Sunday, November 1, 2009

Trick or treat!

We took Jonah trick-or-treating last night. It was a last-minute decision. Matthew had taken Jonah out to the playground, at my request, while I took one of those coma-like naps that are so rare to come by these days. When they got home, it was Jonah who woke me out of my dead sleep. "See mama," he said quietly from the foot of my bed. Then, when he didn't see me under the pile of covers, he yelled, "MAMA!"

Matthew told me about a nice boy that Jonah played with at the playground, who then headed home with his parents to get ready for trick-or-treating on Lanier Place. We had already seen the signs around the neighborhood. They planned to close down part of the street to vehicles for three hours for trick-or-treating. I was still groggy with sleep but had managed to move to the couch. "I think we should do it," Matthew said, sounding about as excited as a 10-year-old kid. I asked Jonah if he wanted to go trick-or-treating and wear his Bob the Builder costume. "Hmm!" he said, nodding his head, his eyes wide. (That means yes.)

Dressed in overalls, a striped shirt, boots, a hard hat and a tool belt, Jonah walked down the street between us as we headed toward Lanier. We were excited but a little unsure if Jonah, not even 2 years old, would embrace seeing a bunch of strange kids (and adults) in weird costumes. But, there's a fire station on the street, so we knew that at the very least we could take him to see the fire trucks. As we started down Lanier, I heard someone say, "Hey, builder man." A nice man sitting at the bottom of his stoop holding a bowl of candy. I held Jonah's hand and together we walked up to the man. "Say trick-or-treat," I said to Jonah. "Trick treat," he said, quietly. Then, he picked out a piece of candy, a bit uncertainly. "Put it in your bag," I told him. "And say thank you." And he did. "You're welcome. Happy Halloween," said the nice man. "Happy Ween," said Jonah. I looked up and saw the biggest smile on Matthew's face.

I looked around and realized that nice people holding big bowls of candy were sitting on the stoops of almost every house on this part of the street. Some were wearing costumes, like the guy dressed as a banana, who Jonah really liked. "Bina," he said, pointing at the banana guy. Even the firefighters were handing out candy. "Fire!" Jonah shouted when he saw the fire trucks. "Two fire crucks!" and "Ambance!"
We walked up one side of the street and down the other, sticking to the houses that drew Jonah or the ones where he didn't have to climb a whole bunch of steps. It didn't take him long to get the hang of it, saying, "Next house. Next house."

After visiting about a dozen or so houses, we decided that was enough and it was time to get home. Jonah seemed very proud of his bag of loot. At home, I showed him how to dump out the candy on the floor. He was especially interested in the lollipops and tried to put some wrapped candy bars in his mouth, but the only thing I let him eat were some raisins while he waited for dinner. I put his bag of candy on top of the refridgerator, it's "special spot," I told him. He hasn't even asked for the candy today. Clearly, for Jonah, his first time at trick-or-treating wasn't really about the candy. It was about growing up. How proud and a little sad it made Matthew and me feel to see our baby boy, a little man now, interacting with people on his own, learning the ropes of a neighborhood tradition in just a few minutes and how pleased he was with himself for doing it. ~ Nicole