Wednesday morning I get an IM from Linda that says "Ben want's a scary tiger face pumpkin, but it's supposed to be a surprise." My kid has an odd notion of what makes up a surprise. Birthday parties that you don't know about are surprises. Coming home to find your partner making out with your sibling is a surprise. Your choice of a pumpkin? Not a surprise.
More importantly, what the hell is a scary tiger face?
"I don't know how to do that" I replied, because I don't. "Don't worry, he only wants tiger teeth" she said. "Oh, I can do that." Or so I hoped.
When I got home, all of the tools for pumpkin carving were out on the table. Before going to get Abby, Linda told me that she figured that Ben could participate in the pumpkin carving with me. I said he could, but I knew what would happen. See, I'm the parenting version of the Midnighter. I had seen every scenario played out in my head before I even picked up the carving tools, and I knew how this was going to go down.
I removed the top of the pumpkin and Ben and I peered down into the orange cavern.
"That's disgusting" he said. Yep, right on target.
I told him that we needed to scoop all of the innards out and he looked at me like I asked him to scoop his own innards out. To his credit, he did put his hand about a centimeter into the pumpkin, right up until he brushed the goop.
"It's on my hand." Again, right on target.
"Well, wipe it off", I said "It won't kill you." Amazing how once you become a parent the entire world can be broken down into things that can kill you and everything else. He did, and then said that he didn't want to take the innards out.
"Well, you want to do pumpkins don't you?" I asked. He nodded. "This is part of doing pumpkins, so let's do it." Now, I'm not going to make him scoop the whole thing out himself, but he's supposed to participate and it's not like I can tell him to pick up a saw and start hacking the thing up. If he was going to participate, this was pretty much it.
In the end, he managed to pull out about five seeds before complaining so much that I had him wash his hands. As I scooped, I asked him what kind of design he wanted for his pumpkin. True to his word, he asked for a scary tiger face.
"I don't know how to do that" I said.
"You don't know how to or you don't want to?" he asked. When I first heard this, I thought, man, what kind of a dick does my kid think that I am that I wouldn't make him the pumpkin that he wanted simply because I didn't want to? Then I remembered. My daughter has a feeding aversion problem, which means that she won't eat. And when I say she won't eat, I mean that she won't eat anything. At one point, when she was in one kind of therapy, and we would work with her at home, when we gave her food, she would say that she couldn't eat it, and we would always say that she could eat it, she just didn't want to. At least that's what I'm hoping he meant, and not that he thinks I'm a massive dick.
"No, I want to do it for you, I just don't know how to" I said. "Why don't you look through the pattern book and see if there's anything else you want." Seemed reasonable to me. After all, we had like a dozen patterns in there. He was bound to find something that he wanted.
"Nope" he said. "I want a scary tiger face. Or any tiger face that you want. An awesome tiger face is ok too." Oh, well, now that awesome tiger faces are on the table, I can totally do this. Again I told him that I didn't know how to do it and he wandered off into the family room, no doubt to find a father capable of handling his most basic of childhood needs.
"It can have eyes like this pumpkin" I heard him say. Odd. I don't remember having a pumpkin in the family room. Wait! We have a fake pumpkin in the family room! I go in there, take a look at the pumpkin, and the weird thing was that once I saw the eyes, which gave me a place to start, the rest of it all came to me. I quickly sketched out what I was thinking of and showed it to him.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah!" That's his big thing now. "That's what I want. I didn't know you could do that." Me neither.
Once it was carved, I realized that it either needed more tiger stripes up top, or less down below, but I'll let you be the judge. For a freehand sketch, I don't think it ended up looking too bad.
See? Not too shabby. For Abby, she wanted a pattern called "Wink and Smile" which I originally renamed the Palin Pumpkin for obvious reasons, then changed the name to Governor Pumpkin, finally sticking with The Okie-Dokie. As Obama said, we're not going to let them run the okie-dokie on us, except for pumpkins. Here's Abby's effort. Well, my effort and her pattern.
For the sake of reference, here they are in the light. The little pumpkin is one Abby got at school, done up in marker by Linda. It's hard to tell from her effort, but there's a reason that I'm the one doing the carving.