This was Owl’s first REAL Halloween.
Last year we dressed him up, and took him to a couple houses, but the whole thing confused him a little. He actually got much more excited after it was over, because for months he would pick up his pumpkin basket and inform us that he was going to go get candy.
This year, he was ready. It was hard to find outfits in his size, so while he dreamed of “space man” suits and “dragon” suits, the best we found for him was a cute fireman outfit.
Although I did see this “Tyrannosaurus” costume, complete with wings and horns just like a REAL T Rex, at Toys R Us, but it was too big.
Owl was only luke warm on the fire man outfit. He does love fire trucks and fire men, but not as much as he likes monsters and space men and pirates.
Some days he was happy about the fireman outfit. Some days he said he didn’t want it.
We thought he looked adorable.
But I went out to Michaels, got some construction paper, and constructed a crude fire truck out of a cardboard box.
The sad part is, it’s too well done to have been made by a three year old, but humiliatingly poorly done to have been made by a 30 year old.
I remember the costumes my own mother sewed for me and they were fantastic and elaborate and completely unique.
This was the best I could do for my kid.
After all the fire truck building, I couldn’t muster the energy for pumpkin carving that I have in the past.
I did continue the tradition of getting Owl to mark his pumpkin so I could carve it out, and his efforts this year were significantly more recognizable as faces than last year’s attempt.
Once I’d carved and scooped his pumpkins though, I only had energy for the simplest of efforts, so I carved the Deathly Hallows into mine. Nothing is much simpler than a line, a circle, and a triangle.
I think about one person recognized it.
Anyway, the important thing is, Owl had a blast.
He loved trick or treating, he insisted on sharing his candy with us, and he cried when we threw the pumpkins away.
He’s already looking forward to next Hallowe’en.
Hopefully we’ll be able to find a costume he’s super excited about next year. He’ll be bigger by then!
I want to talk about the awesome week I just spent in Ontario with my mother’s side of the family. I want to talk about potato canons, and drunken mistakes with chinese lanterns, and 1000 piece puzzles, and the weirdness of hanging out with a bunch of cousins who share many of my nerdy ways.
But I can’t get up the enthusiasm because I’m too exhausted.
That week WIPED me. And I clearly didn’t have a lot of energy going into the vacation.
Oddly, the exhaustion is not directly due to the fact that I spent a week in a cottage with 20 relatives.
A significant portion of my mother’s siblings and their children are introverts. So while they enjoyed each other immensely, no one was surprised or disapproving if you wanted to disappear to your bedroom for a while, or take a book down to read at the beach (I walked down to the beach with Owl one sunny morning and found SIX relations reading on lounge chairs and no one in the water).
But I was trying to do several things at once:
Owl’s third birthday is coming up very soon, and that puts a lot of pressure on me.
Owl has been looking forward to his birthday party… well, since his last birthday party. Every time he sees cakes in the store, he says “Some day, I’ll have a birfday, Mommy! Then I get birfday cake. Some day. Some day…”
Ditto for balloons, party hats etc that he sees hanging on the rack.
“Ooh, I get dis when I have my birfday.”
He spied an Angry Birds cake in Dairy Queen in July and he still talks about getting an Angry Birds cake. I’ll try and get him excited about ANYTHING ELSE.
We were originally going to have his birthday at the same place we had his last party. It was cheap, and fun, and he had a great time.
Unfortunately, they were booked solid through September.
So we had to start looking at other options.
I didn’t really like any of the other options – yeah, we could reserve space at a local play gym, but he could go to those any time – and does.
But by some miracle, Science World had an opening, at our preferred time, ON HIS BIRTHDAY no less. BOOKED.
But then there was more stress – their party for 2 and under is cheaper and more simple – you get a party room, and access to the centre. You also get free admission for 10 children under 3 (which is dumb, because they admit children under 3 for free anyway) and for 10 adults (better).
The other option is for 3-7. They have a 30 minute science “demo” and you get admission for 10 kids over 3, but only 2 adults (basically, you and your partner). It also costs way more.
So we had to decide what to do. Would Owl appreciate the 30 minute demo enough to justify the extra money? Don’t forget that we’d have to pay admission for all of the parents too. Oh, and at least half of the invited children if not MORE would be between the ages of one and three. We definitely don’t know 10 children over three.
So we went with the cheaper, more boring option. I keep having crises of anxiety where I worry that I’ll regret not getting the actual guided program. Otherwise, we just paid for a room, right? I mean, sure, it’s a room at the SCIENCE CENTRE, which is AWESOME, and we’ve been wanting to take Owl there for a long time. But will the kids play with each other? Probably not. They’ll probably eat food, open presents, and run off to explore the centre and won’t play with each other.
Maybe I should have just rented out the play gym.
The kid better enjoy this.
I have never been very good at tolerating stupid questions.
Which sometimes makes it hard to parent a toddler.
PH loves the toddler years. He hated the baby stage, but he loves answering the kind of aggravating questions demanded by our child every minute of every day.
I am not so patient.
My struggle with stupid questions began in childhood.
For several years my only friend was a girl who was funny, generally kind, and shared my love of animals and imaginary play. Unfortunately for her, and me, she wasn’t very scholastic, and tended to ask what I considered to be really stupid questions.
And I didn’t handle it well.
I don’t know why stupidity sets my temper off so much, but I could never just handle stupid questions calmly.
When my friend, who was 12 at the time, asked me what “unpredictable” meant, or asked me what two times eleven was, I couldn’t just calmly define “unpredictable” or say “22″ like a normal friend might.
I felt compelled to make her THINK.
“It’s the opposite of predictable. Do you know what predictable means? HOW CAN YOU BE IN GRADE SIX AND NOT KNOW WHAT PREDICTABLE MEANS?”
