Zoe 3.75

Wow, it has been a long time. Sorry, Zoe fans. There are so many things I’m not even going to remember that she’s done that are so awesome.

1. She has adopted my habit of using “super” as an adverb. “That’s super cute.” “My cookie is super delicious.” I didn’t even realize I was doing it this much.

2. Sometimes she pretends to be the mom. If it’s just me, my name is Penelope. If it’s me and Jason, my name is Violet and Jason’s is Rainbow.

3. She likes to pretend to teach class. Sometimes she lines up all of her My Little Ponies on a surface and teaches them a song she’s learned in preschool. Sometimes she lays out all the Strawberry Shortcake coloring book pages we’ve done and pretends they are her class. Sometimes at Hebrew School she stands up by my chalkboard and writes things on the board and then points to them and is all, “Is it this one or that one? That one? Good!”

4. I should mention, for those of you paying attention, that the new iteration of the My Little Pony show on The Hub is really pretty good. I know there’s this whole community of 18-24 year old males who love this show; they call themselves Bronies and have discussions of which pony is their favorite and I still can’t figure them out because I watch the show and it’s definitely for kids. It’s not like Animaniacs or Rugrats where actually most of the jokes fly straight over kids’ heads and land on their parents. But they really get something right in terms of pacing, characterization, and not being completely irritating, so an adult can watch and even get invested in the story line a little bit. Plus I really love doing the voices, especially Apple Jack’s down-home drawl. Also the show looks very pretty. The same cannnot be said for the new iteration of Strawberry Shortcake. It is, in fact, supremely irritating. On the other hand, the Strawberry Shortcake coloring pages are the best!

5. I am really thrilled we have entered into the stage of childhood where coloring is a big thing, because I LOVE coloring. And Zoe has been going through basically the same thing Kate once did, where she sees how well I stay in the lines (That’s how I did so well on my SATs, right, Mom?) and tries to copy me. At first she was frustrated by her inability to stay in the lines but I told her she has to work hard and practice and she has been and now she’s so proud of herself. “I worked so hard on staying in the lines, Mommy!” And I pat myself on the back because I made her focus on working hard and practicing instead of natural ability, like all my books say to do.

4. I forgot to report the conversation she had with my brother in which she said. “We get Ponies at this store called Target. My dad takes me there to get Nerds Ropes.”

5. Last year, she brought her ponies to Hebrew School with her, and while I was trying to teach, she distributed them to each of the students.

6. Several months ago, she told me a story. A very good story with a beginning, a middle, and an end, about a bear that throws a tempter tantrum and then is sorry about it and apologizes to his mommy and then things are better.

7. So the last few times we went to Sunset for groceries, she threw a tempter tantrum. Then she would claim that the bear ears on her head made her do it, but now they had sunk in, into her brain, so she was better. Then today she threw another temper tantrum. This time she claimed it was claws, her fingers had become claws and that’s what made her do it. And also sometimes she gets a wolf nose, she told me. So we talked about what we should do when the “spooky things” make an appearance on her body and we decided to count really loud until they go away. But apparently the bear ears are permanently lodged in her brain and may pop up any time.

8. She obviously can speak very well. I mean, that’s too be expected. But even for a four-year-old she’s very articulate. But she’s also still young enough that she has no compunction about communicating with nonsense syllables if she wants to. And she has no compunction about being nak’dy. So she does things like, “Ajij Ajij Ajija BUTT!” and then turns around and sticks out her butt. It’s great.

9. So we have this, like, frosted thing over our windows in the master bath. The glass itself is not frosted but Jason got these enormous stickers to put up, so that we’d still get light but I wouldn’t have to worry that people driving on Buffalo Grove Road could see me nak’dy. Or, more likely, the guys who mow our lawn or our neighbor’s lawn. But one day, immediately post-shower, Zoe objected to these stickers and demanded that they be taken down. I told her we would not take them down because we didn’t want people seeing her nak’dy butt. She asked why that would be a bad thing, and I don’t know what possessed me, but I told her that if people saw her adorable nak’dy butt, they’d never leave our windows. They’d just sit outside all the time hoping for a glimpse of her nak’dy butt. She LOVED this idea. She ran to our bedroom and stood on top of my nightstand – which is in front of a non-frosted window – and shook her butt for a while, totally delighted by the concept of entrancing the neighborhood with her nak’dy butt.

10. My dad’s girlfriend Kay was extremely amused a few weeks ago when we were in town for my cousin’s Bat Mitzvah. For the Friday night service, she wore this fluffy navy blue dress from Janie and Jack (on clearance!) but for the drive home – which is about 45 minutes – we thought we’d change her into PJs so I took her into the bathroom. From the other stall, Kay heard Zoe say, “I wear such beautiful stuff!”

