Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sometimes She’s Difficult

I will frequently search through old blog entries to compare the Zoe of old with the Zoe of new. I do this most frequently when Zoe has overcome some hurdle that I had mentioned her struggling with in some earlier blog, so today, as I write about Zoe’s swimming, I know that at some point I will make some big announcement that she has finally, voluntarily, put her head under water. Zoe currently takes swimming lessons three days a week; group swimming lessons (with Dad in the pool) at the YMCA on Mondays, and private, one-on-one lessons at Sherman’s Swim School on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s. You would think that with all this swimming she would be ready to take on M. Phelps, but the truth is she is just as happy to play on the stairs leading into the pool than learn stroke and turn techniques. Our big hurdle at this point is Zoe’s aversion to getting her head wet. (I’m having a bit of déjà vu about this subject, but since we are in the thick of three-day-a-week swim classes I guess you’ll have to suffer through this repeat.) This extends beyond the pool. We still struggle in the bath to wash and rinse her head. And at public parks, with fountains that kids can run through, she will avoid any spray that approaches her face or hair. I expect that some day, when Zoe is on Harvard’s Competitive Underwater Swimming Team, we will be able to look back on these days with amusement (and embarrass her in front of her teammates), but for now we are happy that Zoe is happy just bobbing along the edge of the pool.

Two year olds are very demanding creatures, requiring patience10 (i.e. to the power of ten), humor and a touch of your inner seer. This morning I was preparing Zoe’s breakfast and each step required some finesse to avoid a pre-breakfast, hunger induced, micro tantrum. First there was the banana. Zoe doesn’t really like bananas but she likes pealing them. So I chop off about two inches from the end of a banana so she can peel it. She’ll take a nibble or two and hand it to me with instructions to save it. I suggest to her that she choose a plate that she would like her breakfast served on and she picks one with three segments, requiring me to ask her which segment I should place the banana (“um… This one). Next comes the hash brown potato. Which segment should that go in (study’s the plate for a few moments before choosing)? After she finishes the potato I try to encourage her to eat some cereal. “Zoe, do you want some cereal?” “No.” “How about if I just put some on your plate and you see if you like it?” I put a handful of cereal into segment three. Zoe starts to eat them. “Do you want a bowl so you can have milk with your cereal? “No.” Short pause. “Bring milk, Daddy!” I try to drag a few pleases and thank you’s out of her, but Zoe is the Queen and I am really just her personal butler. And everyone knows that there is no arguing with the Queen. But I tell you, by the time breakfast is done I’m exhausted, and we’re not even dressed yet.

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