"Hey Emma, guess what?"
"I ordered my Halloween costume."
"What are you going to be?"
Leslie chimed in across the table, "He's not telling us until Halloween. Cause he loves surprising us." Her voice dripped sarcasm.
"Guess!" I said to Emma.
I barked a startled laugh. "That's exactly right!"
"You've always wanted a chicken costume, Daddy. I remember you saying that last year."
I looked meaningfully into her eyes and said, "That's right, Emma. Good call."
So maybe you're not surprised to find out that I've been waiting impatiently for my chicken costume to arrive. Well it arrived.
Leslie made me wait until after I'd eaten my dinner to try it on. Emma groaned audibly, but I'm not sure who was more disappointed between the two of us. I put on a brave face and pretended to be the adult. "That's right, Emma, have a seat at the table and let's eat, and I'll try it on after we're done." But inside I was thinking..."This is so stupid. Why can't I just put it on now??"
So I finished my dinner and by that time everyone had forgotten about the chicken costume except me and I said, "Hey, Les, do you mind if I just run upstairs and change into something more comfortable?"
"No that's fine," she said disinterestedly. I could tell she had no idea what I was getting at.
"Okay...I'm just going to go up and change clothes then..." I shifted my eyes to her, then the box by the door, then her, then the box by the door. I waggled my eyebrows up and down. "Huh? Huh???"
Emma looked up from the table. Her eyes followed my eyes...to her mother, to the box, to her mother, to the box. It probably took longer than I expected for her eyes to light up and her smile to widen.
Leslie rolled her eyes. I went upstairs to change.
This chicken costume is the best. It's all furry (feathery) and chickeny, and my sole disappointment is that the chicken legs don't extend all the way down to my feet because I'm too tall. There's a little exposed ankle there. And what am I? Whore chicken? No. I have my modesty. I need orange socks.
I put the costume on and walked downstairs. Lily was happily watching TV. I walked into the room. Leslie shook her head and called to Lily. "Lily...guess who it is?"
She turned from the TV to look at me. She was startled. She said, "Uh oh." I have no idea why. But it was funny.
I sat down on the couch. Emma loved it. Lily was not so sure. She wouldn't come near me, but she also couldn't take her eyes off of me.
"Come here, Lil, it's Daddy. It's okay."
Leslie guided a reluctant Lily over to the couch. She had a huge smile on her face, and was giggling, but she was also vibrating like a harp string and seemed ready to flee if Leslie stopped herding her toward me.
She accepted a hug and then retreated a safe distance. She hovered, never taking her eyes off me. Emma snapped a few pictures. Leslie watched her. She herded her back over to me. I gave her another hug. She retreated again but hovered closer this time.
So now I'm going to be wearing that costume daily.
She asked for chicken man the rest of the night. She carried the cardboard picture that came in the plastic costume case the rest of the evening, turning the picture sideways and upside down examining it. Tomorrow I will have to incorporate it into her routine...first potty, then brush teeth and THEN you get chicken man.
Even if I don't wear it trick-or-treating, it's already a good investment.