(For those of you keeping score – no, she did not by any means fall asleep in the car on the way home. You fool.)

11. The next day, to the Bat Mitzvah proper, she wore this pink confection she’d seen at a store in Saugatuck that was just . . .


inordinately fluffy.

12. Also at this Bat Mitzvah, she just kind of cracks me up with the way she goes to the center of things. When we got to the synagogue Saturday morning, she left my lap immediately and wedged herself in between the parents of the Bat Mitzvah girl. At the party, when they were getting everyone on the dance floor for a big group picture, Zoe took her little bag of cotton candy and left my arms, instead demanding that the Bat Mitzvah girl’s brother, who is a good three years older than she normally considers acceptable for a male companion, pick her up so she could be in the center of the picture with the Bat Mitzvah family.

13. She loves hearing stories about stuff that happened when we were younger but insists that she was in those stories. She defended Jason against his evil first grade teacher when said teacher wouldn’t let him use the bathroom. She saw Auntie Kerri sing on stage at Brandeis. She was also there in fictional situations, preventing, for instance, Scar from pushing Mufasa off a cliff in the Lion King version where Mufasa DOESN’T die.

14. This is part of an overall trend towards heavy imagination. She’s always telling stories about imaginary things. Like today, we saw Santa Claus in Long Grove riding a bike without a helmet and we have to be careful in G.C.’s room because of the balloon monster that chased us there one time, remember?

15. She’s near-obsessed with people not wearing their helmets on their bikes.

16. The last few days have been heavily Star Wars-themed. Luke Skywalker is her brother. But Darth Vader is NOT in her family.

17. When I’m not around or otherwise occupied, she and her dad love to watch stuff on, like, The Discovery Channel or National Geographic or something. One time I called home to discover that they were watching “Cocaine Wars.” She told me that the bad guys with the bad medicine were going to jail.

18. One time when we clicked on the TV, HBO was on and they were showing Crazy Stupid Love and it was the scene where the boy is telling his class that the protagonists in The Scarlet Letter are “stupid assholes” and we went, “Zoe, he’s saying a bad word, right?” and she went, “Yeah, he shouldn’t say ‘stupid’!”

19. She yells at me for cursing. “Don’t say ‘shit,’ Mommy, say ‘sugar.'” “You shouldn’t say ‘fucking.’ It’s a bad word. I don’t say ‘fucking.'”

20. The poop jokes started a few weeks ago. And by “poop jokes,” I mean simply saying the word “poop” and then laughing hysterically. So, you know. For those of you keeping track of developmental milestones, poop jokes come in right after they turn four. Some people never really advance in their sense of comedy but we’re hopeful we can pull Zoe through this stage the same way you train any comedian – by not laughing.

21. She really remembers everything that is ever said to her and sometimes we say, “How do you know that?” and she says, “I know lots of stuff!”

22. She likes to make up words that she apparently considers real. I can’t think of good examples but I know I’ve heard “franginal” more than once. I don’t know what that means.

23. She also uses real words fairly hilariously correctly. Like when she is upset at school she tells Miss Sandra that she’s “feeling very fragile right now.”

24. Early in the summer, she was agitating for a sibling or two – “I want a baby brother and a baby sister and two puppies and two kitties.” At one point I said to her – and maybe I shouldn’t have – that if she wants a baby brother or sister, I have to get really healthy, so will she play a lot of Just Dance with me? She said yes. Several weeks later, we went to this forest preserve by us with our friends Gretchen and Otis and took a long-ish walk to a distant playground. On the way back she was exhausted. I carried her on my shoulders for a little while but that causes her to get pins and needles in her leg and eventually she wanted down. So I put her down and, per my promise, took Otis up on my shoulders next. Zoe FREAKED THE FUCK OUT about me carrying another child. I said to Gretchen, “I guess she’s not ready for a baby,” and Zoe said, “No! I do NOT want a baby brother or a baby sister! I am never playing Just Dance with you AGAIN!”

25. She really, really loves to swim, but she really, really hates to be cold and wet afterwards. Several times this spring/summer, she has insisted on playing in the water in situations where we don’t have a bathing suit or change of clothes, and even though I warn her, she will insist anyway and then be very put out afterwards.

26. She is still a little fashionista and picks out all her own clothing, both at the store and in the house. The other morning I told her to go pick clothes for herself, so she laid out her outfit just so on her bed, like it was going to be shot for a fashion magazine – short-sleeved shirt placed over long-sleeved shirt, with skirt on the bottom and socks placed in that little kicky pose you see in fashion spreads to the side.

