I'm steeling myself for The Halloween Candy Battle. I love Halloween but I really loved it more the year Hank was two, dressed in his homemade Clifford costume, and couldn't have cared less about the sweets the neighbors were dropping in his pumpkin bucket. Those were the days. Mr. Bickerson and I ate chocolate until we were sick without one peep of complaint from Hank. He knew not the ways of the sugary desires.
Suffice it to say THINGS HAVE CHANGED. Beggars' night started about five weeks ago for our household when Hope picked one of her books about the Easter Bunny out of the stack in her room.
"When the Easter Bunny coming, Mommy? When he gonna bring us some candy?"
She was a little confused about where the candy was going to be coming from this fall. Our risen Lord/devil worship: It's all the same to the three year-old crowd as long as it involves candy. But Hank straightened her out on her holidays and there has been candy talk and begging for JUST ONE PIECE of candy every day since.
Which brings me to tonight. The scene: Swim lessons at the Y. Hope was feeling grumpy and tired and stated that she would not be participating in her swim lesson. Instead she would like us to leave her in childcare (where she could play) while Hank swam. Her dad and I said she could choose to not swim but she would dress in her swimsuit and sit by the pool for the duration of the lesson. Her swim teacher then informed the students that because this would be the last lesson before Halloween, there would be a candy treat for all students. Sadly, we had to inform Hope that swimmers choosing not to swim tonight would, in fact, receive zero candy after the lesson. There was a big pout and then, "I don't want the candy ANYWAY."
I started to think that maybe she was really coming down with something. No candy? Are you kidding me? Then I realized yes she was kidding me. She had a plan. She was saving her trump card for the moment the teacher handed out candy to all the kids except her. There would be a gigantic tantrum. There would be crying and screaming and begging for candy and promises to swim when it would be too late.
So I knelt down beside her and quietly said (as we watched the other kids swimming away to the deep end), "You know, Hope, you WILL NOT CRY at the end of the swim lesson when you see your teacher giving candy to the other kids. Do you understand?" There was a five second pause as she realized that she needed to fold 'em (as Kenny Rogers would say). She said, "Oh all right. I'll go swimmin." And she did. And all was well. (Not only was it all okay but the little bugger leapt off the end of the diving board much to her teacher's [and our] surprise. Previously she would only allow her teacher to lower her from the board slowly into the arms of another teacher. This time, she almost did a cannonball.)
I'm sitting here now wondering if it isn't wrong for me to feel so good about out-thinking a three year-old. It's pathetic but I don't care because I feel great tonight for winning The Swimming Battle.