Monday, November 29, 2010

Awkward Mom vs. Netflix

Dear Netflix-

You know that I love you. Thank you for suggesting I watch Martin Scorsese's early work, The Girl on the Bridge, and all that Wallace & Gromit. You know me so well, it is like we have been friends forever. Your interest in British comedy and French new wave makes me think we are soul mates. And you are so good with Super Toddler; making sure he has access to Angelina Ballerina any time he needs. I wasn't too happy with you introducing him to Pingu, but it makes him happy. So, I suppose I can forgive you, even though it is Swedish and incredibly weird.

Netflix, you really are a dream come true and so wonderful. You enable me to go to film school from my couch for $8.99 a month; you are lovely. However, I wish you wouldn't document all of our encounters together. I am starting to find it a little creepy. Furthermore, it doesn't help interactions with my husband when he comes home after 30 hours on call to find out that I spent most of that time catching up on 30 Rock. So, if you could do something about that, I would be forever grateful.

Awkward Mom

PS I will never, ever, be able to thank you enough for having the Orson Welles' version of Jane Eyre streaming on my computer at 3 in the morning. You complete me, Netflix.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Awkward Mom vs. Procrastination

Ok, clearly Awkward Mom is having some issues with follow through these days. Turns out twin villains (Procrastination and we-now-have-streaming-Netflix-on-the-Wii) have shown up to tax Awkward Mom's resolve and duty to this blog. Add a heavy dose of baby teething and outright toddler potty training refusal, and we have no conclusion to Awkward Mom vs. the Road Trip. It just isn't gonna happen. You will be cheered to know that she already told you the most awkward parts. The adult alone time was nice, but they talked about the boys most of the time, called them 6 times, and fell asleep by 9:30. They did, however, drink wine and they managed to have several conversations uninterrupted by random screaming and demands for fruit snacks. I am also happy to report that the super boys had a great time at the Awkward Family Estate. Super Baby attempted stairs, causing heart palpitations all around, and Super Toddler gave Grandpa Awkward heart palpitations of a different kind after modeling all 4 of his princess dresses. The trip home was uneventful, if heavy on the pink CD and, you guessed it, fruit snacks. Awkward Mom is resolving to defeat her villainous foes and be more dutiful to this blog and to documenting awkward antics in general. However, Netflix just informed her that due to her recent viewing, she may enjoy Season 1 of Fraggle Rock, Amelie, the Inspector Lynley Mysteries, and Pawn Stars; I won't expect much out of her for at least 48 hours....

Monday, November 22, 2010

Awkward Mom vs. the Road Trip - part II

The Awkward family spent the first night of their trip with Super Baby's godparents, a completely normal and non-awkward couple. The evening was wonderful and relaxing, and the boys behaved themselves. For those reasons alone, it will not be included in this tome of terrifying trips with toddlers. Let's catch up with the Awkwards, as they head out of town and toward their next destination, the maternal Awkward home.

It is 9 in the morning. Super Toddler has consumed 3 packs of fruit snacks. We have been in the car for 8 minutes. Super Toddler could easily eat his weight in fruit snacks, and I, like every other mother in America, let the fruit part ease my guilt as I hand them to him. Gummy Buzz-Lightyear-shaped candy just doesn't have the same ring, eh? But whatever it is called, it is keeping him happy on this 4 hour car ride and that is fine with me. It isn't like I am gonna win mother of the year anyway, after the committee gets a look at our floors, pantry, or Netflix history. By the way, does that simply exist to shame me with its sheer volume of Backyardigans? But I digress.

We are heading north to my parents' place, a 5 acre "farmette" where Super Toddler actually took his first steps. 11 of them, running straight down a hill; one of the scariest/happiest moments of my life. It is a good place for kids to play/scare the living daylights out of you, and we are leaving them there with my parents, overnight, for our first adult vacation in 3 years. This vacation will consist of nearly 2 days and 1 night in a town about 2 hours away, but it might as well be the Bahamas because we will have no kids for about 30 hours! (PS....don't call it a "farmette" in front of Grandpa Awkward.)

