Newsletter, Olivia

Month 73

Dear Olivia,

When Halloween was approaching and costume catalogs started rolling in, I was certain you were going to declare that you would be Elsa for the big day.  I look back on Halloween with fondness, longing for the days when I could dress you and Miles up in adorably embarrassing costumes but you quickly got wise to my motives and have since decided that I will have no say in the matter.  Miles announced he wanted to be Dash from The Incredibles which is fitting because like Dash, Miles can’t stand still.  You can imagine everyone’s surprise when you announced that you would be joining Miles as Violet.  Do my ears deceive me?  Has the ice queen been dethrowned?  I’m pretty elated because not only are we taking a break from Elsa, we’re choosing a strong female character.  Our neighbors were equally alarmed when you trick-or-treated at their doors, all wondering what had happened to Elsa.  Never fear, everyone–once Halloween came and went, Violet was tucked away and Elsa made a swift return.

This marked the first Halloween where it was obvious, everyone knew the drill and everyone knew the importance of the mission–obtain as much candy as possible in the shortest amount of time.  Upon the announcement that it was time to start trick-or-treating, you and Miles took off.  Literally, you began running from house to house.  In the dark.  Chasing your friends.  It was the most stressful Halloween I have experienced thus far and was tempted to call your dad for assistance when I was finally able to wrangle you two in.  I was freaking out because I’m staying behind to wait for Erma who has to walk slower with Channing and keeping track of where you two are which at times was four or five houses away from me.  When most of your friends began heading home and you had enough weight in your candy bags to slow you down, the evening finally came to a nice and relaxing saunter which is much more my speed.  Plus, it gives me more time to rummage through your bags while you take your time walking up to the next house.


There were plenty of celebrations we attended to make sure we got our money’s worth out of your costume but interestingly, your school does not celebrate Halloween.  Instead they celebrate U.N. day where kids are encouraged to wear clothes associated with their nationality.  On this U.N. day, there would be a parade and a giant sing-a-long with the whole school in the park.  I lack the super mom spirit and drive so you wore your Irish soccer jersey and waved a little plastic Ireland flag that was purchased from a kiosk at the St. Patrick’s day carnival a couple years back.  Parents were also asked to bring traditional food from their country for a potluck celebration in the classroom.  Somehow, all enthusiasm for this day escaped me because I armed you with a Safeway fruit salad and a block of Irish cheddar–kids like fruit and cheese, right?

Despite my lack of involvement, it really was an adorable event.  Very hippy-dippy, but adorable nonetheless.  As the school was singing Beatles songs and everyone had their arms around each other swaying, I couldn’t help but think what that moment really needed was the smell of pot and someone in a flowing skirt waving around burning sage.  Sadly, your school came up short in that department.  It was, however, refreshing to not have to watch another parade with a dozen Elsas and Batmans so I appreciate their fresh approach to the holiday.

Your dad has been running a lot lately and I always think it’s important to be their to cheer him on because given how hard he works, it’s amazing that he has the motivation and drive to take on these races.  Sometimes the races start at ungodly hours and they are almost always clear across the Bay Area which means we often leave the house much earlier than I would care to.  Given how much you hate mornings, sometimes I consider waking you up, the bigger challenge of the two.  One particular race was in San Francisco with a start time of 7am which meant we had to leave the house by 5:30.  An aggressive undertaking, I know.  Thankfully the race is near Fisherman’s Wharf so I know we would at least have a Starbucks or equivalent to hang out at while we waited for Dad.  We watch Dad take off with the other 5,000 runners and from this point, I know we have roughly an hour and a half until we need to get back to the finish line.

We run over to Starbucks where there is a line beyond belief.  Apparently, we are not the only family members waiting for their runners to return.  We go to the bathroom to discover there isn’t a square of toilet paper.  After waiting for an employee to restock, you two decide to unravel a wee bit, fighting over who’s going to pee first, someone is standing too close, someone is staring…the reasons are endless.  We line up to wash our hands because there is one sink for three stalls.  While we’re waiting, a curious woman begins talking to the two of you.  The bickering between you and your brother always attracts the curious ones.  She starts singing in an attempt to get you two to sing along with her and neither one of you are at all interested.  I decide in an attempt to get this woman to move along, I let her wash her hands first.  She rolls up her sleeves and begins washing her hands and then her arms and then decides to refresh her face and neck and so on and so on.  We stand there bewildered that this woman, seeing us waiting, has decided to take her time while she bathes.  Once she’s done grooming, we quickly wash our hands and get the hell out of there for fear that she will follow.

We leave the bathroom to stand in the line that appears to be going straight to my grave.  You and Miles lose your shit as you see the line that is before us.  I’m trying to calm you down as I discover our bathing friend is standing next to us, singing to the two of you.  Scared, you do that leg grab where if you could jump back in to the womb, you would.  Miles starts throwing himself on the ground and the woman begins to proceed to tell me about a parenting book that I should read–ways to control your children.  I decide this woman is about to walk away with a parting gift that is my middle finger.  I think the throwing of the stirring sticks was her final straw because I turned around, and poof, she was gone.  Children and San Francisco almost never go together.  Thankfully, even the two of you can scare away the crazies.

Watching dad run has inspired you and Miles to want to run as well.  Fortunately, most races have some kind of kid race that you two are always eager to participate in.  On one particular race, I wasn’t planning to have you two run because sometimes the kid races are ridiculously expensive but since dad is an ambassador for the running organziation that planned the race, you were able to run for free.  The race took place on a horse track and since it was raining, both of you were wearing non-running apparel; jeans, rainboots, etc.  That was a small minor detail in your eyes because there you were in your yellow galoshes, sprinting to the finish line.  The joy continued to grow when you learned as a runner, you could help yourself to the buffet of snacks.  For me, that’s the real prize.

 

Now that Halloween has passed, you are very excited for the arrival of Christmas and thanks to countless toy commercials and stores selling Christmas merchandise since September, you are already making your wish list for Santa.  So far the list is as follows: an Elsa ice-skating doll, a Lalaloopsy doll that you can color, a Snackeez, and my personal favorite, the Lalaloopsy Diaper Surprise doll.  I asked you what you thought the “surprise” was and you said, I don’t know, gems?  Oh child, you’re so pretty.  Don’t worry, you can have your diaper surprises one day when you care for your mother in her old age.  Huzzah!

Love,

Momma

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