In my last post, I shared my love for all things Halloween as I began counting down the days to its arrival. And now, October is finally here. I started my decorating a bit later this year, then was delayed even further when I began pulling my favorite decorations out only to hear “EWWW, Mom! You’re getting glitter everywhere!”
Dear Reader, I was not, in fact, getting glitter everywhere.
I was simply holding a sparkly silver and purple faux candelabra with a fabulous skull motif. Think if Dracula became an interior designer. This once-a-year decorative item brings me so much joy that it hurt my feelings a little to hear how much this kid of mine hates it. I bought these when his older brother was in 5th grade. In fact, my older son helped pick them out on a Halloween shopping spree at Michael’s when I jumped at the chance to run the 5th grade haunted house at our school’s fall festival. The battery-powered flames don’t even light up anymore and yet, I love them so much I can’t let them go…whether it’s because of all the fun memories of celebrating Halloweens past or all the fun I had planning and executing that haunted house with fellow parents and my son and his friends, I don’t know. I do know I haven’t found replacements I like and until I do, these sparkly Zombified decorations will continue to rise from their grave. Or maybe I only have until my opinionated kid wears me down.
He already convinced me to eliminate my usual Halloween centerpiece that includes an arrangement with a glittery spiderweb, sequined spiders and glittery purple and orange pumpkins and black skulls. He made the case of not wanting glitter in his dinner and well…who could argue with that, even though the glitter on these items didn’t come off and his dinner was never in any danger of being glitter-bombed.
I’ve always included my kids in the holidays by letting them choose decorations they wanted.
However, eliminating things they don’t like is new ground and something I’m not entirely comfortable with. After all, I earned the money and it’s my house and if I didn’t initiate the action, I’m not sure a single holiday would ever be celebrated. But…it’s their home, too, and my kids deserve to feel comfortable in their home. Hence, we have reached the Great Glitter Compromise of 2022.
I stressed that all the sparkly, glittery, shiny things bring me great joy while my son expressed that he dislikes how they look, doesn’t think they’re spooky at all, and finds the sensation of touching glitter (or it touching him) uncomfortable. I would easily dismiss the first two of his arguments: this is my house and I get to decide on matters of style; when he has his own house, he can decorate it as he wishes.
But, that sensory thing…well, that is a legitimate argument.
Because my son actually does have sensory processing issues, this was much easier for me to absorb and understand. He has always been sensitive to smells and tactile sensations, most noticeably the way clothes fit and feel against his skin. After years of being late to school because we were fighting obstacles that included “the same shoes that were fine yesterday feel weird today and I’m not going to wear them even though they’re my only school shoes” and dealing with other challenges like “I can only fall asleep if I have this specific blanket on my bed” and “those paper towels that are no where near me smell so awful I can’t come into the dining room that is 10 feet away from them,” I really shouldn’t have been surprised for “glitter makes me so uncomfortable I don’t want it in the same house as me.”
So, what to do? I’m not just going to throw out all the things I enjoy. Here’s where we landed:
No glitter in the kitchen, dining room or loft.
Makes total sense concerning his fear that glitter will somehow contaminate his food (it won’t, but okay). The centerpiece I love so much can just stay in the attic until he leaves home or outgrows this specific issue or I can find it a new home. Fall flowers are always simple and lovely and bring me equal amounts of joy anyway.
And the Halloween tree with fun ornaments like the fabulous purple and green witch boots and feather, sparkly witch hats my mother-in-law gave me that usually goes on a table in the gaming loft where the boy spends so much of his time will find a new perch…somewhere?
Glittery décor stays in places where the boy doesn’t have to touch them.
He’s still not thrilled, but I have my glittery faux candelabra on our mantel and one glittery sign on a door, but not one he frequently uses. Outdoors, I wrapped my porch columns in a sparkly ribbon and added some sweet little pumpkins with glittery stars on them among my other decorations as accents.
And that’s pretty much the extent of my sparkle and shine this year.
I don’t love not getting to do things the way I have always done them or to execute my vision of how things ought to be, but I absolutely do love my son and I want him to enjoy this holiday as much as I do. I also firmly believe it’s really important to listen to our kids and let them know we value their input and it’s equally important not to let them dictate and make unreasonable demands. This was a great opportunity to practice the art of compromise…giving a little to show respect and nurture my relationship with my son.