Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Nicknames


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:
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"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..."
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"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!"
*
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"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!"

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"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?"
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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.

7 Comments:

Blogger one smarmy mama said...

you apparently have a girl version of my son.

1:27 PM  
Blogger Debbi said...

It must be second baby syndrome cause Hannah is MUCH, MUCH, MUCH more difficult that Gary. Of course, ask your MIL Gary was the quietest, complacent, best behaved child, adolescent, and teenager I've ever known. I think I got the wrong baby, really. Hannah on the other hand is the polar opposite aggressive, ill mannered, angry, manipulative and willful. She is the child my mother wished for me. She is just like me. In doubt, again ask the MIL, she will confirm. When I was five, I took my 3 year old little brother for a walk out on the third story roof ledge at 5 a.m. No shit, your MIL was babysitting and about had a cow. Grandpop came to the rescue and whipped the crap out of me once he got me inside. So...I suppose I deserve what I get. Chin-up, at five Hannah has made real strides in behaving and is a brilliant little girl. I'm sure the attack of the killer Vi will be over before you know it. Thank God!!! In the meantime, you have my deepest sympathies. HUGS!!-- Debbi

1:24 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I feel you, sister! If it gets too much, a great book to read is "The Spirited Child." Alternately, banging your head against the wall works wonders!

7:36 AM  
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