Monthly Archives: October 2014

Oh my gourd, she murdered a pumpkin

I was 33 when I murdered and mutilated the dead body of my first pumpkin.

I know. I know. How did I ever manage to make it this far in my life without committing veggiecide? I mean, ripping out the slimy entrails of innocent gourds is practically a rite of passage in this country. Even kindergarteners are handed a knife and told to stab a pumpkin in the face.

Well, it’s a long story, kids. One that I’m probably going to make even longer because my editor wants at least 800 words.

It all started with my childhood…

(flashback wavy lines, flashback wavy lines, flashback wavy lines)

When I was a kid, I wasn’t allowed to go trick-or-treating. This had less to do with child abuse (as I VERY vocally insisted to my mother back then) then (as I realize now) it had to do with the time period. See, back in the early ancient period known as the ‘80s, everyone was afraid that 1. all teenagers were involved in satanic cults and 2. those satanic cults spent all their time stuffing razor blades into mini Kit Kat bars. Add on top of that the fact that most of my extended family felt Halloween glorified the Devil and I lived in a place where non-working tractors outnumbered people four-to-one (making for quite a long hike just to score some free yet probably non-name brand candy), and you have the perfect recipe for a Halloween-less youth.

Not that I was completely deprived. My aunt threw a great party every year on the night before Halloween, complete with costumes, bobbing for apples and big piles of razorblade-free candy. We just couldn’t call it a Halloween party. Because it wasn’t. Because Satan is always watching.

And there was one year when I was a teenager that I did actually go trick-or-treating. But that was really just more of an excuse for 11 of us to jump into a completely unsafe car while in costume and drive around while smoking cigarettes and sharing a bottle of Boone’s Farm (which tasted like gasoline and haunted watermelons). I did also attempt during this time period to participate in that other time-honored Halloween tradition, the haunted house, but at the first sign of a chainsaw I threw up my hands, yelled “NOPE!” and sprinted back to the car.


As I got older, I spent a few years doing the “get drunk at a bar while wearing a costume that would make your feminist grandmother cry” Halloween tradition. I also would dress in “costume” for work, but usually only as a gypsy or Amy Winehouse since neither required me to really change my hair. Or my outfit. Or the amount of eyeliner I usually wore.

So, as you can see, my relationship with Halloween has been spotty at best. Which is why I probably never decorated my house for the holiday, inside or out. And why I haven’t worn a costume the past few years (unless you count my standard “Gypsy Amy Winehoue” everyday look). And why I quickly lose my enthusiasm for handing out candy to trick-or-treaters.

“Oh look, another Iron Man and Elsa from ‘Frozen.’ How original. Take your Snickers and go. You disgust me.”


But now…well, now I’m a parent. And that has made all the difference this year. Suddenly I’m all in the holiday spirit, like the love child of Martha Stewart and Elvira.

Which is how I came to commit my first veggiecide. A task I took a bit too much glee in judging from the horrified look on my husband’s face.

Hey honey, could you maybe not laugh maniacally while holding that giant knife and pulling out the pumpkin guts. It’s…uh…it’s creeping me out, babe.”


I’m even finally using the Halloween kitchen towels my mother-in-law got me years ago. I mean, I use them the rest of the year too. (What? Suddenly I’m a Rockefeller who can afford enough kitchen towels to not use the seasonal ones year-round?) But I’m using them now too. On purpose.

And, best of all, I already bought my son his costume (a baby chicken outfit because 1. it was on sale and 2. we want to save the Chucky costume for next year when he can walk and hold a bloody knife better) and plan to take him for his first trick-or-treat outing at what his dad calls “my work’s Halloween thingy event for children or something.”

Yes, I must say, making up for all that lost time has me downright giddy and we still have a week to go until the big day. In fact, I may even dress up in costume this year. As Zombie Gypsy Amy Winehouse. Which won’t even require makeup since I haven’t had a full night’s sleep my son was born.



