Friday, April 22, 2011

Conversation with a (newly) 4 year old

Hallie: I decided I'm going to have six children when I grow up.

Me: Six?? Didn't you just tell me yesterday that you want two?

Hallie: Yes, I thought so, named Nayva and Colin Skeleton Dennis Ralston. But I think it would be more greater to have six.

Me: Why six?

Hallie: Because then when I'm gone they can just work around the house!

Me: Oh really?? Is that how that works? Well, I've got two children, do you think they could work around the house for me?

Hallie: (sigh) No Mommy, because there's only two of us, so we would get lonely. Six would be more better because they would keep each other company.

Me: (silent laughter)

Hallie: And I'm going to have teenagers. Six teenagers. (emphasis on the "ee"; i.e. teeeenagers)

Me: (interrupting) Wait, are they going to be born as teenagers, or born as babies and grow into teenagers?

Hallie: They're going to be born teenagers.

Me: Oh's that going to work?

Hallie: Well, Jesus is just going to have to figure that out.

Me: (seriously confused, wondering if Jesus is now one of the teenagers) How is Jesus involved in this??

Hallie: (long-suffering sigh) Because that's who made me, Mommy...did you forget about that part?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Good Lord, have I really not written a single word since the year began?? How is this possible?? Perhaps I only have so much creative energy, and since I've been focusing on painting more, the writing retreated meekly into a dusty corner.

Well, don't know if that's going to change that much, but Hallie did just make me chuckle enough to want to share it...and did I mention that she's going to turn 4 next month, and I'm pretty sure I didn't authorize such a step?? Where are my babies going??

Okay, so current funniness:

Hallie asks what that white line in the sky was, and I explain what little I know about skywriters and their smoke trails. She then looks pensive, and wistfully states, "I wish I could be a person who takes other people for rides in airplanes when I grow up."

I am delighted by such an out-of-the-box aspiration from my girly-girl, who until that moment was pretty much stuck on being a princess, which, as near as she could tell, was totally achievable once she'd found the right accessories. I am now barraged by images of a fearless young lady flying around the world, bold, daring, her own person, unfettered by society's conventions and expectations.

Me: "A pilot? You want to fly planes? That's a great thing to be!"

Hallie: "Yeah." (big sigh) "The only problem is, I just don't know what I'd wear."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Golden Afternoon

Funny moment on Sunday:

On a car ride back from my cousin's wedding in San Marcos, the kids were doing something in the back seat that Eli and I weren't really paying attention to, until talk got a little louder. When we tuned in, Colin had just handed Hallie a single sunflower petal.

Her response was over-the-top gratitude, "Oh, thank you, that's so very kind of you!" She petted the petal, holding it to her cheek, murmuring lovingly to it.

Meanwhile, Colin had a double handful of petals, which he was muttering over in a voice that was half-Golem, half-crazy-prospector--"It's gold. Gold, I tell you!!"--while shaking his flowery fists to the roof of the car in triumph.

And the thing was, the petals had come from the wedding bouquet which the bride had bestowed on Hallie the night before. Colin was intensely jealous of this--being so keenly attuned to injustice as it pertains to things his sister gets and he doesn't--so he had ripped the heads off about four sunflowers, denuded them, and then, perhaps feeling a distant twinge of something vaguely like guilt, gave back a single petal. Which she adored beyond reason, because her beloved big brother gave her something (a tragically rare occurrence), never realizing that they were ALL hers by rights.

And when did he learn about crazy prospectors, anyway??

Monday, November 15, 2010

Follicle Follies

I never did get back to the Tragedy of Hallie's Hair, did I? Well, it wasn't actually that bad, as it turned out...but in a nutshell, it was this:

Hallie woke up one day with the most colossally bad tangle I've ever seen hanging just off-center at the back of her head. I girded myself for battle with a comb and nearly-full bottle of spray detangler, and waded in...only to gape with dawning horror as every strand I untangled fell off her head and into my hand. If I can figure out the complicated machinations necessary, I'll include a picture of the large mass of escaped hair, because, really, it was hard to fathom. I thought I must have been causing this follicular exodus (insert pangs of terrified guilt), until I looked more closely, and saw that, instead of falling out at the root, these strands were leaving behind two or three inches still attached, mixed in with hanks of the correct length.

