Whatever happened to kids who play in the mud? Pumpkin carving might be have been easier — though maybe not as amusing — if my boys liked wallowing in, bathing in, making art out of mud. As it stands, last night’s pumpkin carving adventure took a long time, because they did not like scooping out the seeds or the gooey guts of their pumpkins. God forbid they get their hands dirty! (Though one is perfectly happy with cream cheese all over his face).
For the first half hour, they stared at their pumpkins while Dad insisted that any self-respecting child must be in charge of his own scooping. Mom and Dad scooped theirs, and then we carved our funny faces. We exaggerated the gloppiness of pumpkin goo. We held up our orange, slimy hands. We laughed, messy and happy and ready for Halloween.
The seven-year-old got the hang of it first. He is best at reading when he is not going to get away with something no matter how impressive his argument. And with Dad there, he knew I was not going to fold and do the dirty work for him.
The nine-year-old, driven more by emotion than logic, kept glaring at us. And after each psuedo-attempt to stick a spoon into his pumpkin, he went inside to wash his hands.
But then after watching personalities emerge on our evolving jack-o-laterns, he too got in the Halloween spirit. He managed to scoop out most of the seeds and some of the orange guts of his pumpkin. And then the carving began. The boys imagined mean faces, scary faces, silly faces, odd faces. They tried out designs in magic marker. They drew tongues sticking out, then erased them. Added eyebrows and loved them. Created lopsided grins that reminded me of their own smiles filled with baby teeth, gaps, and jagged big teeth just coming in. They talked and giggled and bragged about their success.
And they did it all themselves.
All that was left for me to do was clean up the gooey mess when they were done.