A Trick-free Halloween
Let's face it: Halloween, in its current incarnation here in the US, is pretty much about (1) candy and (2) costumes. Charlie having been on the gluten-free casein-free diet for the better part of his life (from the time he was 2 till he was 10), most types of candy have been pretty much verboten. Even though he can eat whatever he wants these days, he's expressed minimal, as in near-zero, interest in M & M's, Tootsie Rolls, and even the boxes of See's Candy my mom sends our way. Further, Charlie is extremely hesitant to go walking up to strange, new houses, let alone to knock on doors or ring doorbells (and it didn't help that, when he first went trick or treating at the age of 3 in St. Paul, a dog ran out when the door opened; Charlie was, fortunately, definitely small enough to be swooped up safely in Jim's arms).
As for costumes, let's just say that it's been up to Jim and me to choose these for Charlie who has never seeming too interested one way or the other. He's been a snowpea (ok, that was when he wasn't even a year and a half old and I made the entire costume—those were the days); a fireman; a beatnik (with beret, striped jersey, and a goatee—Jim's idea); a wizard; a king; a hobo; a captain/Thurston Howell III (the costume consisted of a captain's hat, red polo shirt, khaki pants, and a blue blazer with brass buttons; this combo led Jim to declare Charlie to be that Gilligan's Island castaway, leading to Jim and me getting into a discussion about which character we might be) (I'll give you a hint: I am definitely not a Ginger type).
For the past couple of years, we decided that lowkeying Halloween was the best policy. Charlie's middle school also lays down the law about costumes: Last year students were allowed to wear their pajamas but no costumes. This year, the principal sent home a bullet-point list of what was "allowed." (No full-face masks, for one thing.)
So we let Halloween 2009 be whatever it would. Charlie got up at 7.15am and he and Jim went on a morning bike ride. I met them at the bagel store (yes, the same one where a "neurological storm" ensued last Sunday) and we sat at an outside table while a man running for mayor canvassed every ingoing and outgoing customer. Charlie and I went grocery shopping and the sushi man offered to make him his favorite, eel sushi. This was quickly eaten at home, after which Charlie said "helmet" and he and Jim went for Halloween Bike Ride #2.
A number of children (one who was about 1/3 Charlie's size in a mask with long white hair and ghoulish eyes, a full-face one) appeared to trick or treat around 3pm and Charlie enjoyed just standing by and watching the action. (Best costumes: Some girls his age who had metallic-looking chef hat shapes on their heads and tunics reading "pepper" and "cinnamon" and "basil" on the back—-the Spice Girls.)
We went to visit Jim's mother. The last time we went to the nursing home Charlie saw a white dog (a therapy dog, I surmised) in the main room and ran out across the parking lot saying "all done." He refused to go in and after coaxing and bargaining with him for 15 minutes, I concluded that it was a great thing enough that Charlie was holding it together under pressure. Jim came out and I went in to see my mother-in-law: She was just falling into an anxious sleep when I went into her room. I stood reading the sign that said that she MUST have assistance to eat several times over and then quietly exited. In the parking lot, Jim told us that the nurses had told him that his mother asks for "Jimmy"—him—most of all.
It was only 4.30pm by then. We've got into a bit of a habit of going to a Vietnamese restaurant near the nursing home and to there we went. Charlie was definitely ready for dinner (he's generally always ready for summer rolls, I guess you could say) and I got a Vietnamese coffee, which is a sweet treat thanks to a layer of sweetened condensed milk. It gets caramelized and offsets the bitterness of the coffee.
Hoping your yesterday was something of a treat, too, and (like ours) pretty much trick-free.