This was was the process of trying to get a definitive answer from a three year old who thinks--is not sure--but thinks she might be in trouble, and also is easily distracted by shiny objects. Especially mirrors reflecting her favorite image, herself. (Note to self: never interrogate Hallie in the bathroom, ever again.)

So...I may never know exactly what happened, because accounts vary depending on mood, person asking, and whether or not princesses are involved...but I think that Hallie was toodling around in her room in the dark again (she has stopped the nocturnal cleaning sessions, but nocturnal toodling is still hip), came across a contraband pair of scissors she had "borrowed" from Colin earlier that day, and just stuck them in her hair in random spots, snipping occasionally, causing the hair to fall only part way out, and then tangle. That's my theory.

End result: no bald patches, just weirdly thin places that defy styling of any kind, and straggle down looking like her mother doesn't brush her hair. This bothers me almost more than a shaved head would, that I might be perceived as letting my child out of the house with an unkempt head. I think my soul just died a little. Me, the Queen of the Well-Placed Bow (well, Arch mother's the Queen). And I thought broken bones were traumatic...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Catching Up

Hmm. It appears I have been lax in my blogging duties. Several weeks have gone by--several extraordinary weeks--and I have not blogged about them once. Perhaps this has been a case of living so intensely for this short while that I was unable to distance myself enough to write about it. I sincerely hope that's over.

For most of my life I've had this silent voice-over running through my head during any halfway-interesting occurrence, wherein I figure out how I would describe it in writing. I can't really help it; it just happens. But I do find that as I search for the right words and phrases to capture the moment, that moment becomes...a little blunted. Whatever extremes of joy or sorrow I'm feeling, the edges aren't quite so sharp after I've mentally written it down for posterity. Coping mechanism? Perhaps. Mental instability? Possibly. Although I prefer to think of it as "destined to be a writer". And I have actually been very surprised in my adulthood to find that not everyone has this voice--unless you're all lying to me?

But these last few weeks have been so very intense (at least at first) and then so very busy (up until this very moment--have to run Hallie to school, be right back) that my voice-over has been, for the first time I can remember, silent. It's a little eerie.

So, even though my helpful inner writer has not actually helped with these past weeks, here's what I've been up to:

Colin started Kindergarten. That was pretty emotional and overwhelming, but nothing compared to the moment when, an hour into his first day, I got the call that he'd broken his arm. So many panicky, chaotic moments jammed into that day...I don't even know if I can describe them. But here's the thing...from the safe distance of 3-plus weeks later, I can know, rationally, that a broken arm is not that huge a deal in the greater scheme, totally fixable, happens to tons of kids, perhaps even most. But those of you with young children, go look at their perfect little limbs that you've kissed since they were babies...that smooth, unmarred skin...and imagine seeing a bleeding wound, and an extra elbow in a terribly wrong place. At the time, it seemed pretty darn horrible enough--and not a single trauma-blunting voice to be found. I felt every baby was HURT. Weird how I can switch back and forth between that moment and feel it just as sharply all over again--I mean, I could let myself go and just sob--and then snap back to the day-to-day minutia of helping him do stuff with one hand. More coping mechanisms, I'm guessing.

So there's the emotional intensity, enough to last me for a while...and meanwhile, life goes on at blinding speed, and I'm struggling desperately to keep up with this whole school regime. Two kids on two schedules that I've barely got a grip on--and I know some other moms with three or four, which completely boggles my brain. Just getting up every day when it's still dark out is a near-fatal shock to my so-not-a-morning-person system. I feel like those letters should be capitalized: EVERY DAY. Then once I realize I'm really, truly, brutally awake, I have to fly into action, cooking and packaging and exhorting (but sweetly) and dressing flailing limbs when cooperation fails and then exhorting some more (less sweetly). I realize mothers everywhere have had to adjust to this same phenomenon for generations, but I still feel woefully unprepared, and like I want to shake somebody and say, "Do you get it?? Every day!!" Strangely, I get little sympathy with this approach. Huh.

