Comedic Developmental Milestone

January 8th, 2013

A lot of four-year-olds think underwear is funny, and Violet is no exception. She and my 13-year-old niece Erica this summer made up a chanty little song. These are the words:

“Look-it my UN-derwear.
Look-it my UN-derwear.”

I know, ha! Ha. Ha. So funny! So cute! And not appropriate in many of the moments when she sings it. And aggravating when we are T-minus four seconds from being late to school, and she is still not dressed and chanting this song as she races around her room evading my grasp.

Erica, I’m glad you had that special, special chance to get in touch with YOUR inner four-year-old. P.S., you owe me six months of relaxed mornings, or at least mornings where there is no chanting during the chase scene. Or maybe I can even the score right now by telling the Internet about the permanent wedgie you had as a little one?

Back to my point: The amazing sub-genre of comedy that is underwear jokes. If you want to appear witty at a party where preschoolers are in attendance, simply raise your juice box and say something like, “So-and-so, I can see your underwear.” First-rate!

But that’s basic stuff. Let us progress to a slightly higher level of humor. Violet’s Nana taught her this little gem:

Violet: “What’s under there?”
Unsuspecting Person: “Under where?”

Let’s just say it was funny the four-thousandth time.

To no one’s surprise, Violet mastered the “You Said Underwear” routine and became adept at noting just the right moment when Mom or Dad would be distracted enough to fall for it unknowingly. She is a cool performer now and can manage to hide her excitement over the impending gotcha. She has moved on …

This afternoon I was doing laundry, and Violet came to me and said this:

“Mom. I got a great idea. How ’bout we put a pair of Dad’s underwear here under the couch. Then when he gets home, I can say, ‘What’s under there?’ And it’s underwear!’”

I know. Brilliant.

We were hours from Steve’s arrival home from work, but yes, of course, we planted the underwear under the couch. And yes, she waited for a nice, typical moment to pop the question, and yes, Steve was all, “Yeah, yeah, underwear.”

But dude, there was actually UNDERWEAR! Under THERE! Because Violet is a comedic genius or something, and I’m not just saying that because I’m her mom. This is original material. This is like little Steve Martin in Pull-Ups making up knock-knock jokes.

Oh. This is going to lead to great things.

Occupy Alice

December 14th, 2012

It’s Christmas time here, and Violet is four-and-a-half. She has asked Santa for three things: (1) a princess, (2) a superhero girl, and (3) an octopus. Unbeknownst to us, she drew pictures of these things on tiny pieces of paper and shoved them back behind the TV, which hangs on the brick wall of our converted-from-a-fireplace-into-an-entertainment-center. You know, so Santa would see them there, by the chimney. Which we had never discussed. Anyway, thankfully, she pointed them out to me a few days later and explained what the drawings represented.

Will Santa oblige? Violet has been mostly nice this year, mostly by far. There has been some naughtiness, of course, but she’s four, after all, and an intense personality, and a girl (= DRAMA). Recently, there were two whole consecutive weeks when she was 100 percent uncooperative and even more moody than usual. And just as her mom was about to go irreversibly bananas, she woke up a few days ago and was her sweetest, most cheerful little self. And it turns out the lapse in good behavior was a side effect of some work going on in her young brain, because all of a sudden, she could synthesize all of these new things, and she could snap Legos together by herself, and so much more. Some neurological quadrant was coming online, and at the expense of a tolerable attitude, but we made it, and now she can think through how to get a message to Santa on her own, and she can draw a pig, and she says things like, as we pass a medical supply store we have never discussed, “That’s where they sell stuff for old people; because they’re starting to die.” I don’t know why that impressed me so much, maybe it’s just exemplary of this new level of expression of thought going on with her all of a sudden. I mean, it’s funny, and don’t repeat it, it could make people uncomfortable, but here she is, thinking about death and aging and why a store we pass on the way home from school every day would have a window display of walkers and Lil’ Rascal scooters.

Speaking of school, Violet is a superstar in her class. She’s a fidgeter, yes (“Violet, why are you in your socks?” “The teacher took my shoes away, because I was playing with them at Rug Time.”), and she has a tendency to “phone it in” when she doesn’t like the activity she’s assigned … but she pays attention and is learning all of the things she needs to in order to be ready for kindergarten next year.

