The Switch Witch Bows Out
I’m one of those annoying parents who feels conflicted telling stories to my children about Santa Claus and the Switch Witch. Actually, that’s not true at all. I love telling stories (even though I’m fairly horrendous at it), and keeping those wonderful holiday figures in that context. It’s when my tiny children start to believe me when I tell them these strangers actually will be sneaking into our homes while we sleep and leaving, or taking, our belongings, that it gets a little weird. I work hard to find a balance between precious childhood fantasy and truth and trust.
Still, I needed a way to deal with all the toxic, poisonous crap that Halloween leaves little bodies to deal with. Do not get me wrong; I will cross a path of ravenous alligators (i.e., the candy aisle at Rite Aid) for a Butterfinger. Or an Oreo. Or a Frito. I have a deep affection for candy, donuts, chocolate croissants… Just, in small, manageable doses. And, I realized I had the power to teach our kids from birth to value candy as a “reward,” something to strive for and feel elated about attaining, or as a small but normal part of a healthy person’s diet, without a bunch of emotion attached. I thought the latter was a reasonable approach.
For a few Halloweens, we employed the Switch Witch scenario. At night, a benign figure comes into our house and takes all our candy (except a few pieces the kids have chosen to save). She takes it back to her land, where candy is healthy, and leaves little toys in its place as a thank-you. The kids thought this was great. Then, one day, my kid started talking about the Switch Witch like she was a matter-of-fact person. I got uncomfortable. They look to me for answers about the world, and trust me to guide them. They had bought this story hook, line, and sinker. I felt like I had lied to them.
Next, I was faced with the conundrum of what to say when they learned the truth. Would they feel betrayed? Would the believe anything I told them after that? Would they feel happy they had believed this made-up story or sad they no longer did? Any which way, I didn’t see it strengthening our relationship. My kids’ relationship to me and to Cute Banker is their lifeline in this chaotic world and it’s the highest priority in mine.
I read recently that the only way to parent is to do a bunch of research, then follow your instincts. Hold fast to traditions that work and let the others go. It’s gonna be different for every parent and child pair, and maybe different from year to year. This is our year to retire the wonderful Switch Witch, thank her for her good service, and wish her well.
So, we’ve got a giant haul of loot coming, mere hours away. What are we going to do now, you ask??
Well, since you asked, lemme tell ya. I thought I had a brilliant plan but it semi-backfired. First, we told the kids they can choose a few items to keep (whether it be candy, a toy, a box of raisins – yeah right – or whatever) and we’re going to give all the rest to kids who don’t have homes (yes, I feel conflicted giving those kiddos toxic, poisonous crap too, but I haven’t resolved that one yet. Maybe next year.). That went over well, although we have yet to actually give away their candy. I’ll let you know how it goes. (Update: Click here to see how it went).
Part two is the fun part. They get to choose something – anything! – they want to make at home with Mama. Any dish they can conceive, we will make at home, minus the chemicals. They could choose a candy bar or enchiladas. I am happy to report, enchiladas actually came in second. You know what came in first? Ready? Oh boy.
Billes de Noisettes Au Chocolat, or Chocolate-Dipped Hazelnut Marbles. The recipe starts with “…make your own hazelnut marzipan…”
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more complicated recipe. I lobbied hard for Mexican Chocolate Bread Pudding from Mexican Made EASY (hello? Easy?? Anyone???), but they weren’t having it. They chose their recipe out of a lovely little book called Chocolate and Zucchini that has an easy-peasy yogurt cake recipe that I thought looked nice. The kids thought differently.
So, I guess it’s a treat for them, and the trick is on me.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN, EVERYBODY!!
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