The Double Dog Dare

There is a time honored tradition, a rite of passage for Canadian Kids. It ranks up there with with skating on a pond for the first time, building a snow-fort or playing street hockey. For smart kids, it only happens once. Those kids who are less fortunate…well…it can be an annual school yard tradition as it was for my brother and sister. They were blessed with a sister who could talk them into anything…

And I did just that.

You may have seen it in film and TV and think it just isn’t possible, well I assure you it is. Not only is it possible, pride is at stake. The dreaded “Double Dog Dare” taunts most children into attempting this fate because no wants want to be labeled a “chicken” or WORSE a Leafs fan.

Years ago I had a friend who let me practice this dirty deed on her brother. He had a penchant for black licorice. I told him one frosty winter morning before school, the black wrought iron railing that led to his front door tasted like licorice. What do you suppose he did with that knowledge? Licked it of course. The number one rule for Canadian winters is NEVER EVER lick metal.

You would think that would be common sense. Clearly this is a skill lacking in Canadian youth. My friend’s brother licked the railing. The tongue stuck hard and fast to the railing.

If you find yourself with your tongue stuck to a metal flag pole, the first instinct is to rip your tongue from the metal it is attached too. This is not an optimum experience. Having your taste buds torn from your tongue has it’s draw backs, the first being the amount of blood loss. The second being starvation for the next few days while it heals. The third is the sheer pain of it. I have had many painful experiences, two of them being a mother, but the pain of ripping your tongue from a flag pole is one of the most excruciating experiences of my life. (Why did I do it? I was paid $5. Was it wort it? Hell to the Yeah!)

The alternative is to wait for an adult to come by and pour liquid on your tongue. That is less painful, but your friends have left you for dead. You likely have to go to the bathroom or a blizzard is on its way. Neither of those options are pleasant either.

Teaching in a school is always fun around this time of year. A fellow teacher explained the reason for coffee so eloquently. For all those parents who think teachers drink coffee while on recess supervision for the joy of it, think again. We use the liquid to free your child from the monkey bars, or slide. Either your child was double dogged dared or the genetic pool is shallow at your house. Whatever the reason, give us more coffee for Christmas…not mugs…just saying.



That is a Great Costume! What are you?

Children dressed up in Halloween costumes.
Who dresses like this for Halloween?

I use to spend hours flipping through catalogs and patterns looking for adorable Halloween costumes for the Offspring to wear. Some costumes were incredibly cute! I was particularly fond of a ladybug outfit that I had wanted one of my kids to wear, but the sad reality was, Ladybug costumes just aren’t warm enough.

As I write today the current temperature is -2C or 28F. Winter has arrived here in Edmonton and brought a dusting of snow along with it. Typical Halloween Costume criteria for Canadian kids is 1> does it fit OVER a snow suit? 2> is it made of FUR? 3> Are the mittens able to hold on to the bag of candy?

It sounds so complicated here. Last August I was at Walt Disney World, Florida with my family. It was hotter than walking on the sun. The bottom of my flip-flops stuck to the sidewalk because they were melting to the pavement. That isn’t normally a problem here in the Great White North! All the shops were filled with tiny costumes the required bare legs or arms. Sizing meant the ACTUAL size of the child, not snowsuit size. Nothing was made of fur! Buying costumes in the United States was never really an option for us. Simply not warm enough.

When I was a kid, costumes were never that fancy.You either dressed like an Eskimo Inuit or you went digging in your Dad’s closet to dress as a Hobo, and when I say hobo – I mean my dad was not really a Hobo. Sure Mom thought he dressed like one, but his clothes were large enough to fit OVER all my winter gear. It was very warm and it needed to be. We would head out in the DARK, because sunset was 4:00pm. Thanks to Daylight Savings later now, the sunsets after dinner. One thing was always constant, there was snow and lots of it. A colleague and I were talking about the year there was a blizzard for Halloween. It was so cold most kids stayed home. Snow drifts were thigh high and the temperature had to be -25C. We would trudge ( because you can’t just walk in a snow drift) up to the house, people would be so impressed that you braved the cold, they would dump candy by the handfuls into your pillowcase. 10 houses and you had enough candy to last until Christmas!

In the past 10 years, Halloween has been warmer. My Offspring really doesn’t know what it is like to be out in a blizzard for Halloween, but they still wore snowsuits under their Minnie Mouse, or Darth Vader costumes. It looks like this year will be a bit colder in years past. Only one Offspring is braving the cold this year. Obviously I have failed as a Mom raising a true “Canadian” trick or treater. Braving cold is no longer a badge of honor. Kids rather eat food in the pantry then go door to door and beg for it.

I don’t have anyone to take door to door this year. I faked being really happy about it. But the truth of the matter is I am kind of sad. No dressing warm, no walking around in the dark, no laughing with other moms and the outrageous costume ideas. But mostly I will miss visiting one special house down the street from me. They gave candy to the kids but “special” treats for the adults  – and when I say “special” I mean Kahlua. That is what made walking around the neighborhood really fun.

I wonder if I can “borrow” the neighbor’s kids this year?