| February 19, 2014

Current mission: my daughter’s Kinderfasnachtumzug costume.  For the children’s Karneval parade, she is part of a school group dressing as a character from her schoolbooks.

This costume construction process consists of:

  1. A giant piece of brown fabric
  2. Cardboard letters
  3. Contact paper to cut letters out of
  4. A feather
  5. A strip of fur
  6. A black winter cap that I would have to find and buy

IMG_7566 - Version 2

First, I cut the letters out of contact paper.  I did this without incident.  Wait—I lie.  I did cut a backwards G, which Sequoia took from me.  I hope she hasn’t stuck it on something in this house.  Or maybe she just keeps a “Mommy’s stellar parenting” memory box, and in went this G.

A day later, the fabric came home.  Just looking at it gave me an instant panic attack, as I realized that I was going to be expected to turn this square cloth thing into something that my child would walk through town wearing.  First, I affixed the cutout letters to the fabric.  I accidentally tore and threw away only two letters.  We’re going to call that a Win.

The fabric was accompanied by an instruction sheet indicating that I would need to cut a hole for Sequoia’s head.  I managed to do this without cutting her hair off, despite starting to cut the head hole while holding the fabric up to the back of her neck.  Definite Win.

Next comes the most terrifying step of all: I need to sew the sides of the costume up until it just leaves Sequoia some arm holes.  I don’t have a sewing machine in Germany.  To be clear about the one in America, I don’t know how to use it.  One night, I shlepped it to my friend’s house with the instruction booklet.  We flipped through the book, shrugged, turned on the Bachelor, and drank a lot of wine.  So I will be stitching the sides of this costume by hand.

This is worrisome.

I have actually sewn something by hand in the past year.  I sewed the armpit of a torn Rapunzel doll.  The doll is now “special” because that arm can move in ways the other arm cannot.  What I do not want: that my American child is “special” in this parade because her costume is something the other costumes are not.  After all, I did not learn to weave in Kindergarten like these other mothers.  Unfortunately, the chances of Sequoia looking “special” in this parade are growing by the minute.

Up until now, I have been most concerned about the black watchcap she needs for her head, to which I must affix a strip of fur around the base.  I have been unable to find a black cap.  The ironic thing is, they were selling them at Disneyworld when Florida was having a cold spell while we were visiting; meanwhile, in Germany, it’s in the 50’s in February, and no one is selling black winter caps.

I bumped into Sequoia’s teacher today and asked her where I could buy a black cap.  She said not to worry about it being black—it could be any cap.  Clearly this woman has not observed the collection of hats my little sunshine wears to school.  If she had, then her eyes would have widened and she would have insisted on herself buying Sequoia a hat.

I came home to survey my options.  That is, minus the multi-colored cap with earflaps that Sequoia is wearing today, and the polka-dotted Minnie Mouse one she left at school because she is my child and therefore we are lucky she remembers to bring herself home from school, and cannot expect much more–like hats, gloves, or even the goddamned SOCKS she was WEARING when she LEFT for school.

I am going to eliminate the hats with horns, earflaps, mohawks, and giraffe heads.  I’m going to eliminate her three wide-brimmed summer hats.  That leaves four caps.  Two are pink and one is light blue; those are nowhere near black.  I am left with one dark purple hat with a small front brim and a bluebird on it.  I am going to cover the bluebird with the fur and hope the other parents are drunk or colorblind.

After I sew the sides of the costume, I will attach a giant white feather to the breast of it.  Somehow.  (I’m thinking large safety pins?  Should I be sewing this, too?  WHAT DOES ONE DO TO AFFIX A GIANT FEATHER TO FABRIC?)  And then I will not circulate this costume on Pinterest.

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Category: FAMILY, In Germany A Broad blog, Shits & Giggles

About the Author ()

Kari Martindale is a writer and ESL instructor. She’s visited all 50 states and 37 countries, including many of the big cities of Europe and a ton of Christmas Markets. She spends her days straddling the fence between a sense of adventure and a sense of dread. She is married to what is clearly a patient man and has a daughter who, frustratingly, is just like her. Her academic and professional backgrounds are in linguistics and foreign languages. When she's not teaching ESL, she's writing. When she's not writing, she's thinking about her next trip.

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  1. First Grade in German school: a year in review | In Germany, A Broad | July 26, 2014
  1. Jacki Reese says:

    Definitely want photos of this!