Friday, November 23, 2012

When I Grow Up

Boy wants to be a bat when he grows up. He and Husband had an exchange that went something like the following:

Boy: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Husband (who legitimately has no idea what he wants to be when he grows up): A pilot so I can fly.

Boy: I want to be a bat so I can fly.

Well. Can't argue with that. Actually I suppose we could and maybe even should, but neither of us wants to be the one to tell him that he can't shift into a different species.

He made me whip up a bat costume, which consisted of one poorly cut piece of black suit lining, a t-shirt, and precisely three safety pins. He had me tell him a story of a boy turning into a bat, which thanks to my lack of literary skills was essentially Kafka, because why re-invent the wheel? At least Boy's Metamorphosis had a significantly happier ending.

When he woke up at O-dark-thirty* 5:30 the other morning, as he's known to do, I heard his trademark elephant stomping down his stairwell and then...nothing. Not the elephant stomping up our stairwell. Not a loud fake cry to announce his presence. Not a loud real cry to announce his presence. A good mom would wake up and check it out, but I was tired.

Eventually Girl woke up and did her trademark morning routine of sticking her face in mine and yelling various parts of speech that are best understood as commands: "Hungry! Thirsty! Milk! Up! Playroom! Dora! Mommy up!"As I carried her out of our room, I saw a little Boy shaped lump sitting quietly on a dark stair.

"What are you doing, Boy? Want to watch cartoons?"**

"I'm not Boy. I'm a bat. I'm hanging upside down on the ceiling now."

I wish we all were so committed to our dreams.

*It's November in Estonia. This phrase no longer effectively captures the time, as it is as applicable to 8:30 as it is to 5:30.

**Don't judge me. My kids wake up early. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A DIY Halloween

Last year was our first DIY Halloween. This year I wanted to keep up the trend. I think homemade costumes are fun, if not well-made, and it's one of those ways I try to atone for my other failings as a mother.

Speaking of Halloween, mothers, and failings: bear with me while I follow a little diversion. My mom went back to work full-time when I was six or seven. Until then, I could count on costumes and all those other things she had time to think about. Then Halloween 1988 rolled around. I was seven. I waited eagerly for my mom to come home from work, as she had promised she'd have my witch costume finished in time for trick-or-treating. I waited. And waited. And waited. (Keep in mind I remember this as a seven year old would, so maybe it wasn't such a dramatically long delay.) She did come home, but with nary a moment to spare before we had to get out the door. She took the black rectangle of fabric that she was supposed to have sewn into a tunic, folded it in half, cut a hole on the crease, popped it over my head, tied it with a rope, and called me a witch. At least I had a decent hat. I was absolutely distraught, and I carried that disappointment in me until this past year. Then I started making my kids' costumes after a full-day's work (or, more accurately, in the wee hours before a full-day's work) and I want to tell seven-year-old me to suck it up. There are real problems in the world, and selvage on your witch's costume is not one of them.

This also brings to mind the Halloween we brought the pony into the house and got in trouble.

Or the Halloween when I wrapped Ace bandages around myself and declared myself a Civil War veteran and no one got it. Not a one. I'm lucky I got any candy that year.

Or the year I was 13, and my hometown had made trick-or-treating and other joy illegal for kids over 12, so my mom said I couldn't go. I threw an honest-to-God tantrum in our kitchen that would rival my preschooler's worst outbursts. I won. Oh Mom, I was so close to giving up. You should have just hung in there. I was a total snit and didn't deserve even the crappiest of the candy I got that evening.

Or my senior year of college, when I was Punky Brewster (all the kids in elementary school told me I looked like her). One roommate dressed as a waiter at our college bar and the other dressed as a domino. Only she wasn't so much a domino as much as she was wearing tight black pants and black tube top--which she always wore when going out--and then taped two white dots to her torso. Which fell off. She's probably yelling at the computer as she reads this. Sorry, C, you weren't a domino. You were yourself on a night out.

I have lots of Halloween memories, you may have discerned. Some good, some not so good. Despite the fears of the crazies, it's not a night of evil. It's a night of good silly fun. I hope my kids enjoy it as much as I used to.

SO: back to 2012.

Boy said he wanted to be a spider. Actually, he initially said a rancor, but settled on a spider. Girl can barely talk, so I picked for her: DJ Lance Rock from Yo Gabba Gabba.

So, a blurry spider: black tights, black t-shirt, black dance slippers, black knit gloves. I stuffed two of my black knee socks and a cut up pair of Girl's black tights with rolled felt to make the extra legs. I found an old brown hoodie with print on the front and cut off the hood, the arms, and the pockets and turned it inside out. I hand-stitched (sloppily) one pair of legs into the pockets. I hand-stitched (sloppily) the second pair into the arm holes, leaving plenty of room for his actual arms. I added doubled thread to the bottom leg on each side, stitched the line to the second leg, and then hand-stitched it (sloppily) on the wrist of the knit gloves so that he could move all his legs. This was a very easy costume.

DJ Lance: orange pants, orange shirt, orange knit hat, white dance slippers. Used painting tape to mark the lines on her pants and shirt, and fabric paint to paint white stripes down the side of her legs and the orange and yellow stripes on her shirt. Hand-stitched (sloppily) a yellow star on top of a white starburst on her hat. Totally cheated on the belt: safety-pinned a piece of 3/4" elastic into a belt. Glued silver sequins to spell rock on a piece of white card stock and paper-clipped it to her belt. Voila.

Hope everyone else had a happy Halloween. I look forward to seeing what the kids pick out next year and maybe, just maybe, I'll slap something together the night before, instead of the morning of.