Not on HayDay of course, which always keep their animal decorations on, as long as possible, till we are ready to puke. Like having Santa hats on the pigs till Easter! But this post is not about that game! But about a holiday which does not really belong in Sweden and when it does, it takes the most bizarre shapes. All that said, it was difficult not to indulge the children this year.
“Gubby” with his autism, is a worry wart. He worries about everything and is scared of everything. For weeks, he has asked about his skeleton outfit. Worrying that it was missing, that noone knew where it was. And every day, I opened his drawer and showed it to him and tried to calm him down, telling him that mamma had everything under control. His outfit, not being specifically a Halloween costume, was a sweatshirt set from h&m, in black and with a white skeleton print on it. Hoodie and sweat bottoms in other words. Can be worn at any time really.
“Boo” with his autism, expected everything to be identical to last year. At the party, in church, he expected all the same decorations hung in the same place etc. It is when things do not become the way he has expected, that he explodes. So he was already dead set on owning a vampire cape, since his favourite programs on the children’s channel, are all about vampires. The ridiculous “Rysberg family”, who has immigrated to Sweden, because there is a lack of blood in Transylvania. Not even famous actor Petra Mede (Eurovision contest hostess) and popular rapper Markoolio, can lift the series. And for Happy Jankell, playing their daughter, who obviously got the part thanks to her famous biological parents, she gets the thumbs down entirely, since she can’t open her mouth without swearing. I have been forced to sit and watch it, so I can tell my boys to never ever utter the words which come out of HER mouth. Disgrace from SVT to broadcast all that swearing! And then there is his other favourite “Young Dracula” from Britain, where count Dracula has moved to Britain with his two children, after his wife ran off with a werewolf. His son wants to live a normal life, while his best friend dreams of being a vampire. I guess it is alright? At least there is no swearing, but it is tedious.
And for autistic “Kitty”, it was all about candy, doing as little preparation beforehand as possible, and absolutely no itching make up on. How to please them all, keep them calm till the two dates and prevent them from exploding? My usual helper E. left for Cardiff, Wales, Saturday. So no help there. And my American husband, likes to do as little as possible, since it is tiring. So, it was up to me to shell out the money and for F. to pick up the baton, even though she does not get along with brother two and three.
“Kitty” got to go shopping with school, for pumpkins, and they had an activity last week, cutting the pumpkins. Happily, he came home with his contribution. And T. finally bought us an enormous pumpkin, Friday, but did not lift a finger to do anything but carry it in from the car. Don’t know where our third little pumpkin showed up from? My contribution was buying a little cauldron for “Gubby” to carry and collect candy in. Sadly, the shop was sold out, so ONE was the only thing I could get hold of. I also bought their last window ghost. There were shouts of glee, when I arrived home with them both, especially the ghost which changes colour every 30 seconds. It outdid the cheap pumpkin T. bought, which does the same thing. I also bought, “Boo” a vampire cape, but he was just not stopping the nagging about it, so I had to bring it out a week in advance, just to stop him from going on and on about it. These children do not prefer surprises at all!
Monday, “Boo” suddenly told me that he needed vampire teeth. F. said she could paint some, and he exploded of course, because that was NOT how he had planned things. And then she declared that she had no idea where the paints were. So, Houston, we had a problem. No reliable babysitter who could keep from starting a fight with the siblings. And needing to go shopping. I had to do the best of the situation and bring “Boo”, who is a loaded cannon, and hope that the other cannon would stay dormant. Can’t bring two cannons to the shops! Not on my own anyway. We headed for “Biltema” in Lund. Despicable place! I will mention it in my next dollhouse renovation post, but for now, I can reveal that I needed safety glasses to not get sawdust in my eyes, a mouth piece, to not breathe in the sawdust and dangerous fumes from the paint remover, which is a real humdinger! And I also wanted to buy a piece for my new multi-task machine, which I thought could be used for sandpapering with. To save my muscles and arms. We arrived to “Biltema” and found the glasses, thin work gloves, so I will not start bleeding again, from the sandpaper, and the mouth protection. And then we walked over to the tools to look at these:
To my horror, I realized that this tool was not made at all, to be attached to the machine I was told to buy two weeks ago! I went in search of a salesperson and every single one, was busy unpacking things. This I have learned, at “Biltema”, is a BAD sign! Then they become extra rude, since they are under pressure to put up all the merchandise and have no time for the customers. But I had to have an answer to my question, so I asked a girl, who looked less busy. Also girls usually being less rude, when compared to the grumpy middle-aged men, who have realized that their lives have been wasted so far in a job demanding no qualifications what so ever, not even charm and service mindedness! But this was a mistake on my part. This little, I don’t know what to call her, “nippertippa” in Swedish, so let’s call her stupid cow or airheaded blonde bimbo, did about everything she could to insult me. She laughed out loud at me having bought a tool at “Biltema” because everything they sell is crap, according to her. And if I had had any intelligence, I would have known that. To use the sander attachment shown, I needed to buy yet another tool, a power drill. I told her, there would be no more machines bought by me, for this dollhouse renovation. But I wanted to at least know, what happens when MY machine’s attachments wear out? Because I could not find any spare parts. Once again, a condescending laughter “We can get cheap machines in to this store, but there will never be any replacement parts for them!”. I took “Boo” and told him, “let’s leave this crap store NOW! I am not going to return ever again!”. We did buy the items, mentioned above, but I was livid. The way that this cow looked at me, the way she talked to me, the tone of her voice. That girl, should be fired on the spot! On the other hand, she fits perfectly with the rest of the personnel there. I don’t think I have ever encountered such a bunch of idiots in one place. On the drive home, I reminded myself, that I have almost enough points for two University degrees, and probably could apply for mensa still, so… She will remain a looser, because all she has, is all that make up and bleached hair!