27. We taught her to read the word “Sale.” And after Auntie Leah’s visit, she also knows how to look for sizes on clothes. We were shopping for Auntie Leah, and Zoe would find all the clothes with “M” on them and then we’d ask her if we should get that one and she’d look at it and say, “No. Not super-cute.” and put it back.

28. There’s a girl in her class she’s not getting along with and she’ll come home and be like, “X wanted all the red stars for herself but I got some red stars. I do such a good job decorating. X does NOT do a good job.”

29. She loves my family, but she is frequently resistant to talking to them on FaceTime. So I was surprised one morning when she asked if she could speak to Grandpa Lalan and see his face on the phone. I dialed him up and gave her the phone; Grandpa Lalan was quite pleased to hear from her. She got out her American Girl catalog and proceeded to show him all the things she wanted in it.

Naturally, Grandpa Lalan then got on the phone with me and authorized me to pick up the bed set Zoe wanted. I told him how much these bed sets cost and he balked for a minute but then decided he wanted Zoe to know that when she called up Grandpa Lalan, she got what she was asking for.

I ask you.

30. One day, Gretchen and Otis came over and Zoe had just gotten a new Lego set. I told her we could put the Lego set away if she didn’t want Otis to play with it but no, she wanted to show it to Otis. So naturally the minute Otis put his finger on it, she freaked out and pulled it away from him. I hollered at her and she ran upstairs to throw a loud temper tantrum in her room. After a few minutes, Otis spotted this big red plastic jewel of a keychain that my mother had gotten her – it says something like I ❤ NJ – and said, “I will go say I’m sorry to Zoe and give this to her.” We of course assured Otis that he had nothing to apologize for but seriously, how does my kid do this? She’s totally in the wrong and she still gets a boy to apologize and give her jewelry? I’m not this good; how is she?

31. She also threw a fit when we went with my mom and my sister to the town pool and I insisted she not run by the pool. She threw herself on the ground and sobbed piteously for at least 20 minutes. While she was doing this, two boys she did not know – and who did not know each other – came over to offer their toys and displays of affection to make her feel better.

32. When she is in a good mood, she is constantly flirting with boys. She bats her eyes at them, poses in her dress, offers hugs frequently. (She is lucky in that Otis, her best friend, is willing to assess her clothing and shoes and offer compliments.) Also, we went over to have dinner with a family with three boys, ages 11, 8, and 3. She played with the 3-year-old – Thaddeus – most of the time, but then the 8-year-old, Max, joined them and Zoe was in love. She followed him around, sat at his feet, batted her eyes. When Thaddeus started attacking his brother, as brothers are wont to do, Zoe got very angry and defended Max. When we left, she sobbed and sobbed in the car and declared that Max was her brother and she wanted to sleep in Max’s bed.

33. We had our friends Ari and Elana visit with their two kids and their dog. For the visit, we put their two kids in Zoe’s bed, let Zoe sleep with us, and put the parents in the guest room. The first night, it seemed that their dog was also going to make herself comfortable in our bed. We called in Ari to remove their dog and Zoe flopped on the bed dramatically and said, “It’s so sad to sleep without a puppy!”

34. She is really very pre-literate now. She has a whole bunch of words she can read, and she’s always curious to learn more words and to work on recognizing words on the page and sound stuff out and write stuff and all that. It’s pretty cool.

35. She really loves posing for pictures now. One of the times she put together an outfit with a little rabbit-blankie thing on her head and, as she’s striking poses, goes, “How do I look, Mommy? Do I look success?”

36. A Facebook round-up:

Zoe knows I don’t like lollipops. So in order to get me to try them, she claims they taste like things she knows I do like, like sushi and pasta.

At the grocery store, she said to me, “You’re not listening to our heart. Your heart says, ‘You should buy your wonderful child cookies.'”

So this morning I turned on the TV for a little Daily Show while we colored and ate breakfast. But the TV was already on HBO and Entourage was on. Sasha Grey was making pancakes for the boys and then Turtle brought in tequila and Sasha Grey said, “I love tequila.” By this time I had The Daily Show cued up and so I pressed play. Zoe goes, “My sister loves tequila. That was my sister on TV. She loves tequila.”

I don’t know if I feel more ridiculous doing Just Dance by myself, or doing it with Zoe sitting behind me in her little chair, shouting instructions and encouragement.
At least when I do it myself I get to pick the songs.

