Monday, November 3, 2008

Baby's First Halloween

We made it through River’s first Halloween pretty successfully I think. At 5:15 we made a short loop around our block to say hi to the neighbors. At 6 my Pakistani friend Hina came over with her 3-year-old son Nasir. It was Nasir’s first time trick-or treating. He wore a beautiful golden Pakistani shirt with loose white pants and carried an Elmo trick or treat basket. River was a Winnie the Pooh.

We walked over to the Nobel Prize winner’s house, where River got a Reese’s peanut butter cup. I separated it from the rest of the candy, as though I could do something special with it. We did take a picture of him at the door with this man, who was dressed up as the famous person who used to inhabit his house. I guess I can take a picture of River with the peanut butter cup and later tell him who it came from.

It was so much fun watching Nasir trick or treat. At the beginning, he couldn’t even say trick or treat. When he came to our house, he disregarded my offers of candy in his excitement to say hi to the baby. It didn’t take him long to learn though the magic that “trick-or-treat” could bring. He was soon running so fast toward the houses and up to the front porches that he fell at least twice. But he had a great time and so did his mom, who thanked me for urging them to join us.

They have been having a very rough time because they have been forced to be separated from Hina’s husband (and Nasir’s father). Both Hina and her husband were Fulbright scholars. Her husband did an MBA and Hina is working on her Ph.D., both at Ivy League universities. Fulbright rules require recipients to return to their home countries for two years after finishing their degree. The purpose is to offer their skills to their home country. Which is all well and fine. Unless you have a wife who is not done with her degree yet. You think they might offer him an extension and let him stay with his wife and young son until she finishes her degree. Nope. He was forced to go back and the family is separated by thousands of miles. These are brilliant people who want to return to Pakistan. They are integrated into American life, speak perfect English, can be wonderful ambassadors between the two countries. And then the program that is supposed to help relations pays no attention to a family’s desire to be together. I digress, but I think it’s really sad and made the Halloween fun all the more special for this little boy who has just lost his father.

One of many interesting features of my town is that there are multi-million dollar houses located just blocks from what is locally referred to as “the ghetto” or “the barrio.” This area is not bad as far as ghettos or barrios go, but it is the poorest area of town. We were having dinner there, so on the way, we stopped at a couple of multi-million dollar houses just for the fun of approaching places we normally don’t come near. The residents of the street we walked down did a great job on decorations. One house offered us small cups of merlot. Most of them gave out the same snickers, Reese’s peanut butter cups and Milky Ways as everyone else. They had hordes of kids coming by, some of whom were pretty grabby.

We continued walking to the barrio, where we had pizza with Hina. Nasir had passed out from the excitement and slept in his stroller all through dinner. River remained intrigued. He liking holding his plastic pumpkin.

We had a 15-20 minute walk home and that was tough for River, since it was way past his bedtime and (bad parents) we’d lost his bottle on the walk. But he’d held up well until then and seemed to have fun. We got some nice pictures – his first trick or treating, him at the door with a famous guy, pictures with our friends and other fun shots. When we got home he sat on the potty and pulled his loot out of the pumpkin one piece at a time. We won’t be letting him eat it, but I was glad he got the enjoyment of emptying it!

All the walking ending up being good for the parents. I counted 15,000 steps on my pedometer. Hopefully that will neutralize some of the negative effects of the weekend candy consumption.

I’m pretty excited to be back in the Halloween swing of things after a 20 year or so absence. I realize it will be an important holiday for us for at least the next 10-15 years. And I’m cool with that. I think it’s a fun celebration and I look forward to our family actively participating.

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