Saturday, August 26, 2006

'Round the house girls: Snippets

At the park...

Hazel: "Look, little one! I found a stick, and you didn't find anything."
Violet: "Buh!"
Hazel: "What? Oooh, you see a bird! In the tree!"
Violet: "Tee!"
Hazel: "Well... I have a stick. And sticks are better than trees. They're more... stick-ish."

In their bedroom...

Hazel: "I don't know where your baby is, little one. Ask your mom."
Violet: "Mom?"
Hazel: "That's right, little one. Go find Mom."
Violet: "Mom?"
Hazel: "Stop saying what I say, like that!"
Violet: "Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mommmmmamamamamamammom?"
Hazel: "I said, stop that!"
Violet: "Dot dat!"
Hazel: "Mawww-mawww, Violet won't stop copying me!"
Violet: "... Mom?"

In the bathroom...

Hazel: "Look, little one! I pee in the toilet."
Violet: "Puh."
Hazel: "And then, I wipe."
Violet: "Wuh."
Hazel: "And then I flush."
Violet: "AAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaagggghhhhhhhh! Maaaamaaaa!"

Playing hide and seek...

Violet: "Haze-uh, hi?"
Me: "Is Hazel hiding from you, Violet?"
Violet: "Haze-uh, hi!"
Me: "Yep, she's hiding. Go find her!"
Violet, wandering away: "Haaaaze-uh? Haaaaaaaaaze-uh?"
Hazel, from inside the closet: "Little one! I'm in here!"
Violet, chanting with excitement: "Haze-uh, Haze-uh, Haze-uh!"
Hazel, popping out of the closet: "You found me, little one! Good job!"
Violet: "Haze-uh!!... Muh hi?"
Hazel: "You want more hiding, little one?"
Violet: "Muh hi!"
Hazel: "Okay, this time, you hide."
Violet covers her face with her hands, Hazel pretends to look for her.
Violet: "Boo!"
Hazel and Violet: "Yaaaayyyy!!"

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Ew. Just.... ew.

Kerry Katona, B-List British celebrity and former member of girl-pop group Atomic Kitten, was photographed by paparazzi over the weekend, enjoying a cigarette while 5 months into her third pregnancy.

It is well known that Kerry also smoked through pregnancies #1 and #2, claiming "My doctor said, if you're more stressed about not having a cigarette, you're better off having one - the stress harms the baby more." That's a direct quote, folks.

How stupid can one woman be? I mean, that's just ignorant.

Also, Kerry? Here's a word to the wise, hon: Perhaps it's best, when one is engaged in a bitter custody battle over one's older two children, to at least pretend that one has kicked the nicotine habit, and act... you know, like a grown up.

Or maybe your new boyfriend, the father of your unborn baby, thinks you look sexy while blowing a curtain of smoke over your new bump? Is that the case? 'Cuz if it is, you've found a winner! I hope you two have a fabulous life together. But please, for the love of Pete, stop having babies. 'Cuz you're gross.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


When Hazel was little, we half-jokingly referred to her as "Hazebollah."

It seems a particularly insensitive nickname today, given the recent activity in Israel and Lebanon, and I'm in no way likening living with a colicky baby, to living under the horrific circumstances the Israelis and Lebanese are currently struggling with. Just gotta put that out there.

However, at the time of her nicknaming, Haze was colicky, cranky and needed to be held, and/or attached to my boob, 24 hours a day. We called her a tiny terrorist, because that's what she seemed like to us (okay, to me): militant, unwavering, mad as hell, and willing to compromise absolutely nothing. She was, to use the parlance of our times, high maintenance.

I came to find out, that's what newborns are supposed to be like. For the most part. And that the real terrorist in the family is not Hazel, but Violet.

As Violet travels down the bumpy road to Toddlerville, her personatlity is gradually shifting, from that of a mellow, roll-with-the-punches kind of girl, to a balls-out, throw-down, take-shit-from-nobody commando.