For the record, here are some things Violet cannot accuse me of when she is older:

“You cut my hair too short!” You asked for it, Kid. And it suits you so, so well, and everywhere we go, people admire your haircut from the cheap-o kid salon, where the woman cutting your hair always looks like she crawled out from under a six pack of Budweiser.

“You made me take so many lessons!” No, I made you choose. Because at four years old, you ask over and over to take ice skating, and then I sign you up for ice skating, and then sometimes you are devastated that you HAVE to go to ice skating, and then by the time we leave ice skating, you are all, “I don’t want to leave! Can we come back after dinner???” And you want to take singing lessons! And gymnastics! And tennis! And world dance!” And you just earned your blue belt in karate, so I don’t know how much longer I will even be able to tell you no without your kicking my ass, literally.

“You let me quit ballet!” I have to let you quit ballet. Or maybe I won’t. Right now you have a love/hate relationship with ballet, I think because I got inspired to make a lot of the costumes for your Alice in Wonderland show, and so there’s been a project of my own I’ve been into … and as a result you are a bit jealous of Alice in Wonderland. You have threatened to get on stage the night of the show and “not move,” or, as your teacher put it, “Occupy Alice in Wonderland.” And in many a huff this session, you have insisted you want to quit, so I have told you after Alice we don’t have to sign you up for more ballet. But you do change your mind a lot, so we shall see, ALICE.

“You let me wear crazy outfits in public!” I love your crazy outfits, you crazy punk.

“You made me leave before the [insert event here] was over!” See, two hours of college gymnastics is enough for Mom and Dad; and we don’t always need to stay until the entire audience has left the theater; and that’s not an awesome drummer, it’s just some guy with a bucket and a stick and a hat for change, let’s go; and when it’s just Mom you’re with, no, we’re not reading all of the movie credits (Dad, yes, Mom, no); and I’m sorry, but after the actors bow, there is no more play!

“You let me go barefoot? In December? In public?” You’re damn right. Hey, how about you get in a time machine and go back to 2012 and try to keep shoes on four-year-old you? Mm hm. That’s what I thought.

And now I need to wake up Vibble for her daily juice cocktail (probiotic and liquid vitamins, YUM) and gluten free pancake (it will be her first and last high-maintenance meal of the day, if you call mixing two things into her juice and toasting a frozen pancake high-maintenance, which I do). She will play some game or watch PBS on my iPad and get ready for school. It’s share day, and she has to bring something that starts with the letter “K.” No, she does not want to bring Kristan. Oh, and Nana is coming into town this morning, hooray!


August 11th, 2012

Vibble, re: a friend’s cat-who-is-no-longer-a-kitten: “He’s fat now, but he’s big and fat, fat like a potato.”

Things I Shouldn’t Have to Say/Explain

July 21st, 2012

If you chant the word “underwear” one more time at the top of your lungs in this restaurant, it’s no TV tomorrow.

Original Jokes by 4-year-olds

June 13th, 2012

Overheard in the bathroom …

Violet: “Knock knock.”

Violet: “Who’s there?”

Violet: “Banana.”

Violet: “Banana who?”

Violet: “Um.”

Violet: “What are you doing outside my door, Banana?”

Violet: “Knocking!”


March 23rd, 2012

Vibble told me this story at dinner tonight:

Once upon a time, there was a girl, and she liked robots. And she said, “I like butterflies and rainbows.” Then she go to the mall. The end.

Funny, but Not Funny

March 19th, 2012


Let me set the scene: It’s 8:20 a.m. School starts at 8:30, a short, five-minute drive away, so we’re in good shape. We arrive at the door to the garage, and I go to grab my car keys from the normally overburdened key rack … but the rack is EMPTY.

Me: “This looks like your work. Did you take all the keys off of here to play with or something?”
Violet: “Everyone likes keys.”


