Sunday, May 31, 2009

Boo Boo’s

We all have our small obsessions, things that can instantly refocus our attention from whatever we are currently involved in. In adults it can be trivial; iPhone Apps or photos of Pamela Anderson. For Zoe, and I suspect many (if not all) two year olds, it’s boo boo’s (although pee pee and poo poo are equally fascinating and distracting). Zoe is constantly finding pin-head sized marks on her body, or on my body, and instantly declares them boo boo’s, or to be precise, “Uh-oh. Boo boo.” If the spot is any bigger than a pinhead than she will cry and pull away if you even attempt to look at it. She identifies friends by the boo boo’s they have, and will remember their boo boo’s long after the injuries have healed. She had a small sore under her big toe recently, and when she remembered she would limp dramatically and require us to carry her down the stairs. My guess is that because she does not have to worry about the economy or… well anything other than her immediate state of being, injuries on herself, and others, are probably the only things that could set a day apart the next. Here’s hoping that pinhead sized boo boo’s are the worst she will ever have to experience.

Zoe’s has a new verbal idiosyncrasy. If I ask her a question she will respond first with an, “Ahhhh?” or sometimes a more prolonged, “Ummmm. Ahhhh?” and look around as if searching for an answer. Trust me, it’s cute in a two year old.

If you’re wondering how Zoe is adjusting to the new baby, well, so far she is doing great. There are periodically small signs that she is not getting enough attention, such as crying and needing to be picked up after a small incident, like tripping. But overall she seems to like having the
baby around and often mimics our actions. She will unzip her pajamas and nurse her ‘baby doll’, then put it over her shoulder and burp it. If Alison or I am burping the baby, she will often help by patting the baby on the back as well. When Calder cries (and believe me he cries a lot) she doesn’t seem to mind that he is getting the attention and actually seems to zone it out far better than me or Alison. I, of course, am thrilled. I’m not sure how well I could deal with a fussy baby and a jealous toddler (on top of all her two-year-old antics we already contend with). And I’m glad I don’t have to watch out for Zoe bonking the baby on the head with her toys when we are not looking.

Tomorrow I will post the second As you can imagine, things have been a little hectic around here, and I have not had a lot of time to write. Actually, I’ve had plenty of time, I’ve just been too tired. Anyway, check it out (tomorrow) at

Monday, May 18, 2009

Pizza Pie

I’m standing in the kitchen watching Zoe peel an orange in the back yard. As she peels off each small piece she looks over the edge of the porch, places the orange peel on the edge, and pushes it over. Then she then leans over and looks down to see where it landed. She does this with a half a dozen pieces before she notices me looking out the window

Zoe: “Fell.”

Dad: “The orange peel fell off the porch?”

Zoe: “Yeah.”

Dad: “How did they fall?”

Zoe: “Pizza pie.”

Needless to say I let the conversation end there. Later we were going through our goodnight routine. It’s my job to say goodnight first to all the stuffed animals in her bed, then we go through her friends, people we know and family. Alison has been pushing for Zoe to say to the goodnights herself. I try to help her along, but she has trouble thinking of people.

Dad: “Whom should we say goodnight to?”

Zoe (in a whisper): “Pizza pie.”

She really knows how to stump me.

Communicating with Zoe is both challenging and amusing. She says things out of context, pizza pie, and because her vocabulary is so limited she will use one or two words to convey an entire thought. In fact, the phrase ‘no mine’ is used almost exclusively to convey dislike, especially in those cases in which another person is involved. In the pool today, at the YMCA, I got tired of that monosyllabic, non-articulated whine to convey her displeasure whenever I saved her from drowing. So I told her that if she wanted to do something herself, and did not want or need my help, to say ‘myself’. If she wanted my help she should say ‘help’. This actually worked pretty well, except for those times that she thought she needed my help but changed her mind at the last minute, and then forgot to inform me. Then it was back to, "no mine."

Last night, as Alison was saying her final goodnights, she told Zoe to get a good nights sleep because she had swimming in the morning. Zoe said Y (as in YMCA), but Alison interpreted it as ‘why?’ I was upstairs listening to the conversation over the monitor, and it was similar to the ‘Who’s on First’ skit. I speak not often well myself, so it’s a little scary to think that Zoe (and now Calder) will be picking up a goodly percentage of their verbal skills from me. In the meantime Zoe (and now Calder) make up for this deficit by being very cute. And really, isn’t that more important anyway?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My Little Nadia

