Another Vegan Halloween

Another Halloween has come and gone for our vegan family, and once again I am surprised at how easy it has been to deal with this candy-centric holiday as vegans. Every year I assume it is going to get harder for LP to give up the non-vegan candy, or that somehow he will feel left out when others around him are munching on fun-sized candy bars. However, it appears my children are far more easy-going than I give the credit for.

This year Halloween started with some costume indecision. LP was going to be a fire-fighter again, then a farmer, then back to a fire-fighter, until he finally settled on being a ghost after reading a scary Frog and Toad story (that, of course, had a ghost). LP was also very clear from the beginning that he wanted to be a scary ghost. The G-man and I were thrilled, because we had an old white sheet ready to go! Since the kids at pre-school aren’t allowed to cover their faces with their costumes, the G-man cut out an entire face for LP in the sheet. The preschool teacher also suggested that we pin the sheet to LP’s baseball hat to help it stay on his head. The G-man did all the cutting, the pinning and the hemming, and LP ended up being a very scary ghost indeed!*

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Our SCARY ghost!!

Our little IP followed through with being a train engineer, which meant we got to re-use the cute train engineer overalls and her favorite engineer hat that Grandma and Grandpa bought her last year.

LP was especially excited for trick-or-treating this year. He was practicing his “boos!” and “trick-or-treats!” for days beforehand. And I, overly anxious person that I am, was prepared to help absorb the woe I was sure he would feel when we had to take away most of his candy (for it’s non-vegan-ness. I’m over caring about sugar content on Halloween!) I made brownies the night before, and while I certainly enjoyed a couple brownies myself, I was thinking I could trade them with LP for his non-vegan candy, so that he could still have some treats.

Halloween isn't the fun fall activity! The kiddos went on a hike with the preschool and enjoyed fall foliage!

Halloween isn’t the fun fall activity! The kiddos went on a hike with the preschool and enjoyed fall foliage!

Fast-forward to Halloween night. The kids came back from trick-or-treating with the G-man, and their little Halloween bags were full with goodies. The first thing LP did was run into the living room and ask “can we take out the non-vegan ones?” We then had a delightful time sorting the candy into a vegan pile (hello twizzlers, annie’s gummy bunnies, dum-dum’s and smarties) and a non-vegan pile (goodbye reeses, butterfingers, and snickers). LP had a great time sorting. When something was non-vegan, he wanted to know what “animal” was in it. When something was vegan, he was proud to put it in his vegan candy pile. He even helped IP sort hers. She was also thrilled about her candy haul, and has been asking for “trick-or-treats” every day since then. When all the sorting was done, LP looked at his vegan candy pile and stated “I got lot of treats!” In the end no one even cared about the brownies. Well, except for me. I ate a lot of brownies.

Candy sorting time!

Candy sorting time!

In past Halloweens I’ve always been impressed by the kindness and generosity of our neighbors and they think about our vegan family, and make sure that our kids don’t miss out on Halloween fun. This year they did the same, and both kids got special lollipops and Annie’s treats from those neighbors. However, what I realized is that my kids don’t even need the special treatment any more. Once again I realize that being vegan just isn’t as limiting as one might think, especially if you are willing to give into processed sugar and red dye on October 31st. It’s a nice reminder that, even as we try to raise our kids with the most compassionate lifestyle possible, they won’t miss out on any of the fun parts of childhood.

*In fact, with the way the sheet was pinned to his hat, and the shape of the face-hole, the G-man and I both agreed he looked a little like a nun. We also thought that just added to the the whole “spooky” factor.

When the youngest starts growing up

Although we are wrapping up the summer of accomplishments I feel like I am also saying a bittersweet good-bye to a stage in my children’s lives. This summer my youngest turned two. It really hit me then – this is really the end of “babies” in my life.

Big girl vest!

Big girl vest!

IP is in full-on toddler mode. She wants to dress herself, go to the “big ol’ potty” herself, climb at the park by herself, etc. Instead of saying “Mommy, help me!” she is shouting “Mommy, look at ME!” as she attempts some new feat. We went through this explosive growth of independence with LP too, but at the time I still had a new little baby that needed me desperately for food, warmth, and lots of snuggles. Now, as our second little one grows older, I realize that this is it – there is no little baby waiting in the wings this time. We always wanted two children, and it still seems like the right number for our family for a myriad of reasons. But there is a piece of me that wishes I could borrow a little baby to need me, just once in a while.

Fun with stickers!

Fun with stickers!

Recently we reached another milestone. IP stopped nursing. Just to be clear, she is just over two-years old now (26 months, but whose counting?) She has been just nursing one or twice a day for ages, and it was mostly a short, sweet session before bed or nap. Since it wasn’t onerous to me, and since we both enjoyed it, we kept it going for quite a while. But we had gotten to the point that she didn’t really care, it was just stretching out bedtime, and I wasn’t even home during the day for that second nap-time nurse. So, I just stopped offering, and she didn’t even notice. She has asked about nursing twice in the last three weeks, and both time I told her to remind me later (note for fellow parents – this technique has mixed results. When I used it on LP for other things, he inevitable “remembers” at the most inconvenient time). IP never did seem to care, was perfectly happy with an extra story or two instead, and is wholly unfazed by the transition.

I’m grateful. I have plenty of friends who are dealing with a much more painful and laborious weaning process. But I’m a bit melancholy too. I cried a little about it last week. I’m so happy to have my breasts back to myself, but I miss the special time my baby and I had together, that was really, truly, just us.

We do still have cozy mornings!

We do still have cozy mornings!

I suspect this is how it goes. I was sad and thrilled when LP started preschool, and I expect to feel the same, just more intensely, with IP. When our littlest takes big steps, it is the end of something. The ending itself is not sad, because growth is happening. But it is also a reminder that we will never walk this way again, and I have a much more keen awareness of the importance of living in the moment, so that I don’t look up later and realize how much has passed me by.

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