We are trucking along nicely when the rumpus starts. Super Baby is asleep, which should come as a surprise to no one...I think that child might be a vampire. But Super Toddler is waging war back there with a cornucopia (aka Toy Store backpack) full of magical creatures. The fact that these magical creatures are incognito should also come as a surprise to no one. Apparently, the dragon (aka dinosaur) and his minions (aka Dr. Doom and a robot) are attacking the prince (aka Luke Skywalker) and his buddies (aka Spiderman and somehow also the same robot), so the fairy godmother (aka toy car...even I had trouble figuring that one out) gives the princess (aka Strawberry Shortcake) a magic wand (aka toy carrot) which she uses to poof the dinosaur, I mean dragon. However, in the poofing, the dragon somehow ends up being hurled at the back of Awkward Dad's head. This results in the confiscation of said dragon, which results in the rumpus from the backseat. And it is time for lunch.

We stop at a family restaurant that we have been at before, remembering their clean highchairs and the absence of patrons sensitive to random toddlers screams. We always seem to eat at this place around a holiday, last time being near Christmas. Then, along with a ton of jolly Santa cut-outs and glittered mangers, the pictures on the wall were all wrapped in festive paper with enormous bows, which sent present-loving Super Toddler into raptures. This time we are dining on Veterans Day, which taxes the decorating skills a wee bit more than Christmas, but the proprietor has stepped it up remarkably. There are numerous flags and thank you troops signs flanking the register, and a rather impressive window cling of the flag raising at Iwo Jima graces the front picture window. Nestled in the fall display of leaves and pine cones on our table, is a little thank you note to the troops, surrounded by 4 army men. Seriously creative. In danger of being destroyed by an overactive toddler, but creative.

Lunch proceeds in its usual unusual fashion. We switch chairs and confuse the waitress because the toddler can't stand to be apart from Awkward Dad for a moment. Super Baby consumes all of three spoonfuls of applesauce before deciding that the bowl, and its contents, make a better hat. Super Toddler declares a hankering for sausage, and then eats 1 bite. He does, however, eat nearly all of my french toast, spilling most of the syrup in the process. The syrup makes its merry way onto all of Super Toddler's clothes, amazingly, even the spare ones in the diaper bag. The syrup also lands on my shoes, in Awkward Dad's pockets, and in Super Baby's hair. Super Baby has quite the organic scalp treatment going on there. Awkward Dad announces that his chicken wrap is too "eggy," given the presence of mayonnaise, which leads to an argument about whether or not one should assume mayo will be the de facto condiment on any given sandwich. I say yes, given that we are at a diner in the Midwest, the sandwich is referred to as a "traditional"chicken wrap, and I have absolutely no issues with mayonnaise. Awkward Dad claims the mayo "snuck up on him" and all egg related foods (condiments or otherwise) need to come with bold type warnings. He has egg issues.

After a quick trip to the washroom to "de-sticky" the boys, we are back on our way to the farmette, bopping along to C is for Cookie. We are on the highway for 5 minutes before Super Toddler demands fruit snacks. And so it goes. We make it to the farmette in record time, some of the later speeding may or may not have been due to running out of fruit snacks. Super Toddler's delight upon seeing Grandma Awkward's horses causes yet another rumpus from the backseat, complete with flying fairies (aka toy cars), resulting in yet another confiscation of toys. Which results in the melt-down that Grandma and Grandpa are treated to as we fall into their house, right about the time that Super Baby decides to wake up, just in time to blow out a diaper. The Awkward family has arrived.

Wanna know if Grandma and Grandpa Awkward did indeed watch the super boys for 30 hours? You will have to tune in to the next episode of Awkward Mom!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Awkward Mom vs. the Road Trip - part I

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip....

So, we aren't out of the parking lot, and Super Toddler starts clamoring for the green CD. The green CD being the Sesame Street CD. Now, I am fine with this, as it avoids the pink CD, the silver CD, and the red CD (Barney, German lullabies, and this Christmas album Super Toddler loves that has a positively scary version of Good King Wenceslas, respectively). We get on the highway to the melodies strains of One Fine Face.

