Wednesday, 28 October 2009


We're standing in a large stationers. I am not very far from the end of my tether. I have been to Ikea, to two other furniture shops, walked the dog twice, taken Fingers to art class, Lashes to karate, and then collected them both. Each stage - apart from dog walking - has required me to drive and park the car, an event I consider way more stressful than taking my finals or childbirth. We are trying to decide on Halloween costumes. Well, the boys have decided but I am trying to change their minds, more accurately.

"Couldn't you just go as Ben 10?"

Lashes is adamant.

"No. Fusée"

Fingers drifts by, and holds out a roll of cloakroom tickets and an accounts ledger inquiringly in his fluttering hands. I am momentarily distracted.

"Why Fingers?"

"I like them".

I look hopelessly around the very limited range of craft materials for something with which to make both children into black alien sluglike creatures with green markings. Fingers flirted momentarily with a much more achievable spider, but something about the idea of covering his back with stuffed pairs of tights displeased him, so he also wants to be a Ben 10 character so obscure that the picture at the top of this post is the only one I found in twenty minutes desperate research.

"Noone will have a clue who you are".

They shrug, gallically.

"On s'en fiche"

"You won't win"

"On s'en fiche".

This isn't true. I know Lashes will be terribly galled that noone recognises the obscure brilliance of his choice. Fingers won't care though. He's not competitive, which confirms my suspicion that he is in fact a changeling.

Somewhere, in a foreign country, the CFO would be rollling his eyes if he knew what was going on. Sane people everywhere are wondering why the fuck I don't just say NO. "No, you can be a pumpkin, or a cat, or a skeleton and like it". But at the moment - always, indeed - I have guilt issues. Poor parenting issues. I would make them into a scale model of the Eiffel Tower with Gustave Eiffel dancing on the top if they requested it. I would make a horrible job of it and get cross and despairing, but I would bloody well do it.

I ponder the relative merits of painting masking tape green and attaching felt strips to a black t-shirt with glue. I wave a small sheet of neoprene in Lashes's direction.

"What do you think Lashes? It might work but I don't think there's enough of it. What shall we do?"

He looks at me blankly and turns back to the magazines without a word. He doesn't care what I do or how I do it. His expression says "This is what I pay you for, to sort this shit out without bothering me. Just DO YOUR JOB". Shame Lashes doesn't actually pay me. Fingers is discreetly putting a very small plain calendar with no pictures into my hands. His manner is deferential but insistent. A little like Jeeves advocating soft collared shirts for evening.

I gather an armful of crap, including everything Fingers needs to set up his very own 1950s accountancy firm, pay and we leave.

On the way out, we meet another mother from the Gulag. Irish. I can see she is missing Dunne's Stores as much as I am missing Woolworths at this minute.

"Déguisement?" she says, with almost no hope.

I nod grimly, sending Lashes back to replace a tiny rosette he has shoplifted.

"Don't even bother, it's crap, there's nothing".

Her shoulders sag.

"Let them go as something REALLY scary, like the Headmaster".

(Pictures to follow in the morning. Maybe. )


Liberty London Girl said...

Courage. I remember all my childhood costumes as the pinnacle of creative genius, when I know for a fact they were cobbled together from two felt tip pens, a biscuit tin and a clothes peg. LLGxx

Metropolitan Mum said...

The solution might be powerknitting. Or bodypainting. Good luck!

PS: Word verification 'doedl'. Do you speak any German?

Jojo said...

Could have been worse, sweetie. Could have been a Pokemon...

Oh, and word verification: catness? is that an actual word?

Titian red said...

Is it sad or a matter of respect that I ADORE making fancy dress. My poor children were forced into all manner of outfits, the more esoteric the better in my quest for Blue Peterdom Send them over no whim too small .

carolinefo said...

We still haven't seen a picture of the stern but strangely attractive Headmaster, have we?

I think a photo of him flanked by the spawn dressed as a paitr of matching capybaras would do very nicely.

Soda and Candy said...

I can't wait to have kids, as long as they're French.

... shit. I think there's a flaw somewhere in that plan.

fountain pen sue said...

Oh noes! I forgot about the Halloween thing.I may have to leave the country, Mr FP is being neutered on Saturday morning which will mean dismantling the doorbell and turning off all the lights or booking into a hotel or something. WAIL.

AliBlahBlah said...

It's so hard. However obscure I think you should let them do what they want. At least that's what I'm trying to tell myself as my 4 year old wants to be a 'bride princess'. Gah, where does she get this stuff from?!

Loved the title to your post by the way.

MargotLeadbetter said...

On the plus side, that looks totally doable. Black jumper and balaclava, yellow insulating tape (or can you get fluorescent tape?), maybe a tail made out of some opaque tights. So what if no one knows who they are?

I love Hallowe'en and DIY fancy dress costumes. We Leadbetters are beside ourslves with excitement about the party we are going to on Sat. I am going to be an Amy Winehouse Goth witch.

Dubious George said...

Blah! Hallowe'en already? When I was a kid my parents made me go to alternative "religious" parties in the Church hall, designed to celebrate the Good Lord and hide from paganism, and where I'd dry hump the choir-girls and gorge myself on biscuits.

Good luck. I'll be staying home.

Juli said...

Before I was a parent, Halloween used to be my favourite holiday. Now it is a crafts nightmare that I just want to get through as quickly as possible. Luckily, I can aim low, as there really is no Halloween in NZ. Apparently, it's too American. And a bit ridiculous in the springtime.

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