Some people mark time by the passing of the seasons. I find it is much easier to follow the catalogs. Now that the Back to School catalogs have stopped, the mailbox is filled with Halloween Costume catalogs. I once loved Halloween, giving away (and eating) generous amounts of candy to the adorable kids who came to the door.
My son Moe was 5 months old for his first Halloween. I dressed him as a chili pepper and he was incredibly cute. I couldn't wait to show him off. We went to a big event put on by my mom's group. It was crowded and hot, and we were all pretty miserable so we left right after the group photo. I remember thinking that Moe would be growing up with this group of kids, and that we'd probably have a picture much like this every year.
For Moe's second Halloween, he was a monkey, complete with banana. He was 17 months old and not yet walking. Like most of the other kids, he didn't "get" the holiday, but he seemed to like his costume. We chose the monkey because Moe's first real word was "banana." We went to another mom's group event. I was jealous that Moe couldn't march by himself in the little parade around the room. I remember thinking that this would probably be the last Halloween that I would get to choose his costume.
Last October, Moe was 29 months old, and a few months past his autism diagnosis. We now had a 6 month old too. We had just gotten back from a long family trip to the East coast, and I didn't have much of the Halloween spirit in me. I was under the impression, perhaps inaccurately, that many of Moe's friends had helped pick out their costumes. They were at least aware that they were dressing up. Moe didn't understand any of it. I had a skeleton t-shirt for Moe, paired it with black sweatpants, and called it a costume. With my daughter wearing her "my first Halloween" onesie, I put both kids in the double stroller and we walked around the neighborhood. Moe was interested in the lights and activity but didn't notice that everyone was dressed up. I remember thinking that this was not how it was supposed to be.
This year, as I flip through the costume catalogs, I find myself trying to determine if I should get a costume or just let it go. I know some things are worth continuing to do with Moe, whether or not he understands or participates, because they are social situations he needs to learn to navigate: birthday parties, restaurants, play dates. Other things, a recent movie outing for example, I let pass because it wouldn't be fun for anyone. I'm not sure about Halloween. I think my daughter will really enjoy dressing up and I don't want to leave Moe out. I should probably just be excited that I get one more year of choosing the kids' costumes. I think they're going to look really cute as Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia!
What activities do you continue to do even though your child may not want or be able to participate? What do you let go?