Sunday, October 26, 2008

my stint as a stage mom

About a week ago I was scanning the local newspaper for interesting upcoming events. Finding none, I settled for a mildly amusing upcoming event - a Halloween costume contest at a local store - a contest for dogs.

I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that I've thought about dressing up my dog for Halloween before but I've never actually been motivated enough to do it. But that's because there have never been PRIZES involved - and the ad said, "Over $8,500 in prizes." Suddenly, it's worth my time.

I'm a competitive person - I immediately wanted to win. So I started thinking. I figured all the other dogs would be wearing store-bought costumes and the key to winning would be something unique and hand made. In the back of my mind, right next to my memories of eating the foam padding out of my childhood carseat, was the memory of a costume I saw on a dog in a magazine - a dog dressed as Spaghetti and Meatballs.

My mom, the boys, and I went shopping and gathered all the necessary materials. When we got home, I fired up the hot glue gun and got to work. I was pretty proud of the end product. So proud, in fact, that the next day at Bryan's grandma's house, I invited the whole family to come and watch Winnie kick some dog butt.

The contest was scheduled for naptime and it was outside but there was no way I was missing it - $8,500 in prizes were calling my name. So I dragged my sleepy boys in hurricane force winds to the contest. I put Winnie's costume on her and we checked out the competition. There were probably 40 other dogs there but not one of them had a hand made costume. There were several dogs dressed as bumblebees, a few witches, a couple of pumpkins, and some other miscellaneous un-original costumes - but there was only one Spaghetti and Meatballs. Oh yeah, we had this in the doggie bag.

All the dogs lined up and had to parade in front of the judges. I felt just like one of those moms that force their little girls to be in beauty pageants - I really wanted Winnie to win. I whispered some tips into her ear, "Remember to smile and make eye contact with the judges." I suddenly wished we had practiced this at home. And that I had put some lip gloss on Winnie - and perhaps a breath mint.

As Bryan's whole family looked on, they announced the semi-finalists - Winnie had made it! Then the semi-finalists were lined up again for the final judging. I was so nervous, and Winnie was, well, Winnie was probably wishing she had stayed home and that she didn't have a meatball strapped to her head.

And guess what? She didn't win. I'm not kidding. Some other dork dogs won first and second prize and third prize went to a rat dressed as a teddy bear. A RAT! Was that even allowed?!? I felt so ripped off. And the whole promise of $8,500 in prizes? That was apparently at all the stores combined because the prizes were pathetic - not that we got one. Bitter? No, not me.

Next year, I won't forget the lip gloss.

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