Fine, Be a Witch

My 3-year-old is killing me. There’s a daily battle of wills going on at our house, and I feel like I’m losing. HJ now has her own opinion. Oh, does she have opinions.I’ve been anxiously waiting for the day I would learn her favorite color, hear her sing her favorite song, and be told the name of her best friend. I couldn’t wait to be able to talk to her about her own ideas and see how she sees her world. And now, that that day’s here, I’m getting schooled. To be honest, I thought this was gonna go way differently. I thought it was going to be easier. You hear that sound? That’s karma laughing at me.

This girl has her own preferences, favorites and answers to everything. She’s no longer my little copycat. She’s ALL HJ. She loves the color pink, Peppa Pig, mac & cheese, and looking up horse videos on YouTube. She refuses to dance with me in the car and she tells me to stop when I sing along to the radio. As much as I love watching the person she is becoming take shape….holy crap. This is getting hard. She doesn’t like the clothes I pick out for her every morning. She screams bloody murder every time I touch her hair with a brush. She even told me that she prefers her dad to me. Thanks, kid.

But the first of her big decisions came a few weeks ago while we were discussing Halloween costumes. There was a rule in my house growing up that we could dress up as whatever we wanted as long as it wasn’t gory, nasty or just plain scary. It was a rule I hated at the time as I wanted to have the bleeding wounds and axes sticking out of my head. I thought it was so cool. I loved being scared and scaring others. My mom, of course, vetoed every awful costume I dreamt up. Therefore, my costumes consisted of a bride, Snow White, a (tasteful) saloon girl, a baby, and a clown (which, to me, is pretty dang scary).

Now that I’m the mom, I tooootally get it. I can’t stand the idea of my sweet, adorable babies dressing up as something awful. I can’t see them as zombies, monsters or vampires. I want them to be cute little animals, princesses or even a hilarious orange Oompa Loompa.

So, naturally, HJ wanted no part of my Halloween vision. Her choice: a spooky witch.

Because OF COURSE that’s what she’d pick. Generic, lame and scary. Out of everything out there, that’s the only thing she wanted. I tried everything to sway her. I brought home catalogs, we looked through Pinterest, and we scoured Amazon. I even suggested Glenda, the beautiful, nice, and pink(!) witch from The Wizard of Oz. Nope. She turned down everything remotely pretty and kept requesting the ugly, black and scary witch costumes. I was dying a little inside.

One night when I was still searching to the ends of the Internet for something other than the costume she wanted, my husband pulled me out of my stubborn control freak mindset. He reminded me that when HJ was born, I made a promise that I would always be supportive of what she wanted to be and the person she would chose to become. I would do my job as a parent to teach her right from wrong, but for the trivial stuff, it was going to be all her.

Ugh. He was right. This is her life, and she is the one behind the wheel. I’m just Miss Daisy in the backseat until I get kicked out. I’m firmly planted in that backseat for a while, but it’s still the BACKSEAT. I did not realize that this promise would kick in so soon. And that it makes sense to include conceding Halloween costume decisions too.

But what kind of message would I be sending to her if I said no to her choice of costume? That because it wasn’t my favorite choice that it was bad? Or that she wasn’t capable of exercising her own creativity? I just couldn’t stand to set a negative tone this early on. I want her to be comfortable and excited about her choices, especially when they’re good or even harmless. I want to teach her to trust herself when she makes a choice that makes her happy. If I fight her on things like this now, where will we be when the decisions get really hard?

I’m probably overthinking this, but I feel good about one of my first parenting milestones. I’m choosing my battles and sitting out this round. She’s going to make a lovely, generic, spooky witch this year. And I think I should get extra candy for being a good sport.

(Plus, at least I still have B to dress however I want.)

HJ, the witch

HJ, the witch by Megan Spreer

Tagged: witch, costumes, halloween, parenting

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