Case in point: at the park today, Violet walked up to an adorable 2 year old girl with two tiny afro puffs on either side of her head, and, by way of a greeting I suppose, gave both puffs a full-on yank, taking the girl face down into the sand, like a bull in a rodeo show. I was mortified. The little girl screamed bloody murder, and rightly so, but her mother was gloriously non-plussed about the whole thing. I sternly removed Violet from the sand area and sat her down for a time out in the shade with a firm "we DON'T pull hair."

Over the course of our hour at the park, she terrorized the day-care kids with their cooler full of cantaloupe chunks, screaming her displeasure every time I led her away from the fruit, wailing angrily, "Apple-ope! AAAAPPPPLLLLL-OPE!" She stole three sippy cups. She dumped Hazel's bag of cheddar bunnies down the slide. She threw sand. She hit me. Retribution for all the "no!" and "don't" and "VIOLET!"'s I was laying on her, I'm guessing.

I know Violet has entered the stage of testing the limits of her autonomy. I know she's seeing exactly what she can and can't get away with. I know this in theory, and I know it's totally normal. I also know that it's getting really old, really fast, in practice. And try as I might, I can't seem to keep up with her. I just follow the wake of destruction.

I can see the wheels turning in her little head, as she prepares to strike. I imagine that her interior monologe goes something like this:
"Now, let's see, if hit this kid, Mama will come running over and talk in that deep, strange voice, right? And then sit me down somewhere else? Is that right? I'm going to make sure..."
"Hmmm... I think that if I grab Hazel's cracker bag fast enough, I'll have time to dump it out. I love seeing all those crackers on the ground! They're so pretty. And when Hazel stands there, paralyzed by disappointment and screaming like a banshee, it will be really easy to grab some of her hair! I love that!"
"Hey it's baby Alice! She's so small. She sounds like this: 'EEEhhhhh EEEhhhh EEEhhh.' She can't move away if I swat at her, yet, can she? She'll just make the crying baby sound that I like. I'm gonna kick her ass!"

"Pasta for dinner again? F#*k that. This shit's going straight onto the floor... Hey, I wonder if I can hit the wall tonight...?... Yep! SCORE! More please?"
Looking after Violet is exhausting. We can no longer go to the library with her, because she runs full speed for the nearest shelf, knowing that if she doesn't haul ass, she'll miss her chance to huck whatever she can reach onto the floor. She bangs on the keyboards of the computers in the children's section like they're drums. She climbs everything: the kid-sized tables and chairs, the bookshelves, the story time ottomans. The last time we were there, I caught her attempting to climb into a Bugaboo/basinette combo with a baby still in it. Taking her to Trader Joe's is just as embarassing, because she waits, patiently as a panther, for her opportunity to throw something, anything, on the floor. If I've been exceptionally careful, and kept the basket that she's buckled into in the middle of the aisles, away from the shelves, she'll just wait until I'm not looking, then start unloading whatever is within reach from our own basket. I'm thinking of making her a t-shirt, proclaiming, "PLEASE DON'T JUDGE MY MOTHER TOO HARSHLY. I AM OUT OF CONTROL."

For all her difficulties, toddler Hazel was never as... um, high-spirited, as Violet. So, I'm facing a pretty steep learning curve here, and I think Vi knows it, too. She seems to instinctively know when to strike (the moment my back is turned), and gets a big kick out of dumping/yanking/climbing/pushing/destroying whatever is in her path. The look on her face just before she's about to take someone or something out, is one of flushed anticipation. The look in her eye as I rush towards her, just a second too late to stop her, is one of pure satisfaction.

I love Violet. I really do. She has many wonderful, endearing qualities. But, in the interest of full disclosure, I am only slightly ashamed to tell you that I've been calling her Suicide Vi. But only because Vi-Qaeda doesn't roll of the tongue quite as nicely.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Nothing Is Coming Up Alisyn

Lately, everything I touch turns to crap. No, really. Do not let me into your house. Do not let me hold your purse! Take your blenders, your hairdryers, your battery-operated toys, and hide them if you see me coming.

