Thursday, October 03, 2013

A Halloween Roll Model: That's Me!

"Mom, that's what I want to be," he said with excitement, while pointing to me motoring by in my wheelchair. I had never thought of myself being the subject of someone else's costume and had a variety of conflicting emotions, some positive, some fearful. "You want to dress up like you are fat?" mom asked. "No, no, no," the son said excitedly. "I want to have a wheelchair and ride around like a kid in a wheelchair."

The conversation evolved that the boy had a friend in school who used a wheelchair and he wanted to go with his friend's parents and his friend to a local mall that has a Halloween night in the mall and kids can collect candy and other stuff from the stores in the mall. I've seen those here in Canada, malls providing a 'safe environment for kids to run around in costume and get to holler 'trick or treat' at the top of their lungs. Mom was still unconvinced.

"Won't your friend think you  might be making fun of him using a wheelchair."

"No, mom," he said in that tone that communicates that mom's understand nothing, "we will both have costumes on. We thought we could both be, like, pirates and the wheelchairs be like ships. We talked about how to do that but he told me I'd have to get a chair, his mom says we can rent one if we wanted.

"Any you are sure he won't mind?"

"No mom, IT WAS HIS IDEA."

"Really, why?"

"Because you get more candy if you are in a wheelchair! ISN'T THAT COOL!!!"

Mom just laughed and the delayed the decision, "We'll have to ask your dad."

"As soon as dad knows there will be more candy he'll say yes," the child predicted with confidence.

Now there are so many ways to look at this. Me, I'm sticking with this being a story of two kids who are conspiring together to do costumes that will get them the maximum amount of candy. Like kids all over Canada are doing right now. The kid with the disability is suggesting a costume idea for his buddy, in the same way that kids suggest costumes for each other all the time - remembering that candy and treats are their reason behind it all. That and the fun of dressing up of course.

Part of me wanted to ask myself questions about this, "will the typical kid see the pity aspect of disability which is the probable motivator behind the extra candy," or will he just enjoy rolling around with his friend, thinking they are brilliant for coming up with the costumes with the maximum candy reward.

Then I thought, why am I analysing this at all? Why am I caring?

Two boys are friends and are planning similar costumes. That's all this is. "But that one kid isn't a wheelchair user ---" yeah, I get that, but he isn't a pirate either.

I'm guessing the that boy in the chair adapts all the time for the boy without the chair. Now it time, as happens in relationships and friendships, for adaption to flow the other way.

I see it as fun.

What say you?


Shan said...

"He isn't a pirate either". Love it. I think it's cool.

Jayne Wales said...

Clever conspiracy going on there and as its not illegal or hurting anyone who should stop them?
I see kids all the time trying to work put how to get something for nothing. I
If its a comment about whether that's ok that's a different question.

Just Heidi said...

Personally, I hope they pursue this costume idea. This is a win win situation for both boys.
#1 Boy w/o disabilty will gain a greater perspective of what obstacles his friend is affected by as a wheelchair user.
#2 MORE CANDY!! (never thought of that)
#3 Both boys will have a great experience Trick or Treating together :)

Kris S. said...

One kid isn't a wheelchair user, neither is a pirate. Spot on!

Louna said...

Also, dressing as a pirate in a ship is much harder without a chair to be the ship. I like the idea.

wendy said...

I love it, for a lot of different reasons. We have here two kids who are conspiring to get more candy at Halloween. The disabled boy is trying to level the playing field with his friend...and it's the non-disabled kid who is seen as being at the disadvantage. And who wouldn't love to be a pirate with a ship?? That's just cool!

Anonymous said...

This is just a great thing on all levels.

Laura said...

HAHAHAHAHAHA That is awesome!!!

Deb said...

Arrrrr, 'tis what piracy is all about!

Princeton Posse said...

Love it! Also love the idea that you inspired the young man to speak to his mom about the costume. How far reaching your influence is!!

B. said...

Something doesn't seem quite right about it to me. It kind of reminds me of a friend (able) admitting she and her sister rented wheelchairs at Disneyland because she was tired and wanted to wait in line comfortably and get ahead of others in line like the disabled do.

I guess the boy is too young to realise his friend has no choice in using a wheelchair.

Kristine said...

That's adorable!! They'll have all kinds of fun.:)

The mascot at our school is the "coachmen," which we represent by a guy driving a train. (I have no idea why. Coachman drive stage coaches, and conductors drive trains. Whatever.) Last year for Halloween, I dressed up in a school tshirt, overalls, and engineer's hat, and my chair dressed up as a train! (Made from a large cardboard box.) It was so much fun. But it really amused me when several kids said, "That's such a cool idea! I wanna do that! Why didn't I ever think of that?" I had to remind them, "You don't actually have a chair to decorate..." There was so much envy in so many students' eyes that day. :)

Anonymous said...

I wasn't sure where this was going after the mother's comment, "You want to dress up like you are fat?" It certainly didn't add up to the rest of her comments. Whew!

Ettina said...

"Something doesn't seem quite right about it to me. It kind of reminds me of a friend (able) admitting she and her sister rented wheelchairs at Disneyland because she was tired and wanted to wait in line comfortably and get ahead of others in line like the disabled do."

I think the difference is that renting a wheelchair at Disneyland when you don't need one is a deliberate act of deception. In contrast, dressing up in a costume for Halloween is *not* an attempt at deception. If people happen to assume parts of your costume are actually part of your everyday persona, that's their mistake, not yours.

Anonymous said...

love this... 'in that tone that communicates that mom's understand nothing’...
I think there are times when us old people (as the kids see us) just have to relinquish our scruples and understand that young people have a clarity of vision and simplicity that we lost maybe around the time we reached our third decade.
‘young people come first, they have a courage where we fail’...
I might not like the ‘wheelchairs get more candy’ but hey, these guys are living with gusto and honesty so what’s not to like???