Monday, November 4, 2013
Nevermind. Here, have some candy.
There are some things you just know are never going to fly, no matter how you present them to your child. And it may not be for the obvious reasons, or even reasons you can think of, but no one knows a kid like her long-suffering parents, and sometimes you just know.
On the weekend, I got an email from a friend about the Switch Witch. I'm sure a similar email has been making the rounds among parents the world over, in an attempt to stave off the dentist and Type II diabetes for at least another year. In a nutshell, it involves introducing your child to said witch, and alerting them to the idea that she loves candy and is in the business of making some pretty sweet (sorry) trades. Is there a toy out there that you've been pining after? Simply write a letter to the Switch Witch with your request, leave your candy at the foot of your bed, and during the night she will come in and swap out the candy for your prized toy while you sleep. It's a win-win! According to the friend who sent the email, their daughter hopped on board PDQ. And while my first reaction was "Great! Now I can eat ALL of E's candy without worrying about leaving enough so that she doesn't really notice!", it didn't take long before I came to the realization that there was just no way that it would be that easy.
But I had to give it a shot.
So, over dinner last night, I brought it up. Casually, so as not to give the impression of trying to convince her of anything...
M: Hey, have you heard about the Switch Witch?
E: No. What's that?
M: Well, I didn't know about her either, because she wasn't around when I was a kid. But Tracy just told me about her. Apparently she's a witch who really loves candy and she trades kids' candy for toys at Halloween.
M: I guess you write a letter to her asking for a toy that you want. Then you leave your candy out for her and she comes in while you're sleeping, takes the candy and brings you a toy.
E: All of your candy?
M: Yep. In exchange for the toy.
E: She STEALS candy from kids??!
M: No, she TRADES candy for toys.
E: But what if I want my candy?
M: Then you don't make a deal with the Swtich Witch. I just mentioned it because Tracy said that she told S about her, and S decided to make a trade. I think the Swtich Witch is going to their house tonight.
E: Really? But what about S's candy?
M: The Switch Witch will take it.
E: All of it?
E: But what if S wants her candy?
M: Well, she decided that she'd rather have a toy.
E: Doesn't she like candy?
M: She loves candy. But I guess there was a toy that she wanted more.
E: Why doesn't she want her candy?
M: Like I said, I'm sure she wants her candy, but if she had to choose between candy and a toy, she decided she wanted a toy more.
...crickets..."Nice try" glance from husband...
M: I just thought I'd tell you about her in case you wanted to write her a letter. But if you want to keep your candy that's ok too.
E: ...crickets...deep thoughts...
After that we went on to other things, dinner was finished up, and E went up to the bathroom. A couple of minutes later, from upstairs...
E: Mom? What if S wants her candy back after she gets the toy?
M: It doesn't work that way.
E: Why not?
M: Because when you make a deal with someone, you can't change your mind.
E: Why not?
M: That's just the way it is.
...a couple of minutes go by...
E: Mom? But S could just go out and buy more candy, couldn't she?
M: I guess she could, if she gets an allowance.
...a couple more minutes...
E: Mom? Does that mean that S doesn't care about us?
M: What??? No, of course S cares about you! You're her friend!
E: But you said she doesn't care about her candy...
M: I said she cared more about a new toy than about keeping her candy.
E: Well, she came over to our house to get candy, and if she doesn't care about her candy then she must not have cared about the playdate or about us!
M: I don't think that's true at all. She came over to our house to celebrate Halloween with you. She was really excited to hang out, eat dinner and go trick-or-treating. And she loves her candy, she just decided not to keep it. But she definitely cares about you.
E: Anyway, I don't want to give away my candy. I want to eat it.
M: Fair enough.
I could say "I told you so", but I'd be talking to myself. And anyway, my husband saved me the trouble.