At gymnastics today Zoe became completely focused on the bar (no, not the kind that serves martini’s), and by the time we left at the end of our forty-five minute session she was able to complete her flips without my help. To perform a flip one needs to grasp the bar firmly, lean forward (there is a wedge-shaped matt that allows the little kids to reach the bar without having to be lifted or pull themselves up, and have enough clearance when they flip over the other side), and twist your body over the bar while keeping your grip firm on the bar. You tuck your head in, and if performed correctly, your feet land on the matt while still grasping the bar. Once you start spinning you gain some speed, and the hardest obstacle Zoe (and every kid in the class) had to overcome was the instinct to release her grip halfway through the spin. What’s surprising about this accomplishment is that while instructing her she seems to ignore all instructions. In fact, she seems to do the exact opposite to what I am telling her, and if I press her she will simply walk away. I should point out that the initial instruction took two people; the class instructor holding one hand firm to the bar and guiding her feet, and me holding her other hand firm to the bar and making sure she tucked in her head (so as not to break her neck, which is really bad form). Anyway, what this feat tells me, and should also be clear to you, the reader, is that my daughter is extremely talented and dexterous (and a bit obstinate). Please feel free to send letters of awe and amazement to my home address.

Zoe is adapting well to the new baby in the house. She knows that when the baby cries he is hungry and will tell you, “Baby. Eat. Boob.” When the baby is sleeping Zoe will put her finger to her lips and say, “Shhh,” then proceed to talk in a normal, loud voice. So far she doesn’t seem to mind the baby’s presence, and seems to have accepted him with hardly a blink. There were a few confused looks early on, but she acts as natural to having the baby around as she does the cats. In fact she seems to treat the cats and the baby almost exactly the same. I’m sure this will change as Calder begins to become more of a presence, and when she is allowed to interact with him more, but for now there seems to be peace in the house, if not a whole lot of sleep.

In our house old cell phones end up in Zoe’s play area, so it’s not uncommon to see her stumble across one and start chatting to various people. Her favorite people to chat with are Tallulah, her friend, but also Mommy, Papa (aka Grandpa) and Mama (aka Grandma). The calls are often brief and lately have gone something like this. “Hi. Hi Tallulah. Yeah. [Pause to listen] Yeah, yeah, yeah. [Pause to listen] Yup. Bye.” I guess I should be happy that she’s not racking up imaginary minutes, because even imaginary cell phone bills will wipe out what remains of my investment portfolio.

It’s off to a slow start, but check out the newest blog in the family at

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Our Morning

It’s 6:00 am. I let Alison sleep and head upstairs with Zoe. Here is our morning.

I set Zoe up on the counter while I heat up milk for her, make a cup of coffee for me, and Zoe helps me feed the cats. She always makes at least one of the cats wait for his food as she decides where she will place the bowl. Before we settle into playtime I check my emails and headlines on the computer while I drink my coffee. Zoe knows this is the routine but will still bug me incessantly. My coffee finished I move over to her blue play area. We start with tea. Minnie (Mouse) does the pouring and we usually do animal tea (toys from the farm and zoo get places in cups; sheep milk, tiger tea, giraffe tea, etc.). Then Minnie poops and we have to change her diaper. We have imaginary wipes and diapers, and we put them in a pail, which we then dump in an imaginary trash truck. Then it’s time to pretend change Zoe’s diapers (like I don’t change enough diapers in a day). Zoe wanders over to her books and pulls out an ABC book. We get halfway through, then some letter reminds her of something and she wanders off to play with the abacus on her activity block for a few minutes. Then she gets distracted and pulls down her two jack-in-the-boxes. We crank them for a while—I try to get her to jump with each pop of the weasel—then we move onto her shape puzzles. We do all ten then she leaves me to clean them up so that she can explore her toy box, where she discovers a book that makes music when you shake it; “Read, daddy.” After the book she opens her box of treasures (random small objects she has collected) and fiddles with her 3-D glasses for a few minutes. Then she wants to play the nighty-night game. This entails each of us taking turns lying on the floor and puling a stuffed animal/pillow out from under the others head, so it (our head) goes clunk on the matt. After she gets tired of that game she decides that she wants to see mommy, but gets distracted by the baby’s car seat on the way to the stairs. For some reason I pick it up and start spinning it with her inside, setting a precedent I would regret for days. After ten minutes or so my spine has popped out of my lower back and I convince her that we need to take a brake. She heads back to her toy box. On this trip she finds the soft caterpillar book. “Read daddy.” After the book, “Tea daddy,” but gets distracted by box of treasures; finds Thomas the Train card, so moves over to the Thomas the Train set and stands in the center of the tracks, accidentally knocking over the trains. “Uh-oh.” Pause; “Play-Doh, daddy.” I start to clear the activity table so we can play with the Play-Doh and find a tea set spoon in the crayon bag. We’re back to the tea set. I sit down in front of tea set but Zoe moves past me to toy box and rediscovers the caterpillar book. I suggest we have breakfast. “Read, daddy.” “Okay, I’ll read it once, then breakfast.” We read it three times. Zoe helps me make her breakfast of 1/3 banana, a one-egg cheese omelet, a slice of cheese and a glass of orange juice. We finish eating as mom comes up at 8:00.

If you think it was tedious reading this, try doing this every day.

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