Thursday, November 03, 2005

The scary week behind us

The preface
Am I too late? All in all, it's been a rough week, but there's pictures to share and stories to tell. The stories have lost their luster — some bits were drafted before our cat difficulties, other bits are abbreviated. Forgive the incoherence. I'm tired.

The carving
Carving a pumpkin sounds like a lot of fun. The reality of it is a lot of work and a big mess. Helena chooses the design from a few I'd sketched — happy and starry-eyed over fierce and scary. Her enthusiasm wanes after one handful of goopy innards. Mommy is left to clean and carve the husk on her own.

Still, Helena beams at the finished product, and delights in placing her painted baby pumpkin inside the hollowed gourd.

(Photo of lit jack'o'lantern not taken. And now it's mouldy — no way I'm sticking my hand in there.)

A party
Saturday afternoon is the 3rd birthday party of one of Helena's classmates. Fun is had by all, including me. I entertain several catty thoughts about other parents, their parenting philosophies, and their children, but they have since all dissipated.

But I'm still in shock over how many toys and movies Rose has. No musical instruments though, which may explain why the keyboard we gave her was such a hit.

In the end, I was truly warmed by the birthday girl's delight in it all. And Helena's.

A nap


The sickness
J-F's mom and her de facto come for supper that evening. She insists on bringing the meal. I'm not quite sure what to make of this habit of hers, but I've come to accept it, so I'm slightly disappointed when she brings ingredients for me to assemble.

I awake Sunday to a screaming pain in my head, as if some clawed creature has hatched behind my eyes and is trying to scratch its way out. I throw up a few times and sleep. (In retrospect, I think I vomited from migraine-pain nausea, rather than anything gostrointestinally induced, though my body continues to complain of flu-like ache.) I drag myself out of bed to make Helena's hat a little more blue, and ensure her "robe" is cut and stitched to bear some semblance of sleeves.

The hat
Of which I am proud.

Tricks
I give Helena the choice of donning her costume at home or putting it on at the daycare centre. She opts for the latter, but when the time comes, she is having none of it. She even tears off her turtleneck. I leave her whipping around in a spare t-shirt. I can only hope her mood improves in time for the kids' Halloween morning parade through the local shops and offices.

I have time for a coffee and a good long cry. I'd always thought the fun in dressing up came from the pride of conceptualizing something unique, being able to execute it oneself. But I may be wrong about this. I felt such embarassment trying to costume Helena that morning — her outfit looked so shabby beside the store-bought disguises of her classmates.

On top of which, it would seem that no one is familiar with Mickey Mouse's Sorceror's Apprentice. Lesson learned: never dress a child of limited communication skills in a costume that needs explaining. Even when it's of her own devising.

Treats

J-F and I rendezvous to see our daughter costumed — sans red cowl and white gloves, and hat backwards, but smiling and calm.

Worse tricks
When we get home, the cat, not well for a few days already, seems rather worse. A trip to the vet. We leave the cat there for x-rays. Pick up Helena. J-F will go to the follow-up appointment by himself.

Unless Helena absolutely insists, there will be no trick-or-treating. Fortunately, she had her fill that morning, and her pumpkin is already full.

On the phone with my mother, I start crying over the cat's likely fate. Helena notices. "Tue es sad?" She gives me a hug and makes faces.

J-F returns, without the cat, as we're preparing for bed. Helena asks where the cat is, and my instinct, before I know, but I already know, is to tell her the cat's staying with the doctor, because we can't take care of her properly at home. We save that conversation for the next day.

Additional treats
Although there is an elementary school at the end of our block, our stretch of street features mostly the backs of houses, so we had no ghoulish visitors. More candy for us.

Helena and I had spent our evening playing with face makeup crayons. That morning I had painted her a smile, a nose, some whiskers, to enhance the illusion (even though Mickey Mouse has no whiskers), but they were long gone.

Helena puts a spider on my left cheek. On the right, she paints a portrait of Blue's Clues' Joe (?!). For the record, in this photo, I am ghastly tired and not wearing my glasses, but I am sticking out my tongue (not shown).



For "dessert" this week, every day I let Helena choose two things from her basket. She tastes them and almost always sets them aside. We have learned that Helena does not like KitKat or Coffee Crisp (yay for me! except when she licks the chocolate off first). Nor does she like peanut butter. We knew this, but thought the candy bar factor might sway her. It has not (yay for J-F!). She likes only the outside of Tootsie Roll Pops. She does not like anything sour. She likes wine-gum-type candies, but, inexplicably, not red ones.

We all love Smarties, and we're learning to share.
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