Friday, 30 October 2015

Garden 15: October 29 - Almost Hallowe'en

From my sewing room, Thursday, October 29, 2015. My windows are filthy
Here's a rare thing: I am writing this by daylight. It usually happens in the still of the wee morning, pitch black outside, dim lamp, music low. Silent in the house until my daughter wakes to find me: thump thump thump on the steps, tunk tunk tunk through the kitchen. She wavers in the doorway, a groggy angel in her plastic corset and long, stretchy undershirt to her thighs like an 80's Madonna costume gone 101 Dalmations. Back to bed, Love; I'll be up soon.

Dramatic reenactment;
I made like Cinderella, but the birds flew away 
But today I am peering into my back yard - the sun and the yellow leaves of the lilac shining through my maple tree, a stunning, glimmering red. The patchy lawn has been cut, the leaves have been raked - twice! I've put down grass seed, dug out the worst-offending and saddest of the garden plants: a runty lilac, a gift from a friend on the occasion of our first miscarriage, that, no matter where I put it, or how much love I could spare it, has never bloomed. Having exhausted every single possible location for it in the yard - front and back - after 15 years Sad Lilac has finally found a new home in the yard of a neighbour. Maybe this spring I'll finally find out what colour it's meant to be.

There were seven hostas, too, that never delivered. They were orphans from various neighbourhood gardens, on the brink of destruction, and I gave them a fair chance - 3 or 4 years. Time to move on; take your slugs and snails with you, please. They now reside in the garden of a friend of the mother of one of our two wonderful respite providers.

3 birds are splashing in my slimy-bottomed bird bath, throwing water as far as I never imagined a tiny bird could! I'm so happy birds like my garden.

Planets and stars, classes, therapy and specialists appointments aligned today to give me this gift: 5 consecutive daylight hours, obligation-free, to do whatever I dang well please.

Hot air popper - a gift to me and my sister from our grandmother, 1982. Still works great. The faux Tupperware contains two red wrigglers from the Master Recycling course 
The washer is washing. The newly-repaired dryer is drying. The milk has been bought. My daughter's stinky brace is soaking. One toilet has been scrubbed. There is bacon in the oven - one of the glues that bonds me and my son together. I am in my sewing room: Dylan, alphabetically, loud; hot tea; cold water; fuzzy blanket; laptop and guitar. Today I go one step further: a whole batch of buttered popcorn, all to myself. I edit photos and write, sing, dance and eat, cast my mind sideways over some little detail that won't be ignored. The only thing that could be better? If my windows weren't so dirty!

Hallowe'en falling: cool leaves, costumes, and decorations. Which pumpkin houses will we visit this time, the one night it's OK to knock on doors and see who lives where? My daughter will ask, "Do you have a dog? Does it like kids? Can I pat it?" If there's no dog, a cat or a fish will do. Her interest is genuine, and usually good for an extra handful of treats.

While we follow our daughter door to door, our son will join a group of peers, on a mission to collect as much junk food as possible on what is likely his last trick-or-treat.

Lemonade lollipop, tears; I try to keep her safe
Pre-Prader-Willi syndrome, I loved Hallowe'en. Now I dread it. Hallowe'en sucks for people with PWS. As my daughter put it yesterday, after a well-meaning teacher offered her a lollipop, if mummy says it's OK, "I am so angry with you! I want to crack my head open! I don't want to have Prader-Willi syndrome any more!"

As she explained to the mother of another patient in the MRI waiting room last week, "Prader-Willi syndrome is a problem where you eat too many candies and you get in trouble from your mom."

I hate having to be that mom. The one who won't let her eat a lollipop. The one who wants to ban junk food in school and rains on everybody's parade. Pregnant, I imagined baking with my kids, decorating gingerbread houses, planning special birthday cakes. What could be more fun - the way to the heart, and all? But nobody needs that junk, least of all someone with PWS.

Limited to a calorie count half that of her peers, there's not a lot of room for empty calories. Treats are reserved for very special occasions: a whole cupcake on her birthday, with all of the icing intact. Two candies at Hallowe'en, and all the gum in the bag. I'll throw in an extra or two in the days that lead up to the big night - like this lollipop. Her concern: she had never tasted a lemonade lollipop before! Her chance might never come again! The compromise, after tears on both sides, and hugs as tender and tight as possible when wearing a rigid, plastic, body brace: we would place the sucker in a Ziploc bag and smash it on the counter. The piece attached to the stick would be hers.
Sometimes the Great Pumpkin makes something from the good bits of what she confiscates
When she became old enough to notice her candy missing the next morning, I invented the Great Pumpkin - a benevolent, health-conscious gourd that switches out bags of Hallowe'en candy for a gift - a good one. Last year my daughter awoke to a blue Furby that eventually became so nasty he had to be hidden in a closet, where he remains.

"Be careful!" she warns, any time the door is opened.

The year before it was a toy cash register, complete with scanner, credit card, and key. Before that: a nifty child's washing machine with sudsy water in the door and a spinning agitator. I would have loved that as a kid, to go with my child-sized clothesline and pegs. She wasn't so taken, and donated it to her kindergarten class, where she played with it far more than she had done at home.

This year the Great Pumpkin took orders: an American Girl doll, which I found, barely used, on Craigslist. I'm looking forward to making outfits - a miniature twirling nightie, and a plastic body brace.
The way to a boy's heart: the BLT
For our son, the Great Pumpkin generally brings Lego or Nerf guns. This year, however, he requests NO visit from the Great Pumpkin. This year he wants the candy. This presents a whole new challenge. Discussions have begun around how much candy is reasonable, where it will be kept, and when and how it will be dispensed. I'm inclined to agree on a daily limit and leave it up to him, as long as he is discrete - though she will be happy with her American Girl doll, his sister needs no more reminders of what she can't do. But that's just me. Stay tuned.

Hallowe'en candy will be gone soon enough. Next up: Christmas candy canes, Avent calendars, all that baking!, Valentine's Day chocolate and Easter - more chocolate, still. Then just the usual: classmates' birthday treats to deal with, nose-height candy at Safeway checkouts, haircut lollipops, kind strangers who want to feed my kids. It's everywhere!

My five hours passed. Picked up my daughter from school; Speech and Language Pathology, dinner, mend vampire cape and son's favourite flat-brimmed hat, bedtime. Somewhere in there it started raining. If it keeps up there may be much less candy to contend with. I'm finishing this post in the quiet of night. Thump thump thump, tunk tunk tunk - here she comes. Back to bed, Love; I'll be up soon.

1 comment:

  1. I hate having to be that mom. The one who won't let her eat a lollipop. The one who wants to ban junk food in school and rains on everybody's parade....
    Leah, the world's most wonderful mom. The most wonderful.