Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Awkward Mom vs. Halloween (part II)

In yesterday's episode of Awkward Mom, outfits were rejected, diet Pepsi was consumed, and Super Baby slept, again. The Awkward Family parked to the haunting melody of the Monster Mash and prepared to seek candy and a meaningful childhood memory for Super Toddler. But mostly candy. Confused? You won't be after this episode of Awkward Mom!

We excitedly exit the elevator and Super Toddler immediately crashes into Darth Vader. Apparently, Darth's mom wears fake purple eyelashes and sweaters with large sequined cats on them. Who knew? We stumble down the street in our standard awkward way; seriously, who designs walkways? Because they do not fit 2 adults, a stroller, and 1 super-charged toddler, and someone might want to look into that. We cross the street without incident and arrive at our first trick-or-treat location, a bank with a candy station outside. We don't even have to go in, mess with doors, feel bad because we aren't conducting any real business; it is the perfect spot to practice Super Toddler's technique. We have been coaching him for a week; it is time to see if it pays off.

He shyly glances at the keeper of the candy, a sweet faced lady wearing cat ears and a blinking pumpkin pin. He looks at the candy bowl, then her, then back to the candy bowl. He adjusts his crown and shuffles his feet. He then retreats behind my leg, peeking out to watch some mini-firemen and a tiger score some candy. I gently push him forward and crouch down next to him and the candy bowl. "What do you say?" Super Toddler lifts his crowned head and looks right into the candy keeper's eyes, flashes the smallest of terrified smiles, and his tiny little voice comes out and says "Please?" Well, it isn't quite right, but the bank lady is freaking out over his cuteness and pouring candy into his bucket. I guess it will do; we have about 45 more stores to get it right anyway.

We meander down the street, taking in the sights and sounds of 503 children high on adult-sanctioned sugar. We venture into 2 more banks, a clothing store, a hair salon, and 3 restaurants, one of which gives Awkward Dad a half-off coupon. Guess adults can trick-or-treat too. The candy bucket is getting heavier and Super Toddler's please eventually morphs into a whisper-quiet, hesitant trick-or-treat; we're getting there.

We arrive at the courthouse. Awkward Dad refuses to go in, and I am a bit concerned that 7 years isn't long enough to know everything about somebody, when he confesses that he just doesn't want the hassle of getting the stroller and everything through the medal detector. He wants to sit on the bench outside, feed Super Baby, and watch the parade of Halloween chaos. I guess we all have our quirks, so I head in alone with Super Toddler. Awkward Dad need not have worried, the medal detector is beeping like crazy and they are just waving people through. I suppose it isn't particularly likely that Super Toddler, a rabbit, 2 sheep, and that contingent from Middle Earth are packing anything other than a few Mars bars, but still, it gives me pause. The security guards don't seem concerned in the slightest. In fact, they are lavishing praise on most costumes and appear rather giddy; ever seen giddy people with guns? A little odd and sorta refreshing.

We are pointed toward the left and follow the pumpkin signs down a cavernous hallway. We enter a file room to be faced with an enormous table full of candy, flanked by a heavily made-up scarecrow doll and a blow-up pumpkin. This table is like a cornucopia of candy; seriously, it is spilling over the edges. A gaggle of professionally dressed adults huddle in a corner, giggling with pleasure at the astounded faces of the children. Super Toddler goes up to the scarecrow and says "trick-or-treat." This produces wild laughter from the adults corner. Super Toddler looks confused, so I tell him to take a candy off the table. The peanut gallery behind me bellows for him to take a handful, as he is the most polite king they have ever seen. Super Toddler contents himself with a Baby Ruth and a bag of malt balls, and we make our way out of the file room. We are heading back up the hallway to the door, when the security guard stops me and says, "You aren't leaving, are you?" My heart stops for a full minute, but then he says, "There are 3 more floors. Kings need a lot of candy!" He points me to the right, laughs, and heads toward some bumblebees. Guess Awkward Dad is just gonna have to wait. It will give him time to ponder the wisdom behind his medal detector avoidance.

Three floors, 6 Snickers bars, 4 Reese's Cups, 2 suckers, a pumpkin sticker, and a box of Nerds later, we emerge from the courthouse to find Awkward Dad and Super Baby peacefully snoozing on a bench. Their powers of concentration will never fail to amaze me. We rouse them and proceed to cross the street. Now, here is when things get interesting. We are crossing a fairly busy street, and Awkward Dad and the stroller are way ahead of us. Guess that nap really perked them up. We are trying to keep up and make the light. Suddenly, Super Toddler trips on his cape, and I mean, full out trips; screams, falls, candy flying everywhere. It is like a pinata went off in the intersection. The light is changing, of course, and this is when I find out that I have super traffic control powers. Rather specific and not terribly versatile, but good to know. I am scooping up candy and yelling at drivers, while a crying and caped boy king clings to my chest. Ah, yes. Did I say that I love Halloween?

We make it to the curb and I busy myself adjusting Super Toddler's cape of death. Meanwhile, Awkward Dad spies a comic shop that is giving away candy. He insists we head over there right away. At least, he has his priorities in order. I try to inform him that this isn't trick-or-treat for thirysomething comic geeks and that it is doubtful that they are giving away the latest issue of Spiderman, but he and Super Baby are already inside. Super Toddler starts crying for Daddy, so I hurry inside as well.

Now, comic shops are decorated for Halloween pretty much all year, so, if they want to stand out, they really need to bring their A game. This place doesn't disappoint in the slightest. Ghost Rider greats us at the door, an intricate light/fan contraption providing a very passable flaming head. There are purple and green twinkle lights draped over a full-size cut-out of Darth Vader. He seems a wee bit bigger than the one we ran into earlier...but no matter. I steer Super Toddler away from the scarier of the displays, including a whole wall seemingly dedicated to serial killers and horror graphic novels. Awkward Dad does not seem to share my worries, as he has parked Super Baby's stroller right in front of said wall, where Super Baby has proceeded to fondle the severed arm within his reach. Super gross. I soon realize the reason for Awkward Dad's parking decision; the Spiderman comics are directly across from this hall of horrors. I am not going to bore all of you with this...we were in there for hours (about 15 minutes) and he spent thousands (about 5.99) and it was horrible (not that bad). Super Toddler got 6 pieces of candy because he knew that the proprietor was dressed up as the Hulk and I got some serious inner pangs about my parenting. Especially as we are leaving and Super Toddler gazes gleefully up at Ghost Rider's flaming skull, grins, and shouts Trick-or-Treat!

Now, I know that you were promised details about our lunch, an incredibly eventful experience at a decidedly not-child-friendly establishment, where we weathered the complete absence of highchairs, hipsters twentysomethings, and low-hanging light fixtures. I want to tell you all about it, but I have to break up a super fight going on over some toy cars. Perhaps, next week, but I have also had a vet visit since then where Super Toddler stole a giant inflatable flea. I will mull it over and get back to you in the next episode of the Adventures of Awkward Mom!

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