Monday, October 24, 2011

Duck, duck, snake

So I made the ill-advised move last week of deciding to make Chloë a Halloween costume. A coworker loaned me a homemade penguin costume for Maia, which is adorable and which, when I examined it, didn't look too complicated. "Why not make something for Chloë?" I asked myself. "Fleece is easy to work with, and this looks like a bunch of modified rectangles, and I can model it on her sweatshirt and this adorable penguin. What's that? I complain I have no time as it is? Hush, self."

We had discussed costume possibilities and Chloë liked the idea of either a kitty or a duck, and I liked duck better (and thought she would), so I gave it a try and to my surprise was successful. I made a mockup in muslin and had to adjust most of the pieces after I had her try it on, but that's what it was for. The hood took a few tries, and the wings took a second head (Dad's) because my first attempts looked stupid, but it all came together in time for Pumpkin Path trick-or-treating at the Zoo yesterday.

(We didn't get her orange tights or pants in time. I also had Dad's assistance with the bill and the shoe covers.)

We taught her to say "trick or treat" and I at least was expecting she'd need serious prompting to get through it, but she was ready whenever we pointed out the next candy-bearing person. "Tick or tweet?" she'd say (or occasionally, at their prompting, "Quoack") and they would be delighted; then, after prompting, she'd say "Tank oo," and they'd be more delighted still. She went through an inflatable obstacle course-type thing, and though she was a little confused on how to get through parts of it, had a great time. I let her have a little candy while we were there, which wasn't very satisfactory since what she wanted was a lot of candy, but oh well.

However, while she enjoyed the trick-or-treating and the other kids' costumes, they were not the real reason she was trudging along with us (and then riding in the stroller). "Go see snakes?" she asked after every trick-or-treat station, and we assured her that we would, eventually, see snakes, but we had to get there first and hey, she was collecting candy in the meantime. "Go see snakes?" she would say again. Occasionally she'd mention she was willing to see turtles too, or crocodiles. Unfortunately we used the entrance farthest from the Reptile House, plus it's tucked away in a corner. But at length we arrived, and saw lots of green and brown and striped snakes, and the Chinese alligator, and a fast-moving tortoise, and the tuataras, and the crocodile. Finally replete, she consented to climb back into the stroller and be wheeled all the way back to the entrance, suggesting only, "Go to playground?"

We didn't see a playground on the way back (there are a few in the zoo), so we didn't stop at one. But we did stop at the duck pond. Chloe looked at the brown ducks, the black-and-white ducks, the big turkey-looking goose (?) with the red-marked beak. She didn't remark that not a single one was yellow. Nor, I suppose, that none had pirate eye patches or lab coats or grenades or guitars, like her ducks at home. She did seem happy with the costume, which relieved me, since I was half expecting her to complain she wanted to be a kitty. There will be more trick-or-treating Monday night, and she'll be a duck then, too. The candy should be a motivator even in the absence of snakes.

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