Zoe went to see Finding Nemo in 3D with her dad and came back crying because she realized that Nemo’s mommy is really dead and she’s never going to come back. A lesson in the nature of mortality, brought to you by Pixar.

Zoe would have you know that she is not now, has never been, and, in fact, will never be sleepy. And frankly, she’s insulted to have it implied otherwise.

Okay, I’m out.

I’m not even kidding, you guys. I cannot remember all the awesome. If you have a good Zoe story I have not posted, either put it in the comments or send it to me and I’ll put it up next time.

And the Zoe Hits Just Keep on Coming!

1. I feel the need to start negative. I know most of you reading this want to know all the good stuff about Zoe, because you love her and/or because you like hearing cute-kid stories. But sometimes I think mothers don’t share enough of this stuff with each other, so that when we experience it, it feels like we’re experiencing it alone. And that’s definitely how I felt one Friday when I was Shabbat Mom at her preschool.

I already feel like a kind of incompetent mother there. We started last year, and I was absolutely convinced that she would be fine in the Me Alone classes, because we’d been going to this place where the parents stay in the building but not in the room, and she had been fine from the first day I took her there. Just ran into the room and started playing without even looking over her shoulder at me. So I thought we’d be fine.

We were not fine. They had to call me to come pick her up after about forty-five minutes the first day because she just did not stop. The same thing happened the second day. I enrolled her in the Transitions class.

I should have realized that she wouldn’t be fine. The weekend before school started, Zoe was abruptly weaned when my great-aunt died and we decided my going to NJ alone for the funeral would be the end of the seemingly endless breastfeeding.

In the Transitions class, parents were supposed to stay for a number of weeks but basically be out of the classroom by the end of October, depending on their kid’s ability to withstand the loss of their parent/caretaker.

I had to stay in until January. I was the only parent not to leave on schedule. I became, in effect, an assistant teacher.

But once I was gone, she was fine. Just fine. She loved her teachers, she played okay with the other kids. It was great.

Camp was a little bit more of a struggle, and that has continued into this year.

One Wednesday, they had their Purim event, which the parents were supposed to attend. It started an hour after preschool started. The minute I came back to the classroom, Zoe started crying and reaching for me. The kids were supposed to perform some Purim songs for the parents but Zoe wouldn’t leave my lap. I decided to just go home; it was pointless trying to stay.

The next session was the Friday on which I was Shabbat Mom. We went to a Shabbat Sing, in which all the classes join together to sing Shabbat songs, and then any and all Shabbat Parents light candles with their kids in front of the group and all.

Zoe would not sit still during Shabbat Sing. She would not sit in my lap; she would not sit with the other kids. She wanted to run around the little library where this song session was being conducted. I had to take her out of the room. More than once. Then we were called back in to do the candles and things and she threw herself on the floor and refused to do it. Then her teacher had to practically carry her back to class.

I felt pretty awful about the whole thing, actually. I felt like I was failing in some fundamental way as a mother because Zoe wouldn’t do what all the other kids were doing, and because I obviously had no power to make her do anything. I felt embarrassed and angry at her for embarrassing me and then angry at myself for being embarrassed and angry with her for embarrassing me when it shouldn’t be her primary job to be a credit to me.

Anyway, on to the good stuff.

2. We were at this play structure at the mall and this little boy approached her. He said he was four. For reasons I don’t fully understand but which must have something to do with child development, Zoe took huge offense to this. “I’m not four, I’m three!” she kept insisting, belligerently. The boy tried to explain that he wasn’t saying she was four, he was saying he was four. Zoe was having none of it. I tried to intervene by, basically, repeating what the boy said about him not declaring anything about her age, and then asked if she would like to play with the little boy. “No, I don’t,” she said, with force, and then threw herself on the ground.

3. She delivers every sentence like she’s trying out for a soap opera. We went to the mall with her grandmother. At first she was holding her grandma’s hand but then she switched to my hand. “I don’t want to lose you,” she said. “You won’t lose me,” I said. “I will never lose you, never, ever!” she replied, throwing her arms around me. But really just about any time she’s speaking, she’s being dramatic.

4. She likes to announce when she’s throwing a “temper tantrum” or a “temper fit.” The latter phrase she got from Eloise.

5. Lately she’s been extremely cuddly and affectionate, even more so than is usual for her, which is a lot, and it’s awesome. She also compliments me the same way I compliment her, by telling me she loves me so much, and, lately, I’m her “best friend,” which I think she’s mostly getting from watching “My Little Pony,” and that I’m so pretty or wonderful or whatever. But my favorite is when she clearly knows that something is a nice thing to say, but she doesn’t know what it really means. So for instance, she told me I had very “clever” hair. (I assure you, even if such a term made sense in, say, high fashion journalism, I would still not have “clever hair.”) And, I’m always telling her I am the luckiest mommy in the world, so she has been grabbing my cheeks and cooing, “You are so lucky and gorgeous!”

