Sunday, February 24, 2008


Occasionally I get ahead of myself and manage to write this blog early. I compile a few thoughts, get them down on paper (or however my neurooscillation’s are displayed), and come Sunday, my post-day, I barely have to pause from my Baywatch reruns. What then usually happens is Zoe does something that requires mentioning here on these pages. I tack it to the top of the post and suddenly that week’s entry is way too long. Of course that’s because I can’t just say, ‘Zoe did so-and-so,’ I have to babble on a bit. Anyway, to your right you will see the very first photo of Zoe standing. I’ve been talking about her standing for a couple of weeks, but this is memorable because she stayed upright long enough for me to take a photo. (click on the photo to super-size it.) I’m not sure why, but we’ve been encouraging her to stand on her own. She has become addicted to our cheers and applause, so she is standing more and more, or basically whenever she needs an attention fix. Now, back to my regularly scheduled blog.

Zoe has a hundred toys in our living room, but if I am not right there with her she is off exploring the rest of the room. I think I may have mentioned a wicker box that sits on the floor at one end of the couch. It holds all our take-out menus, cables for connecting the various electronics to the computers, pens, pads of paper, etc. One afternoon I organized the box and hid it behind the couch, where Zoe rarely goes (unless I happen to be sitting back there). Within five minutes of me hiding the box (I swear she wasn’t looking) she had found it and had once again pulled everything out. It’s too bad we don’t celebrate Easter. She’d clean house at egg hunt time.

Speaking of putting things away, one of the tasks I like to do at the end of the day, after Zoe is asleep and I am about to shut off the lights and head off to bed myself (around 9:30ish) is to organize Zoe’s play area. Zoe will, over the course of the day, play with most of her toys. She will take every toy out of the box, every ring off its stand, every block must be separated, and every book opened. The spread of her toys around the room—the damage radius—must be organized daily, else it is likely to spread and, if not contained, take over the entire house. I like organizing her things mostly because I like to see her dismantle it all again the next day. She is very focused and methodical in her deconstruction. Sometimes he is so focused that she will not notice that I have put a teacup or magazine on the coffee table (which instantly requires that she scurry over and try to grab them before I notice). Sometimes she will come across a toy she has not seen for a while and sit there playing with it long enough for me to write a paragraph of this blog. I suspect that there will come a time where I will grumble about picking up her mess, but for now I’m happy to help her in her daily ritual of destruction.

See photos of Zoe at

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Food Issue

Zoe is beginning to eat like an adult. No, I don’t mean she tucks a napkin onto her lap and politely places one bite-size morsel into her mouth at a time. No, I mean she is eating the same quantity as an adult. For a typical dinner these days she is likely to eat an entire hotdog (natural turkey dog with no by-products, thank you) and half of an avocado, sometimes with a few pieces of pasta thrown into the mix. She can easily eat six golf ball sized oranges, and usually will eat them as fast as I can peel them. And unlike most of her foods she doesn’t even waste time taking them out of her mouth once they are in. She can still be picky, and periodically we need to convince her that she actually likes something, which usually means getting her to cry so we can shove a spoonful of whatever we have into her mouth. Once she tastes it she will stop crying and gobble it up. But if she likes something she uses the palm of her hand to cram it into her mouth as fast as she can.

