Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dealing with a sick toddler...

... is like hostage negotiation (or so I imagine).

Loud crying... "I WANT SGHSKGOWG"

"Zoë, when you cry like that I can't tell what you want. I need you to stop crying and clearly state your demands."

"NOoooooooo... " Escalating volume of crying.

"I am leaving the room until you stop crying. I will not negotiate with a loud cry baby. We will talk when you calm down." (Help! I need reinforcements.)

"BAHHhhhhhh... I WANT lsbjsdgbksgbslkgjb, MOMMY, NOWWWWWW"

"What? You want juice? Until you stop screaming and step away from the mirror, I can't talk with you."

"NOOOOOOOO." Wild thrashing and dangerous, erratic movements. Keep head down, go for the tackle. Deposit screaming two-year old in safe crib. Run.

So went the afternoon. Finally, I got her settled and down for her nap. We call that a win-win situation. Now I need a nap.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

an Acorn.

Rather than apologizing for the long gap, I will try to share a sampling of evidence that Zoë has grown in the meantime ... One big update is that she is now an Acorn. She has been promoted from "Dragonfly" to "Acorn" and managed to adjust to the new class, teachers, and buddies. She is a TWO-YEAR OLD! No longer a baby... and yet, always my baby :)

Here are some vignettes highlighting other gems of Zoë's "growth":
  • "I want Buddha": This may be an old story, but worth documenting in her blog. At the young age of 20 months, she has shown an uncanny affinity to Buddha. I was away at the Swift proposal review, when Matt took her to a Vietnamese restaurant for dinner and she pointed to the statue in the corner and clearly showed interest and said "Buddha". This was interesting, since her only other introduction was 4 months prior at an Indian restaurant where a huge, wall-sized gold Buddha apparently made quite an impression on her. But after coming home, Matt gave Zoë a tour of Buddhism (courtesy of Wikipedia). They also (re-)discovered our Buddha on a bookshelf. At this time, Zoë had only recently shown minimal interest in dolls and stuffed toys, but this Buddha became her security object. Especially during meals, she wanted Buddha close by. (Keep in mind, our Buddha statuette is made of heavy rock and almost acts like a paperweight... it isn't cuddly nor easy to manipulate.) One day, Zoë and Matt were on the way to the store, but Zoë adamantly refused to go because "I want Buddha. I WANT BUDDHA!!!" This sparked a long religious lesson about how Buddhism is about suffering and about detachment and if she were a real Buddhist she would carry Buddha in her heart and this statue is only an illusion, etc. etc. etc... Zoë listened respectfully. But... "I WANT BUDDHA!" (Update: in the following several months, she has made significant headway into embracing the purer Buddhism philosophy and has practiced detachment with the "Buddha" statue more and more.)
  • "A Dose of Sympathy": In the mornings, while combing her hair and getting her ready, Zoë and I play the game of "Faces" -- "show me a happy face... now, Zoë's sad... " etc. Mainly this is to entertain her while I get her ready... but this day in January, Mommy bumped her head and I pretended that I really got very hurt and I pretended to cry and cry and cry. For a while Zoë seemed to think it was funny, but when I didn't stop she looked very shocked and horrified. Then all of a sudden, she began to cry. I think she was so forlorn to see Mommy in such a state that she felt helpless and maybe even empathetic. I told her that a hug and some gentle patting would make me feel better and we soothed each other -- me for my head "boo-boo" and her for her sympathetic nerve "boo-boo". Then we played.
  • "Curiosity never potty-trained the cat (or the girl, for that matter)": In the last few weeks, Zoë has shown more and more curiosity in the potty. She seems to have a "love-hate" relationship with it (also the vacuum -- she runs away and hides when we vacuum, but always wants us to vacuum ... we will call this curiosity). She has coined several unique phrases, encapsulating her love for the potty, like "Giggle giggle POT-ttteeee" (you have to say it just right, or she will correct you!) or "Pretty pretty POOP!" She likes to walk around the toilet and investigate it, to see if it bites. It doesn't. We got her a "Zoë" potty and it was like Christmas, again! She was so excited to open it and set it up, but ... screamed bloody murder when we suggested that she sit on it. She does like to have Pinky Baby sit there all day. It's been a few weeks and we are getting used to it for now... reading Potty books and toilet training her doll (except more recently, Zoë put a diaper on Pinky Baby).
  • "Happy to you!": We had a birthday party for Zoë the weekend before her birthday. There were 10 kids (!) and their parents(!!) and we all survived. There were balloons, balls, bubbles, bubble wrap (we only play with things starting with "B". Just kidding...), also stickers and pasta necklaces, and ... food! CUPCAKES, naturally. Payesh, very important. And snacks and pasta salad, and ... good times were had by all. Instead of presents, we asked people to donate to a Children's Homelessness organization (Project Night Night), and this idea was very appreciated and we got very nice cards! We bought Zoë a nice train tent (pictures forthcoming!) where she likes to play hide and seek, and especially climb around in with her friend Mary, who also lives in our building and is the same age. Here are some pictures and a video from the celebrations (that's right-- plural! We also had our small family party).

    Also noteworthy... on Zoë's birthday, a sneaky fox (we hear his name's "Swiper" and he makes mischief on Dora the Explorer) stole all of Zoë's bottles ("Oh No!") and so we can only do sippy cups and regular cups now. Swiper is a known bottle thief in our building, Mary also suffers from his acts.
  • "A sense of immediacy": In case anyone was unsure about the cleverness of our girl, we have proof. For awhile, Zoë would ask for something and we would say "ok", hoping she would forget, and then when she became more insistent we would modify her request to satisfy our time constraints, like: "Yes, yes... Of course, you can eat chocolate. Tomorrow." So she adapted. She learned the word... "NOW". "I want chocolate NOW!" So now, we are working on understanding the meaning of "No" and "wait".
  • "Is she at the stage where she throws tantrums in public places? Yet?": We have had one such incident and ... I'm too traumatized to write about it. But this was the question that someone asked me awhile ago. I thought it was funny then. Now I think it is mean. (The nice gentleman had two sons -- 12 and 10, so I guess his wounds have not healed. Yet.)
  • "Mommy's Competent" and other verbal gems: We are in the stage where Zoë throws out what she hears. (BEWARE!) On this one occasion, we were reading her report card and we were telling her that we were proud that the school found that she was competent in her growth milestones. Then Daddy said "You will have lots of report cards. Why, even Daddy got a report card from work - Zoë's competent and Daddy's competent". Zoë counters with "No. Mommy's competent." Well, my job's done. Whew. :)
  • More pictures: Fall in Shenandoah

    Christmas (Caveat Emptor: I did not take many pictures on our trip to CA, so please donate to this album!)

    Thunder Snow event

    Random Winter photos...

  • Videos! :

    Food critic-in-training

    Video within a video