Yesterday, we were spectating along the course of the L.A. Marathon for a while, and apparently, during a moment when I was occupied tending to some random need of Violet’s at preschooler-level, CONAN O’BRIEN walked by us. Steve, in his subtle way, alerted me to this—or so I am told—but I did not respond. Hm … hm … HM … maybe because THIS IS NO TIME TO BE SUBTLE!!!???!!! Not only did Steve SEE Conan, he heard him make a joke! Out loud! About the music the DJs were playing! And I missed this! Altogether missed it! My once-in-a-lifetime chance to hear Conan IN PERSON making a spontaneous joke, and I missed it, because Steve, my supposed “soul mate,” LOVE OF MY LIFE, is a subtle man.

This might be a deal breaker. I am THIS CLOSE to Googling “Divorce Lawyers Who Specialize in Sabotage Through Subtlety.” (In all seriousness, I’m not … ’cause in all seriousness, I need the next 50-plus years to GET HIM BACK FOR THIS!)

When She Grows Up

February 28th, 2012

Violet: “Where is William’s mom?”
Me: “She’s at work today.”
Violet: “Oh, because she grown up?”
Me: “I guess. What kind of work do you want to do when you grow up?”
Violet: “I want to grow butterflies.”
Me: “You want to grow butterflies?”
Violet:; “Yes.”
Me: “Like on a butterfly farm?”
Violet: “Yes.”

Steve Explains Anxiety

January 9th, 2012

Upon discovering a half-sucked-on cough-drop (which I had given Violet, against his wishes) had been spit out onto the seat of his car …

Stevel: “Oh … [groan]”

Me: “Really? Is it that big a deal?”

Stevel: “Yes. It’s the exact thing I feared in my brain … and now it’s out of my brain … and into my eyes … and back into my brain.”

A Few Recent Violet-isms

December 18th, 2011

V: “Where are we going to dinner?”
Me: “Well, you’re having dinner with Dad. I’m going out with one of my friends.”
V: “I’m your friend.”


Me: “What the—[string of obscenities directed at a driver doing something dumb in front of me]!”
V from the backseat: “Don’t crash the car, Mom!”


And currently, she is narrating a conversation between her toes. One has a cold apparently and keeps sneezing, while another has called in his younger brother to have a discussion about going to Disneyland.

Today Violet and I went to see a production of Seussical the Musical put on by an acting troupe of teenagers and kids. Last weekend we saw The Nutcracker. Each of these events was a highlight, as Violet seems to sit pretty patiently and enrapt through any long show involving live entertainment. So sweet.

In her own ballet program’s Nutcracker, or, as her ballet teacher dubbed it, “The Nutcracker as You’ve Never Seen It Before,” Violet played a flower fairy. She and her classmates did a fabulous job dancing the Waltz of the Flower Fairies, and Violet also jumped up and joined in the scene where the mice and toy soldiers do battle. Her teacher didn’t remove her from the scene, and the older dancers whose scene it actually was just ignored their petal-headed party crasher, so Violet danced along the entire time. She made a fine mouse despite her flower costume and brought the house down with her enthusiasm. I laughed so hard I cried. I think it was the funnest moment to date in my parenting career.

Awesome Note from My Nine-year-old Niece

October 3rd, 2011

hi I miss you!!

Dear Aunt krissy,

Thank you for the Claires gift card. I bought five things. I bought a necklace, a feather hair clip, cool sun glasses, a doll chair and a Justin Beber sleep mask.


Violet Wants …

September 15th, 2011

… her Smurfs (these are figurines—Happy Meal toys). And keeping track of Clumsy and Smurfette is a full-time job. Here’s how it works: they get left on the slide, in the car, in her yoga bag, in the sand, on a picnic table … and then throughout the day I am blamed if they are not produced immediately upon demand. “MOM, WHERE MY SMURFS?!”

Steve says we need backups. But I’d hate for her to start to think I have a vending machine of her favorite things in my purse, because that will inevitably lead to a moment of disappointment sometime, somewhere inconvenient. “Mom, where my Barbie-in-the-white-dress-but-not-the-pleated-white-dress-the-white-dress-with-the-lace? WHAT?! YOU DON’T HAVE IT??? HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO NOT WHINE THE WHOLE FLIGHT TO ORLANDO WITHOUT IT???” See? I think: No backups. I’ve got to strike a balance between “If you leave it somewhere, you might lose it,” and “You’re three, so just this once billionth time, I have kept track of it for you.”

