Friday, October 21, 2011

Fall... (ing behind)

Two months have passed and there's much to update. So I think I won't even try. The Zych grandparents came a few weeks ago and we had lots of fun (Happy slightly belated Birthday, Grandma!)

The next few months will be very busy as I am applying for new positions (aiming a little ambitiously at a few faculty positions, and mainly more fellowships and postdoctoral research positions). As things are once again sitting on the precipice of total disruption, the level of stress and list of things to do are out of control! But luckily, tales of funny Zoë have been keeping me chuckling (and closer to sane, though she brings to our lives her own toddler angst). I wanted to share a few here before I forget!


Yesterday, while we were sitting down for breakfast, I found her licking the dining table. Now she is just getting over a bout of stomach flu, probably brought on by her recent deplorable habit of licking EVERYTHING. (Weirdly, she wasn't super-licky as a baby, but in several ways I find she has been "testing" baby habits, regressing a bit on skills that she had down -- like trying the potty, getting dressed, brushing her own teeth, etc. So I had a conversation with her:

Me: Zoë, why are you licking the table? You know that the table is not food! Babies lick tables because they are learning what is food and what isn't. But you are older, you already *know* that the table isn't food. Can you eat a table? No! Can you eat a book?

Zoë: No.

M: Can you eat Mommy's phone?

Z: No. It's not food.

M. Right! Can you eat cheese?

Z: Yes. It's food.

M: Exactly, so you can put it in your mouth. See, you know what's food already. If you see a baby eating the table or eating blocks, you might want to say: "Don't eat that! It's not food." But the baby has to figure it out for herself. She might not listen to you. But you can try to explain that some things are food and it's ok to eat. But other things are not food and should not be put in the mouth!

Z: Ok! I know! I need to tell Choochoo baby (that's her doll with a train on the chest) right now!

Hops off the chair, runs into the other room. In her sternest, loudest "teacher" voice, she yells:
Z: Choochoo baby, DON'T LICK THE TABLE! IT'S NOT FOOD! YOU DON'T LICK THINGS. YOU ONLY LICK FOOD. Table's not a food, is it? No... you don't want to eat it, do you? NO!

I can report that Choochoo baby learned her lesson -- she has not licked the table since.


This morning, another Choochoo baby story (these are starting to remind me of Calvin and Hobbes... only Choochoo is Zoë's naughty alter ego). For several months, Zoë has been saying "I don't like you" to me and Matt. I think it started as a form of protest, when we would make her do something she didn't want to do; and then it was silly, just to provoke some reaction like "fake crying", etc. In fact, once, first thing in the morning, she responded to my "Good Morning, Zoë!" with "I don't like you. Go away". Still sleepy and thoroughly disarmed, I reacted with "Fine. Since you don't like me, I am going away to New York tomorrow"... which was true, but I regretted telling her this way, making her think that my trip was a "punishment" or lesson for that phrase. She did stop saying it after that... but now that I have to travel again, we'll see how it goes. Anyway, this morning,

Zoë tells me, (in a tattle voice): Mommy, Choochoo Baby said she doesn't like me.

Me: Hmm... that's not nice! Maybe you should tell her how it makes you feel.

I heard her again sternly addressing Choochoo Baby in a quiet, ominous tone.

Zoë (to Choochoo Baby): Choochoo, You don't say, "I don't like you". IT'S NOT NICE! When you say "I don't like you" I get sad and feel mean.

(Pause the then sweetly) You don't want that, do you? You should say "sorry". You think what you said. I go to school now. When I come home, you say "sorry, I love you."

Choochoo Baby is no doubt contemplating her harsh words right now...

THE END (for now).