Mommies don’t get sick days

I regret a lot of things. The fringe vest I wore for my seventh grade school photo. That time I asked for a “pixie haircut” and instead spent half of my junior year in college walking around with a mullet. Pretty much all of 2004.

I even regret things I haven’t done yet, like when I finally finish this six pound burrito sitting right beside me. I’m going to eat it all. I know this. I’m going to hate myself for eating it all. I know this. And yet, I’m still going to do it. Because…well…burrito. I mean, come on.

But in the seven months that I have been a parent, I have never once regretted my decision to bring a loud, tiny human into this world. Not even when he projectile pooped onto my hand. Not even when a too vigorous game of “Super Baby!” led to him puking directly into my mouth.



Not even when I spent an entire night awake lying on the floor of a hotel while Riker slept on my chest because it was the only place he would fall asleep in that strange room (and I was too afraid to lay in the comfortable bed for fear of falling asleep and rolling over and crushing out his little life with my gigantic milk boobs).

But then…then Thursday happened.

Oh, Thursday.

Thursday Bloody Thursday.

Or, to be more accurate, Thursday Mucousy Thursday. (And you are welcome for THAT visual).

Yes, on Thursday, I was sick. Nothing too serious. Just your typical “I’m going to lay here on the floor until I die” illness. Nothing I couldn’t handle. Except that this was the first time I had been sick while also legally responsible for keeping a baby alive, which is harder than you think considering all babies are born with an innate death wish. As far as I can tell, once kids pass the six-month mark, all their bodily effort goes into trying to fall from high distances onto the floor so that they can eat whatever object it is on the floor that is guaranteed to choke them.

(I’m assuming this death wish is also why my son tries to stick his fingers into the mouth of whatever super scary person I am sitting next to on the subway).

sick baby

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever had to take care of a baby while sick or hungover or while missing a vital limb, but if you haven’t, let me elaborately describe it for you using all my writerly tricks I’ve learned over the years:

It sucks.

It sucks so hard, you guys.

And mine was just your average cold combined with typical parental sleep deprivation. It’s not like I had the flu or Ebola or that mysterious disease I always came down with on Mondays when I was in high school that forced me to stay home and miss out on wonderful educational opportunities such as a chemistry test.

Still, when it takes all your physical, emotional and mental energy and focus to take care of a child, even losing one-fourth of that energy and focus to a cold is devastating. Because the kid still needs fed, needs changed, needs 52 games in a row of the peek-a-boo-esque “Where’s Mommy!?!”. And worst of all, that cold is not going to stop your baby from rolling directly under the gigantic, non-flat screen TV and kicking it with his surprisingly strong legs (because “Tempting Fate!” happens to be his second favorite game right after “Where’s Mommy!?!”).

We managed, of course. Because you have to. Because somewhere underneath all that phlegm and mucous is the maternal instinct, still operating, still forcing you to care where your baby is at all times. But it wasn’t easy. That day falls in-between the “all-day high school track meet where it was 34 degrees and my uniform was a glorified swimsuit” and “driving ten hours to New Orleans with a champagne hangover the day after my wedding” on the Hardest Day Of My Life So Far scale.

In fact, we spent most of it lying on the floor, him repeatedly trying to roll over to the dog so he could pull all of Buffy’s hair out and then eat it and I holding haphazardly onto his leg while convulsing oh-so-sexily with wet coughs and sneezes.

The low point, by far, was when I handed him his Fisher-Price hammer and begged him to kill me with it.

“You can claim self-defense! People read my column! They already suspect me of being an unfit mother! Plus, no jury in the world would convict you what with a face like that! Just do Mommy this favor. Put me out of my misery.”

I’m pretty sure he would have done it too, if he wasn’t distracted by a sudden, overwhelming need to try to fall out of his high chair so he could eat the candy wrapper on the floor.

I still don’t regret having my son. But after Thursday, I do regret my lack of independent wealth so I can hire someone to play “Where’s Random Caretaker!?!” with my son while I ride high on a Nyquil train to All-Day Sleepytown when I’m sick.