Incidentally, the Barbies are a few I had saved from my own Barbie days (these are pretty beat-up; all have awful haircuts, for instance, and her favorite by far is missing a NOSE) and a few I found at a thrift store with some homemade 70s-era dresses. Awesome. I know Barbies are iffy in terms of messages to girls and whatnot, but once Violet had seen a Barbie even once, she was hooked. They are all princesses. They love to ride in their thrift-store Barbie hatchback and put each other in cages (I know, WTF, Violet?) and cover each other up for bedtime and search for their mommies together (this is a common scenario, the Missing Mommy scenario … another common one is the quest to find some mysterious castle). So I spend a lot of time changing the outfits of the Barbies in her ragtag collection. Can I just say that if your child is into Barbies, and you remember the Barbie aisles of your youth at Toys R Us, you will be disappointed. Etsy is a much better place to get Barbie clothes and things. MUCH better.

And that is your tip from me about Barbies. Now I have to end this stream of consciousness and locate some Smurfs …

The Downside of Having Front-loaders

August 21st, 2011

You can see what’s being washed in the machine, so family members can monitor the housework and comment on things. Apparently, I erred in washing a certain dirty school bag:


Look, I don’t need you looking over my shoulder, VIOLET, aka the-reason-I-have-to-do-most-of-this-housework-to-being-with. OK?!

Violet Wants …

August 4th, 2011

… a Dora popsicle. Fifty times a day.

Violet Wants …

July 27th, 2011

“Dad, I want curry.” (This means she wants to go to Curry House. Unfortunately, it is 10 o’clock at night.)

Violet Loves My-Oh

July 26th, 2011

One of Violet’s favorite characters—perhaps second only to any and all princesses—is Mario (aka “My-Oh”). In case you don’t know, Mario is a little Italian-American plumber/hero from Nintendo video games. Violet has been enthralled with him since early on, and now her fandom is in full swing. She daily demands from Steve either “Big Mario Race” (Mario Kart on the Wii and TV), “Tiny Mario Race” (Mario Kart on the DS), or “Tiny, Tiny Mario Race” (Mario Kart on the Game Boy Micro). She loves her second-hand Mario PJs (aka “Mario Clothes” or “Mario Jamamas”), although she has pointed out her dismay that none of the princess characters from the Mario series are depicted on the fabric alongside the male heroes and villains. (That’s my girl!)

It’s a highlight of my entertainment around here to listen to her direct Steve as he plays Mario Kart. She demands either the princess character or “Queen,” as she calls the ghost character, who wears a crown but is not very queenly. She chooses which vehicle will be driven, and she alerts Steve to dangers on the track, demands he do certain things (he mostly repeats, “Yeah, I’m tryin’”), and reacts dramatically to character achievements and setbacks.

Best of all, she has a little Mario figurine that I keep in my purse, along with her princess figurines, and bust out for those boring waits in restaurants and elsewhere. The typical scenario she acts out with these figurines involves a princess in peril (i.e. trapped behind the salt shakers and Splenda packets), who is recused by Mario.

And now it is time for school. As Violet is wont to say with an Italian accent, a la Mario, “Let’s-a go!”

Things I Shouldn’t Have to Say/Explain

July 20th, 2011

“I’m putting away the tweezers now, so do not jam any more Play Dough way up your nose.”


July 16th, 2011

Our neighbor meditates or prays, I’m not sure, in a monotone chant sometimes. As Violet and I walked by her open window, Violet explained to me, “That’s a robot!”

“No, it’s not a robot,” I said, “It’s someone praying.”

“It’s a praying robot!”

Things I Shouldn’t Have to Say/Explain

July 6th, 2011

Um, stop. Do not put cheese-melted nachos in my boots.

Stevel on Taking a Three-year-old to Baskin Robbins

July 3rd, 2011

“They should give away the ice cream for free and sell the napkins.”

« Previous Entries