Deconstructed Glamping

Violet is a runner.

No matter how many times I have serious down-on-my-knees-intense-eye-contact conversations about how she must stop when I yell “stop”, she invariably runs off into crowds, or down the street, chucking her shoes off in insouciant defiance as I run after her with Hazel under my arm like a football.

Yesterday, for instance, after swim class at Crissy Field, she ran onto the rail-less fishing pier which is practically UNDER THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE, and leaned over the edge to “just look at the mermaids”.

Things are stressful.

So we can’t do things like go camping. Because we would not end up “camping”. We would just be looking for Violet, in the dark, in the woods.

I’ve been creative. I set up their teepee in the living room, found a You Tube video of a campfire, stuck two marshmallows onto some chopsticks, and we “camped”. No real fire. No real woods. No real stress.

We upped the ante when Dad was home. We pitched a real tent in the backyard. We built a small fire in the fire pit. We told stories in the tent with a flashlight. And then we took the kids up to their bedroom and locked them in while we enjoyed a peaceful night’s sleep with a flush toilet nearby.

Things sort of devolved from there though.

They ended up liking this “camping” thing. They started putting blankets over chairs. Fine.

Then yesterday, before the near drowning incident which was immediately after the water safety class, I went downstairs to feed the animals. This is a bit of what the girls created when I came back up 4 minutes later.


Yes, that is a bunch of Legos and toys and a piggy bank behind a chair. What you don’t see is the throw pillows out of frame that have been colored on, or that ALL our silverware is underneath those toys, as well as an up-ended box of 100 toothpicks.

Why did they do this? They were just “camping”.

Then, last night a woman from the old preschool came over to help me with something that I’m doing for the old preschool, even though we’re not at the preschool anymore. I’m obviously an idiot. But anyway, the woman’s older daughter clued my kids into the one idea that I have been desperately trying to keep under wraps, which is “if you want to get over the child gate separating the kids’ part of the house from the rest of it, all you need to do is push a chair up to the child gate and jump over. Duh.”

So that happened. And then they were upstairs, ostensibly playing with costumes. But in reality, they were breaking Jack’s grandmother’s jewelry (that I wore during our wedding), and pouring my perfume out onto the carpet, and dumping powder all over each other.

When Jack came home, I was in tears, and he was obviously upset about the family jewels (for once not used euphemistically), and so he said, “How would you like it if I broke your stuff?!!!”, and then in an emotionally charged moment, he grabbed the “grandpa” out of Violet’s dollhouse and snapped both of his legs off.

I too think it’s weird to break Grandpa’s legs because Grandma’s jewelry got broken, and that it’s not such a great idea to teach “an eye for an eye”, but the whole broken grandparent thing does make for some poetic justice, I’ll admit.

And then today when I picked the girls up from preschool, Hazel did the thing that she does every time we get into the car which is that she wants whatever car seat that Violet sits in. She will thrash about and literally foam at the mouth if I don’t give in to switching them around ad infinitum.

I’ve learned to try to ride out her tantrums. So we sat in the parked car while Hazel screamed and I periodically explained that I could keep playing “Words With Friends” on my phone forever, and that we couldn’t go because if I drove with her out of her carseat, I would get in trouble with the police.

Except that today, her tantrum lasted almost thirty minutes and no one was getting back to me with their word plays fast enough. So I told the girls that I was going to have to call the police.

If you are going to judge me or Jack for what happened next, you obviously have not been paying attention to what I’ve been trying to explain to you about my children and you certainly have none of your own, so shut up.

Anyway, I called Jack at work and said, “Hello Officer. Yes, Hazel won’t get into her carseat, so if you could please come and talk to her I would appreciate that.” Jack rolled with it right away. He wrote a tiny string of code on his computer and I played it through my speaker phone.

It worked immediately. It scared the crap out of them.

But the weirdest part was that immediately after Hazel allowed me to buckle her into her carseat, I thanked “the policeman” and hung up, and then the radio started playing the 60’s sub-par bubblegum song, “Hooray For Hazel”. And she was convinced the Universe was singing her praises.

Just in case you don’t know, the song’s lyrics go thusly:

Hooray for Hazel, she put me down
Hooray for Hazel, she made me her clown
Hooray for Hazel, she’s up to her tricks
Hooray for Hazel, she’s gettin’ her kicks
Hazel only does things she wants to do
She’s selfish and spoiled and she knows that she’s cute
Hooray for Hazel, she still gets her way

It’s like a two-year-old doesn’t even get the not-so-subtle sarcastic snark which is really saying that Hazel’s a bitch. Or maybe she does get it, and that’s even more frightening.

All I know is that Violet got into my perfume and powder again tonight. Jack’s going to be writing a lot more code methinks.

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6 Responses to Deconstructed Glamping

  1. Marianne says:

    Somehow my one kid teething doesn’t seem so bad now! Thanks for putting things in perspective. I wish we lived closer!!! Miss you girl. xx

  2. Auntie G says:

    Oh dear…
    What an insane week that was!
    I’d love to look into some future dates to come visit for a spell. Sounds like you two could use a little adult time REALLY GLAMPING it up!

  3. Perpetua says:

    That is the finest use of computer science in parenting I’ve ever heard.

  4. Vickie Eastman says:

    This reminds me of the time Tom and Adam (8.5 months apart) had me curled in the fetal position in the corner of the bedroom screaming at them to go away and leave me alone. Or the year
    I put a smiley face on the calendar for every day I did not kill Megan. Hang on….hang on.

  5. Alan Eastman says:

    I remember raising my kids that I often wondered which might come first, suicide or murder. They turned out OK – hang in there! (These stories get a lot funnier with a little/lot of distance…)

  6. Alan Eastman says:

    Mostly OK….

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