Middle of the Night Stream of Consciousness

November 27th, 2010

Thanksgiving was lovely. Thankers included the Hills of Irvine, Jeremy Sr., Xtine, David, David Gordon, and us. And Connie and Eric and Chelan stopped by. We enjoyed a bit of the beautiful day over in the park. Whole Foods supplied a delicious dinner. Megan supplied delicious pies. The kids played nicely. It was just a really great day.

Since then, Vibble’s had an on-and-off fever. When the fever is on, she just wants to watch BBC Oceans or Road Runner and snuggle. Poor hot little thing.

It’s been a hectic couple of months here. Sick, well, sick, well, sick, well … adventures, sleep-cycle-shifts, a two-year-old who opens the fridge and gets what she wants out of it. Who loves her friends fiercely but has a quick temper and a mean right hook. Who had to be held down at the dentist, but got over it long before her mother did (guess only one of us was traumatized by that whole stitches incident). Who mostly eats eggs and lollipops and bread. Who reads her books a lot, but is otherwise rarely still, or, if she is, is still in an upside-down yoga pose of some kind. Who needs a lot of jumpies and outlets for her go-go-go, and who is pretty damned impressive in her agility (everyone says so, we’re rather proud of her). Who doesn’t use the potty yet, but does sometimes enjoy sitting on the potty for a long time … only to hop off and pee on the floor, and then get back on (I’m not in any rush to potty train—I actually like diapers, with all of their control and convenience and predictability—so in your own time, Vibble, that’s fine). Who is only willing to get dressed if watching TV, and none of that Dinosaur Train, that’s way too tame [rolls eyes], give her Spongebob [wince] or [double-wince] Dora, or something similarly shouty and strobe-like in imagery, with commercials for things she drags me to the TV to show me, like, Did you know about this? A Barbie CONDO? Electronic hamsters? A baby doll that not only walks but falls on its FACE??? (Oh, look at that, you’re all dressed now! [Click.])

Who responds to the darkened screen on the TV-that’s-hooked-up-to-cable by saying dramatically, “Oh no! What HAPPENED?”

Who responds to the Apple-TV-TV by dumping toys out of containers to use those containers as stacking step-stools in her quest to be as close to the actual screen as humanly possible. (Is your name Violet, or VIOLET-GET-DOWN? I forget.)

Who is squarely in the “MINE!” phase. Which is tense for parents on the playground. Thankfully, our playgroup is a more comfortable place to work on that. Unfortunately, Vibble is about an 8.5 on the “MINE!” Richter Scale. Familiar scene: Here comes one of Violet’s friends in tears, possibly injured; and here comes Violet happily behind, holding some toy. We’re working on this, we all are. Violet included. I think, actually, she works pretty hard to be even that good. Fight the demons, Honey.

Who is truly a marvel in her gymnastics class, even if she outright rejects the concepts of “class” and “teacher” and “Hey, look, here’s what we’re all doing now … Oh? No? Not you? Um, ok …” (Wait, is your name Violet, or VIOLET-STAY-WITH-YOUR-TEACHER, I forget.)

Who love-love-loves to paint! EVERYTHING! Paper is for wussies, don’t you know. Paint your face, paint your toys, paint your friends!

Who is now aware when her photo is being taken.

Who sincerely enjoys live entertainment of any kind.

Who blows our minds with what she remembers.

Who misses her parents when we’re apart, but who has a good time without us, too.

Who says to me throughout the day, “Hi, how are you?”

Who wants her shoes off, but would wear the same dress forever if she had her way. (Doesn’t matter which one, just don’t take it off, it’s MIIIINNNNNEEEE! Same with the diaper. “Oh no! MINE! What HAPPENED?!”)

Oh, it HAS to be a dress. A dress makes the best disguise. (“What a cute little—OW! It bit me!”)

Who is still not talking too much, but who is about to start getting a little more help with that, and a few other things, for a bit. (Recent conversation … Friend: “Wow, she has her own little language!” Steve: “Yeah, we’re hoping she learns our language soon.”)

Who has begun to play imaginatively in the most adorable ways, especially with her dress-up play clothes and in her little kitchen. (I think this is my favorite little-kid phase of all, with each of the kids I know.)