We speed up the on-ramp, only to slow down to a crawl in construction traffic. Ever been in construction traffic with a toddler? It is an education. He points out all the different trucks to me, assuring me that Muck and Dizzy are their names, no matter what any grown-ups may tell me. I dutifully wave to Muck and Dizzy and receive some cheerful, if slightly confused, waves back from the construction workers. By now, Super Toddler has lost interest and is belting out C is for Cookie. It doesn't help that his father is also singing along at the top of his lungs. This is gonna be a long trip....

Fortunately for me, Super Toddler falls asleep by the time we get to Kalamazoo and play #4 for the green CD. I switch it to grownup music, which doesn't seem to discourage Awkward Dad from singing. It probably doesn't help that I put in Weezer, tossing the "grown-up" aspect of the music choice up for debate. I attempt to enjoy the impromptu concert from the driver's seat and settle in for the addition of a hour. You see, we moved into the Eastern Time Zone with our move to Ann Arbor, and the power that little hour can wield is amazing. When you have watched the news at 10pm your entire life, to have it switched to 11pm (the same year you enlarge your family to include a rather nocturnal baby) becomes a big deal. I have yet to see many benefits to being in eastern time. Even with the addition of daylight's saving time, it is still dark here in the mornings. Every time I call my family they seem to be eating dinner, and as much as I adore Modern Family, 9pm is pushing it for me these days. However, I have noticed one little benefit to being in eastern time. Anytime we travel back to the proper Midwest (yes, I said it), we gain an hour. I can tell my mom that we left at 8 and really leave at 9, and she is none the is like magic! 2 things here: 1.) Clearly, I was no rebel as a teenager. 2.) My mom is totally going to be the wiser after she reads this. Anywho, gaining an hour equals awesome. Losing one, not so much, but more on that later. Right now, I am focusing on Awkward Dad, as he honks the horn to signal our arrival at the Michigan/Indiana line, somehow in rhythm with the CD. Untold super powers, this one.

Deep into Indiana (which is completely relative, as it is maybe 100 miles wide where we cross), the Super boys wake up. There is a slight stirring from Super Baby and a rather rude request for fruit snacks from Super Toddler. And so it goes the rest of the way through Indiana. We turn the green CD back on, so Awkward Dad can have peace from hearing fruit snack requests as he negotiates the Chicago traffic. It is odious and we have a close call with a Hormel truck, but we are soon heading south, as Bert sings about pigeons. I think things are going well, until I hear a blood-curdling scream from the backseat. I spin around, convinced that the back of the car is somehow breaking off, to be met with this: "Mommy! He is looking out my window!" Super Toddler indignantly glares at the offending sightseer, Super Baby, who is laughing and smiling right back at him. "See! He is looking out my window again! Make him stop!" No amount of reasoning or bribery can solve this, so we decide to go to lunch. You know, lunch other than fruit snacks.

Speaking of lunch, I better feed these two before Super Baby decides to pull up on the table where Super Toddler set that huge bowl of Cheerios and pulls them down all over he appears to be doing right now. Sigh. Must dash, more later!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Awkward Mom vs. the Road Trip - preface

So, the Awkward Family just took a 6 day road trip. It should come as a surprise to no one that this was done awkwardly; involving 4 states, a ridiculous amount of baby wipes, 7 extended family members, 3 horses, 3 different houses and 1 hotel, 81 listens to C is for Cookie, 2 5-week-old-kittens, 1 romantic dinner out, 4 happy meals, and about 14000 fruit snacks. But before we get to all that, we have to leave the house.....

