Thursday, September 29, 2005

A Lovely Afternoon

It was about 85 degrees, and we spent a good deal of time at the park, sitting on a blanket in the shade. We ate arroz de leche popsicles, which is essentially rice pudding on a stick. Delicious. Hazel chased the crows. Violet slept through it all in the camoflauge sling, like her big sister before her used to do. Today the big sister was looking every inch the almost-3-year-old that she is, in her cute pink dress with one pink knee sock, pulled all the way up and one short, flowery ankle sock. And sandals. Gotta love 'er.

School Daze

After much summer ballyhoo and brouhaha, September came upon us, and with it, the dawn of a new era: The Age of Preschool.

It's so hard for me to verbalize what it feels to take Hazel to school - my sweet, demanding, smart, shy Mama's girl - and leave her there. I mean, it's just never been done. It's awful and wonderful and liberating and frustrating all at the same time. It's very hard for Hazel to say goodbye to me, because, even as she stands on the edge of her third birthday, she's had very little experience doing so. We never really did the babysitter thing, or the daycare thing, or even much of the "Hazel, go play at your friend's house for a few hours today" thing. So I was expecting some pretty hardcore resistance to the preschool thing, which is basically me taking Hazel to a strange place (she'd only been there twice before the first day of school), full of strange kids and a teacher she'd only just met, and ditching her for three hours. But, always one to prove her mother wrong, Hazel acclimated wonderfully, after a few mornings full of drama, and is starting to get the hang of saying goodbye and trusting that she will have fun, and that I will come back for her. I worry about her spending all of her time there just counting the minutes until I return, but her teachers assure me that she turns on the waterworks mostly for my benefit, and that within two minutes of my departure, she's playing happily with her friends.

What she does at school for those three hours is pretty much a mystery. She's surprisingly mum about her day, and if I press her for details, she'll simply say "I don't want to talk about that, Mama." When I ask her who she played with she always has the same answer: "My best friend Molly, of course." She is starting to talk about some of the kids there, though, besides Maddy and Molly, who she's known forever. We hear a lot about a little girl named Kate ("Kate got blooooooonde hair!"), a little boy named Dylan, whose hearing aides Hazel really digs, and Annica, a little girl who speaks mostly German. I know she does a lot of painting, because her cubby is always full of glittery, swirly masterpieces. I know she steers clear of anything messy - she won't use the glue or participate in making designs on the tables with shaving cream. I know she never eats the snack that the teachers leave out all morning, for the kids to help themselves to; she's got a nervous stomach, just like her Mama. I know she really loves Meeting Time, when everyone sits in a circle on the carpet and they read stories, sing songs and learn the days of the week and months of the year. I know that at school she's one of "the quiet ones." No, for real. I'm enjoying six hours of quiet time a week, and she's enjoying six hours of play, art and dress-up time, while forging new friendships completely on her own. The thought is mindboggling. Preschool provides Hazel and I with wonderful break from each other that we both didn't realize we needed, until we got it.

Getting up, dressed, fed and out the door by 8:40 a.m. is proving to be an insane juggling act, comprised mostly of me rushing everyone around and barking out orders, but we're getting better at it. And when 12:00 rolls around (all too quickly - *sigh*) and Hazel sees Violet and I at the door of her classroom, her face lights up like a Christmas tree, and she runs, shrieking towards us with arms outstretched. When I see her in her school environment, with the little tables and chairs, the kid scissors and dixie cups full of juice, it really hits me what a dichotomy she is at this age; she's so big, at almost 3, but still such a tiny, new person. Her world is starting to expand beyond her parents and her playgroup, and it's just such an awesome thing to see.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

I'm tired.