Who secretly knows all kinds of things—her shapes, for instance—but isn’t always willing to let on. Again, the theme here is: ON HER TERMS. Always. We’ve learned through extensive experimentation that with this kid, forcing/enforcing anything is generally counter-productive, no matter how committed/consistent we are. It just rarely leads where we want to go, in so many ways. She’s not in charge, far from it, and she often has to do things she doesn’t want to do. But we’ve had to adopt a parenting style that allows for a lot of flexibility and a diagnostic approach—’Why is she doing XYZ? Why does she object to ABC?’ If we can figure out the “why” with her, and talk about it, and address it, and oftentimes, just show an awareness of it, we make a lot more headway. She’s just not someone who is very often open to suggestion. She doesn’t really care if she pleases us, or if she is doing what everyone else is doing. She doesn’t respond to threats, and she only sort of responds to rewards. She’s moody, and sometimes the “why” is simply that: She’s in a mood, and it will pass in ten minutes, at which time she will be more than happy to cease being naked in this parking lot and let me put on her clothes so we can join her friends or her class inside. Meanwhile, she prefers to sit on this parking space marker and sing “Whistle While You Work,” and all attempts to force her into clothes will involve trauma for everyone. So be it. I have an iPhone, and it’s been ages since I skimmed Facebook. Sing away, naked kid! We’ll go in when you’re good and ready. Maybe she has us trained. Maybe we all have each other trained. I guess that’s kind of what family is to me, though—I know you, you know me, we know each other’s sensitivities and quirks, and while we don’t walk on eggshells, we are considerate of them … that’s why we trust each other enough to know that when one of those “quirks” comes into question, it might be because it’s for our own good/growth to have it challenged. (I did warn you in the title that this would be a stream-of-consciousness entry. But I DIDN’T warn you it would be so PROFOUND! Heh.)

This is all to say, Violet is at an amazing stage right now. She’s a strong personality, vibrantly individual. This can be frustrating for her parents sometimes, but it’s also the thing we are most proud of in her. There is nothing—NOTHING—she can’t do. Nothing she won’t try. Fearless.

Uh, oh, someone is crying upstairs now. Fever back on. We’re going to get you well, sad little toughie, so you can get back to blowing wasabi kisses at the world.

Good night.

Fa la la la la-LaVietes!

December 27th, 2009

That’s possibly the cheesiest title I’ve ever come up with, and that’s saying a lot, considering I spent a couple of years titling articles in the ZOOgram magazine at The Baltimore Zoo. Got Cranes on the Brain? Paying Raptor Attention?

The holiday report is this:

THANKSGIVING: Anne and Auggie visited. The Hills came over, as did David, and Jeremy stopped by, as did Jeremy Jr. and Julie and Cousin-Shana. Patricia was here too. Am I forgetting anyone? We played some games, went to the playground (a bit chilly but nice to get fresh air.) We had a lovely dinner, as prepared by Jerry’s Famous Deli and picked up to-go. This is called slaving over a hot credit-card. Violet was not interested in eating one bite of this feastly feast, oh no, she had found superior nutrition in the form of a small tray of assorted trail mixes set out as appetizers. All day, all she ate: Trail mix.

CHRISTMAS: This time I got Whole Foods do the cooking, and what a tasty meal it was! We were joined by Jeremy, Melissa, David, Junior, Julie, Noelle, and Phil. We were also joined by the Wightmans, but as we did not hear the phone ring to let them in, we were denied the pleasure of their company. [Yes, in other words, we invited them and then did not answer the door when they came. We are enormous jerks. :( ] But in happier news, we played Pictionary and Buzz, played outside in warm sunshine, and partook of decorated cookies, mudslides, a fantastic meal, and other treats. Oh, except for Violet, who spent the day eating nothing but—you guessed it—TRAIL MIX. Again.

I got a few photos on my phone, and Melissa and Jeremy had a camera along, so one way or another, I’ll share photos with you soon. Now I need to go eat some leftovers and dump the trail mix out of my shoes.

Merry merry to you all!

O Christmas Lamp, O Christmas Lamp

December 22nd, 2009

Here at No. 6, we are preparing for for the holidays with festive verve. We have decorated the Christmas “tree” and wrapped the gifts, sent out the cards, and invited the friends to play on Friday. You will note our “tree” is actually a lamp. Reason: Vibble cannot be trusted with an actual tree. I learned that at Sizzler.

