As parents, we are sometimes guilty of projecting our own desires onto our children — of saying that we are doing something for them when in fact we are doing something with them for us.
Witness, for example, the following conversation. Munchkin had just awoken from his morning nap and we were rushing to the Halloween party the CLO had organized for the Embassy’s children.
S: Look how excited he is. He’s been dreaming of his dinosaur outfit. He’s been looking forward to this party all week.
D: No he hasn’t. You have.
D’s cantankerousness owed to his general dislike for Halloween, but the fact remains that Munchkin is only 8 months old. Quite likely he will spend weeks dreaming about his Halloween outfits in the future, but not now when he has no understanding of either dinosaurs or Halloween.
The outfit, incidentally, was a hand-me-down from a friend of D’s in Portland, whose niece is 8 or 9 months older than Munchkin and wore it last year. When he gave it to us as a parting gift before we returned to Moldova, it seemed impossible that Munchkin would ever grow into it. He was so tiny and the outfit looked so huge. But grow he did — to the point that he very nearly did not fit inside at all. After a brief tussle, D managed to zip him into the dinosaur suit, but one look at his arms and legs left no doubt that he was on the verge of bursting its seams.
Quite likely, Munchkin did not get nearly as much enjoyment out of the early Halloween celebration as we derived from dressing him up. He is too young to go trick-or-treating or get any candy, and there were too many people — adults and kids alike — to let him crawl around at the party. The highlight of his day was playing with the leaves in our backyard while D snapped a few hurried pictures of him in his outfit before rushing him inside when he saw his lips trembling with cold.