By Christina VanGinkel
My house has always been the sort that children feel comfortable visiting. Toys are in abundance, yet there is room to play with them. Books are easily accessible, and there are not only lots of them, but also someone always prepared to read them to any set of willing ears. So, when my son and his girlfriend asked me to watch her two children for a few hours yesterday, and the children had been by the house on numerous occasions before, I replied that it would not be a problem. So when they left and the older of the two children, who is just over two years old, proceeded to cry for a while, then situate himself across the room from his sister and me and stare at us quietly, I could not fathom why.
It quickly became apparent though. I had decorated our home for Halloween, and his little sister who is thirteen months old was not only highly impressed, she wanted to pick up everything to show her older brother. However, he was not enthusiastic about all the Halloween decorations as she was. In fact, he was quite distressed by everything. Later, after his mother arrived back, she told me that her girlfriend had taken him to Wal-Mart earlier the same day and he had started protesting the minute they arrived in the parking lot. Seems he remembered his trip there a few days previous with his mom and did not want to go towards the Halloween section. While I have seen kids through the years spooked, literally, by a certain object, say a mask or some of the newer electronic decorations that move unexpectedly, I had never seen a child so afraid of it all.
His mother at this point has decided that she will be taking his little sister trick or treating, but not him. She said that the idea of subjecting him to everyone out in masks and all the lights and decorations would be way too much for him. I cannot personally fathom how I would deal with this, other than to try to introduce him bit by bit to things over the next few months. We decorate our home for Christmas with a lot of animation and lights, as do the stores. Where there is now a full size moving and talking skeleton, there will soon be an equally tall singing Santa. How he will react to these items, I wonder. I remember my two oldest children both being quite fearful of the Santa and the life size Easter Bunny at the mall, yet my youngest would walk right up to them and ask them if they had candy and start reciting his list of wants as if they were his long lost buddies.
All of these are just examples of no matter how many children someone has raised, or has had contact with through the years; you can always be surprised by the actions or reactions I should say, of the next child, you encounter. Each child is as different from the one before as you could ever imagine. That is the only thing you can be assured!