Angry, we got back to the village and ran in to the toy shop, to get make up and fangs for “Boo”, since he had seen some there. To drive in to Lund’s toy shops, was out of the question since the Pope of the Catholic Church had decided to visit on this day. Tax payers money was used to keep security top-notch and yet, Lund was an utter traffic chaos! And how did we explain his visit to our children? He came to celebrate that Martin Luther told all catholics that they are bigots and that they should start believing in his view of christianity instead. I guess the pope came out of goodwill? Better fight united as Christians, than let internal bickering open up for the dangers of fanatical Islam? Strange country to come to though, since we are famous for being the most secular country in the world! On the other hand, we few who are religious ARE religious!
Our little village toy shop, was a mad house. I think all mothers had decided like me, to avoid the Pope, and try locally instead. Which meant that we were about ten people wanting white face paint and there were none to be had. The girl working in the shop told me, they might get some in the next day, and vexed I answered her “But Halloween is TODAY, I don’t need it tomorrow!”. While “Boo” was having a fit, because he could not find the fangs he had dreamed of, I saw a package with fangs, nails and a small little make up thing which had red, black and WHITE make up in it! I grabbed it and I could see how all the other mothers had vulture eyes, ready to grab it out of my hands. It was the one and only, and in my head I thought “The white better be enough for four kids! May they use it sparingly!”. I paid for my package and made “Boo” happy, since those were the fangs he had wanted but he had expected different packaging. These ones were the ones which only go on the top. All others are both up and down, which means you have to be silent, because if you say something, your dentures will fly out of your mouth. He did not want those, since he says they hurt your mouth and he wanted to be able to say “Trick or Treat”. In Swedish of course.
We got home and F. tried to get her brothers to help her with the carving of the two pumpkins. Unfortunately, “Kitty” has no patience, “Gubby” do not like sticky, slimy things and “Boo” has both fine and gross motor problems, so pumpkin carving is not really their thing! F. got angry with them and I did not want to stand and shout to her, for the 100th time, that they have autism and patience, slime and precision carving, do not work then! They loved helping her pick faces from the internet, but the digging contents was not at all popular. I did not volunteer, since the smell gets me nauseous. And it is not my holiday!!! They did end up with three funny pumpkins though and later on, when I was home alone, to greet the trick n’ treaters, kids commented that it smelled very nice at our house and that we had the best looking pumpkins, so I relayed that to the kids.
Instead, I tried to attach the ghost to, F.’s window, to show kids that they actually can get candy at our house as well. Through the years, we have only had one set of kids, a year, and all that candy for me to eat up, in the evening. Comes from living room and kitchen facing away from the walk path, where the kids walk. They can’t see any lights on and sometimes the wind has taken out the candles, in the pumpkins. So, this year, I put up the ghost in F.’s room which faces the walk path and in my room, I put up boxes and then the pumpkin T. had bought, changing colours. It was pitch black by the time he got home, and it looked so spooky with only that ghost and pumpkin giving light to the walk path. Of course we had also lit the pumpkins and the boys were getting make up on. “Gubby” screaming “Not the eyes, not the eyes” and F. still putting black all around his eyes and in his eyebrows, poor thing. He thinks it itches and is scared of the painful removal process, since it has to be scrubbed off! “Boo” was even worse, he was petrified of getting paint in his eyes and his skin is so sensitive to touch, that he screamed just because F. was touching him. I had to go out and have a serious talk with him. In the package I had bought, there was also ampoules to bite in to, so that stage blood would run down your chin. THAT was not something “Boo” was willing to do. He did not want to feel the running of fluid in his face nor did he want to taste what ever it tasted like. So that was wasted money. I was glad in a way though. Who knows how that would have stained things?