I'm tired of whining.
I'm tired of waking up early.
I'm tired of being barfed on.
I'm tired of changing diapers.
I'm tired of having a cold.
I'm tired of my shoulders and back aching 24/7.
I'm tired of the Baby Bjorn.
I'm tired of of messes.
I'm tired of post-partum fatness.
I'm tired of unloading the dishwasher.
I'm tired of nursing pads.
I'm tired of cramming Zoe's antibiotics down her throat.
I'm tired of tiny socks everywhere.
I'm tired of laundry.
I'm tired of dirty carpet.
I'm tired of my clothes.
I'm tired of nothing good ever being on cable.
I'm tired of clipping little fingernails.
I'm tired of phone solicitors.
I'm tired of crappy cell phone reception.
I'm tired of errands.
I'm tired of Target.
I'm tired of paying $3+ for gas.
I'm tired of thinking of something for dinner.
I'm tired of giving baths.
I'm tired of macaroni & cheese.
I'm tired of sippy cups.
I'm tired of infant Tylenol.
I'm tired of car seat buckles.
I'm tired of diaper rash.
I'm tired of Chuck E. Fucking Cheese.
I'm tired of Maisy, Miffy, Max & Ruby, et. al
I'm tired of tantrums.
I'm tired of coloring.
I'm tired of Play Doh.
I'm tired of sharing the shower.
I'm tired of being the only one who cares if the house is a disaster.
I'm tired of being the only Mama. (Where can we rent a backup?)
I'm tired of being tired.

I am just plain exhausted, in every sense of the word; I'm spent, I'm done, I'm ripe. I know how previledged I am to live the life I do, to have what I have, to be who I am. I don't take that lightly. But I also know that I am so f***ing tired that my hair hurts. I feel beat down. And I need to say it, sometimes. Call it complaining, call it whining, call it what you will. But sometimes, a sister needs to tell it like it is. Can I get an AMEN?

Monday, September 19, 2005

No TV is good TV

Did anyone watch the Emmy Awards last night? Yaaawwwn. I watched, but only because I'm the type that likes to make fun of what people are wearing. I'm also the type that tears up even during the lamest acceptance speeches and loves to root for the underdog. Okay, I'm also the type that loves award shows, period. Maybe I was Milton Berle in a former life? But seriously, I've never seen such a jubilant celebration of mediocrity. The golden age of television has long since past, and handing out awards, year after year, to the likes of those insipid dorks on that hideous Ray Romano show, the increasingly freaky William Shatner and the weirdly waxy James Spader, is just bad form.

Watching the Emmy telecast, in all it's tepid, formulaic glory, totally sealed the deal that Mike and I made last week to cancel our cable and toss out the TV. It's time. Mike and I have always been guilty TV watchers; we know it's bad for us, and we don't much like it, but it's there and we're tired and before we know it, we've wasted another night flipping from channel to channel, zoning out on shows that we're overdubbing with our own sarcastic jibes, anyway.

Also, I don't much like the fact that Hazel always wants to know what's on Noggin. I like Noggin for what it is: commercial free programming for the preschool set. But I think that their "It's preschool on TV!" slogan is pushing it just a bit. I had no problem letting Haze zone out when I was pregnant, and I desperately needed a nap, or when Violet was a newborn, and I desperately needed a nap, or a meal, or a shower. But it's becoming routine, for me and for Haze, to turn Noggin on at 9:00, for the adorable "Max and Ruby", and then get sucked in to whatever's on at 9:30, and 10:00, and 10:30. As I sit here typing, Hazel's watching her old pal, "Miffy", and I'm enjoying my second cup of coffee and an hour of writing time. For that, Noggin, I thank you. But I've noticed a direct corrolation between Hazel's increased TV viewing, and an increased inability to entertain herself without the TV. It's harder for her to make games up, and amuse herself with her wooden food, or her dollhouse. After playing for a few minutes, she moves on to something else, then moves on again, and again, and I really think that that is a direct result of spending so much time in front of onscreen images that flicker past her at top speed.

So, for Hazel's benefit, as well as our own, we're pulling the plug. We are literally getting rid of the TV (we have one in our bedroom that we'll use for the occasional DVD in the afternoon/movie at night), and moving Mike's extensive vinyl collection into it's place. We're looking forward to rediscovering music and radio shows and reading aloud and board games. We're not looking forward to missing "Arrested Development" or "The Daily Show". But hey, we've got a DVD player. We'll get by. I'll let you know how it goes... can anyone recommned a good Noggin withdrawl clinic?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

*Sayonara* sanity!

Mike's been in Japan on business since last Thursday. He's due back this afternoon and I'm counting the minutes til I head up to SFO to pick him up.

