I’ve been reading this blog a little bit lately and I feel kind of divided because, on the one hand, yeah, these people are annoying. (And the guy who wrote that thing on Amy Winehouse’s death? About how she hadn’t done anything of “real significance,” whereas his wife stays home with their son and has taught him math, so that’s “an accomplishment that matters.” WTF, dude? I mean, look, I’m a stay-at-home mom like your wife, so I obviously think there’s something valuable about teaching your kids and blah blah blah, but I don’t think it’s the only significant thing one can do on the planet. Writing songs that millions of people love is, you know, “an accomplishment that matters,” too. Ass.) And on the other hand, I am a parent and I like talking about how adorable my kid is. As I do when I, for instance, post these updates.
So I’m sorry if these updates annoy you. The posts are always titled “Zoe” or similar so if you see them crop up and your reaction is, “Ugh, she’s bragging about her kid again,” then please don’t read them. Partly I’m doing this for posterity anyway, so that there is a log of all the things we’ll want to remember but won’t.
But partly I’m doing this for the people in our lives who love these posts. Some people tell me they only read these posts. Some people live far away from us and want to know what Zoe is up to. Some people love Zoe as much or more than they love me, but she can’t blog or Facebook update yet, so I have to do these things for her. I’m really not trying to be obnoxious.
That said, here we go:
1. She’s going extremely polite. “Please” and “Thank you” and even “Thank you for everything, Mom,” all the time. She’s even able to say “Please I want more chips” and “Thank you” to waitstaff, something that some nearly-grown-ups I know have trouble doing. It’s really very heartening.
2. She has started the dramatic play phase of her development, which is pretty awesome. She pretends to talk to people on the phone, she puts on “shows,” she has complicated relationships with stuffed animals. But so far its chief manifestation lies in wanting her friends to “save” her. The other day her (male) friend Ero “saved” her and she clung on to his arm and cocked her head to the side and walked around the room with him with a coy look on her face. Guys. I am in so. much. trouble.
3. She likes to throw fabric around and call it “laundry.”
4. Her first question about a day is “Who are we going to see?” (And her first guess is “Ero and Lou.”)
5. She had such a good time in the Berkshires. I barely saw her. So many willing playmates (especially cousin Sammy)! And she made my dad read Not a Box to her over and over again. He was really annoyed by it. 🙂
6. She talks about things happening “when I was a little girl.” Like, when, yesterday? Five minutes from now?
7. She calls them “nighting gowns.”
8. So we took her to see Beauty and the Beast on stage, which was semi-successful. Her Grandma Lisa and Poppa got her the Beast plush doll which she immediately started a love-hate relationship with. That night she started referring to the doll as her “scary child.” And she had this whole involved conversation with him in which she expressed that he was scared of the “black kitty” (We were watching True Blood. We know we’re bad parents. Shut up.) and he wanted to watch a different Tivo because we have Tivo but the scary child must not touch the remote and also the scary child is hungry and wants a cupcake. Then there was a whole thing about how Zoe is scared of the Beast but she’s not Zoe, she’s Belle, and the Beast marries her. It’s hard to transcribe but trust me, it was the most awesome thing ever.
8a. Also she pointed to the Beast’s purple cape and said, “That’s a cute top on him.”
9. Chicago is having this Go Do Good campaign. I was having trouble discerning the Os from the Ds in the signage (because I am very, very old) and so I asked the usher at the play. When they said it was to encourage Chicagoans to do good deeds, I asked Zoe, “What good deed should we do? What would make someone happy?”, she said, “Me.”
10. When we were in the Berkshires with my dad, we were staying at a house that was about a half-mile from the “downtown” of Great Barrington, and we would walk there just about every day for shopping, food, whatever. Now that we are home, Zoe keeps asking to “walk into town.”
11. We went into Bloomingdale’s because she had to go potty. We walked in through the shoe department and she was immediately like, “Let’s buy shoes! Let’s buy some red shoes for you! And a necklace!” (I kept moving through this because she was on my shoulders and I didn’t want her to pee on my head.* So we hit the jewelry section next.) So then after the potty I took her to the shoe department. She was so enthused, you guys. Her first pick was a pair of red patent leather Kate Spade flats with pointed toes and an ankle strap – way more trendy than I’d ever go for. She also liked these jewel-encrusted Coach flats, which she felt would be good for Rapunzel, and stiletto pumps with saddle-shoe detailing by Joan & David. And really, really tall black boots. I really think I gave birth to Kate‘s daughter instead of mine.
12. She’s so verbal and so precise in her language. She doesn’t say, “Cupcake!” or even, “I want a cupcake!” She says, “Mommy, I would like a cupcake please. A pink cupcake. A pink cupcake with a white star.” (Because they’re from Sprinkles, and she sometimes chooses her own little decoration-thingie.) “Let’s go, Mommy, let’s go buy a cupcake. Let’s go buy one. Let’s buy a pink cupcake for me. And a brown cupcake for Daddy. And a white cupcake for you. You can have a cupcake with me, too. Come on. Come on, let’s go. Right now.”