Stevel is working from home this week and off next week. Awesome!

This year Violet is getting … not a lot. She doesn’t really know what’s going on, so I’m not about to drop a wad on her. There IS a new tricycle in the house (well, new to us—recycled), and I’ve ordered some accessories for it. And when Nana and Papa-Auggie visited for Thanksgiving, she got an early holiday gift in the form of a cute little dollhouse. So the newness is well underway.

Vibble went to speech therapy last week. Overall, she is behind—the speech pathologist says she is about 25% behind—but not for any medical or mental reason. The doc attributed it to “desire,” meaning, Violet doesn’t want to talk more, or doesn’t have incentive to talk more. She didn’t advise speech therapy, just a continuation on our part of things we’ve already been doing and perhaps an increase in the activities we do with other children. She did say Violet is advanced in terms of coordination and physical agility. She thinks she will likely catch up to her peers with encouragement from us to practice talking more.

On an unrelated side note, a holiday shout out to our friends at Table Toppers, one of my favorite products and something I’m thankful for this holiday season. These things have saved us. Everywhere we go (and we eat out a lot, for various reasons), everyone seems so impressed when we whip these things out and attach one to the table. Like we are such great parents for insuring our daughter eats off of a sanitary surface. Little do they know the actual reason: Violet cannot be trusted with dishware. (We learned that at Sizzler, too. Also at Akbar. And Thai Dishes. And …) Oh, and on another unrelated side note: Toddler leg warmers are some of the cutest things ever invented, holy crap.

More recent photos


January 1st, 2009

Enjoying a visit from Debi and Sam right now. Photos of that, plus Christmas morning, are here (click). Merry merry!

UPDATE! I have more to add:

So, on this visit, we did the aquarium, which Sam seemed to enjoy a lot. He is a fan of turtles and got up his nerve to pet some rays and sharks in the touch-pools. He aspires to be an oceanographer one day, so it was really up his alley. Violet, meanwhile, was enthralled watching all of the kids. She also seemed to enjoy the tanks this time—not a ton of enthusiasm, but she was interested. The only incident was when an adorable sea lion came over to the other side of the glass right in front of us to play, and Vibble freaked out—screamed, clutched at me, and began sobbing. Too dog-like, maybe. No matter how much I try to expose her to dogs in a gentle way, she fears them for the most part.

We also enjoyed a great day down at the beach by the pier with Sam and Violet. Vibble is very entertained by her big cousin.

For new year’s, Debi and Sam hung out with Violet here at No. 6 so Stevel and I could go out to dinner ALONE. This hasn’t really happened much in the last ten months, although it WILL be happening MORE. Anyway, we went to Akbar, of course, and enjoyed ourselves. We even got dessert (the Mango Surprise is BACK). When we got home, we all watched the ball drop on the East coast. As we debated whether to stay up until West-coast Midnight, we watched an episode of Hannah Montana, thanks to Sam. If you’ve never seen this show, it’s really something. Steve’s reaction? “Is this the end of civilization?”

Christmas was delightful. We spent Christmas Eve with the Kodjas and their other guests here in Santa Monica, trying some authentic Thai seafood. It was delicious, and I had never seen a big squid-head on a grill before. BUT NOW I HAVE. We played “Scene-It,” which I have to admit I always assumed was a dumb game, but it is actually great fun. Violet interacted with 8-month-old Joseph. He is a big, healthy kid with sweet pink cheeks. Mostly, they grabbed at each other’s faces. It was Mrs. Kodja’s birthday, which meant there was both a cookie-cake AND an ice cream cake. And champagne! Let’s just say I had to detox the next day, and not from the champagne. The Kodjas also brought us two pears the size of monkey heads for New Years.

Christmas morning we had visits from David, Jeremy, and Melissa. (Thus, additional photos shall be forthcoming.) We all enjoyed watching Violet experience her first Christmas. She did not seem to notice anything special going on and mostly, as we predicted, enjoyed playing in the discarded wrapping. David and I took a walk to get cake (well, I got cake, and David showed amazing restraint in ordering only a bottled water) and visit Sarah-Architect. Later, the Kadoshes (Eitan, Jacquelyn, and Charlie) came over for a nice, long, leisurely afternoon and evening of Rock Band, “Apples to Apples,” and junk food. Oh, man, GREAT DAY!

Happy new year to all. :)