Tuesday, October 21, 2008

‘Mama’ is not an Answer

Zoe loves books. If you are playing with her she will just as often bring you a book to read as some toy. However, Zoe is not the gentlest when it comes to books (or anything) and her attention span is that of a nineteen month old, so we are limited to short, board books. We have a fairly large library of this type of book, but she has her favorites and we have our favorites, which means that the same books get read over and over and over (and over and over). In fact, I think between Alison and I we have read Goodnight Moon about five hundred times. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating by a hundred or so, but during a recent reading of Goodnight Moon I found myself thinking about something completely unrelated. I had memorized the book and was no longer actually reading it. The year before Zoe was born my New Year resolution was to read a book a week for the entire year (I fell short by two books, although I should get extra credit for Don DeLillo’s 800 page Underworld). I now read up to a dozen books a day, but oddly don’t seem to get the same satisfaction. I’m looking forward to Zoe being old enough for chapter books, although I do realize that bedtime story reading time will become exponentially longer, and the books might turn out to be equally tedious. Maybe I should introduce her to video games instead?

In an attempt to give Zoe some autonomy we have started to give her choices. For example, I might ask her to choose which shoes she would like to wear, or if she wants to stay upstairs with Mommy or go downstairs with Daddy. I believe asking her to make her own decisions helps her develop language and cognitive skills. However, she more often than not will just answer with a ‘yah’ to both sides of the questions. But even more irritatingly she will respond with a non sequitur, such as, “Mama.”
• Dad: “Zoe, do you want Some Cheerios in your snack cup?”
• Zoe: “Mama.”
• Dad: “Zoe, do you want any Cheerios?”
• Zoe: “Mama.”
• Dad: “Okay, should we go outside and blow some bubbles?”
• Zoe: “Mama.”
If you’ve ever watched the Simpson’s you may recall the image of Homer throttling Bart. Not that I would ever hurt one hair on Zoe’s angelic head, but by the end of the day I have heard ‘Mama’ in response to enough questions that I envy Homer’s repercussionless ability to vent.

Last year Alison, Zoe and I participated in the Kaiser Permanente (Alison’s employer) sponsored, Strides Against Breast Cancer walk. When the flyer came out for this years walk we were surprised to see Zoe prominently featured. This was the flyer that was distributed to all Northern California Kaisers. Click here to see this portend of Zoe’s future as a star of stage and screen.

Recent photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/dbglass/ZoeMichel19thMonth
Buy the book at http://blurb.com/bookstore/detail/193034

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