I wish I could have put up the photos I took, but since I want to protect my children’s integrity at least somewhat, I will not. But I had “Gubby” put on leggings under the sweat bottoms, long T-shirt under the hoodie and a brand new wool cardigan, horrendously priced at Polarn’ and Pyret, in order to stay warm. I have a difficult time finding clothes he will wear, since he is very sensitive to seams, touch of fabric etc. So, Saturday I took him to Polarn’ and Pyret, so he could try the cardigan on, which will be worn under his snowsuit all winter. They happened to have a jubilee, so the children were treated to Princess cake and a fish pond, where you received candy. This made me feel obliged to buy the cardigan, even though the price almost made me faint. Good thing it is big, so he can wear it for years to come! All three boys also got to put on their brand new winter boots with fur inside, in order to keep them warm, because Monday night was not a warm evening. T. walked around with a beanie which had a bloody knife sticking out through it! Bought by “Kitty”, who later decided to also go as a skeleton, putting on his onepiece, also from h&m. F. loaned a nice Next shirt from me, which is a combined sweater-blouse. She better return it to me, which she usually does not, when she loans things. She told us that she was supposedly a zombie. Hm!
While the children were out trick or treating, I held down the fort here at home, trying to do things on the internet, but getting interrupted every five minutes. All children went up to our door bell this year. I guess, the decorations did the trick. The only sad thing was the ca. 12-year old boy and girl, who rang the bell, as one of the first groups to do so. I did not bring the bowl with candy to the door, since I had not yet got in to the routine, so I opened the door, said hello and went to fetch the bowl. And when I returned, only the boy was there. “Was there not two of you?” – She got scared and ran away! “Do I look that scary?”. I felt offended actually, because I love children and alright, I am not this extroverted bubbly person, but I do not understand how I could scare anyone? I gave him double candy. In one way, I hope he did not share it with her, because if you dress up as a horrifying zombie and then run off, because you get scared of a woman wearing jeans and a petrol coloured top, you do not deserve any candy! Halloween in this country is all about scaring, blood and gore, and I was neither! And if you can’t take pumpkins or meeting new people, you have no business being out trick n’ treating! Especially when you are 12-13 years old!
My children came home, with a gigantic basket full of candy. I got nauseous just looking at it, but I am proud that my countrymen go all out and give all the children candy, cookies, what they have at home, even though it is not our holiday! Now, started the fight to get them in to the shower and trying to remove the face paint. “Gubby” had started himself and had made a right mess of things, getting the paint in to his eyes. I had to get my useless make up remover out, from former Miss Sweden Yvonne Ryding. The expert at “Lindex” clothing and cosmetic shop, told me that all her products are great, but all this remover does, is place an oily film in front of your eyes, so you have to look through a fog, till you go to bed. I never use it anymore, since it is so useless, but using wet wipes from Primark, like I do, was going to use up the entire package on one boy! I had to try to at least get the worse off, with that horrible stuff. And then send him in to the shower, while I started with “Boo’s” face. He of course screaming, through the entire ordeal.
Tuesday and Wednesday was spent, trying to make the children not eat up the kilo each, of candy, they received that night. And then, last night, it was time for the Primary Halloween party in church, which Young Women and Young Men were supposed to help out with. They carved pumpkins for it Friday, as an activity, but “Kitty” never went. F. sent him angry, nasty messages all evening long, but he was ANGRY and I can understand him.When he gets home from school, he is exhausted and doesn’t feel like taking the bus back in to town, to go to an activity and then coming home late. He much rather sit in front of the computer, at home, playing games. And this particular day, some boys had called him a “DAMP kid” at the bus station, so he was very upset when he got home and forbade “Boo” to go outside, since he would be ill-treated there.
For the party, F. and “Kitty” had to be in church at 16:00, at the latest, so they left on the bus. And left behind, were two worried boys, who would not listen to me, when I told them, that yes, they were going to the party, but F. and “Kitty” had to take the bus and be there early, to decorate. Sometimes it truly feels like I am talking to the walls, because my autistic children do not listen to me. They are so in to their spiral, that they can’t be reached. Thank heavens, T. arrived earlier than usual from work, so they could see that something was happening. I got them dressed and the three of them left, for the party, in plenty of time, for F. to help them put face paint on again, in the chapel. Deep sigh. I get so stressed up when I have to plan and prepare the children for these dress up things. Especially since they can’t think and plan themselves, but I have to keep track of everything, and if I fail, then I have hysterically disappointed boys. When they had left, I sandpapered on my dollhouse and then sat down and did something I had said I would never do, I watched YouTube videos on how to colour nicer. Actually I sat and watched how to colour gemstones, so they look alive, since Hanna Karlzon’s colouring books, all have gemstones, on almost every page. I do not aspire to ever becoming an artist, but I do not like ruining the books either. Who doesn’t want to be happy with their work? The hours ran by quickly and soon I had the gang home again, happy with their evening and unhappy about the cleaning up process they once again had to go through. Now, I can rest till Easter: Hooray!
(Post written Thursday 3 November)