Thursday, January 19, 2017

Zoe vs. Legos, i.e., Daddy vs. Mommy vs. Legos

If you read my post about Zoe's New Year's Resolutions two weeks ago (and if not, what are you waiting for? Do you want me to beg?! Cause that's totally not a problem), then you saw number 2. Get all the Legos that come in pink or purple boxes.
Before Christmas, we got a Lego catalog in the mail, and Zoe went through it circling all the "girl"-colored boxes like a small, greedy, conscientious sexist. She drank the gendered-toy Kool-Aid, probably also because it was pink, and Santa and family came through: On Christmas morning Zoe unwrapped box after box of Legos.
The Husband and I were glad because we needed something with which to occupy her over her Christmas break. I helped her with Lego construction one day and The Husband helped her another, which led to the first Ridiculous Couple Fight of 2017 over whose project was harder.

Legos

I asked Facebook to settle our dispute, and now I'm asking you. In the comments below, tell me who had it worse, The Husband or me, your gracious hostess who only ever wants what's best for you.
In The Husband's corner we have the Elves Dragon Sanctuary, coming in at 585 pieces and requiring 93 steps to create.
In my corner, the Heartlake Friends Horse Stable. It has 575 pieces, 10 less than the sanctuary, BUT it had 127 steps detailed in five VERY LARGE booklets.
The Husband and I have different strengths. He is far more distractible, while I'm proud to say my focus has been called a disorder. I have Brain Suction, which means I have an irresistible compulsion to finish what I start. It's an ignore-the-phone-ringing, I'll-eat-later, maybe-I-should-acquire-that-astronaut-underwear kind of focus.
My weakness: spacial relations. If I need to figure out what a 3-dimensional object should look like from its rendering in 2 dimensions . . . It's bad. This is not the Husband's problem. He's also good with directions in general. Hand him a map, he'll get you there.
I wasn't there to witness his struggle the day he (and Zoe) put together the Dragon Sanctuary, but I did see his face when I got home. Take "man cold" and multiply that by "tax day" and "putting together IKEA furniture." That's the look.
Normally I would've felt pity but just the day before I'd spent hours building the stable, which was its own test of mental fortitude.
The stable had three different foundations and two levels, and it kept coming apart.
"Mommy, you said a bad word," Zoe said at one point.
"I did?"
"You called that piece stupid."
She was right. I'd told Zoe there were "adult" words and also "bad" words. She shouldn't use either even though the "bad" words were not curse words; they were lazy words like "stupid." Also, "hate" and "whatever." 
Of course at this point I hated many, many things, from particular Lego pieces, to the stable itself, to the orange thingie you can use to take pieces apart, to Heartlake Friends Emma, Mia, Stephanie, and Liv, whose countless iterations littered our floor separated from their hair pieces even though, I admit, I kind of admired the all-female utopian society they were attempting to create with its economy based on ice cream shoppes and puppy day cares.
.
Legos, leading cause of divorce
We're your worst nightmare.

Now. A word about the orange thingie, which is actually called the Brick Separator Tool.
Reader, I watched a YouTube video. I suspected, and hoped, there was more than the one use that I'd figured out all on my own, so I watched a video about it. It turns out there are four ways to use the brick separator.  
And not one of those four ways would help me, since the piece that was in the wrong place was in our foundation, and the only solution would be to take the whole stable apart and redo it.

Legos
Meow do it werk?

Here's where The Husband says that though that is indeed sad and unfortunate, just because he didn't make any mistakes doesn't mean the Horse Stable should be considered harder.
And I have to give him that, mostly because I didn't take the stable apart and redo it. I just kind of added another piece and half-assed it, identifying very much with President Business from The Lego Movie as I longed for some Kraggle.
So there you have it.
Whether I win or lose our argument, my  main concern is really for Ninja and Spice, the horses living in the stable, because not only is their home unstable, but they're living next door to a dragon sanctuary. It would be better to relocate the dragon sanctuary rather than the stable because every time Zoe tries to move the latter, it comes apart. At which point, in my head, I use all the adult words.
Zoe: 153; Universe: 0