I have about 46 items (not including children) to remember to pack before leaving the house on a normal day and I regularly forget about 7 of them (not too often including children). Can you imagine the hoard of thoughts and items swirling around right before leaving for 6 whole days? Here is what this particular cacophony of chaos sounds like at our place:

What is on your face? Who lives in a pineapple under the sea! Someone pack the Tylenol, please. Did you stop the paper? No, you can not bring 65 stuffed animals. Anyone know what the weather is like in Illinois? I'm the fairy godmother! Ouch! Whose legos are these? SpongeBob, SquarePants! Where are my keys? Not now! Did you write the check for the catsitter? Poof! 14 onesies ought to be enough. Stay away from that wire! Maybe. Where is the checkbook? No, you can't have any. The wheels on the bus go round and round! Are those feathers? Someone shut the curtains. Poof; you're a frog! No, that is our old catsitter. I think 3 wands is plenty. Where are my keys? Where is my suitcase? Honey, Daddy will sing with you. Pick two. What is on your face now?! Only two. Get away from that outlet! Please go brush your teeth. When exactly do you think you are going to have time to read all those books? Who is calling us now? Only 3 dinosaurs. It should fit. Mommy's the evil witch. You can watch Toy Story at Grandma's. No, I am fairly sure she isn't going to take it if the name is wrong, please rewrite it. Poof! I already packed it. No, not now. Don't forget the pack and play. Not the open one. Where are my keys? Mommy can't think right now. Sweetie, stop packing the cats; they don't like it. Someone hand me a trash bag. Are you sure it is just a cold? 17, I think. Who threw up under the bed? Stop poofing your brother! The small one. Well, it doesn't set a very good example if we tell him that he can only bring 5 and you have 14 yourself. Ouch! Seriously, legos? Right now? Please turn the music off! I'm a princess! Where are my keys? Leave it on the table. I think the sweat-top is fine for the car. Don't forget to leave a light on. Why is this sticky? Just leave the stroller, there's no room. Did you take out the garbage? How many socks do you own? No, it is the 10th. Are you sure we have everything? Deep breaths, honey. Did you bring me one? How do you lock this? Poof! Where are my keys? How would I know how old she is? How does he sleep though this? Shoes! Are you serious? Where is the map? Poof! You're a prince now. Did you call her? Thank you, honey. What time is it there? I just know I am forgetting something. Because princesses have to wear seat belts, that is why. No, I think it will be ok. C is for Cookie! Where are my keys? Did you lock the door? Where is the baby?!

Oh, readers; we are in for a ride. Tune in next time, when we drive to Central Illinois; dealing with time changes, road construction, and the first of numerous fruit snacks. Bon voyage!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Awkward Mom vs the Evil Computer Virus (rematch)

Oh, sweet readers, it continues. This computer virus is way more wily than I could have imagined. As last time, I have managed to access the outside world via Awkward Dad's computer. In addition, Awkward Dad is using his super tech skills in an attempt to de-bug my laptop. However, this may take some time, as the hospital would also like him to use his super doctor skills, and it appears they have dibs on his time these days. I will attempt further communications from this computer, if I can get over the weird keyboard shape and Cubs screensaver. For I have tales a plenty, from the fleas and faxes of the vet visit to the sordid saga of our recent road trip across 4 states with 2 children and no common sense. Stay tuned, it just may curl your hair!

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!

Awkward Mom vs. Halloween (part I)

The evil computer virus of doom (mostly) defeated, Awkward Mom can turn her attention to more important matters, like nurturing confident and emotionally balanced sons, locating the source of that weird smell, and telling you all about Halloween. Buckle up; this one has goblins, ghouls, and more than a couple gaffs.

Sometimes it feels like every day is Halloween in the land of Awkward. I mean, Super Toddler wears costumes pretty much all the time. The Halloween pumpkin bucket has taken up permanent residence in the boys’ room (Where else are they gonna store all their magic wands and toy cars?) The decor in here resembles Neo-Munsters, what with all the cobwebs and dust. And then there is the matter of the secret candy stash in the top shelf of the pantry. Yeah, that is there pretty much all year. You know how Popeye has his spinach and Superman has the rays of the sun? Well, Awkward Mom has to get her super patience and super endurance from somewhere. Chocolate seems a little more socially acceptable than tequila, but I digress.

