Thanks so much, Pj, for looking the other way while I commence a first-Wednesday-of-the-month hostile takeover of your blog! No wait; you invited me here, didn’t you? Regardless, I am still honored to hang out and “talk blonde.” I have been blonde, as far as you know, all of my life. I have had a few variations here and there over the years, however for the most part I consider myself to be a card carrying member of the golden locks club. Let’s talk blonde problems!
*Please note that this blonde, Jen Tucker, recognizes that her issues can cross hair color boarders. She welcomes all people, with open arms, that have ever suffered from blonde moments, blonde jokes, or ate a Blondie brownie, regardless of the color at their roots.*
CONGRATULATIONS, IT'S A GIRL
When my daughter, Gracie, made her gender officially known to us there were huge sighs of relief. I will be the first to admit that after having two boys, a daughter was what I had on the brain. Yet, it was her brothers who did the “Happy Dance” in the ultrasonographer’s presence when she made the formal announcement. Wil and Ryan had informed us, that if I gave birth to another Tucker Brother, “it” would have to live with my parents, and we would visit “it” on weekends. So their exuberance at the declaration that they were having a little sister was a sight to behold.
For me, I entered a dreamy-state of bliss thinking of what my life would be like when a little girl entered our family. I imagined her constantly wearing pink gingham, hair in perfectly placed barrettes, and how lacy could her socks be before it bordered obnoxious or too Honey Boo Boo-ish. I mentally chose her Christmas dresses, back-to-school outfits, and the décor of her room to the tchotchke. Then the craziest thing happened. I actually met Isabella Grace Tucker, and those ideas I had about her went out the window. Not right away, mind you, but I can tell you the exact moment that it happened.
A HALLOWEEN TWIST OF FATE
In October of 2010, my sons were choosing Halloween costumes. Gracie, just four-years-old at the time, had circled every costume, in every catalog, that resembled a princess, the main fabric content was glitter, or was modeled after a television character. She was in the kitchen one afternoon, doodling and painting, while her brothers and I were huddled around the computer ordering their choices. You see, my boys wanted to be zombies. Not just a little green makeup and ripped clothes zombies, but seriously amped zombies. I was concerned if Gracie saw some of the outfits, she’d freak out and I would scar her for life. We kept our mission hush-hush, so she’d have no idea what they chose. Also, the boys would be trick-or-treating with friends, while Mike and I took Gracie around the neighborhood. The boys could change into their costumes after they left for the “good candy neighborhoods.” I could protect her little eyeballs from ever seeing her brothers transformed into creepy-creepertons, and that worked for me.
Wil selected, what I would term, a mild mannered zombie. A little flesh missing. Regular Joe clothing. Not too shabby.
THE YEAR OF THE ZOMBIE
Ryan decided this was the year to choose the most disgusting item in the catalog. He chose the zombie costume complete with an exposed chest and stomach cavity where rats crawled in and out of the ribcage. *Jen makes the squeamish face* The mask gave him an extreme makeover, exposing cheekbones, sinus cavities, and topped off with a hairstyle that resembled a mishap with electricity. He was a looker, alrighty! My plan was to order these costumes for the boys, leave them in my virtual basket where Gracie would not see them, then let her make a final decision before paying. Easy peasy
With Wil and Ry vacating my office, I called Gracie to come meet me. She skipped through the door then plopped onto my lap. “Mommy, I’m so excited! I think I finally decided to be Olivia (the cute, little literary pig). Did you see an Olivia costume?”
I scrolled through the characters. “Gracie, I don’t see an Olivia costume. Let’s search the website and see if we can find one.”
I typed in the search. Gracie leaned forward and touched her finger to the computer screen. Her voice low, yet curious. “Mommy. What. Is. That?”
I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
On the side of the screen were pictures of the costumes I had placed in the basket.
The cover-up was discovered.
CONSPIRACY OF ONE
“Mommy, can I get a better look at those costumes?”
I rolled my eyes, saying, “Gracie, you know that costumes are pretend; make believe, right? So when you see your brother’s costumes, they are made of plastic, fabric, and …”
“Yeah, yeah. Can we just get a look at them? Please?”
I clicked on Wil’s. Going tame first felt like a much better way to ease into the horror. My daughter will have nightmares for the rest of her preschool life and I did this to her.
“See Gracie? It’s just makeup and fabric. Like when you play dress-up at school.”
My darling daughter intently stared at the screen. She leaned in closer wanting a better look. She pulled back quickly. “Mommy, let’s look at Ry-Ry’s!”
On the screen, popped up Ryan’s costume. I looked at Gracie, whose eyes had grown wider. She gasped and held her hand to her mouth. I could not believe this was happening. Ugh… There wasn’t enough candy corn in the world to drown my sorrows of parental failure at that moment.
“Mommy?” she said timidly.
“I want to be a baby zombie too! Please can I get a zombie costume like my bra-bras! Please?!”
THE ZOMBIES MADE ME DO IT
There was no way, on God’s green earth, that my four-year-old daughter was going to dress up like a freakish ghoul on the night she could be a butterfly, or a cowgirl, or a slice of pizza for crying out loud! I had to think fast. What to say; what to say?
“Gracie, I hate to tell you this. They’re all sold out of baby zombie costumes.”
Yes, I lied.
Gracie looked at me, and then looked at the screen.
“Oh well… Can I just be Minnie Mouse then?”
Jen Tucker has never met a gluten free cupcake that she didn’t like. A former teacher and educator, she has worked with children in school, hospital, and enrichment settings. In her years at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, it was Jen’s job to bring the “hands on fun” into the visiting exhibitions in the galleries. Jen broke away from writing children’s books and thematic units in 2011 with her memoir, The Day I Wore my Panties Inside Out which was a semifinalist in the humor category in the 2011 Goodreads Book Awards. She is a monthly guest blogger at the website, Survival for Blondes where she marries humor with preparedness. Jen lives in West Lafayette, Indiana with her husband, Mike, and their three children.