For at least a month (and that is no exaggeration) Maggie, age 3, has been begging me on a daily basis to wear her “Olaf with the carrot nose” costume. And when I say daily, I actually mean several hundred times a day. It became laughable.
“You have to wait until Halloween Mags” was my usual reply. Routinely she followed up with a confirmation “Halloween?”
“Yes. On Halloween you can wear Olaf and you will be the cutest Olaf in all the land.”
“Ok. Mommy. When is Halloween?”
“When the leaves turn orange and all the kids wear costumes.”
We repeated this conversation a few thousand times and just before we both completely lost our minds, Harborween arrived. Every fall we drive four hours to visit our friends in Vermont and celebrate something called Harborween. It is a fun tradition. It’s a pre-halloween celebration and a chance for all the kids to wear their costumes, carve pumpkins and trick-or-treat. At last, Olaf could be revealed to the world. I lugged the whole costume. The fuzzy head with the carrot nose. The snowman’s midsection, some white pants to wear underneath the snowman suit, the white shoes and a white turtleneck. I don’t think I’ve ever had a child so excited to wear a costume in all my years as a mom. We laid everything out the night before. When I kissed her goodnight I reminded her that tomorrow she could finally wear her costume. She was delighted and fell asleep with a smile.
The following day I had a plan. Trick-or-treating was scheduled for the evening hours so I knew I needed to feed the kids a decent meal before we left. Food before trick-or-treating is absolutely necessary to keep mood swings and sugar highs under control. All moms know this. Of course, this means that they have to eat before they put on their costumes to avoid the drama of spills. I can’t even begin to imagine the scene that might happen if their only costume got ruined with a spill. GASP! And because I suck at time management; I fed my children in the usual manner before trick-or-treating…military style.
I must admit that I have a rhythmic way of pulling their chair out, ordering them to sit down and slapping food on a plate. Then I linger to keep them on task. I literally stand over them and monitor every bite with my arms crossed pacing back and forth like a drill sergeant. Doesn’t that sound relaxing? Well, let’s be honest, Halloween is not a time to relax. We have a mission to complete. I looked around the table. All four kids were wide-eyed and focused on eating but for my entertainment I continue to taunt them,“If you want candy, you need to eat! Let’s go little people!”
They shoveled their food in like good soldiers and one by one I sent them to get their costumes on. Getting four kids ready for Halloween is no small task. It is a well oiled machine with lots of moving parts. There is always lots of stress. Normally I am either barking orders or building their confidence, depending on each child’s personality. “You look great, no really you do! Just go!” “You picked your costume, don’t blame me.” ‘”I told you it would be chilly. You wouldn’t listen” These are normal things heard in our house every single year. There is always a certain amount of drama no matter how much you plan but this year I was caught off guard.
Maggie’s moment had arrived. I took a deep breath and calmly approached my 3-year-old on one knee, “Maggie, guess what? You get to wear Olaf now.”
Her response shocked me. Perhaps it was my militant parenting style at dinner or maybe it was the mach 5 level of chaos in the room. I’m not sure what it was but Maggie did NOT want to put her costume on.
“No! I don’t want to!”
“What? Of course you want to! You have been begging me to wear this costume everyday for a month. You love Olaf.”
Then suddenly, without warning, Olaf was the devil.
“No! NOOOOOO! NO Olaf! I no like Olaf! No mask! I don’t want to wear a mask! I don’t like Halloween.”
Are you freaking kidding me? What is this little brat doing? She’s the one who begged me to buy Olaf. My dumb ass actually spent money on a costume. I know better! She tricked me. I wanted to spit venom and say evil things like ‘listen you little shit. Put Olaf on and like it! I’m not playing this stupid ass toddler defiance bullshit game. You have been annoying the shit out of me for a whole month to wear this stupid snowman costume, now wear it!’ But instead I remained classy and spoke like a lady…
“Honey. What’s wrong? Look. It’s your buddy, Olaf.”
The thought of being forced to wear a mask with a carrot nose apparently traumatized Maggie. Because we all know how terrifying a snowman can be, right? (wink, wink) There was no rationalizing with my stubborn toddler.
“No, Olaf! He’s NOT my buddy mommy! NOOOOOO! I don’t wike him! No mask-is (her word)”
I tried every tactic I could think of. “I’m getting your father.” “We’re leaving” “Do you want candy or not?” “Olaf will be sad if you leave him here.” “Please? You will look so cute!” “Come on Mags. You’ve been looking forward to this day” and then I finished up my very persuasive toddler conversation with my personal favorite, “That’s it! You stay here with daddy!” This sent Maggie into a frenzy. Apparently, watching football with daddy was not nearly as fun as trick-or-treating. Who knew? “No, no, no. You hold me! I want to go mommy but I don’t want to wear Olaf.”
I hugged her out of guilt because I was annoyed!!! Then I sprinkled in a little sarcasm like all good mothers do. “Yes Maggie. Look at Olaf with his carrot nose and fuzzy little head over there smiling at us. He’s a very scary snowman, isn’t he?”
Unsure how to answer she slowly nodded yes and hugged me tight still muttering “I no like Olaf” under her breath.
“Yes, you have made that clear.”
I noticed the three older kids were getting antsy as they watched the clock tick. We needed to get moving if we wanted any candy. It was one of those mothering moments that I was forced to take a step back and put life into perspective. I decided to give up. Olaf wasn’t happening. “Ok, Maggie. Get dressed. We will go watch the kids trick-or-treat.”
Then everything calmed down and resumed to a normal level of chaos. I’ve never seen a 3-year-old so excited to wear jeans and t-shirt.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget this year. Olaf will go down in history as the most expensive Halloween costume that I was ever conned into buying. I moved on but I’ll have everyone know that I didn’t Let it Go.
Olaf can kiss my ass. Stupid effin snowman.