what the world looks like to her
how I wish I knew
Earlier this evening, I took the kids trick or treating.
All three of them.
We all had a good time. Dave’s Homer head garnered a lot of attention. so he was pleased. Julia was thrilled that Daddy dressed up (I wore my kitty ears, but that was so Wednesday), and she was stoked to be getting free candy. Lucy was excited just to watch. And I loved seeing this:
That was my treat.
The President takes an oath of office. So do federal judges and officers of the United States Uniformed Services. Doctors take the Hippocratic Oath. I felt it was only right that I take an oath as the preschool room party parent. Not out loud or in front of any witnesses, which I guess makes it more of a personal mission statement, but whatever. I made a promise to myself to do my daughter proud; to be a warm and energetic ambassador of fun; to give my heart wholly to the diligent pursuit of good times; and to be generally awesome, maximizing the enjoyment of every activity (as permissible by school law) while promoting a spirit of celebration on occasions including, but not limited to Halloween and Christmas.
So you can imagine the pressure I was feeling for the Halloween party today. Expectations were high. Given, they were my own expectations, but important expectations to meet nonetheless.
I adorned myself in some festive holiday gear: orange and black striped socks, a Halloween shirt and a cat costume, kind of. I wore cat ears. I decided to forgo the cat tail, because there’s no good reason to draw additional attention to my ass. Its in-your-face enough due to the sheer size – no need to gussy it up with a tail. I did, however, draw a nose and whiskers on my face.
The party began after the kids paraded around the block in their costumes. The teachers just sort of handed things over to me, like I was a guest teacher. My area of expertise: FUN. Lesson Plan: TO TURN THIS MOTHER OUT.
Julia introduced her sister and I to her classmates. Then, we sang The Ghosts Go Creeping, to the tune of The Ants Go Marching and another one where we pretended to be spiders.
And then there was a snack.
I should point out that while the “as permissible by school law” part of the oath is in parenthesis, it is actually a very important part as it is the crux of my party planning challenges. If school law weren’t a factor, fun-making would be easy. We’d just tap a Kool-Aid keg, freebase some pixie sticks, put on some tunes, spin until we got dizzy and enjoy the ride. But there’s this whole idea about being all healthy and responsible. I dig that. I don’t need Julia turning into a sugar junkie who raids my pantry to hit the maple syrup for a fix, because some mornings I want pancakes and it pisses me off when there’s no syrup. And so, I provided a healthy snack: orange jack-o-lantern fruit cups.
That, my friends, is as fun and Halloweeny as fruit can get.
I also offered a sweet treat: Frankenmallows.
Then we made origami bats. I thought it would be a cool, low-maintenance craft because folding is fun and easy. But here’s the thing: that’s not really true. Folding can be hard and preschoolers aren’t really down with folding. Also, the prospect of using scissors is so exciting that it’s overwhelming. Remember Edward Scissorhands and how he’d cut the bushes and people’s hair with his eyes all glazed over and pieces flying everywhere? That’s what it’s like when origami bats and scissors meet in the hands of a four-year old. Preschoolers, however, are down with google eyes. So, the grown-ups helped with the folding and cutting and the kids went to town gluing google eyes.
From this experience, I’ve gleaned a golden rule of preschool crafts: Adhering one thing to another thing is where it’s at.
We followed up the craft with an awesome Halloween mad lib story that Dave wrote for me, because writing mad libs is really kind of hard. Then we wrapped it all up with a build-a-skeleton relay race during which one child placed a bone in a somewhat conspicuous area. (You know, where the boner would be.)
All in all, it was a pretty good party. I know this because the kids told me it was. Some of them even hugged me. And Julia told me that I only embarrassed her a little bit. I’d call that a success.
“What are you looking at? My hot, smokin’ ass?”
“Do you mean your smokin’ hot ass?”
“That’s what I said.”
“No, you said ‘hot, smokin’ ass.’ That’s different.”
“What’s the difference between that and smokin’ hot?”
“Whether or not you’ve had buffalo wings.”
That’s right, my little chili peppers. I’m hosting a red hot giveaway.
How’d you like to get your hands on…
A RAINBOW STRIPED SOCK MONKEY?! This dude is, like, 30 inches long!
I know! It’s exciting! You may even be thinking, “Leslie, I can’t wait to win a sock monkey. I’ve got to have one right now!” In that case, you can click to visit my Etsy shop and buy one, because I’m all about convenience. Or, you can just go ahead and try to win this one for free! Here’s how to enter, in haiku.
Then, you should come back here everyday for The Daily Haiku. Or not. I mean, you don’t have to do it to win the monkey. I just think it’s a really good idea. I mean, I work really, really hard on them and sometimes they’re funny and stuff.
I’ll randomly select the sock monkey winner on November 1st. I’ll post the results here and notify the winner via e-mail, so be sure to use a valid e-mail address when filling out the comment form below. It’ll be hard to tell you that you’ve won without it. Also, keep in mind that in order to receive the sock monkey, you will need to share a mailing address with me. It’s not a virtual monkey. It’s a real sock monkey that will come and live with you if you win, even if you live outside the U.S.
Good luck, monkey lovers! Go forth and comment. Also, click that big pink button down there for a crapload more giveaways.
I volunteered to be a “room parent” for Julia’s preschool class. Of course. It was all I could do to keep from running back into the school and shouting, “Me! Me! I’ll be a room parent! Pick me!” the day they sent home a note asking for volunteers. But I was cool. I waited until we were back the next day to volunteer.
A few weeks later, I received a note asking if I was going to organize the upcoming Halloween party. Are you kidding? YES. But since I’m a new preschool parent, I wanted to find out what was expected, so I stopped in to talk with Julia’s teachers about it.
(I’m always nervous about talking with them. I get all weird and intense, and I completely lose my ability to gracefully exit the conversation. The orientation set a precedent, I think. I just wish I could find some middle ground between perpetuating the conversation that never ends and abruptly running out like I just got diarrhea.)
We chatted about the party and then, as I was getting ready to go, one of the teachers stepped out in the hallway with me and said, “Hey, I read your blog.”
I went all deer in the headlights.
Do you know what it feels like to have your heart explode? It feels like when your kid’s preschool teacher says she read your blog. The blog where you’ve said fuck. And written about stuff like sex and poop and, ahem, personal hygiene.
Thankfully, the review was favorable. She liked it. But in the 15.3 seconds between “I read your blog,” and “It was great,” I mentally cataloged every naughty word and personal confession I’ve written here, and I imagined her stripping me of my room parent title or coaching me on appropriate behavior. It all flashed in my brain in quick succession, sort of like your life does right before you die.
That intense burst of mental exertion must have impaired my ability to speak, because I started sputtering sentence fragments about the bumper sticker on my car – the My Mommy’s Place bumper sticker I slapped on Stella’s ass way back when my blog was just a small and elusive portion of my web site. I stammered. I gesticulated. I kept talking about “my buffer.” The only way it could have been worse was if I’d set something on fire. I wanted to say, “I’m really not like this. I can be understandable. Articulate even! I have a degree in speech communication!” But there was no saving me. I was in an eloquence vacuum, a seemingly portable and Leslie-specific eloquence vacuum –
-that I remained trapped in as I began calling the other parents to enlist some help for the party, because I was the only room parent volunteer.
I could give you details, but I’d rather not relive it. It was painful. Imagine Mary Katherine Gallagher meets Milton from Office Space and you’ve got me on the phone with these people. The good news is, I got some help and may have even made a friend. Chances are, it was because of my raging ineptitude, but that’s alright. Awkward is the new cool.