Sunday, February 15, 2009

Two, and Other Favorite Words

For the last two weeks or so, as we walk by the room that will soon be Zoe’s new bedroom (soon after the arrival of number two), I have asked Zoe whose room this is, and she will say, “mine.” Then I will ask her what color she wants it, and she will respond, “Blue.” She has answered ‘blue’ every time I have asked her what color she wants her new room. Every time Alison asks her she answers blue. So today I went out and bought a $50 gallon of zero VOC (volatile organic compound) paint. On the way home I told her I bought the paint for her new room. She said, “Yellow.”

Zoe knows a large number of words, but is not yet stringing them together, except for, “No, mine,” which actually means, “I would like to do it myself,” or, perhaps, more accurately, “If you touch it I will have a falling-down tantrum.” This is fine at home, where I can simply step over her and continue what I was doing, but she has dropped to the (disgusting) wet floor of the men’s ‘family’ locker room at the YMCA after swim lesson while I am standing in a small space crowded with a variety of naked men and children with only a four-inch-square towel wrapped around me. Fortunately all that’s usually needed is to say I won’t touch it and she will continue as if there had been no interruption. That is until she screams in frustration because she has managed to get both legs jammed into one leg hole of her pants.

A word Zoe knows well is two. I like to impress my friends (and strangers) by asking Zoe questions, such as how many cats do we have? Or, how old are you going to be? Or how many daughters does the new President have? She always gets the answer correct. She will even hold up fingers in such a way that one could interpret it as two. What I don’t want to do is hold up one finger (or three, four, etcetera) because she will say two. I asked her how many doggies were on her pajamas this morning (they have a doggy print, so I’d guess between fifty an seventy-five) and she answered two. On the other hand, she may know what she is talking about, because when I asked her how many grey hairs I have she answered two. Smart.

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