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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Zoe vs. 2017: A Six-Year-Old's New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year! December was busy, what with me shopping for the presents on Zoe's list, wrapping those presents, and then listening to the sound of my world crumbling when Zoe told me she'd written a new list. But now we're back and raring to go with our New Year's resolutions!
Mine are the usual pipe dreams about sleeping in on Saturday mornings, drinking coffee while it's hot, and showering without interruption. But, truth be told, since I first started reporting on Zoe's resolutions (see 2014's here, 2015's here, and last year's here), life with Zoe has been getting easier regarding certain quality-of-life issues. She's more independent and able to occupy herself. By that I mean, change the channel on the TV. So I'm no longer at her beck and call as much as I used to be.
However, there are new challenges. Most relate to the specific hell that is making sure she does her homework.
Zoe's in first grade. This means each night she has ten minutes of homework that she stretches into an hour that feels like twenty-four. The crying and carrying on, the drama and emotional upheaval. You'd think we were shoving bamboo up her fingernails instead of asking her to subtract.
Unsurprisingly, many of Zoe's resolutions for 2017 have to do with avoiding homework.

A Six-Year-Old's New Year's Resolutions


Zoe's New Year's Resolutions for 2017
1. Take acting classes since Mommy remains unconvinced of the cruel torment I suffer when I'm asked how many apples Seth originally had if Molly took 25 and he now has 42. I don't know. A lot of apples. Whatever. The bigger question, the one no one but me is asking, is why does he have that many apples? Is he going to eat all of them? That's crazy. Are they red apples? I don't like green. And why did Molly take 25? Did she steal them? That's bad. Even if Seth is a selfish apple hoarder. The ethical issues are being treated like they're beside the point when to my mind they're the main point. At least, they should be. Or what kind of world is my generation inheriting from the Mommys and Daddys with their surfeit of apples?
2. Get all the Legos. Especially the ones that come in pink or purple boxes. Pink is my favorite color. Also purple, violet, red, and white. And rainbow.
3. Learn how to fall so when I throw myself on the floor in front of Mommy when she tells me to do homework I won't really hurt myself, though naturally I will feign grievous injury. (Note to self: confirm  your dominant hand since last time you cradled the wrong one, and Mommy said you could still write the answer about Seth and his stupid apples.)
4. Get all the powers so no one can defeat me, even Universe World Rainbow Everything Anything power.* And ones no one's even heard of.
5. Teacher keeps saying I need to follow the destructions.** This year I plan to make my own destructions and follow those.
6. Defeat boredom. Mostly by avoiding homework. And by sighing a lot and saying "so boring," anytime I'm doing something that's unhappy. Whether that something is boring or not is irrelevant, like brushing my teeth.
7. Don't go to any more movies. My aunt, Connecticut grandma, and my cousins forced me to see a movie in a theater against my will. Admittedly the movie was pleasant. But I told Mommy I won't go to theaters because they're dark and big and she could lose me.
8. Work on my trust issues.
9. Try new and exotic foods. Haha. Nah. Maybe I'll take one bite of a green apple as long as I can immediately spit it out into Mommy's hand. Apples = boring.
10. Get woke. This was something I heard another Mommy talking about in 2016. My understanding is I'm to wait in my bed on Saturdays mornings for someone to come wake me up, that way I can get woke, not wake myself. Mommy needs her sleep if she's to be a match for my acting skillz.
Mommy says I'm the product of a post-truth era. But truth or lies---what matters?---as long as I'm not bored.
Happy new year! I hope you get all the Legos you asked for.

Zoe: 152; Universe: 0

* She says this all the time. I think she might really have this power.
** She gets this word mixed up with the word "instructions." Perhaps that's not an accident.

For more of Zoe's hijinks, follow me on Facebook and on Twitter at @zoevsuniverse
I need a win here, people. 

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Zoe vs. the Children's Book I'll Never Write

Last night Zoe wanted me to tell her a story before bed.
Though I call myself a writer, at the same time I don't think I'm good at making up stories---not off the cuff, not without working them out on paper first, and certainly not children's stories.
But then I remembered Zoe's two favorite subjects: herself and anything disgusting, and I had the ingredients of a bedtime story perfect for Zoe.

