Saturday, April 26, 2008

50 Posts and Still no Calls from Hollywood

For this, my 50th post (please, no applause), I’d like to share some of the things Zoe is doing, which are not only so cute that you want to give her a huge hug (which actually makes her scream and arch her back, which isn’t so cute) but also demonstrates her growing awareness of the big world around her (or at least the big living room around her).
  • She is clearly paying attention to what is going on around her. For example, when Zoe coughs I will usually mimic her with a fake cough. Now if we are at the store and someone coughs she will do a little fake cough.
  • We have been learning about animals. Every time I say or show her an elephant she raises her arm as a trunk. She doesn’t make a sound (as I do), and the angle of the arm is more akin to a nazi salute than an elephant, but it’s still cute. My monkey is the typical hand’s-in-the-armpits and body waggle. Hers is just a little head wag. And she has been making a noise whenever we see a dog. I think it is a bark.
  • Zoe has learned to ‘click’ her tongue. We were on BART recently and a woman was popping her gum. Zoe, after watching her for a couple of moments, starts clicking her tongue in response.
  • When she starts to climb off our bed we only need to say, “on your tummy,” and she will spin around and slide off feet first. Smart.
  • She knows that a comb is for combing hair, and often tries to do it herself, although sometimes she will use a pen. The results do not differ.
  • She has one particular peek-a-boo book that has various states of babyness (eating, happy, crying, etc.). One of the pages is a baby with her mother. Zoe will hand me the book and say, “Mama.” I know what you’re thinking: Cute!
  • She can now stack plastic rings on the post. She will also take those rings and put them on her arm like a bracelets. Both of which requires a bit of coordination.
  • She knows (at least 50% of the time) which foot is her left and which is her right. I’m not saying that she knows the difference between left and right, or even what they mean, but ask her where her left foot is and she will lift her left leg (or right, if the conversation goes that way).
  • Her kisses have evolved from head-butts to open-mouthed slobbers.
  • She will often climb onto her cute little rocking chair and sit quietly, contemplating life as she looks out the window. If I make even the slightest noise it will break her reverie and she will scamper down and interrupt what ever I am doing.
  • She knows how to call the cats by patting the floor, or if I’m holding her she’ll pat my chest. They never come. Come to think of it, she will do this for any animal she sees.
  • She now understands that the big knob on the stereo will make the music very loud. Fortunately she does not like the music very loud and now, for the most part, stays away from it. However, she still plays with it when the stereo is off so I have to remember to check it before I turn it on or it will register on Richter scales throughout the Bay Area.
  • If you say ‘bird’ she will point to the window, or sky if you are outside. She will than pat whatever surface is closest. They never come.
I realize that these things are what toddlers do as they develop, but if you could witness Zoe doing them you would agree that she is cuter than all other toddlers combined.

See photos of Zoe at
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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Little Things She Does

This last weekend we took a trip to LA to visit Grandma. While we were there Zoe took five steps, her first(s?). I missed this monumental event (I was busy rifling through kitchen cabinets looking for goodies) and we could not convince her to repeat her feat for the running camera. It’s been a week since our return and she has not walked again. The only obvious conclusion is that she can only walk in carpeted hallways in LA.

Since my last post Zoe has attended two Music Together classes. Music Together is a “program that develops every child’s birthright of basic music competence,” blah, blah, blah. Music Together is supposed to make your child smarter, more confident, have better balance, leap tall buildings in less than three bounds, and sap your wallet, all in eight short weeks. Shoes get left at the door, everyone sits around a big drum, all conversation has to be sung, and regardless of what I think about it Zoe seems to have fun, although she spends most of the class with a quizzical look while every one else makes strange noises while wiggling and dancing.

I should have mentioned that while in LA Zoe might have said Dada. I say ‘might’ because no matter how often I try to get her to repeat it I only get Mama, which is frequent and very clear. I’m beginning to think that I imagined she said Dada, or she said Dada but really said dada (the difference is cognitive recognition of what is being said as opposed to random babbling).

This week I joined the Oakland Zoo. I used to belong to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Unfortunately Zoe would rather look at elephants and monkeys than urinals. The problem with the Zoo is that is that if the animals are not standing right by the fence or moving in some discernible way Zoe doesn’t know what she should be looking at. Try to point out a Hamadryas Baboon to her and I might as well be pointing at a tree.

One of the cute things Zoe does (and there are hundreds) is that she will lean up against me. I will be cooking or simply standing in a room and she will sidle up and rest her body against my leg. If I move she will fall—thump—onto the floor. The other day we were at the video store and she sidled up to some strange man, sat on his foot, and then reclined against his leg. She was looking right at me and he really didn’t look much like Alison, so I don’t think she was confused. I think she just wanted to recline and one leg was as good as another. Everyone in line thought it was very cute, except for the guy she was leaning against. He seemed unsure what he was supposed to do, so he just stepped away. She teetered a bit but managed to stay upright.

See photos of Zoe at
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Saturday, April 5, 2008

Reaching for the Stars (and knocking them off the shelf)

A while back I scavenged a tiny rocking chair from our neighbors trash. I assumed it was trash, although I suppose our neighbor could have been loading her car and I just timed my walk-by just right. It’s a cute chair, made with bright colors, sturdy enough that Zoe shouldn’t fall over too easily, and light enough that she won’t get hurt when it does fall on top of her. Unfortunately it was custom made for one of her children and has the name Eli painted on the mesh seatback. Alison suggested I paint over it or try to sand it off, but I don’t think that would work on this material. I suggested we rename Zoe Eli, but she just ignored me (I suggested it a second time, just in case she didn’t hear me, but she ignored me the second time as well). I’m not too worried. When we take all the cute photos of Zoe sitting on it, her body will obscure the name anyway. And we can place a tiny little throw over the back when people come to visit. Zoe has learned to climb on and off the chair by herself and this weeks picture is of her on the chair reading a book. I swear it is not staged.

Now that Zoe is standing (and almost but not quite walking) on her own I will start marking her height against a doorway, just as every parent for the last two hundred years has done. For now I track her growth by what she is able to reach. For example, our dining room table usually has a few placemats, a pile of newspapers, a smattering of mail, some… well, lots of stuff. The table was the one place where we could put things, since the coffee table is now entirely off limits. Now, however, she is reaching over the edge of the dining table and grabbing anything she can reach, more often just pulling it down on her head, which requires not only that I pick up a pile of spilled mail from the floor but that I also that I comfort her because it landed on her head. I’ve politely asked her not to pull the things off the table but she just ignores me, something I suspect I should just get used to.

Zoe grabbing and wanting things has become epidemic. She points at everything and grunts, even when there is nothing there. She does this so frequently that I swear she is seeing things that no one else does. If you’ve seen The Sixth Sense you will understand my concern. In the meantime, I’ve been slowly adding cabinet locks, moving items further out of reach and out of sight, and basically creating that barren, modern look in our house that oddly enough I’ve always desired. That is except for the very colorful spread of toys that covers a third of our floors and all the chachkas that are crammed onto high shelves.

I’m excited to introduce the all-new URL address for this blog, (you should have been automatically redirected there). Now it will be so much easier to tell all your friends where to find us. Yay. Clapping.

See photos of Zoe at