Tonawanda News — I’m not very susceptible to mommy-guilt.
Oh, I fall prey to it at times. Who doesn’t? I wish that I could do more for my children, could buy them more, could be with them more. I’d like to buy them the newest, coolest toy that’s advertised on TV, take them on the greatest vacation ever, be there for every after-school snack and story. If I could, I would.
But, really, they have it good. They have parents who love them. They’re not lacking for anything. They have sturdy clothing, a warm house, food on the table, plenty of toys ... if not always the newest, coolest gadget ... and if our schedule leaves much to be desired, we make sure to carve out family time as much as possible. We make it work.
That said, there’s one thing ... one small, seasonal parental role ... where I can’t help feeling neglectful. Somewhat of a failure as a mom, in fact. And no mater how much I tell myself otherwise, the guilt remains.
Yes, I admit it. We use ... store-bought Halloween costumes.
Every year, when October rolls around, I hear about my friends’ plans for their children’s Halloween costumes, from the time the requests are made to the final triumphant photos of the finished product. From adapted sleepers to from-scratch creations, they always seem to come up with something great. I see the posts on Facebook, I admire their ingenuity ... and I slink off to Target with the boys, pointing them at the applicable size and steering them away from the $50 selections.
Despite the occasional maternal feeling of inadequacy, it’s worked fine. We’ve had a steady succession of cute costumes, from my eldest’s dinosaur disguise at 11 months old to the fantastic green, winged dragon my youngest sported last year. With two boys, there’s been some recycling ... Mickey Mouse and Darth Vader were worn by both kids on separate years ... and the garage-sale resale potential of decent, sturdy costumes is excellent, so it’s worked out.
Until this year.
Jim was blasé about a costume. We decided on a firefighter for my firetruck-loving boy. Sam? Well, Sam is now old enough to be enamored by the whole idea of Halloween.
He wanted to be Batman. No, a pirate. No, specifically Capt. Hook. No, Peter Pan. No, Batman. No, a Jedi. No, Darth Maul. Then ...
“I want to be Perry,” he announced one morning.
Perry is a platypus. A teal-green platypus. No, really. He’s one of the stars of the Disney Channel show “Phineas & Ferb,” a major hit in our house. He also has a secret identity as Agent P., special agent extraordinaire, when he wears a fedora and fights the evil Dr. Doofenschmirtz. No, really.
I was OK with Perry. (To be honest, we all love the show.) After days passed and he stuck with the idea, I assured Sam that I would look for a Perry costume and he was content.
Despite the popularity of the show and the character, there’s no such thing as a Perry costume. Or there is, but it’s sold at one shop at one park at Walt Disney World in Florida and that seems to be it. After visiting at least a dozen Buffalo-area shops, combing the Internet (someone put one on eBay for $140 ... sorry, Sam) extensively and even dispatching my brother to visit the giant Disney Store at Times Square in New York City (where he was told Perry costumes are “the holy grail”), I admitted defeat.
Sam didn’t buy it. Nope. He wanted to be Perry. Mommy would take care of it.
I started looking at homemade Perry costumes. Unsurprisingly, people have made these. Unfortunately, they all required some form of sewing.
I can sew on a button. Usually. That’s really about it. I have my crafty side, but this is definitely not a part of it. I stared at patterns for fleece platypus tails, foam rubber platypus beaks and big, googly platypus eyes ... and told Sam that Perry really wouldn’t work this year. We would go shopping.
“No, I want to be Perry.”
The best-laid plans first ran afoul of Jim, who took one look at a fuzzy monster costume on a store rack and declared that “that one!” was what he wanted. On the good side, it was even on clearance, and I’m sure the firetruck obsession isn’t going away anytime soon.
Then Sam stood and perused the costume aisle at a local store. We ran through all of his prior ideas. Batman? He didn’t like the movie-style costume. Darth Maul didn’t come in his size. The varieties of pirate outfits were either a ridiculous amount of money or sold out. Same with the Jedi.
I called it a night, then dragged him to another store the next day, determined that this would be it. He stood looking at the big wall of costume pictures ...
“Mommy. I want to be ... Batman!”
It was old-school Batman, even better. It fit, the price was OK ... we paid and headed home triumphantly.
Then, halfway there, I heard a little voice from the backseat.
“Mommy, I want to be Perry?”
Sorry, Batman. Maybe next year.Jill Keppeler is a writer for the Tonawanda News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.