Now, one aspect of Halloween that isn’t year round is the trick-or-treating, obviously. And this is also the one aspect of Halloween that Super Toddler has yet to experience. Halloween 2008, year 1 of Super Toddler’s eventful life, was spent sleeping in a stroller while Awkward Dad and I attended a Halloween party. Halloween 2009, or year 2, was spent in his Elmo costume, at least 10 minutes and 42 pictures of it was. The rest was spent in bed with a nasty cold. Therefore, Super Toddler has no idea what trick-or-treating is, and we have decided that we need to mark this massive moment in his childhood. Mark it is style, ceremony, and Snickers.

Luckily for us, our town has multiple trick-or-treating options, with emphasis on the treat. Today, the downtown stores are where to be; apparently it is like one big Halloween festival over there. We decide that this will be a great trick-or-treat introduction for Super Toddler and practice for the main event on October 31st; a trial run, as it were. Now, we just need to get there, and for some reason, this is proving to be a challenge. After spending all morning as a variety of fairy characters from the frog prince to a fairy godmother, Super Toddler has decided that all he needs to leave the house is his sweat-top and a Cubs hat. My entreaties to just put on a crown are met with an indulgently bemused look that I thought I wasn’t going to see until he was 13. Now, I can’t exactly blame Super Toddler for his confusion. Usually, when he wants to wear his dress-up clothes outside, we tend to discourage it. Subtlety, with an eye roll, if it is his cape, crowns, or any of the wands. Actively, if it is the sheer Princess dress with Mommy’s heels. Today, I am begging him to head out into the world decked from head to toe in sequins and fake-ermine. Being a mom means knowing which battles to pick, and I know that the day is young. Therefore, I pack his costume into a bag, pack Super Baby into a hooded pumpkin sleeper, and head out to get Awkward Dad.

Now, I am not entirely sure if taking Awkward Dad with us, after his 30 hour shift, is a wise idea, but when was Halloween ever a time for wisdom? We circle the hospital 5 times, and we wave at the robed gentleman smoking on the bench 4 times, before Awkward Dad emerges. He is none too pleased to find out that we are not going home for him to change. I tell him he can pretend that he dressed up as a doctor for Halloween, but he mumbles something about student loans and falls asleep.

The downtown is truly a festival for the ghoulish and the slightly garish; the stores are bedecked with orange and black balloons, set out to proclaim their participation in the dental decay of our youth. Little ghosts, giraffes, and the kids from Glee abound, dragging in their wake wild-eyed parents, clutching to-go coffee cups and an assortment of debris that have fallen off costumes. Super Toddler has a conniption when we drive past a horde of princesses and insists that I roll down the window so he can shout something about frogs at them. Some stores seem content with their sedate black and orange balloons, but for some this simply won't do. These over-achievers have fastened mini-mausoleums and carefully crafted crypts, overrun with skeletons (or pieces of them), friendly ghosts, and an arm or two. Most have some cast member from True Blood guarding their candy bowls and all are in high spirits (pun totally intended). Holiday excitement fills the air, as well as the melodious strains of The Monster Mash. The music seems to be actually emanating from the parking garage I am pulling into and it wakes Awkward Dad, saving me the pleasure of doing it myself. Thank you Monster Mash!

I throw Super Toddler's costume on him while restraining him from throwing his little body in the path of the Evel Knievel drivers that are whipping around the corner. His king costume consists entirely of dress up clothes that a talented friend of mine made for him. (Thank you, Krista!) Awkward Dad decides that he doesn't want to be mistaken for a fake doctor, so he leaves his lab coat in the car, covers his scrubs with a large sweat-top, and rapidly downs my Diet Pepsi (Awkward Mom's other special weapon in the war against exhaustion). Our pumpkin (AKA Super Baby) doesn't even wake as we transfer him from car seat to stroller; guess he is immune to the power of The Monster Mash. We head to the elevator and ride down with a robot, Hannah Montana, a fairy (who Super Toddler quickly chats up), and twin skunks. I love Halloween.

We interrupt this Awkward Mom broadcast for a test of the Super Baby emergency system. Back tomorrow with more Halloween high jinks from the Awkward family. We get candy from the courthouse, have cape malfunctions in a crosswalk, and dine without highchairs; stay tuned!