I wonder just how long it will take to adapt to this new, exhausting way of life (it hasn't even been four full weeks yet). And I also wonder if I will still be able to hear that little voice-over in the midst of all this doing, or if it's been stunned into silence for good. Mental defect or not, I kinda miss it.

My husband pointed out that I didn't include another hugely traumatic upheaval, and that I would spoil the chronological flow if I tried to throw it in later, but I am insisting that Hallie's Self-Applied Haircut is its own, free-standing blog entry. So I'm not talking about it now.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Future Stand-up Comic

Looking back over my recent posts, I realize that 3 year old Hallie and her shenanigans are a recurring, perhaps even repetitive, topic.

I realize this, but I am helpless to stop it, because, I'm sorry people, she's just flat out funny!

Here's the latest proof:
Today as I was sitting at the computer, doing something desperately important like cruising around Facebook, Hallie wandered in. She drifted over to the window, and started aimlessly playing with the blinds, banging them around, trying to reach the pull-cord--basic low-grade naughtiness, generally employed to gain attention.

"What are you doing, Hallie?" I asked, a warning clear in my voice, giving her the chance to cease the borderline behavior. I asked this of my three-year old, you understand...little bitty girl, barely out of toddlerhood, cute as a button, limited three-year-old understanding.

The answer I got back, however, could have come from a thirty-year old, worldly, wryly ironic--it's all in the tone--aided and abetted by the sly, over-the-shoulder glance that said, I know you know the answer to that question, so I'm not even going to dignify it with the truth.

"What are you doing, Hallie?"

"Bobbing for apples, of course."

Of course, once she saw my reaction (i.e., gales of laughter), the thirty year old left the building, and the three-year old was back. She wanted to recreate the scene over and over, and I think now believes that the phrase "bobbing for apples" is the Great Punchline of the Century, no set-up required, slays 'em in the aisles every time. So her comedic sense comes and goes...but just wait till she's four!

Monday, August 23, 2010

"Don't make me do this..."

Yesterday afternoon, Colin engaged in his favorite activity of terrorizing his sister. This has many forms, but on this occasion was manifested by threatening her with his replica of a Napoleon-era pistol, straight from Paris, France, folks. It's not supposed to be a toy, but any time he picks it up to "just look" at it, the urge to brandish it at someone overwhelms him. So that's what he was doing, before Mommy and Daddy intervened and repeated our mandate of not pointing guns at people, not pretending to wound, maim, dismember, eviscerate, or otherwise do violence to living creatures, even if it happens to be your little sister. So there's the back story.

Several minutes later, Hallie wanted something to drink. I was deep in the throes of painting something, so I referred her to Daddy. Daddy was deep in the throes of computing something, so he asked her to wait a minute. Apparently she had a thirst the likes of which has never been seen, so she waxed impatient within seconds, and the polite, singsong-y "May I please have something to drink" turned abruptly to a screechy "Give me something to drink right now!!"

Suddenly she had our undivided attention.

"Hallie, that is not the way you talk to people," said Eli. "It is not okay to yell at Daddy like that."

"But I wanted something to drink!"

"And I said I would get you something, in just one minute. You need to be patient."

Silence. Then, in a tone implying that this was the only possible outcome for withholding beverages, and it was on our heads and we had only ourselves to blame, Hallie declared:

"I don't like those words. If that's what you're going to say to me, I'm just going to have to go shoot Colin."

Exit, stage right!

Her whole demeanor was so "hey, I didn't want it to come to this, but you leave me no choice," that Eli and I couldn't even respond. Basically, we just got schooled. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do, and if certain parties of siblitude have to pay the price for parental malfeasance, hey, that's just spreading the karma out a little more evenly, isn't it?