6. She also uses “dramatic” as interchangeable with just about any other word. “That’s so dramatic!” can be claimed of just about anything – an outfit, a cookie, a smile.

7. She does know what “frustrated” means and uses that word accurately.

8. Of course, with the affection is the need to explain to her that you don’t give your mommy open-mouthed kisses. Even if you are pretending she’s your wife. Even if that is how they kiss on “Glee.”

9. Also she still puts her hands down my shirt, especially when she’s upset or tired. When I tell her to stop touching my breasts, she says, “But I need to touch your breasts to make me feel better.” If there’s a next kid, I don’t think s/he’s getting breastfed at all.

10. She has started posing for pictures.

11. Best way to tell her her outfit is a good one? Tell her it’s something Aunt Kate would like. Better yet? Tell her it’s something Aunt Kate would wear.

12. Her play has gotten more sophisticated. By herself she imagines complicated scenarios and acts them out with an invisible cast, who she sometimes chastises and sometimes lavishes with compliments. With me, she wants to take her figurines, especially her My Little Pony figurines, and have them enact story lines.

13. Oh, and somewhere, she learned Rock Paper Scissors. She loves it.

14. She loves dancing more and more. I really need to get her into classes.

15. She asks you to sit near her so you can “talk about something.” Then she issues an invitation: “What should we talk about?” Then she suggests a topic. “Let’s talk about whales.” You say, “Okay, let’s talk about whales.” She says, “What color are whales?” You say, “I don’t know, what color are whales?” She says, “There’s yellow. . . and red . . . and green . . . and blue . . . and that’s all the colors of whales.” You say, “Which is your favorite color of whale?” She says, “Yellow. Do you like yellow whales?” “Yeah, I like yellow whales,” you say. She says, “Are they your favorite?” “No, I don’t think yellow whales are my favorite.” “Which are your favorite?” “I like white whales. Like the beluga whales at the aquarium.” She doesn’t like that answer. “I don’t like white whales. I like blue whales. Do you like blue whales?” “Yeah, I like blue whales.” “Me, too. We like blue whales together!” She grins and pats your face. “What about dolphins?” And on like that.

16. She really likes to sing along to the radio with me.

17. We’ve had to get very careful about rules and choices for her. For instance, let’s say she’s looking about for food. I want her to eat something healthy, like an apple. I offer her the apple. She says she doesn’t want an apple, she wants candy. I say she can only have candy after eating something healthy, like an apple or a cheese stick. Now, if she’s in a good mood, she’ll choose one, usually the cheese stick, with happy anticipation of the candy to follow. But if she’s not in a good mood or is not really all that hungry, she’ll throw herself to the ground and cry, “Then I’m never eating anything! No, nothing! Not ever! Never ever ever!”

18. You know, this is for posterity, and I put stuff up on Facebook, but I should repeat it here. But most of you reading this also read my Facebook feed. So you can skip this item but I’m going to reprint them so that we have them forever.

She claimed she was going to China. I asked what she was going to see in China. She said, “Beautiful snow, good flowers, good-looking chicks . . .”

Zoe: Why don’t I have a penis?
Me: Because you’re a girl.
Zoe: Why am I a girl?
Me: Because you don’t have a penis.
Zoe: Why don’t I have a penis?
Me: Because you’re a girl. It’s kind of a tautology thing, know what I mean?
Zoe: (giggles) We’re being silly together!

I am Zoe’s best girlfriend because I know which one Fluttershy is and how to make her voice. Zoe is my best girlfriend because when I bring home new shoes for myself, she gets as excited as me, pull them out of the bag, and pronounces them “awesome” and “amazing.”

She got really into Clueless for a little while there. Especially the scene where Cher is internal-monologuing about high school boys and then pushing one off of her? Zoe calls it “the movie with the yellow girl who says, ‘Uch, as if!'”

Oh, yeah, she cut her hair herself. She didn’t do too bad a job. We took her to the kiddie salon to “fix” it, but I don’t think they did any better than she did.


I don’t know, people, I’m losing track. Especially since I’m so used to her constant performances, I forget some stuff. So if you have witnessed her being especially cute, please email me at raspberrylimericki@gmail.com and I will include your stories and comments in the next Zoe po

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.