Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The Promised Halloween Report

On Friday of last week we took the girls Trunk or Treating at the church. We do this every year, because it feels safer than going from house to potentially dangerous house. Then we take them to their cousins' house to do precisely that. In a safe neighborhood, of course.

This year the girls dressed up as a dragon and Tinkerbell. The dragon was far too cute to be accused of breathing fire, and Tinkerbell had golden brown hair, but Halloween is all about suspension of disbelief.

Just the previous year, I had wondered when my girls would "get it." You know... when would they begin to understand the concept of marching up to someone's door, say "Trick or treat!" and wait for the payoff?

This was my older girl's year.

First, a little background. My daughters are blessed with certain genes from both parents. At times, these genes come into conflict. For example, anyone who knows me understands that my two girls can both be complete crackups. They are hilarious, when they put their minds to it and aren't too cranky to enjoy each other. On the other hand, if you look at the photos of my daughters with Santa every year of my younger daughter's life, you will see a steady progression from scream, to cry, to abject terror, to severe pout. This year we're hoping to have at least the absence of a frown. The truth is, my girls are horribly shy.

Second example: My girls attend something called "Primary" at church, which is our equivalent of worship service for kids. Every year, the Primary kids get to do a program in our main Sacrament Meeting. They give kids speaking parts and have them sing, oh, about three hundred songs. It's always adorable. Unfortunately it's also extremely traumatic for my two youngsters. The older one simply refuses to open her mouth. She'll stare, stone faced, while the rest of the kids are yelling at the top of their lungs in any ol' key that comes to mind. The younger one actually looks like she might sing, but generally changes her mind as soon as she stands up. They are adorable, though!

Such is the shyness of my two young ladies. My wife and I have coached, cajoled, and even attempted bribery to get them to speak up. Or even speak. In public, that is. When they're at home, I often try the same methods to get them to clam up for awhile. No, they're shy, and they get it from family.

Sunday night was our night to go out with the cousins. They live in Ventura county, and the two younger twins are only a year behind my little one. My older one dressed up once again in her not-so-scary dragon outfit, and we drove everyone over to the neighborhood that we visit every year.

Imagine my shock and pleasant surprise when my incredibly shy older daughter marched boldly up to the first door on the block, knocked on the door, and shouted "Trick or treat!" to the suitably impressed occupant. They had to pick me up off the street. She did this, house after house, street after street, until it got too tiring for the adults to keep up. In fact, she outlasted her younger sister, who seemed to lose steam after about a dozen or so houses and went back to the car with Grandma. I was astonished. A couple of times I mildly protested to my daughter that she needed to wait for the other kids. "But, Daddy! What if I get to the next house and there's no candy left??"

Later, in reviewing it with my wife, I made the comment: "You remember last year when we wondered when our girls would get it? Well, they get it now."

Indeed they do.

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