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!