Children's Books, Bedtime Story

This story will never be a children's book. It's like if a gross-out comedy met On the Night You Were Born. You see, I told Zoe about herself as a baby, specifically, how disgusting she was, as disgusting as only an adorable creature without control of her bodily functions can be.
I called it: You Were So Disgusting Then (and You're Still Kind of Disgusting Now).
When you were a newborn, I began, you had chubby little thighs. Everyone said they were so cute. And they were. Except I knew all that cute baby fat had a dark side. Or a dark inside.
I told her how when I gave her a bath each evening, I'd have to make sure to spread apart the fat of her thighs so I could clean within the folds---sweat and dirt got trapped in there during the day and by nighttime it was gross and yucky. And it smelled bad too. Here I made a face for emphasis.
"More," Zoe said, laughing.
Well, if she thought the dirt inside her rolls of thigh fat was disgusting, it was nothing compared to what greeted me when I pried open her tiny fists. The sweaty dirt that had gathered in the creases of her hands put her thigh rolls to shame. It was SO disgusting. And sometimes, as a bonus, when I prized her fingers apart, I discovered the gummy, almost unrecognizable, remains of a cheerio transformed into brownish-gray sludge. Yuck!
"More, more!" Zoe urged.
"Shall I tell you about all the spit-up?" I asked her.
She nodded.
"Well," I told her, "because your digestive system wasn't fully formed, you had a hard time keeping down all the milk you drank. You'd be sucking on a bottle when suddenly: back up it came."
"Ew!" 
"And the spit-up was nothing to when you actually vomited. Milk, some of it curdled from your stomach acid, would just come right up.
"Once, it happened while I was carrying you. I thought you were asleep when suddenly vomit shot out like a geyser directly into my face---straight shot---and I almost dropped you. But most of the time it just sort of flowed out of your mouth, in lazy spurts, to drip down your chin. Out of your nose too. And the smell! It was just ghastly. But do you know the most horrifying thing of all? You'll never guess."
"What?" She leaned off the edge of the bed.
"Your expression never changed. You weren't just disgusting, you were creepy. "
"More disgusting!" she yelled.
"Shall we discuss your snot?"
"Yes!"
"Sometimes you'd sneeze and the snot would hang down your face and dangle in a long gooey rope in front of your mouth so that on the next breath you'd suck it right in. As you got older this got better, but also worse. You might wipe it away from your mouth, but in doing so you'd swipe the mucus all the way up either cheek to your eyes, resulting in this sticky viscous mask. And pink eye."
"Yuck!"
"And it's not so long ago---in fact, I believe it was just the other day---I saw you pick your nose and when I yelled, 'Don't wipe that on the couch!' you ate it instead. Remember how you did that, cutie?"
"I'm disgusting!" she thrilled.
"Indeed, you were, and still are, very very disgusting."
Finally, exhausted from laughing, she drifted off to sleep.
I'd save the one about The Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Diaper Genie for the following night.

Zoe: 151; Universe: 0
If you enjoyed this post, you may like this one
in which Zoe confronts a Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day.

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Zoe vs. WikiLeaks: Six-Year-Old's E-mails Hacked!

Dear Mommy,
To be honest, when I first heard the term WikiLeaks, I thought they were talking about some Maori kid who peed his pants. But when my people brought me up to speed, I decided I better write something to set the record straight.

