An old friend was really looking forward to her preschooler dressing up for Halloween as a…get ready for this… a Mermaid Unicorn Bat Princess! How awesome is that? I can see Coya and Nina now, a few days before Halloween, stitching together an amazing costume that only their little girl would wear on the big day. Last year, this cutie was a unicorn but I think the costume was only a Mermaid Unicorn Princess if I’m not mistaken. This year she was going to be a bit more big and bad (er…small and bad but SCARY nonetheless) with her added black wings and fangs! I can picture the sparkly tail, and the tiara placed carefully on top of her horn. So creative! So unique! Only a four-year-old can come up with ideas for an awesome Mermaid Unicorn Bat Princess costume. That is, until another four-year-old declares that the idea is pretty lame. So weird. Why would you be different? Everyone is going to be x this year! Didn’t you read the feeds? So cutie changes her mind.
I had a hard time with Diego having a hard time with costumes. For his third and fourth Halloween, it took a lot of persuading to join the fun and pretend to be someone or something else. I regret not listening to the staff at his preschool who suggested we shouldn’t buy him a costume. Just let him be. But I was afraid he would feel left out!! I didn’t want him to be the only one without a costume. So we persuaded him into the Monkey suit (I’m serious) and the following year we helped him pick something not so costume-y, you know like Go Diego Go! It was just a pair of shorts and all he needed was the orange back pack and a vest! AND he already had the name!! I thought it was the best thing to do. Sigh. I was wrong. That four-year-old crushing cutie pie’s big idea is wrong. Me pushing my kid into a costume was wrong too.
We spend a lot of time boosting self-esteem, telling kids they should be leaders, to think outside the box, but not enough time teaching our children to respect their friends, not to tease, not to belittle or shame a friend for being a little bit different. Sure we want our children to fit in and feel part of a community, but as adults we sometimes have to take a step back and respect the child’s wishes. All we can do is talk, talk, talk, their little bat ears off about the importance of being their best self and being comfortable with decisions they make.
Whatever your little one decides to become for Halloween…take lots of pictures! She wouldn’t be just any old princess. She is YOUR princess. He isn’t just another pirate! He will be the BEST pirate! ARGH! Enjoy and if at the last minute they change their mind all you can do is listen, be supportive and discuss.
P.S As I have stated before, books are a gateway to help have important conversations. Here are a list of books that I bought for my goddaughter Aleiyah and have recommended to friends. These are all great self-esteem and confidence building books. Hover over and click for more details.