Friday, October 31, 2008

A Monsters Inc Halloween

Last year I made Lumpyhead's Halloween costume by sewing and gluing and borrowing my friend Rich's poker chip case and ruining the finish on our dining room table.

This year, I smartened (that's a word, right?) up about Lumpyhead's Halloween costume and bought that sumbitch online.
Mike Wazowski, from Amazon for about twenty bucks

Bump made the scream canister using a wine gift box and some colored paper. It looks truly amazing. He drilled some holes in the top and added the strap from our video camera bag and TADA! It doubles as a container for candy.
Somewhere along the way, I got the crazy idea to theme the kids' outfits, so I made Lula a Boo costume. It's basically a piece of purple cloth with velcro closures and some shiny silver arms and legs.
I bought the stuff to make mop hair and lamp eyeballs, but ditched them at the last minute. This made the costume more wearable for her and simpler for me.
It needs a little adjusting for trick-or-treating tonight, but I think the overall look is a success.

Then, well. . . then things got a little out of hand. I decided Bump should be Sulley. I looked into buying fur to make a costume, but the cheapest stuff I could find was $22 a yard (that translates into at least $100 to make a costume big enough for Bump) and wasn't the right shade of blue. I found a turquoise tee shirt and purple spray paint at AC Moore for about $10 total. I also got a piece of turquoise cardstock for a mask.
After I futzed around for way too long with fabric horns and fur eyebrows, Bump pulled out the cardstock and made himself a Sulley mask.
I don't know why I even bothered with the fabric stuff.

I needed to fit into the scheme somewhere, and felt my choices were Celia (Mike's girlfriend, which seemed a little icky with my son as Mike) and Roz (the mean administrative official, who is ultimately in charge of everything). Also: Celia = slinky and sexy, Roz = fat and ugly. Choice made.

I sewed a dress. Using a horrendous gold patterned fabric that kind of looks like Roz's skin in the movie, I found an easy pattern and made myself a dress. As is appropriate for anything hand-sewn by me, it is perhaps the ugliest item of clothing I have ever worn. And that's saying something.
Add a sweater and some glasses from ebay.
Um, right. Nathan Jr. Nathan Jr is a CDA agent. I was going to use a star snowsuit I made for Aunt Bob's Little Guy, but we couldn't find it so I ended up sewing a new one. Add some marker decorations, and:
I used so much marker that the baby smells like a Sharpie when he's wearing it. His agent number is 80308, which is his birthday. While the CDA dudes in the movie don't have the agency's name on the front of their uniforms - only the back - I decided to use a little creative license and put it on the front as well.
Still, the whole effect of the costume is only realized when I turn the baby around.

So that's it. A family of costumes. Happy Halloween.
All that's left to do is listen to Lumpyhead and Lula fight constantly over who gets to wear the blue hat. Well, that and go trick-or-treating.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Monkey

Guess where I went today?
Ever since Bump and I saw the Eddie Izzard show in which he repeats "le singe est sur la table," we have referred to the fancy cooking store as The Monkey.

The Monkey was hosting a book signing with Ina Garten. Since Bump had to be in Lumpyhead's preschool class today, I loaded up Lula and Nathan Jr and went to meet the Barefoot Contessa lady.

I will admit it never seemed like the best idea.

When we got there, the line was nearly around the block. At least the store served little cupcakes and samples of angel food cake while we waited in line. The people directly behind me were incredibly sweet, they carried my bag when I had to feed Nathan Jr and held my place in line when the stroller wouldn't fit through the maze of cluttered store aisles.

We waited for an hour and a half, and the kids were great for about an hour and twenty-nine minutes. Just as it was our turn to enter the room where Ms. Garten was signing books, Lula decided she was done. She declined apple juice with extreme prejudice, threw the fruit strip I offered her on the floor, and squealed the Mighty Squeal of Meltdown.

In a flurry of embarrassed activity I dug out the cookbooks, shoved Lula's rejected items back in my bag, and pushed the stroller into the room. I spent about forty-five seconds with Ina Garten while her handlers distracted my child, snapped a photo, and sent us on our way.
What. Ever. I had waited long enough. Plus, that dude with the cupcakes didn't make a second pass. Dickhead.

The author could not personalize the inscription, which was a little disappointing. In hindsight, I should have waited until Lula calmed down to get my books signed - I could have let others in line go first - but I was suddenly anxious to get it all over with. At the very least I should have pulled out the emergency M&Ms, which would have shut off Lula's fit immediately. Plus, the refused apple juice leaked in my bag and now my wallet is wet and my cellphone doesn't work.

While I got what I came for, I wouldn't necessarily call the trip a success. If I had the chance to do it again . . . um, I wouldn't.

