No joke, last year's pumpkin carving day was the worst. As parents sometimes we like to tell ourselves that kids are forgiving, which they are, but sometimes that forgiveness takes a long time to earn. For me, it has taken a year.
Parker has the kind of memory that hugs emotion close. He can recall very specific conversations that occurred when he was only two years old because the emotion he felt cemented every last bit into his brain. So, I should not have been surprised when the great pumpkin carving fiasco of 2013 was brought up in conversation almost weekly for an entire year.
Nothing big, just little reminders here and there when it would cross his mind. "But Mom, remember that I don't like to feel the inside of things, like pumpkins." Or, "not everyone likes to feel dirty and that is okay. It is okay to not like touching pumpkins."
So you can imagine that this year I was determined to replace that frustration-filled failure of the year before. Lots of you suggested using gloves, which is so logical but had never crossed my mind. Thank you, each of you, because it was the best solution for a boy who wants to participate, but doesn't want to touch.
We had the best time. Our conversations were filled with lessons on differences, opposites, and acceptance. With a sigh of relief, Parker looked up at me at one point and said, "I am so glad that under these gloves I know my hands are clean." We worked together on gathering the seeds and I took care of removing all the gunk. We were both relaxed as we planned our pumpkin faces and the company while I carved was top notch.
Matilda missed out on everything because she was having a much needed nap and I think it was best for everyone. Parker and I needed that time together to make up for last year. And when she woke, Parker took her hand-in-hand and showed her the great transformation from pumpkin to jack-o-lantern. She soaked up the excitement and was thrilled to take part in the the enjoyment that filled the room.