My mom very graciously drove up to pinch hit for Mike last weekend. She was on Hazel duty pretty much the whole time, which was, quite frankly, exactly what I needed: someone to give Hazel all of their attention and happily go along with whatever she wanted to do, while I plopped my tired ass on the couch, spent some quality time playing with Violet and tried to catch up on my rest. My friend Amy got here yesterday to pinch hit for Mike this weekend, since he's sick and will be jet-lagged and trying to catch up to the time difference (check this: he leaves Japan on Friday evening, flies 11 hours and arrives home on Friday afternoon. Weird!)
It's been... um, challenging... flying solo this past week. What, with the meals, the cleanups, the laundry, the errands, the diapers, the baby, the dog, the baths, the dishes, the kids. There's been so much I've wanted to blog about: Hazel started preschool, Violet started solids and she's learned that she can get anywhere she wants to go by rolling. But I've been absolutely, painfully, exhausted. The weeks go fast, but the days go so slow. So slow.

My mother-in-law was good enough to remind me that when Mike was a baby, and later when he was 8 and she had a newborn, too, Mike's dad would be out at sea for several months at a time. That gave me a little perspective, but I'm still managing to feel pretty sorry for myself. Big time props to all the mamas and dads out there flying solo everyday: I could never do what you do and survive.

Man, what I wouldn't give for a few months at sea right now...

Friday, September 09, 2005


If you live locally, you can also donate time, money or dog runs to the Marin Humane Society, who have volunteered to shelter hundreds of displaced dogs. They can be reached at 415.506.6256. Glide Memorial has also launced a massive relief effort and are accepting clothes, money and supplies. Click on the link to donate, or find out more. We all need to do what we can. Every little bit helps!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Dear George W. Bush:

My heart and my thoughts are with the victims of Hurricane Katrina, as I'm sure yours would be. If you had a heart. Or thoughts. The heartache and devestation seem endless. If you haven't already, you can donate time, or money, or both here. The untold thousands who have been rendered homeless and destitute or worse, are going to need a lot more than just money, though. They're going to need a government and a country that aren't going to push them to the fringes of society, as they have been for years, and cast them off again after Hurricane Relief is no longer front page news. Shame, shame you George - our poor excuse for a president - for depolying thousands of troops and billions of dollars to Iraq and Afghanistan for nothing but oil, and force-feeding us, the tax paying public, a huge load of bullshit about how "prepared" we'll be if "disaster strikes at home." Well, you know what? It struck. It struck hard and it struck fast and what did you do about it, George? You went golfing. While thousands were starving, drowning and dying, you flew above them in a cushy private helicopter "surveying the damage". The journalists were there - so where was the National Guard? Where was the Army? Oh, right. Preserving "democracy" and shoving "the American way" down the throats of those other marginalized and demoralized folks, the citizens of Iraq. Perhaps if Louisiana and Alabama had had more oil reserves, they'd received the attention they deserved from you and your administration. Perhaps if the majority of the people displaced and affected Katrina had been white, you would have gotten food there in under five days. Could you imagine if this had happened to your friends and family in Texas? Could you imagine George Sr. and Barbara breaking into their local drugstore for food? Could you imagine your daughters having to seek shelter wherever they could find it, only to find none? The media has been portraying the thousands of starving people as "looters" and "criminals." But can you imagine being so desperate for food that you break the windows of a convenience store, looking for something, anything to eat or drink that isn't rotten or soaked through? You probably can't. I can't either. But I'll tell you this: if my babies were starving and growing weak from the 100 degree heat and contaminated water they'd been living in for a week, I'd get desperate, too. Crazy desperate. Nothing could stop me from doing whatever I had to do to help them survive. So I can't judge those who are doing just that too harshly. I wish I had the kind of power that you do, G, so I could do more for them. All I can do is donate money, and clothes/supplies to the refugees who are currently staying is San Francisco. What are you going to do, George? The world is watching. Please just do something. Do anything! Act like you care! Do whatever you can to make us a little less ashamed of you.

Alisyn, Mike, Hazel and Violet.

Saturday, September 03, 2005


"Haha! You're funny! Did you just make that up right now?"

"Hold up, hold up, I've got one too: This baby walks into a bar..."

"Awww, you've already heard it? About the whiskey boobs?"

"Wooooo! Haaahahhahahhh! Yeah, that's a good one!"