Tall walks in the door, still in his “costume” of his basketball uniform. He takes the orange plastic pumpkin and unceremoniously dumps the contents on the living room carpet. Rainbow hues litter the floor, their electric labels fighting for visual dominance: Twix! Starburst! Almond Joy! Snickers! Baby Ruth!
“Now we will sort them,” says Tall, making his Virgo mama proud while simultaneously causing his father to wonder if we need to have our older son tested for OCD tendencies.
The shorter child, still in his shark attire, readily agrees. Within minutes, the candy is lined up picture perfect, most closely resembling an ad for television special on Lifetime called American Consumerism: The Warning Signs.
The shark begins to dig into his stash, while his mother hyperventilates about melty M&M’s ruining the expensive shark outfit.
The basketball player disappears into the other room, then comes back a few moments later with his homework assignment. He takes out a pen and begins to inventory his candy.
I am horrified. What kind of mean teacher takes the opportunity of Halloween to have the children chart and graph their trove of candy? How long is this stupid assignment going to take? Couldn’t the kids have even one day off from homework to just enjoy being kids and devour cavity-inducing candy on a meaningless holiday?
I resign myself to the fact that I will have to help Tall with his project.
“Okay, Sweetie!” I cheer, trying to impersonate an upbeat person. “Should I get a ruler? What exactly do we need to do here?”
“What are you talking about, Mom?” he asks while unwrapping a lone Bit O’ Honey.
“Your homework,” I nod toward the piece of paper he has filled in so neatly.
“That? That’s not for school. That’s for me. I need to have an accurate record.”
My mind sings. My son is so smart! So organized! So talented! He’s creating new work for himself to do, to stay challenged! I smile wide, impressed with his genius abilities.
“ … because otherwise you might eat it all. This way I can keep track.”
Did I mention he was smart?