It all started a couple of weeks ago, when Hazel and I went on a date to a friend's birthday party. We were running late, as usual, and because the party was SF, in a neighborhood with notoriously bad parking, I was anxious to leave earlier that I normally would have. Hazel and I argued a bit because she insisted on wearing one of Violet's dresses (I caved). I had trouble deciding whether or not my skirt was too sparkly for a late morning party.

We made it out the door and into the car, but had not moved the car twenty feet yet before... CRRRRRRUUUUUNNNCH. I bumped the car parked directly across from our driveway, on the other side of our very narrow street. Living on a fairly busy street, and not knowing very many of our neighbors, I had no way to know whose car it was. I had to get out, and leave an apology note and my contact information. Mike came out and took some pictures of the (minimal, thankfully) damage.

Shaken, but determined to get our date on, Hazel and I struck out again for San Francisco. We made our way peacefully, signing Hazel favorite Dan Zanes songs. After a full half hour of looking for a parking spot in our friends' new neighborhood, we finally scored a crappy one, six blocks away from our destination.

Now, I'm a former city dweller, so I know how to take my parking lumps like a man. But if you ask me, the only thing worse than walking six blocks, in espadrille wedges, with a 3 1/2 year old in a size 18 months frock ("Mama, this dress is hurting my throat!"), is returning to your car with the 3 1/2 year old all jacked up on frosting, and finding that some complete jerkwad has gifted you with a massive dent, and a hideous scratch on your passenger side rear door. The jerkwad didn't even leave a note. No note! Nobody waiting for me to return to my car to take responsibility for their dumbass move. No one to repay me my good car karma.

Mike tried really hard not to be upset, and kindly told me he didn't blame me at all, but I still felt terrible. I mean, it looks really bad. And truthfully? We're the kind of people that just shudder at the thought of spending hundreds of dollars on car body work -- there are just so many other places that money could go. So my cute, black Subaru wagon will be a little less cute for a while. Jerkwad, if you're reading, you best 'fess up.

To cap my week off right, I tripped over the garden hose one hot afternoon while Hazel and I were gardening, and sent our digital camera crashing face down onto the sidewalk. That poor thing's taken a beating since we got it four years ago, but I think I may have finally KO'd it for good. When the little door slides open to reveal your previous pictures or show you what you are currently aimed at, nothing happens. No pictures. No little square in which to frame your shot. Just a gravelly, greyish splotch of weirdness, and a big-ass crack.

Two weeks later, Mike and I set out, with all our friends, to enjoy The Flaming Lips show at the Greek Theater on the Berkeley campus. It had been over 100 degrees that day, and I tried to stay hydrated, tried to do everything right. But the crippling heat, combined with the cross-campus walk to the venue, my one measly beer and the massive crowd resulted in me passing out directly in front of the stage, in front of.. oh, I don't know.. a few thousand people. I don't know if you've ever passed out or not, but it's horrible. I thought I was dying. I was totally out of it the rest of the night, and the whole next day. I saw some of the show from the medical tent, though, so that was cool. But the night was pretty much a wash.

Last weekend, I had my first windsurfing lesson, against my better judgement. I was considering calling it off, not wanting to decapitate myself, my teacher, or anyone else within a ten foot radius. Shockingly, I was rather good at it, and despite taking the sail to the head more than once, the only injury sustained all day was when I tore my foot up on a rock under the water. No one died. Nothing broke. All things considered, it was not bad. Not bad at all.

I thought that with the dawn of a new month, my karma might shift into slightly less dangerous territory. And I guess it did, kind of. No one's been hurt in the last two days. Nobody passed out or crashed a car. But the vaccum shorted out and died yesterday, sending sparks spraying out over the carpet. By some totally un-Alisyn-like stroke of luck, it did not result in a house fire. The three year old cordless phone also went belly up, as did my trusty old laptop.

Looking on the bright side, the kids are all right. The dog's alive. Mike's not thinking of divorcing me... yet.

But seriously, what the hell? What is this about? Am I paying for some abuse I inflicted on some innocent electronic devices in a former life? Am I just a huge spaz? Is summer just not my season?

I don't know, but something tells me I should not left in charge of two small children all day... alone. Cooking. Driving. Operating household appliances. I fear that it will end badly.