Saturday afternoon we attended a Halloween party at my sister’s friend’s farm. They had plenty of activities planned, and the majority of the party sounded like it was going to be outside. Outside and not crowded. We were game!! In fact, I talked the party up so well to Tate and Cole that Jake decided that he didn’t want to go on his Haunted Hike for Cub Scouts. Hubz and Jake joined us for our Halloween Hoe-down!
We scrambled to assemble our costumes Friday night and Saturday morning. My Katniss costume came together fairly well. I had everything except a bow and arrow. Hubz decided to wear my big, fuzzy pink bathrobe with the Werewolf mask from Jake’s original costume. We had a shower cap and he became the Big Bad Wolf as Grandma. Except that his mask totally, absolutely, without-a-doubt freaked out all 3 of our children. So he pulled it up on his head…and instead looked eerily like my grandmother. Jake was Hawkeye from The Avengers. He is bummed that come Wednesday he has to leave his bow and arrow at home…but the “no weapon” rule definitely applies to his accessories. Cole was a shark. YESSSSS!!! He tried on the Spiderman costume, but it was a little big, and the built-in muscles drove him nuts. I am sooo glad that it worked out this way..and I didn’t have to do ANYTHING.
What about Tate?! Well, I’ll have you know that Tate chose a costume idea..and I made it..and he wore it. Oh yes he did. For realz! When asked by 3 different therapists last week, Tate proclaimed that he was going to be a spider. The irony, here, is outstanding. See, Tate has a love-hate relationship with arachnids. He is fascinated and repulsed by these 8 legged critters. However, that is what he said he wanted to be. I found some black fuzzy socks at Target, stuffed them with crafter’s stuffing, pinned them onto the black side of his jacket, and voila! We had a spider. He even wore his Spiderman shirt. I think we found the perfect costume for him…because he can “dress up” without really having to dress up. Oh, and watching his 4 extra pinned-on appendages?! Hil-arious!
We arrived at the party around 4:15. It truly was in.the.middle.of.nowhere. Jake didn’t believe Auntie K when she said that it was a really small town…with one stoplight. Being the suburban boys they are, our boys marveled at the real, live livestock. Mommy, they have sheep! And goats! And chickens!!! Cole was mesmerized by the tractors. That’s right…there were TWO of them. Oh, it was Hope boy heaven!!
The boys made themselves at home…took off their shoes, and bee-lined to the playroom. They were having fun, and were being appropriate, so I socialized a bit with the other party-goers that I knew. I was shocked that they didn’t know who I was dressed as for Halloween. Of course, neither of them had read nor seen The Hunger Games. Sheesh! After some small talk, we rounded up the kiddoes to go outside for a tractor ride.
It was fairly chilly. Tate’s nose began to run immediately upon entering the chilly air. It didn’t stop him, though. He played on the swingset for a bit. From there, the boys ran to join the other children at a kid-size hay maze. Tate was apprehensive about going in, but after some reassurance from Mom, Dad, and Auntie K, he ran in. I was a bit nervous..would he freak out at a dead end? Would the hay be too itchy? Would it be too dank and smelly? I waited. He popped his head up at one point, and I headed in. Hubz and my sister, K, laughed at me, as I had to crawl on my hands and knees…and not 2 moments after I entered, Tate came bounding out of there, all smiles and giggles. Joke was on me!!
After that, we climbed aboard the hay ride. My boys loved watching the tractor. Jake was the safety expert, making sure nothing came apart. (I know he was anxious about it…but he played it fairly cool. We got to go down the field to the little hill that had been scattered with pumpkins. Each of the children got to choose a pumpkin. Jake found his first…he climbed to the top of the hill to get it. Cole chose a small pumpkin near the base of the hill. Tate was a hoot to watch. He haphazardly climbed the hill, found a pumpkin, looked it over, deemed it unworthy and threw it to the side. He climbed up a bit higher and found his prized pumpkin. He handed it to Hubz for safekeeping. We boarded the ride once more, my boys choosing to sit to watch the tractor in action. From the field, we drove to the neighboring house to trick-or-treat at grandma’s. (It was really the farm owner’s grandma!) The kids got treat bags…and they were the first (yes, Tate, too) to shout, “Happy Halloween, Grandma!!!” It was awesome.
After the hay ride we went back inside the house. The house was an old-fashioned farm house. It was small-ish, but the ceilings were so high that it felt bigger than it really was. They did a chili pot luck for dinner. There were also hot dogs. Jake had made up his stubborn little mind that he was not eating dinner there. So he didn’t. Tate was not hungry, so I didn’t push it. Cole sat and socialized with the other kids, chowing down on a hot dog and chips. Then he followed his brothers into the playroom. Hubz and I ate some dinner with Auntie K, periodically checking in on the boys, who were all playing very well.
More than once there was some high-pitched whining. I would perk up, run to check, only to realize that it wasn’t Tate. It was another little boy. Each. Time. He was younger than Tate, but reminded me of him in many, many ways. First, he had ringlet curls all around his head. Oh, how I miss Tater’s curls…but he hates them, so we keep them cropped. Plus, now they are more waves than ringlets. Second, the inappropriate playing. He didn’t play with anything as it should be…except for a slice of pretend pizza, which he latched onto and would not give up. Third, the whining…he was dysregulated. I knew it. Hubz knew it. Auntie K knew it. The parents…well, they seemed to be in a state of denial, which we all were at one time. The little boy didn’t talk much, and he preferred adult company to that of other children. He especially enjoyed coming over to me and my sister.
I was torn. I didn’t know whether to say anything or not. I mean, how does one tell people they don’t know that, “Oh, your son reminds me so much of my son. Especially his behaviors. He gets dysregulated, too. He also prefers adults. He also struggles socially.” The parents just kept insisting that their son was shy…and maybe that was it…but, well, yeah. I never quite know whether I should throw out the big “A” or not in these circumstances. I mean, maybe it was just an off night…except that it seemed like it wasn’t. It seemed like this was fairly common. Especially so because his older brother said, “Ugh…he’s doing it again.” I have heard that phrase before…
Anyway, we were all getting tired, so we decided to pack it up. The boys helped pick up the toys in the play room. Then we thanked the hosts and headed home. No tears. No tantrums. No stress. It was a good night–especially when each of the boys exclaimed that they loved the Pumpkins! Tractor! Hay ride! Candy!
Nights like Saturday remind me of where we were only a few short years ago…and how far we’ve come. Nights like Saturday give me hope that it will continue to get easier…and that we’ll continue to be able to participate in activities like typical families do. As long as we go at our own pace and do it in our way, we will get there!!