TLE is a wildly creative child and like just about every other 6 year old, she adores Hallowe’en. For the third year running, she will be a vampire. In true TLE fashion, just being a vampire isn’t enough. During Hallowe’en 2012, she was a Vampire Princess Kitty Knight but this year, she decided to up her game by becoming a Kitty Vampire Warrior Queen. Her reasoning is that she’s older now so she wants to rule all the vampires, not just be the princess.
(Why yes, my daughter and her imagination are seriously awesome. :))
There’s tons of fall festival events locally — most dubbed “Harvest Festivals” — that are kid friendly, provide candy and games, rides and general fun shenanigans. The hitch is that most of these events specify “no scary costumes”. Most of these events are church sponsored alternatives to Hallowe’en so I can understand why they don’t allow the scary costumes. Still, it was a bummer as it leaves my little Kitty Vampire Warrior Queen without anywhere to reign aside from Hallowe’en night.
The Hubs ™ and I gave her the choice of picking an alternate, non-scary costume to wear to harvest festivals or not going. As I predicted, she wanted to go to the harvest festivals but also wanted to know why she can’t wear the costume she really wants to wear. And while it touched off an interesting discussion on the origins of Hallowe’en, she was also a little disappointed to learn that her costume wouldn’t be well received at the harvest festivals.
I really considered not telling her about the harvest festivals. But you’re only 6 years old once and the opportunity to get sick on candy and go on jumpy rides and have a good time should never be passed up.
The lesson that she has to hide or choose an alternative to what she likes order to fit in was not a lesson I ever wanted to teach her.
I really wish that this lesson was confined to Hallowe’en costumes.
This fall, she’s beginning to realize that what she likes and talks about is very different from what other kids like. She’s also learned that not all kids are willing to be nice about her different view on life. She’s confided in me that she tries not to talk about DNA or vampires or other things because kids often have no idea what she’s talking about. “They don’t want to be my friend when I do that,” she told me.
My heart broke for her then. She said it so matter of factly. From nursery school through first grade, most kids at school had no idea what to do with her. She is used to it.
But my little girl is a problem solver. One of her favorite questions after “Why?” is “What would happen if…?”
And I’ve always encouraged her to test out her hypotheses.
I took her to the park the other day to run some energy out. She had a blast running around with a pack of little girls her age. At one point, she came back to me, beaming, her little face streaked with sand and sweat from running around in the warm fall afternoon. “Mommy! Mommy!” she squealed. “I made sure not to talk about weird stuff like how your heart works or DNA or anything like that. So I made FRIENDS!”
And my heart broke again. My vibrant, creative, incredible little girl found a solution to her problem. To fit in with other six year olds, hiding what she loves and is passionate about is a solution. She’s starting to choose her real world costume.
Definitely not the lesson I wanted her to learn.