With its many arms, how can you run away?
With its many eyes, where will you find to hide?
You’ll know it by its– its– I cannot say;
“Indescribable!” Further adjectives defied.
Jonah was three and Justin four when Jonah was invited to Morgan’s birthday party. This was close to Halloween, so naturally the children were to come in costume.
“What would you like to go as?” I asked little Jonah.
“A ‘Watcha-ma-tingle!” cried out an excited Jonah.
(Oh, terrific. What the heck…?)
“Honey, Mommy isn’t sure she knows what a Watcha-ma-tingle is.”
“It’s a Watcha-ma-tingle!”.
(Of course it is. Stupid Mommy.)
“What does one look like?”
“Like a Watcha-ma-tingle.”
(inner head slap)
Demonstrating my Asperger’s, I turn to Jonah’s big brother:
“Justin, do YOU know what a Watcha-ma-tingle looks like?”
“Yes, Mommy. It looks like a Watcha-ma-tingle.”
I finally wise up. After learning the boys have no pictures of this mysterious creature in any of their books, nor at any at their preschool, I ask for details about its appearance. These come in a rapid stream, with both little boys jumping up and down excitedly, shouting them out:
“It has lots of arms!”
“Lots and LOTS of arms!”
“They stick out all over!”
“And lots of eyes!”
“All over its head!”
“They stick out too!”
“It looks really silly!”
OOhh-kay, then. I guess I have enough to go on. Six pair of black pantyhose later, I have constructed a sort of cape of octopus-like “arms”, stuffed with fiberfill.
A sad flattened kickball with a slow leak is sacrificed.
I cut it in half. Applying a black magic marker, several white ping-pong balls are transformed into eyeballs, and applied with hot glue to the half-kickball. Jonah’s eyeball-hat is ready.
It is now two days before Morgan’s party. I call Jonah, and Justin, over for the trying-on. I tie on the arm-cape, place the eyeball-hat, and position Jonah before the full-length mirror.
“Is that what a Watcha-ma-tingle looks like?”
“YES! That’s a Watcha-ma-tingle, Mommy!” both boys gleefully shout out.
I am so proud. Jonah and Justin take joyful turns playing at being the Watcha-ma-tingle. Afterward, I put the costume away until party day.
DAY OF THE PARTY
We must leave at 11:00. It takes only ten minutes to drive to Morgan’s. It is 10:30.
I call Jonah over and put on his costume.
He bursts into tears.
“What on earth is wrong?!”
“THIS isn’t a Watcha-ma-tingle!” he sobs.
Of course it isn’t.
Yet, I foolishly try to convince my weeping three-year-old otherwise:
“But it has lots of arms, sticking out! And lots of eyes sticking out! And you and Justin SAID it looked like a Watcha-ma-tingle!”
Justin pipes up:
“Mommy, that doesn’t look ANYTHING like a Watcha-ma-tingle”.
(Just you wait ’til you want that second helping of mashed bananas tonight, buddy…)
NOW what? It’s not like I was going to force my toddler to wear a costume he hated in order to teach him a lesson. He was too young to understand it.
I took off Jonah’s tingly bits and tossed them in a corner. I dried his eyes and told him everything would be all right—because that’s what good mommies and daddies do.
I went into the boys’ bedroom and found the oldest plain sleeveless shirt he owned (we live in L.A.—it was a beautiful warm day ) which happened to be a “muscle shirt”.
I quickly used fluorescent green iron-on letters to spell out “POWER MAN” across its front.
I grabbed a pair of the coolest mirrored Ray-Bans I could find.
I came out to where Jonah sat and said
“How’d you like to go to Morgan’s party as the coolest super-hero EVER? You’re going as ‘POWER MAN’!”
Then I showed him the coolest shirt and glasses ever.
Both kids bought it! Jonah couldn’t have been more excited. He couldn’t wait to get that shirt on. His costume was a hit at the party, and a good time was had by all.
Score one for Mommy.
Take THAT, Watcha-ma-tingle!
(ew–that sounds a little bit dirty, thanks to St. Augustine)
Weeks later, I’m sitting with the boys, watching one of the Winnie-the-Pooh videos I’ve recorded for them off the TV (I didn’t allow them to watch television because of the ads), when suddenly they start shouting and jumping around on the bed:
“There it is, Mommy—Look, look! THERE’S the Watcha-ma-tingle!!”
Winnie-the-Pooh is coming over the crest of a hill with all sorts of debris stuck all over him. Piglet, not recognizing Pooh within the mess, thinks he’s spotted a new type of monster: A ‘Watcha-ma-tingle’.
Jonah and Justin are right: The costume I made looked nothing like a debris-adorned Winnie-the-Pooh.
If only we’d had Google Translate back then to help out in little clarifying discussions between Adult Aspies and Wee Turtles.