“How can you not know what two times eleven is? The eleven times table is easy! What’s two times one? OKAY NOW DO THAT TWICE.”
To her credit, she handled my flares of temper quite calmly.
But I knew that my meanness got to her, and if she hasn’t been in direct contact with me since we were 14, even turning down an invitation to my wedding, it’s my own fault.
I knew I had a problem, and I really did work on it.
One year I made my New Year’s Resolution “Be nicer to Lucy” and I hung it on my door so I could see it every time I went into my bedroom.
I learned to swallow a lot of mean thoughts and give more basic answers to questions that seemed painfully stupid to me. And when I couldn’t do that, I at least managed to be kinder in my explanations.
But I didn’t perfect it.
All through junior high and high school I struggled with responding to questions that I perceived as stupid without biting people’s heads off. I found that quantity mattered. One stupid question I could handle. Maybe even two, or three. But if I heard too many in a day I’d start to snap.
But every year of my life, I have gotten better at keeping my temper when people ask me stupid questions, or don’t seem to understand basic things.
For a while I even believed that I had completely overcome this problem.
If anything, I am frequently praised for my patience with difficult clients, and my ability to explain things clearly to people.
…Then I became mother to a toddler.
I have to say, my previous post was the first I have ever made about poor customer service which did not get an immediate response from the involved company’s social media representatives.
Even though I directly tweeted my post to Canadian Tire, no one from Canadian Tire has emailed me or tweeted back apologizing for the bad experience or offering a solution, which is what companies like Chapters and Future Shop did in the past.
I was hoping they would, because I still wanted that f*%^ing climber, and I still wanted to support a Canadian company.
But they didn’t.
So I went to Toys R Us.
Where everything was done right.
I’ve decided to break it down, so that in case Canadian Tire ever actually decides to try and leave the stone age, they will have a handy guide.
How To Sell A Product To A Customer.
Toys R Us happened to have the exact same climber that Canadian Tire had, but they also had more information – like the NAME OF THE MANUFACTURER. Turns out that it’s a Step2 product, like the Skyway Summit thing I was looking at. If the Canadian Tire site had mentioned that it was Step2, then I (OR THE CANADIAN TIRE EMPLOYEES) could have gotten the dimensions from the Step2 website.
Even better, we didn’t actually need the dimensions because Toys R Us not only had their climbers prominently on display, but actually set up so you could walk around them and SEE their dimensions.
Toys R Us had the product IN STOCK.
Toys R Us employees knew where the product was.
Toys R Us also had the product ON SALE. $100 off, in fact.
So there you have it – we confirmed that it could fit, and then brought home the climber we wanted (with some help from our awesome neighbours with the giant van) for cheaper.
WITHOUT ANY USELESS AT ALL.
I want to support Canadian businesses. I do. One by one, they’re going out of business or getting bought out by giant American box store brands.
But how can I support them when they don’t even seem to give a crap about getting my money, basically refusing to give me the product I want after I visit TWO locations AND tweet them about it… and then a big American company actually makes it easier and cheaper for me to get what I want?
Canadian Tire, if you go out of business some day, this is why. THIS. Right here. You don’t need to hire other companies to help you figure out what sucks. I’ve got it written down for you already.
So, basically everything I said here still applies.
I am not depressed. I’m not even taking antidepressants any more.
But some mornings, in the first half hour or so that I am at work, I struggle to fight back tears.
It’s not sadness, per se, although I still feel like my life got derailed back in May, and often catch myself moping over might-have-beens.
But I think that that is more a symptom than the real disease.
The fact is that if I were a car, my fuel light would be blinking and the fuel gage would be dipped below the E line. Pretty soon I’m going to make a scary clunk and just stop altogether.
It’s no one’s fault except, arguably, my own.
Talking to a toddler can be a strange adventure.
I’ve had some truly bizarre and awkward ones with Owl, who is now two and three quarters. I need to start documenting them, because if they seem weird to me, his doting mother, I can only imagine how bizarre they will sound to you.
Owl: Mommy…. what I doing?
Me: You’re putting your fingers on your nipples, honey.
Owl: Yeah. I am. I am putting my fingers on my nipples.
Me: Okay, step into your undies, please.
Owl: No. I busy. I busy putting my fingers on my nipples.
A few days later
Owl: Mommy… what I doing?
Me: You’re… you’re putting your finger in your foreskin, honey.
Me: Yes, yes you are. Yup. That is your finger up your foreskin.
Owl: No I not. This my penis. Look. What I doing?
Me: Yes, that is your penis, and this PART of your penis is your foreskin, and you are putting your finger in it. Please step into your undies.
Owl: This my foreskin? I put my finger in it?
Me: PLEASE STEP INTO YOUR UNDIES BEFORE I COUNT TO THREE.
Now that our yard is almost habitable (there’s still the ant problem, but we’re working on it) PH and I are beginning to dream big – like, maybe, we could put something out there for Owl to play on.
We’ve talked a lot about what that might be, but we are constricted by two things:
1. Our yard has the dimensions of a postage stamp
2. Our yard is built four feet up on a retaining wall, and the fence blows in the breeze:
So we need something that will fit in our yard without giving Owl the opportunity of tumbling directly into or over our fence.
Everything we have looked at has either been not awesome enough, or FAR TOO AWESOME for our yard.
A trip to Owl’s imagination often ends in strange places. The other day he approached me and said,
Owl: “Mommy, what do you want for play?”
Me: ”Uh… do you want to play with your big green ball?”
Owl: ”Nope, let’s play with my cars!”
He handed me a generic red plastic car that he often pretends is McQueen from the Pixar atrocity “Cars” (which he has never actually watched).
Owl: ”You’re McQueen, and I’m Mater!”
McQueen and Mater then held the following conversation: