Hallowe'en and Other Things

We're in the midst of the fall festive season, and as anyone who is less than four feet tall knows, that means it's Hallowe'en. Both Delphine and Cordelia are very excited, and it's clear that Cordelia remembers a thing or two about last year.

Delphine is planning to be a penguin this year. We haven't bought a penguin costume; rather we are hoping to kludge something together with a white shirt and a black hoodie and orange construction paper beak and feet. I hope it works because we haven't had a chance to try it out and we're running out of pre-Hallowe'en weekend. Delphine has a pretty convincing penguin waddle which would sell the lamest costume, though.

Cordelia has independently decided to be a black cat. For a while there she was going with ghost and I thought we would have to find and then butcher a white sheet — you always see that white-sheet-with-holes ghost costume in cartoons and stuff but I've never seen it in real life. I thought it would be cool to try it out. But about a week ago she switched to black cat, so I dropped a whopping $19 on ears and a tail, which together with black clothes and some eyeliner whiskers will make a convincing and adorable cat.

The great thing about Hallowe'en is that it gives you lots of chances to talk about such topics of childhood interest as death and scary things. Last year we spent a lot of time talking about being dead and what death is (and who Death is — a house around the corner has an inflatable Grim Reaper). This year we are leaning more towards Hallowe'en imagery and what is scary. Delphine wanted to know why someone had fake gravestones on their lawn. "Gravestones aren't scary", she said. I said they mark where dead people are buried, but she was unmoved by that because to her mind dead people aren't scary. And of course by extension, skeletons aren't scary either. What is scary? Witches, spiders and ghosts are apparently scary. I don't think bats are and rats definitely aren't, although we did decorate with black rubber rats.

Delphine likes Monopoly. I know, weird. I wouldn't have occurred to me to put her in front of a game of Monopoly, but my friend Tanya, who is nothing if not ambitious with what she exposes her kid to, brought it over and Delphine loves it. She loves the money: she likes to sort it out, stack it up, pay for things and get money from other people. She likes choosing which piece she will be, and she loves to move around the board. She got tired of it, though, after maybe forty minutes, and started acting up. "I'm so bored of giving people money!" Yeah, tell me about it. So for Christmas I got her Monopoly Junior. I'm normally not in favour of kiddified versions of things, but this looks like it retains the main elements of the adult version (including the lovely money) but goes faster. Plus the setting is a carnival, not some boring old city. Delphine loves carnivals and fairs and things.

Cordelia went for her birthday sleepover at Auntie Morgan's house this weekend. Unfortunately I have no idea what they did because Cordelia said she had fun but she didn't want to talk about it. I know what Delphine did, though, because she stayed home for what we have termed a "sleepunder", which is what you get when you're the sister who stays home and has Mum and Dad to herself. Mostly we played Monopoly. Delphine chose KD for supper, and we read lots of chapters at bedtime because we didn't have to put Cordelia to bed. In the morning Delphine decreed that Blake should get up early (that is, when Delphine and I got up) and join us for a breakfast of French toast and pancakes. Then more Monopoly, and then we went out to get Cordelia back.

(Incidentally, the thing with Blake getting up with us turned out abysmally. Usually he stays in bed for an hour or more on weekend mornings while I get up with the kids and make breakfast and read the paper. Having missed that extra sleep, however, he was logy and grumpy all day. He napped twice but it didn't help. God knows what he's like during the week, but from now on I will gladly let him get his morning beauty sleep.)

The sleepunder was lovely. Unfortunately at the moment the girls are much more pleasant to be around one at a time than together. Delphine alone is insightful and contemplative and interesting, Cordelia alone is funny and clever and demonstrative. Together they are whiny and scrappy and tiresome. Not all the time, but often enough that it wears me out. Hopefully between them they will eventually grow out of it and figure out how to enjoy each other's company more.