WikiLeaks satire
Image credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

First of all, some of these alleged e-mails have been doctored. I never said, "Mommy is a poopy butt," or if I said it, I didn't mean it, and if I did mean it, it was taken out of context.
There are a lot of contexts where someone can be a poopy butt and it can be a good thing. I can't think of any, but I have a lot on my mind just now, what with my school's candy sale and trying to figure out how I can make money selling chocolate to myself. I can't be expected to remember everything. Besides, I think this whole e-mail hack thing is just a distraction from the important issues, like how many chocolate bars you can buy from me for me, or how much later I can go to bed. 
In the leaked documents, there's also the implication I'm for unfair trade. I think it's very fair when I get more than other people. It's more fair to me. I like chocolate (see previous statements) and, also, to win games. And for you to not say you let me win. That ruins it.
(But let me win.)
Another thing is that, sometimes, as a person living with a lot of stress, I need to vent to close personal associates. Like in my e-mail addressed to the cat that you're upset about---with the expectation of privacy, by the way---where I said Mommy is unfair and never lets me do anything and doesn't want me to be happy or she'd let me play all night and never sleep after eating all the chocolate. I think you need to grow up mentally as much as I do physically. I mean, did you really need to read that to know what I was thinking?
The cat agrees with me.
You may also have heard about the e-mail I sent to everyone in your contacts where I gave them all your passwords. First of all, "1234password" is ridiculous. Make your passwords harder, a higher number at least, like ten thousand one hundred fifty thousand. No one could guess that. It's not my fault if you do these things to yourself.
My public persona and my private persona both question your judgment and also wonder why the cat doesn't wear pants. He's naked and you don't see a problem. But God forbid I pee with the door open. Double standard.
Okay, I guess I did admit in one of those e-mails that sometimes I know when I'm being bad but do it anyway and play dumb because I know, as the Mommy, you have to forgive me. Some call that taking advantage, but I just think that's smart.
I think it's time to move past this and forge a new relationship based on mutual respect and a constant supply of chocolate. To my mouth.
Because you know what they say: kid pro quo. You scratch my back and I let you rub my back till I fall asleep.

Zoe: 150; Universe: 0
If you enjoyed this post, you may like this one 
in which Zoe confronts Donald Trump.

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I need a win here, people. 

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Zoe vs. Boredom: In Which a Child's Ennui Becomes Tedious

"Zoe, time to get dressed."
"Boring!"
"Brush your teeth."
"So boring."
"And get your backpack."
*Falls on floor, apparently overcome by tedious commands.


A Child's Boredom
Lately everything is boring, according to Zoe. Breathing in and out to her is dull and unimaginative in its repetitiveness. And it doesn't seem to matter how busy we are; she'll always find the boring.
One recent weekend, we had soccer on Saturday morning, a late night out at a dinner dance, and then on Sunday we took her to a Renaissance Faire. When we got home she played a few games on the iPad, watched one show on TV, and then, when we said her screen time was over and it was time for Mommy and Daddy to watch the news, she said, "But that's so boring." And, cherry on top, she then said: "I never get to do anything!" 
"Are you out of your mind?" I said, hoping I could interest her in reality.
Then I had to be very boring and list for her all she'd done that weekend, because apparently remembering the previous twenty-four hours is boring, as is appreciating one's old and silly parents. She is six and a study in ennui. 
But is she really bored or is her vocabulary just limited? Or maybe she's a pioneer and is just expanding the definition. Let's review some meanings of boredom. Excited yet?
Boredom meaning #1: A state of disinterest in one's surroundings in which there is nothing one wants to interact with. 
Our apartment is littered with toys that are apparently so boring and played out she will not let me throw any of them away. (Meta-boring!)
Boredom meaning #2: General restlessness, especially that which can overcome the privileged. 
See again all those toys she can't be bothered with. Maybe she has too many things. (Blasphemy!) Maybe she needs occasional dalliances with deprivation or, at least, a mental challenge. I suggested reading or doing math. 
"Ugh! Boring!" 
Little do you know the boredom ahead of you, I told her. 
Then I introduced her to the phrase "PowerPoint presentation." I mentioned speeches at professional conferences, waiting in line at the post office, and (with particular emphasis) having to watch a small child struggle to put on pajamas that are inside out. 
Throughout her lassitude remained intact.
Boredom meaning #3: Slightly irritating, adorably inept, or just plain silly, i.e., providing little or no challenge. 
Yesterday evening Zoe was playing a game on the Nick Jr. website which featured the dogs of Paw Patrol in a soccer match against Mayor Humdinger's villainous cats, aka the Catastrophe Crew. As Marshall the fire dog scored against the kitten who was the goalie, Zoe turned to me and said, "That cat couldn't stop the ball. So boring!" 
Indeed. And just moments later it was time for her tiresome mother to serve her a boring dinner featuring wearisome broccoli, after which she'd have to suffer through the boredom of bath time and the dreariness of being tucked into bed, where she'd fall asleep after much boring resistance and have monotonous dreams she'd be too apathetic to relate the next day.
Boredom meaning #4: Things one's mother makes one do.

Zoe: 149; Universe: 0


If you enjoyed this post, you may like this one 
in which Zoe confronts the meaning of life.

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