But! I got to bring Nathan Jr to Sur la Table wearing this outfit.
Which is amusing only to me.
I gotta take the joy where I can get it from this disaster of a morning.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Yep, Still a Little Bitter About That

Let's say you've agreed to a playdate that turns out to be free babysitting. And let's say the child arrives and she immediately strikes you as, ahem, less than charming. Then she tells you she has to poop.

Here's a little nugget (heh) I learned while toileting another person's child.

Well, first, she called it "cah cah." Bwa ha ha ha hah.

Okay, here it is:

Sure, all poop stinks, but holy moley do my kids produce some heinously foul-smelling bowel movements. After getting a load (heh) of Freeloading Child's cah cah, and comparing it to what Bump and I deal with on a daily basis, let me tell you this: WE DESERVE SOME DAMN MEDALS OVER HERE.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Playdate Not a Playdate

We hosted a playdate yesterday morning. Well, half a playdate.

We had a traditional playdate - wherein a child Lumpyhead's age comes over with a parent, and the child excitedly plays with our kids' toys while Lumpyhead and Lula are suddenly possessive about crap they haven't cared about in months. Meanwhile, Bump and I chat with the parent over coffee or mimosas or martinis.

Bump also got roped into something that was billed as a "playdate" but turned out to be "free childcare," wherein a child was dropped off at our house and picked up six hours later.

So there was that. Don't get me wrong, I'll happily babysit your child - for free, even - just don't call it a playdate.

And there was this: Lumpyhead walked over to where Freeloading Child was sitting, very sweetly bent down so his head was even with hers, and asked if he could play trains too.

"No," she replied, flatly.

Lumpyhead's face crumpled and he chirped "That makes me very sad." Then he started sobbing.

I rolled my eyes and
a) called Freeloading Child a jerk,
b) encouraged sharing, or
c) turned on the TV until everybody shut the hell up.

On the upside, Freeloading Child had to poop while she was here, and she called it "cah cah." That is still cracking me up.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pumpkin Patch

I had this grand plan to find a farm when my parents were here. On a beautiful, crisp fall day, we would pick apples and frolic happily in a sunlit pumpkin patch. The perfect autumn photo op. Later we would eat a lovely lunch at an underappreciated pub - a kid-friendly place with excellent food and maybe a fireplace - then the children would nap on the drive home.

I didn't really think through how we would negotiate a pumpkin patch with my barely mobile father. Nor did I have any idea where this "farm" was located - I assumed we would just drive west until we found something - ditto for the fictitious pub (which I'm sure has exceptionally reasonable prices, too. And a great selection of draft beer).

I wanted to go on a weekday to avoid crowds. With Lumpyhead's preschool schedule, that gave us four potential mornings for this outing. But when it wasn't threatening to rain, it was approaching 80 degrees, which didn't really put me in the mood for apple picking. (Nothing says "fall" like a photo of your sweaty kids in shorts, holding a pumpkin. Or your rain-drenched kid, crying in front of an apple tree.)

So it didn't happen.

But! Lumpyhead's preschool came through with an autumn event. Bump's mother and stepdad were in town on their annual migration from Maine to Florida, and off we went for pumpkins and a bonfire and a hayride. I got my damn pictures.

With grandparents, even.
I started a pumpkin circle around Lumpyhead, but he got bored with the idea and walked off. So I made my other son sit in my stupid circle.
Even though I got tons of oohs and aahs and squees while I was taking this picture, I think it looks like I'm sacrificing Nathan Jr to a wiccan harvest god. Guess I should have gotten lower to the ground. After I picked him up I saw at least five other families using the pumpkin circle for their photos, so, go me. I totally win Pumpkin Patch.

And even though Lumpyhead and Lula seemed much more into the heavy machinery than the pumpkins, I think they had a good time.

Lumpyhead was stone silent on the hayride from the parking lot to the bonfire site, even though we were accompanied by two of his teachers and saw a deer. Of course, now he won't stop talking about the damn hayride hayride HAYRIDE! and if I learned anything from the outing, it is this: never go to a farm with three children unless you have at least two grandparents and beer.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I Never Feel Inclined

I was going over the days of the week with Lumpyhead. (Relax, I wasn't encouraging learning or anything, I was just trying to explain that the weekly potty present he was demanding was several days away.) I said "There's Sunday, then Monday, then Tuesday. Do you know what's next?" I asked him. "What comes after Tuesday?"

"Threesday," he told me, matter-of-factly.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Report from Preschool

Bump had to entertain 12 preschoolers for a few minutes, and selected a game as the method of distraction.

Bump: Simon says touch your nose.
12 Preschoolers: [touch nose]
Bump: Simon says touch your mouth.
12 Preschoolers: [touch mouth]
Bump: Simon says touch your hair.
Preschooler: You don't have any hair.


To his credit, Bump could have responded with "Simon says don't be a douchebag," or "Screw you, Little Shit." Instead, he just kept playing.