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 . . .
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.