I am a relatively neat person and I don’t like sticky messes, so I’ve learned to practice Zen calmness at meal times (repeat five times before during and after meals: om a-ri da-ra sa-ba-ha). For example, I took Zoe out to lunch at a local diner (taking Zoe out for lunch is something I do pretty regularly). I usually try to choose things that we can share and that are relatively neat, like sliced turkey or something with big beans. On this occasion I ordered a taco salad with beef chili (mostly because I was tired of turkey sandwiches). There were a number of reasons this was a mistake. It came coated in finely shredded cheese, and she is not supposed to have cheese until she is one, so I had to clean off each piece of food I put in front of her. Also, the chili had far too few beans, so I had to dig through the salad like a diamond miner. While we were waiting I, in a moment of carelessness, left the water glass a little too close to Zoe and looked away for a brief moment. She had already thrown the paper placemat and the crayons to the floor, so fortunately they did not get wet. Everything else did. Then lunch arrived. Zoe is at that stage where she likes to see everything that goes into her mouth, even if it’s already there. I will feed her a little guacamole, one of her favorites, and she will ooze it out onto her fingers, play with it for a moment, then try to get it back into her mouth. She does this with every bite of everything we feed her (with the exception of tiny orange pieces—standard orange slices she will squeeze until the juice puddles around her). It seems like she is eating a lot these days, but I suspect that at least half of what leaves the spoon is actually ending up on her or on a surface near her. Normally our lunches out are relaxing, but I left the diner feeling a bit worn out. I’m not sure I’d be welcomed back into that particular diner anytime soon. I think from now on I will make sure that they have turkey sandwiches on the menu before I sit down.

See photos of Zoe at

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Into the Crib, Part 2

It’s been a busy couple of weeks here at Zoe central. Zoe has sprouted a couple of new teeth. She doesn’t like us prying her mouth open to watch them come in, but we can often get her to laugh while we are dangling her upside down, providing us a good peek inside. It looks like we may be up to six teeth, and given how much she likes to put her mouth on everything, I suspect we will soon see bite marks on the coffee table. I’m looking forward to her back teeth coming in so we can move away from foods that require little more than tough gums to masticate.

She has also started a very distinct babbling. “Bah, bah, bah. Blah, blah, bah. A bah. A bah” Sometimes she will say it directly to us, almost in response to something we have said, and other times she will be occupied with some task and just sit there talking to herself. We of course assume she saying Ma or Da, or possibly she is trying to solve K + sinK - K*sinK - π/2 = 0. Either way she is definitely saying something. In fact, Alison was sitting with her a day or so ago and I walked up; Alison swears she said daddy. I didn’t hear it, and even after telling Zoe that she wouldn’t get dinner until she said it again I couldn’t get her to repeat it. We keep hearing words mixed in with the gibberish, but I don’t know if we are hearing real words or we’re just performing some parental conjuring.

It was just in my last post that I talked about Zoe pulling herself up, and then quickly learning how to get back to the ground. Now she is not only up and down with ease, but she is this close (visualize my thumb and index finger about an inch apart) to walking. If we are lying in bed she will use one of us to pull herself up to a standing position and let go. If she manages more than a couple of seconds we will applaud and with a big grin she will repeat the trick. She likes to do this on the bed so that when she falls she has a soft landing. But the big step came yesterday when I was lying on her mat and she pulled herself up on me and stood for almost five seconds. The only direction she has left to go is forward.

I think the biggest development since my last post is that we have almost transitioned her to her crib. Yes, you read that correctly, she is not sleeping in our bed (except for naps and if she has a bad dream). On May 7, 2007 in my seventh blog post (this is number forty) I wrote Into the Crib, Part 1. This week started part 2. She spent four full nights and two partial nights in her own bed. Unfortunately we are not sleeping any better. The problem is that she does not cry for very long when we put her down. This can only mean that something is wrong, and we’ll sit with an ear pressed to the monitor trying to interpret every noise filtering through. Unfortunately our monitor, which sits on the bookcase next to the window, also picks up sounds from outside, so when that little nocturnal animal runs through the bushes we interpret the sound as Zoe getting tangled up in her blanket and trying to kick free. It’s all we can do to keep ourselves from rushing in. The first couple of nights, when we’d check on her, we would find her half-asleep sitting up, her little head bobbing forward. Finding her like that was almost worse than her screaming for an hour (I said almost). I realize that the video monitors were four times as expensive as the already-expensive digital version we bought, but I think Alison and I would be better rested this week if we could just see her for a couple of seconds every minute.

See photos of Zoe at