Boo! (aka: Scary Parenting)

Happy Halloween! I love Halloween: the candy; the decorations; the candy; the costumes. Did I mention the candy? I am a sucker for any occasion that requires the donning of costumes. I guess I am just a frustrated thespian at heart (not to be confused with lesbian. I do have two kids, after all!).

This year, All Hallows Eve dawned with me struggling to finish Z's costume and not even having started Q's. Ah, procrastination in action! Not only did I have the costumes to complete, but I had to pack for my trip to see Sister K, pack for the kids' trip to the ranch with Grandma and GanGan, clean up all of the food the dogs weren't here to eat off the floor, and be ready to leave for Ginormousville directly from the Halloween carnival so I could catch my morning flight. Phew!

All progressed well in the morning. I got most of Z's costume finished by mid-morning. I finished Q's in record time, just in time to pick up Z from school. I picked up some extra-wide elastic for Z's wrist and ankle bands on the way home. Q fell asleep in the car on the way home. Sweet! With him asleep I should be able to motor through the rest of Z's costume and get our bags packed with plenty of time to actually bathe before it was time to head out. Yay!

Well, it didn't happen like that. Z woke Q up as we pulled into the garage. No biggie. I can usually get him back down without much fuss. I plop Q in his crib and head downstairs to get Z settled with a snack. Q lets out a howl that makes it clear that there would be no sleeping any time soon. Here's the weird part: when I got back to Q's room and took him out of baby jail, he didn't stop screaming. He seemed to be having some sort of fit. He threw himself on the floor and flopped around, bashing his head on his bookshelf in the process. I couldn't touch or comfort him in any way without sending him spiraling back into tantrum mode. Arg. I spent a couple of hours with this fun activity. Finally, he was so tired that he couldn't keep his eyes open and I got him into bed at last.

By the time I got Z down for a nap, it was mid-afternoon. Panic time! I managed to get both costumes finished and the bags packed. I did not manage a shower. I was pretty testy by the time it was time for the 'fun' part of my day to begin. Z was dogging my every step (pun entirely intended!) and Q woke up as cranky as he had been when he went to sleep. I had to bite my tongue to keep from snapping at her, but I managed it. It wasn't her fault that I had planned so poorly. I was sweaty and crabby and my costume shirt was made of polyester. Feh.

The good news is that once I got the kids into their costumes and out onto the street for trick-or-treating, they were so cute I forgot all about my foul mood and got into the spirit of things. We drove into town to a neighborhood where the houses are closer together. Z was the belle of the trick-or-treating ball. Everywhere we went, people wanted to take her picture because she was so dang cute. Q, too, but to a lesser extent. I was dressed as a French person (striped shirt, red scarf, beret), but most people didn't that or that I was supposed to be the poodle's owner.

My talkative tot had to be reminded what to say after she rang the door bell, but after that, she was off and running. To every group we passed, she said, "My name is Z. I'm three and a half. This is my brother, Q. I'm a poodle. My mama made this for me." She developed quite the fan club among the 'tween girls who were roaming the streets in packs. They called out to her as they passed and she would wave and say to me, "Those are my friends." It was adorable.

When we had collected an amount of candy bordering on obscene, we headed off to the Halloween carnival where Z won the costume for the fourth year in a row. Not that I'm competitive or anything. Actually, she won with her best bud Zeke. He was Indiana Jones. After the contest, they ran off to the bounce house for the rest of the evening, only taking breaks to come eat more garbage carnival food. Such excellent parenting: don't feed the children dinner then fill them up with candy. I rock.

After a hay ride and changing into pajamas in the parking lot (standing in a fire ant bed, no less), we set out for Ginormousville. The kids were asleep before we even hit the highway. Upon arrival, Z woke up just enough to tell Grandma all about 'trick-or-treats.' It was a close to perfect night. This is what parenting is about.

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