Friday, October 31, 2008

Pinpricks and Profanity

Two weeks ago, I made the kids commit to their Halloween costume plans and then went shopping. Apparently, however, two weeks before Halloween is a better time to buy Christmas decorations than anything orange and black. The aisles were bare or picked over with the only costumes remaining being ones made for dogs. My sons had two choices: dress like a slutty pirate girl or like a Golden Retriever dressed as a slutty pirate girl. I should have known back in August when I couldn’t find the back-to-school supplies because they had been cleared out to make room for the Halloween stuff. Next year, I’ll know better. This year, I needed a plan B.

Dean was easy. He was wooed by the chance to accrue accessories of the macabre – a Styrofoam skull and a plastic dagger. Logan, being two, doesn’t really care. A few days later, I stumbled upon a penguin costume in the correct size and on sale for under $10. Done. Jess is adamant that he will be a green dragon. A fire-breathing dragon, by the way. I thought that a dragon would be simple to create and that I was getting off cheap and easy. I would simply buy a green hoodie and some felt – done. Except about a dozen stores later, I still could not find a green hoodie, green felt, or a ready-made dragon costume (not made for a dog). And I did consider the dog costume wondering how dog poundage related to kid size but I felt $30 was a little steep for something made for a dog. So back to the fabric store I went and over $40 worth of materials later, I am sitting at my long-lost sewing machine making the whole damn thing.

Five years ago when I left my paying job for the adventures of staying home with the kids, I initially put a lot of pressure on myself to be the perfect Alpha-mom. My sister was my roll-model and she is a firm believer in the essence of mommy-hood being in the making versus the buying of things - including the sewing of the Halloween costumes. So in my first stint home full-time, I made my sons’ costumes. It was an easy choice to make since an Obi-Wan Kanobi costume in size 4T was impossible to find at the time. However, I firmly believe that if you can find something ready-made that is just as good as what you can make, it is more efficient and probably less expensive to just go ahead and buy. Because while it is nice to be able to say, “I made it myself,” it can be a little stressful. We often joked that if we ever hosted our own sewing show, we’d call it “Pinpricks and Profanity.” Sometimes the frustration of trying to make the sewing machine cooperate is just not worth the effort.

So while I don’t think sewing costumes is a “Mommy Must-Do” activity, I admit that I don’t have a problem with actually doing it. Except for the time wasted searching for the easy shortcut, I am quite happy to make a costume for my child. In fact, I have been known to make costumes for other people’s children and if I had just started the “from scratch” approach several weeks ago, we wouldn’t have been in crunch time this week. And my husband thinks I am crazy for making life harder for myself when a Halloween costume should not be a life’s priority right now. He wants to know why I didn’t just tell my son to choose some other costume so we can be done. Well, because two weeks ago, this did seem like the easier choice.

But here is where I pull the selfish card – yesterday as I gazed upon my kitchen table made-over into a sewing studio, I sighed with contentment. I realized that I like a project. Rather than feeling overwhelmed, I was eager to begin. Halloween is the one time a year that I can haul out the sewing machine and create something from start to finish, without feeling like it’s just my own little hobby. Like making cookies rather than buying the perfectly fine bakery brand, the satisfaction of having made it myself has been worth the trouble. And the mommy and son moments in making the costume together have been simply priceless.

He thinks he's scary. I think he's cute. Don't tell him.

This post is original to At Home With Me and cross-posted at Triangle Mamas. Come by to meet the other Triangle Mamas and see their costumed cuties.


Karen said...

You did a fabulous job on the dragon! I feel the same way you do about making vs. buying. I like the satisfaction of having the costume my kids envisioned, sometimes that means sewing from scratch, sometimes it means buying ready made and for us it usually means something inbetween.

@sweetbabboo said...

Too cute. Can I enlist you to make Linus a "I made it myself" costume next year? I had a hard enough time trying to scale down his 2T gorilla suit this year.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

He is cute. I love that title, "Pinpricks & profanity"--too clever!

Stacy said...

Great job on the dragon! What we do for our kids, huh? :) I like the sewing and creating, but I hate having time crunches. Oh, and making Mei Tai's because my sewing machine really don't like the thread I use for them.

Madame Queen said...

When I saw your title it reminded me of something Bubba said as I was safety-pinning him into his mummy costume. I had already poke him with a pin once and as I worked in a, um, delicate area, he said "Mommy, don't poke my penis!" I couldn't stop laughing!

Susie said...

Well that would have resulted in profanity for sure!