I admit it. I had three different costumes this Halloween. And I’m not including the ones I made for the kids. I personally had three. There was the Mrs. Claus, the Preppie, and the Haunted Housewife.
I mean, it’s not like I spent gadzooks of time on the last two—those were sort of quick throw-togethers when I got sick of the unwieldy, uncomfortable Santa dress. Let’s just say the fur-cuffed fashion from the North Pole is a bit toasty given the Bay Area’s balmy fall temps.
But the fact is that no matter which of the costumes I wore this Halloween, it was the Control Freak Mom that I was really rocking. On the inside at least. And you can’t blame me. It’s not like I like being Control Freak Mom, it’s more that my judgment-challenged children force me into the role.
Though I did do what I’d call an impressive job of shoving Control Freak Mom down down down and outta sight. I guess you could say I managed to control my inner control freak.
Man, I’d be soooo good at therapy.
Anyway, take the pumpkin patch preschool field trip. (God help me.) Of all ten kazillion pumpkins at her disposal my darling Paige lovingly picked a dented, scratched-up little number with no stem. No freakin’ stem AT ALL.
And I’m telling you, someone would be hard pressed to find a crappy looking pumpkin amidst all the perfectly round, fresh-skinned gourds in the place. They’re genetically engineering pristine pumpkins these days. They practically have those carving kit stencil cut-lines already on them. Paige had to look long and hard to find THE WORST pumpkin in that epic field of pumpkin perfection.
She hugged that thing fiercely like she’d found a Cartier tank watch in a hay bale. And instead of asking her why the hell she wasn’t going to pick a GOOD pumpkin, I just smiled weakly and took her picture.
SEE what a good mother I can be?
With the girls’ costumes I also had to suppress the Perfectionist Creative Director Control Freak in me. Though Kate did well deciding to be an Olympic gold medal runner. As a veteran of the newsy-timely costume myself, I thought her choice was a strong one. (Clearly something I passed along in the genes.) She had the running shoes, the little track skirt, a race number, and of COURSE a medal. But she needed the U.S. flag around her shoulders—right?! THAT makes it the perfect costume.
She was willing to drape the thing there briefly so her Obsessive About Photo Documentation Mother could take some pics. But after our extensive shoot (which DIDN’T make us late for the Halloween parade this year, thankyouverymuch) she tossed the flag aside and said breezily, “Yeah, I’m not taking that.”
WHAT?!? It is ALL ABOUT the flag with that costume.
But you know, I just folded that damn flag up all nice and popped it back in the bag to return to Target. Bless their flexible return policies.
Paigey was a mail carrier. Though it took several semantic attempts for her to settle on that term. When asked what she was going to be she knew Mail Man was all wrong. This is a gal who freaks out when you compliment her cowboy boots. “They are cow GIRL boots,” she’ll correct. So she told folks she was being a “mail girl.” This had gender-bendy San Franciscans thinking, “A male girl? Oh, nice idea, honey.”
She had the pith helmet, the blue shorts with the marching-band-like stripe down the leg, the U.S. Postal Service light blue shirt. I even bought her a pocket chain for her mail box keys and geeky black knee socks that totally rocked. But every time Kate and I suggested she have a stuffed dog biting her in the butt Paige started to cry.
Why you would ever CRY at such a brilliant suggestion is beyond me. It’s like sometimes I don’t even think the children find obsessively perfecting their costumes the highest calling in their lives. And yet, they expect me to be seen trick-or-treating with them.
Life can be so unfair. But you know what? Since I didn’t think a crying mail girl with a stuffed dog on her ass would be very in-character, I dropped the whole matter.
Let them pick crappy pumpkins! Let them have their costumes the way THEY want them to look. Whatever.
I don’t know, maybe if my kids and I were from the same generation they’d understand me better. Of course, I realize that by nature of the fact that I’m their mother this same-generation concept is an impossible dream. I mean, I’m not an idiot.
But at Kate’s school parade this notion really hit me. I was in my Haunted Housewife costume. You know—June Cleaver wig, gingham dress, tray of cookies right out of the oven, fake blood dripping from my mouth and eye sockets.
A girl tugged on my arm and asked me, “Kate’s mom, what are you supposed to be?”
I smiled lovingly at the little dear, leaned down and cooed in my best smooth mama voice, “A haunted housewife, honey.”
“Oh,” she said thinking. “Like, you mean, a haunted-house wife? Like… the wife of a haunted house?”
The poor lamb had never heard the term housewife. Which made me assume that “homemaker” would also be lost on her. She’d probably construe that to be some kind of residential architect.
Which wouldn’t be all that bad really, but of course I’d need to be carrying some AutoCAD drawings for that costume. Duh.