Jay and I decided from the beginning not to introduce the idea of Halloween until one of the kids brought it up first, and it finally happened last year. There was lots of talk about Halloween at playschool, so Joshua came home one day asking what kind of costume he might have. He decided that he wanted to be a pumpkin. Easy enough. He wasn't exactly enamored of being dressed up, and trick-or-treating wore him out pretty quickly, so I wasn't prepared for the enthusiasm with which he approached the holiday this year.
Joshua and Clare and I were in Walgreens for some reason or another this past August when we happened upon a Halloween costume display. I asked Joshua what he thought he might want to be and, without skipping a beat, he said, "A princess." Great.
Jay and I brought it up a few times, asking whether he might rather be a prince or a knight or a pirate, or something else that might afford the opportunity to wear something flowy and, dare I say, pretty. But there was no changing his mind. So there we sat in front of the McCalls patterns. It didn't take but a second for him to choose the one he wanted. And that was the end of that.
Let it be known that I have no issue with Joshua dressing up as a princess. My concern was that someone might say something ugly to him and hurt his feelings. Call me overprotective. I dare you. So we had a semantics lesson: "When you add 'ess' to the end of a word, it automatically means it's a girl, so if you dress as a princess then you're dressing up as a girl." That didn't phase him a bit, of course. He loves girls. His best friends are girls. Who wouldn't want to be a girl?
"Joshua," I said, "some people think boys shouldn't dress like girls. Someone might say something to you that isn't very nice"
My mother made Clare's dress first since she would be a princess too. Heaven forbid Joshua do something that she doesn't do too. When Clare's came in the mail, Joshua was nearly giddy. He loved it. In fact, he tried it on before she did. When his arrived in gold--not pink--and with fewer bows, well, something had to be done. He insisted on adding more bows, which we did, and he did many a dance around the house in his new getup.
And of course everything turned out swimmingly. He claims that some people at school told him that boys don't wear dresses, and he answered by saying that he really wanted to be a princess. On Friday at library storytime, one of the little boys tried to trade his train engineer cap for Joshua's crown, and by the time we went trick-or-treating on Saturday night I was tired of worrying and just had fun.
And so did he.
Will he hate me in a few years because I let him do it? Maybe. But it was better than watching a heartbroken little boy whose mom wouldn't let him be a princess even though that was what he really wanted to be.