Nugent Before Nine: Halloween Bust

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Ali Wong is hilarious and you should watch her comedy special “Baby Cobra.”

By Serena Markstrom Nugent,

Gather around readers for a spooky tale of how the toddlers stole Halloween. The day started out as any other. The older child dumped out toys all over the living room then sat in his high chair not eating breakfast until his little sister awoke. But it was different that day because it was Halloween and the older brother was dressed in a pink and purple butterfly costume.

The boy, Quinn, was excited about Halloween for the first time because he finally had the life experience and language to somewhat understand the concept. “You go see the guy and the guy puts candy in my costume,” the two-year-old had explained on one of the days leading up to the holiday. He was obsessed with the song “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and with heavy machinery — tractors in particular. He wanted to be Yankee Doodle on a tractor, but settled for the pony. We got him in the costume no problem on the day before Halloween.

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On all hallows eve eve he was ready to go. On the actual holiday? Not so much.

We had planned to go downtown after nap time for the parade and other activities Eugene Cultural Services had scheduled. We were then to head to a friend’s Halloween party. Before nap we went to Fred Meyer on W. 11th Ave. for groceries (for us) and candy (for trick or treaters). They have a free drop-off play area for kids age two to kindergarten, which is why I chose to do my shopping there. Pippi and I were just about finished when I heard my name over the intercom. Expecting the worst, I went there to find Quinn was simply over it and wanted to come shopping with us. Both kids did OK in the store and I felt I was momming on all cylinders. I even had them eating the free fruit from the produce section. Yup, I felt on top of it all. In the family-friendly check out line, I bonded with another young mother with two children. Don’t you hate it when strangers say, “You have your hands full”? So do we! They generally offer this Seinfeld-eque slice of life observation while not helping you in any way. I digress.

We left the store and I was on such a roll that I foolishly got the toddler a treat of blended milk and ice with mint syrup. He was appreciative, but later dumped it everywhere, a harbinger of things to come. Pippi was her normal smiling self. Quinn asked to see some heavy machinery, of which there is plenty lining the roads because it was still construction season. We picked up bean and cheese burritos from Burrito Amigos. The day was swell.

Then suddenly, Quinn turned. I could almost feel his mood swivel a 180 just as the balmy fall day’s wind picked up and there was a slight hint it could rain. He whined about wanting to see a big bulldozer. He complained I wasn’t driving toward the train he heard in the distance. Then he dumped his treat drink all over the middle seat, his car seat and a “vegan leather” jacket of mine that was lying back there. I would soon find out he also spilled it on all of his clothes.

A couple blocks from home he started to scream, and I thought it was merely him being overly tired because it was an hour past when nap time is supposed to be (ha! Who am I kidding? I hit the noon mark 3/100 times). Turns out he had stuck his thumb in the straw hole of his drink and was truly in a painful pickle.

Nothing went as planned the rest of the day.

When we got home Pippi was asleep and I put on Daniel Tiger to help myself prepare for an upcoming post and help Quinn wind down before nap. He did calm some, but unfortunately the baby woke up before I had a chance to get him down. I know better than to even try now. If she wakes up, there is no getting him down. I spared myself the frustration, but this meant a late nap when his dad came home.

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Sleeping so peacefully but about to awaken in the worst mood of his life.

He went down at 4:30 p.m. and woke an hour later in the worst mood of his life. He had a full-blown tantrum, throwing his body around like a breakdancer and saying no to even the questions no one asked. He was desirous of … who knows? We just knew we weren’t helping. Getting on his costume was out of the question. This was during the time I had planned to shower, but instead I was trying to keep him from hitting into walls and furniture. When my husband had squirrelly-toddler, I was with Pippi.

During dinner my husband and I looked at each other wearily. Downtown was already out, but could we rally for this party? I didn’t have a costume and my seven tubs of costume gear were in storage. I didn’t know who was going to be at the party or how kid-oriented it was going to be and started to get anxiety. Then I saw a friend’s post about so many people on Instagram going as pregnant Ali Wong from her Netflix special “Baby Cobra.” I could make that happen with stuff I had around the house. I already look sort of pregnant. And despite not sharing a racial background, I look as much like her as anyone. Great. I had a plan. (If anyone needs me to explain why I can be Ali Wong but that UO law professor can’t wear black face, hit me up.)

I jumped in the shower and when I got out, all the couch pillows were on the floor and the big seat cushions had red crayon marks on them. I went back into the bathroom to dry my hair, and when I checked on the kids, Quinn had ripped the pages out of one of his nicer big books. I wasn’t terrible, but I did question my husband on where his supervision was during this time, with all of us knowing that Quinn was on a tear. He said he had cleaned the kitchen and was making sure to protect Pippi from Quinn’s recent aggression. Fair enough. But there are ways to see it all, and to watch the trouble develop. Maybe he just needs more practice having them both alone.

I had poured myself a glass of wine maybe 90 minutes before, and by then there were three fruit flies floating in it. I said “whatever” and smeared them out, flicking them into the bathroom sink as I drank it and straightened my hair, trying to conjure some of Wong’s spunk.

By the time I was done with my hair it was clear we were not going anywhere. Pippi had on her tiger costume but was crying about it.

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I’m so sorry Pippi. You didn’t mind the costume this morning. (Not to be THAT WIFE, but my husband did ignore my instructions to put clothes on Pippi beneath her costume, but I didn’t figure that out until we had already given up on Halloween.)

Quinn was a mess. Shaun looked ragged, but I said he could just go as one of the homeless people Wong said she mistook for hipsters and slept with before she became engaged.

Getting Quinn to sleep was a struggle. We had one group of trick or treaters and I didn’t even get to see their costumes because I was in the shower for once in my life.

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Ali Wong performs “Baby Cobra” on the left, and on the right I try not to cut myself with a vegetable peeler. I am pregnant with a stuffed owl.

Overall, Halloween was a bust. It used to be my favorite holiday. Maybe one day it will be again. I love costume parties. But this year, deep in the parenthood trenches, we have to score it an epic fail. 

I never got as far as applying any make-up, but I did cut out a little paper thing to tape on my glasses so they would look red. And I would say my vegetable peeler for a microphone was pretty convincing. We took photos dog-tired at the end of the day, just to document that we tried.

There is one very shiny lining to this cloud. I got to wash my hair.

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Look how clean it is. Today is Friday and that was Monday and I have not washed my hair since.

It also reaffirmed why I don’t shower more often. So, does anyone know how to get crayon out of upholstery?

2 thoughts on “Nugent Before Nine: Halloween Bust

  • November 4, 2016 at 7:08 pm
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    Girlfriend, you speak the truth!
    I applaud your eloquent and on point portrayal of life with “two under three.”
    It made me laugh and sigh.

    Reply
  • November 4, 2016 at 7:37 pm
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    Your costume is great

    Reply

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