service in our apartment after the party. We were recalcitrant, but acquiesced none the less. The blue balloon continued to be in his service, increasingly deflated and despondent. Earlier in the week, on Halloween night, no less, I was getting a glass of water in the kitchen when I felt a looming presence above me. I turned on the cusp of a scream to see Three swaying above me, downturned, as if he were asking for release from his moored misery. It was time to release this swaying supplicant from his dutiful service. Fortunately, L was immersed in other adventures, most importantly, his travel plans, one to San Diego to return to Lego Land, the other, a little farther and more problematic, Mars (his favourite planet however remains Earth - I deem it a good choice).

My birthday is a few days after L's. He woke me up with a gentle birthday kiss and a happy birthday which left me stoked. Then he asked when we were coming in to celebrate my birthday at this preschool before proceeding to sing happy birthday to each member of our family. It was a beautiful serenade! It's a few days after my birthday, but he still insists on wishing me happy birthday with a kiss and I am loath to correct him...

L was all about Halloween this year. He insisted that he would be a blue dump truck and had a concrete view of the entire family's costumes. M was going to be a red crane truck. Dad was going to be a rainbow cement mixer. I was going to be a purple excavator. As L's birthday celebrations and his "All About Me" scrap book was due the same week (since we've put our son in preschool, we've received a bunch of homework that we've undertaken in the late night with a glass of wine - they've been loads of fun but also a tad stressful as they warrant time and ours is quite constricted - hence we stole it from our sleep), we ran out of time to make all the costumes, but a blue dump truck he was. I recovered L's old ninja costume (despite the incorrect kanji that irked me to no end), which suited M perfectly (save for the fact that he is the loudest ninja you would ever meet). I donned feline ears and a tail. My husband hastily made himself into a crane truck at the scrape of the last moment. He had earlier taken on L's costume direction with fervour, using cardboard boxes, recycling bags, backpack straps and construction paper to construct an impressive wearable dump truck. Its functionality, which allowed L to control his open-box back for easier insertion of candy (later confiscated) and consequent "dumping" of the treats, turned out to be a little avant-garde with people somewhat perplexed to see a toddler backing up for candy insertion rather than grabbing their treats with gusto. It was interesting to note that people's gendered assumptions resulted in compliments directed at me rather than my husband. I may be the artsy one, but he's definitely the craftsy one, I explained.

We enjoyed treating (where is the trick? ) with the preschoolers and met up with our buds for an evening candy prowl. I had not grown up with Halloween and dismissed it as a commercial holiday to increase sales, most importantly of confectionary, which also had the attendant ill consequence of directing children to unhealthy eating habits and thus never partook in its pandemonium.  Now I see that you can confiscate most of the confectionary booty and perceived how much fun my toddler had running around as a dump truck. Halloween, just like any experience, is what you make of it. Next year M will have an impression of what he wants to be and I can't wait to (help my husband) make their costumes next year.


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