Zoe Again

1. She really is the best, like, girlfriend. We were taking a Pilates lesson from my friend who is a Pilates instructor at a studio in a pretty upscale neighborhood. Zoe loved to looking the store windows and comment on dresses and jewelry and even furniture. And then she loved being in the studio! She hopped and climbed on the equipment, did approximations of the exercises with me, and then shouted instructions and encouragement at me. “In, out, in, out! Good job, Mommy! You’re doing it!”

2. We took her to Gretchen and Otis’s house while we went out. When we came back she was furious at us, screaming and spitting and hitting me. (I did not find the hitting adorable.) “I want to stay with Otis! I want to sleep in Otis’s bed!”

3. She said to her father, “Do you know why I’m happy? Because I have a daddy.”

4. Her two best lines in San Francisco:

(Zoe pulls her pants all the way up to her chest.)

Tara: I think that’s called ‘camel toe.’

Zoe: I think that’s called ‘pants.’

And, after a discussion about why Zoe loves Daddy:

Jason: So you would love Daddy if he didn’t give you treats?

Zoe. Yes. (pause) I mean no.

5. She says “pinkie please!” I think from watching Despicable Me, she got “pretty please” and “pinkie promise” mixed up.

6. She wants everything to be incredibly precise.

“Can I have a cake pop from that store?”


“From Starbucks?”


“I can have a pink one?”


“A pink one with white sprinkles?”


“I can have a pink cake pop with white sprinkles from Starbucks?”


“Oh. That’s a great idea! Thank you, Mommy!”

7. Sometimes she hugs me and thanks me for taking care of her. It makes it really difficult to be mad at her for somehow getting shit on every surface of the bathroom.

8. She loves playing games now, even if she doesn’t really understand them. She played hours of “chest” and War with Grandpa Lalan while we were in New Jersey over Christmas. She also likes Uno and Candyland, although with Candyland she mainly wants to hunt for the lollipop-girl card and the ice-cream-princess card. She doesn’t really feel attached to getting from one end of the path to the other.

9. While we were in New Jersey, she learned to put on make-up with Aunt Kate. It was pretty exciting.

10. She also really enjoyed opening presents this holiday season. Not just her presents. All presents.

11. She likes taking my romance novels and stacking them or making, like, trains of them across the room.

12. I had an opportunity to observe her at preschool recently. She is very independent. She’s happy to play with other kids – if they want to be doing what she’s doing. Which is not to say she’s selfish. If they want to play with the cash register with her, she’ll take turns nicely pressing the buttons and handling the cash and credit cards. But if they take off for the sand table and she’s still working on the cash register, she stays put. She also took the entire cup of chocolate chips designated for her challah dough and pressed each one, very precisely, into the ball so that the overall effect was “chocolate armadillo.”

13. She seems to have absorbed the message that she’s a pretty wonderful and beloved girl. I told her I was so happy to have her and she said, “Yeah. I’m a yummy and delicious girl!”

14. The clothing obsessions are really unending, but what’s especially interesting to me is her attention to even clothing issues that you’d think would be of no interest to a three-year-old girl. For instance, when we went to my friend’s Pilates studio, Zoe was wearing a plain white Henley. Nothing special about it. But when she saw me folding it, weeks later, she said, “That’s the shirt I wore to exercise with Gretchen!” On Chanukah, my father-in-law came over wearing a thermal under a t-shirt. They gave Jason some thermals. The next day he put one one. Zoe said, “Is he going to put a t-shirt over it, like Poppa?”

15. Her bonding with my brother over our Christmas vacation was spent looking at Spiderman costumes on line. She was fascinated.

16. Also, my mother took her to a toy store and basically indicated a willingness to buy whatever Zoe wanted. Zoe wanted three superhero-themed I Can Read books.

17. We’re working a little on reading with her. She keeps asking if a given word starts with a given letter. Usually she’s right. “Does ‘p’ begin for ‘poison’?” “Yes!” “It does! I’m right!”

18. It’s hard to convey in words but she has this way of moving like she’s a little fairy sprite or something. She scampers just about everywhere and holds her hands up and makes delicate little motions with her fingers. Sometimes she lets out high-pitched yips. Then she makes adorable faces at you and insists you “be happy a big bit!”

19. We go to this bakery called Sweet Whimsy. The chef/owner’s sister Amanda mans the front of the store most of the time, and Amanda is just lovely. Zoe concurs. One day we left there and Zoe said to me, very matter-of-factly, that she wanted Amanda to be her new mommy, and that she doesn’t love me anymore, only Daddy and Amanda. She still will occasionally mention how she wants Amanda to be her new mommy. And she is very invested in what she will wear when she sees Amanda. (It should be noted, Amanda dresses extremely cutely and I envy all her dresses.) I have to say, if I had to pick a new mommy for Zoe, Amanda would not be a bad choice.

20. She likes to pretend to be a waitress and take your order. She “writes” it down on a pad and everything.

21. She’s getting better and better at helping me cook. Though it should be noted, she still won’t eat anything. But she’s great at tearing lettuce, putting things in the food processor, layering potatoes for a gratin, pouring and stirring,, rolling cookie dough in sugar, and, especially, cracking the shells on hard-boiled eggs.

22. I just asked her, “What other cute things do you do, Zoe?” She said, “I don’t do cute things. I hate cute things.”

23. When left to her own devices, she wanders around the house dreaming up scenarios and apparently arguing with imaginary friends. One time she staged an argument about the correct pronunciation of “orange.” (We had just come home from New Jersey.)

24. Still cuddly.

25. Likes to watch “Crazy Ladies.” Which is what we taught her to call “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”

That’s all I’ve got for now although the thing to know is that she is full-time cute and has some serious personality and is going to be an absolute nightmare as a teenager.



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