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'You Can Be Anything You Want'

Last week, after deliberating for the past three months on her costume, Bo decided what she wanted to be for Halloween: a bathroom.



“Cool. OK, WELL: I love that idea. It’s awesome. However, Halloween is less than a week away and I need more time to build you a bathroom costume, I’m afraid.”

Of course, this just made Bo want to be a bathroom 1090980890 times more because Bo is a human being and the word “no” does funny things to our needs.

To back up, Bo had already told me she wanted to be a king for Halloween and even picked out said king costume when I was ordering costumes for the rest of the kids, all of whom knew 100 percent what they wanted to be and were beyond stoked when their costumes arrived in the mail.

Now I happen to love me some Halloween and would rather spend money on costumes than any other toy that exists for my kids. I will overspend on costumes all day long because my kids basically live in costumes. (Fable has worn her rainbow costume so many times since last year that it has had to be mended three times because it’s basically disintegrated from wearing and washing.)

Anyway, the day Bo’s costume arrived she growled at me.

“I don’t want to be THIS.”

The same thing happened last year with the spider costumes. Bo refused to wear hers and ended up going as Brian Krakow to my Jordan Catalano and Hal’s Angela Chase.

Anyway, there we were: a king costume with no king, a 3-year-old with no costume and me, all, like, ugh.

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About a week later, as I was dropping clothes off to trade at my favorite local consignment shop, I noticed, out the corner of my eye, a Dusty Bottoms Three Amigos Costume for someone exactly Bo’s size.

It’s a great idea and I think you would make a BEAUTIFUL and completely entertaining bathroom, but there’s no time to make one and there are no stores that sell them.

Bo, Revi and Fable had momentarily entertained the idea of going as the Three Amigos for Halloween, so I purchased the thing hoping that this MIGHT BE THE ONE! Bo put it on and promptly took it off.

“This is for next year,” she said.

“This year, I’m gonna be a bathroom, OK?”

“But, Bo …”

Here’s the thing: I really want her to feel like she can be a bathroom for Halloween. I want to her to feel like she can BE ANYTHING in this life, but also, there’s a part of me that realizes the reality, and the thing is, she will never be a bathroom. Not in real life and not for Halloween either, because I am not that crafty of a person, nor do I have the time to build a bathroom costume for a small child. Perhaps in my next life.

And so, after much hand wringing and deliberation, I sat Bo down and told her straight up that a bathroom wasn’t going to happen.

“It’s a great idea and I think you would make a BEAUTIFUL and completely entertaining bathroom, but there’s no time to make one and there are no stores that sell them and, well … unless you want a white T-shirt with the words 'I’m a bathroom' written on them with a Sharpie, you might want to wear something else as your costume.”

Bo thought for a moment and then, as the lightbulb began to appear above her head, proclaimed, “I KNOW! How about a dragon?”

“YES! Amazing! We have a dragon costume already, so that’s perfect!”

“Or I could be a king,” she said. “Or an amigo.”

It’s now Thursday and Bo still hasn’t decided on her costume. Hell, she may end up just going as herself or a Dragon King Amigo. Or an invisible bathroom, or, or, or …

Halloween, much like life, isn’t about being whatever we want to be, but understanding that while we can be MOST anything we want to be, there will always be things we cannot be, places we cannot reach, bathroom costumes we cannot build ... and that’s OK, too.

Rules are made to be broken, of course. But limitations are an important thing to communicate as well. For me, this is one of the hardest parts of parenting because, with all my heart, I want my kids to be able to be bathrooms for Halloween if that’s what makes them happy.

Unfortunately, when that happiness depends on my ability to build a bathroom costume in five days with 89087908 other things on a plate overflowing with insanity, I have to rain on their parades.

“Welcome to life, kid,” I say, smoking a cigar. “Welcome to life.”


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