13. She will only wear dresses now. Skirts? No. Shorts? No. Dresses. And nighting gowns.
14. She’s been bad lately. It’s not just the hitting, it’s the total lack of regard for what I tell her to do. And it’s the instant screech-and-hit reaction to anything other than getting exactly what she wants right now. And for the most part, I like my updates about her to be sunshine and lollipops, because, you know, this is for posterity and who wants to read about bad stuff? On the other hand, there is some value to talking about just how tough this shit is. Because you might be thinking, “Oh, your two-year-old hits you, so what? Two-year-olds do that and you just put her in a time-out and get on with your day, right? I mean, she’s itty-bitty, even for a two-year-old. It can’t possibly hurt.” You guys, it hurts. It doesn’t hurt physically (although she does have some degree of strength and no real understanding of how or why to control that), but it hurts your heart when your own child hits you. And when she’s far into the tantrum, screaming and flailing and hitting repeatedly, the helplessness, the lack of control, the RAGE I feel, coupled with the absolute commitment to controlling that rage, are overwhelming. And at that point, you can’t “just put her in a time-out”; children (people) don’t work that way. She’s mid-tantrum, time-outs are meaningless and impossible. Not to mention I don’t think I believe in time-outs. And that’s actually the hardest thing – that the RAGE is directing me to parent in a certain way – punitive, harsh, authoritarian – and it’s the opposite of the way I want to parent. But the way I want to parent offers limited advice for what to do with a child who is SCREAMING and HITTING you RIGHT NOW. So, my point is, this parenting stuff is hard.
15. On the other hand, she always wants to help. Even if it’s actually a hindrance to let her, her eagerness to do it is pretty awesome. She likes to help me put laundry in the washer and dryer. (She also likes to throw it around while I fold it.) She likes to help Daddy clean. Recently she tried to help me fix a paper jam in a copy machine. I really like that about her, that a) she wants to lend a hand, and b) she’s interested in everything that happens around her and wants to be a part of it. It’s a little bit of a pain in the ass, but it’s more awesome than unfortunate.
16. “I don’t want this dress on anymore.” (Removes dress) “I want to wear a blue dress. I want to wear my Cinderella nighting gown. Right now. I want to wear my Cinderella nighting gown on my nak’dy legs.”
17. (At the grocery store) Me: I love you. Zoe: I love you, too. Let’s talk about noovies. Me: Okay. What movies do you want to talk about? Zoe: I like Winnie the Pooh, I like Marry Potter (and I should note here that she is saying “Marry,” to rhyme with “Harry,” not “Mary.” There’s a distinction in the vowel sound, just like a real East Coast-er. So I guess I’m getting through, after all.), I like Cars 2. I saw Cars 2 with Daddy. Me: Yeah? You liked Cars 2? Zoe: Yeah, I liked the red one and the purple one. I had fun with Daddy. (Of course, “Daddy” sounds like “Dyaddy”. So it’s not all the way East Coast.)
18. She likes to feed me lines, like I am a particularly stupid actor. “Mommy, say, ‘Do you want a cookie?'” She especially likes to feed me lines in order to start a conflict. Zoe: This is not our house (as we pull up to our house). Me: Yes, it is. Zoe: No, it’s NOT! Me: Okay, it’s not. Zoe: Yes, it is. Me: Right, it is. Zoe: No, say, ‘No, it’s NOT!’ Me: No, it’s NOT! Zoe: Don’t whine at me!
19. She also likes to prompt action that will give her a chance for a little melodrama. We went to a park with her friends Ero and Lou (and their mother, obviously). When we got into the car to leave, she was upset but she was pretty quiet as I futzed with the iPhone and whatever I did before actually pulling out. Finally, Zoe got tired of waiting and said, “Drive, Mom!” So I started driving and she started faux-crying. “Why are you sad?” I asked. “I’m sad because you took me away from Lou!” she wailed. In other words, she was waiting for me to drive before she started her performance of sadness over it.
20. We told her we were going to Target. She said, “I want to go with Daddy. Only Daddy, not YOU!” This is because Daddy will buy her a red Icee and I won’t.
21. She does this finger-pointing thing when she’s expounding on a topic – her thumb and forefinger clenched, her wrist locked – that’s really too cute for words. She has a series of gestures, actually, that are pretty cute. She sort of holds her arms out to the side and brings her hands into her chest with a definitive nod of her head/upper body to emphasize points. She holds her hands out to the side, palms up, for questions or other “I guess . . .” statements. She pats her hand on her chest emphatically almost every time she says “for me” or “with me.” Just full-time cute.
22. After watching last year’s Sectionals episode of Glee, she keeps getting up on her stool, directing me to a spot where I can be an audience member, and singing, “Hey, Mr. Armstein! Here I am!” with arms thrown up above her head. She also treated me to an intense, and long, rendition of “Girls of Rock and Roll” from The Chipmunk Adventure (which is the best movie ever and I don’t care what you have to say about it). She even did the Brittany eye-roll while she was singing the Alvin part. And she saw Mulan 2 when we were with G.C. last month, and she was going around for weeks singing “Like Other Girls,” still remembering a lot of the lines and even the gesture for the line, “like holding a lily”. Awesome stuff.
23. We wanted to go to the mall the other day. Zoe didn’t want to go. We told her she could play on the tree (the big kid’s playground thingie they have at the mall). No go. We told her we could go to the toy store. No go. We told her we could look for Zoe dresses. Suddenly she’s interested. We went to Janie and Jack, she picked a dress (I directed her immediately to the sale section; have no fear). She put the dress on the counter, interacted with the saleslady with smiles and nods, and jumped up and down while waiting for the bag. Then she carried the bag to show her daddy.
24. She is further developing her flirting ability. When Lou and Ero were over, she pulled a chair up next to Ero, who was holding a toy phone, and asked him to tell her about his iPhone.
*As a note, I begin to think that those people who don’t potty train until their kid is, I don’t know, in elementary school have the right of it. Because an imperfectly potty trained child is a lot more disgusting than a diaper-wearing one. When I changed her diaper in public, I never had to worry that she would somehow spray piss all over my skirt. (I know people with male children still have to worry about this with diapers, but still.) I didn’t go into a blind panic every time I didn’t know I was three feet from a public toilet. And I never, never, never ended up with piss all down my back. Just a thought.