Thursday, October 31, 2013

Zoe vs. Picture Day

"I don't want to be pretty!" Zoe informed me at 6 a.m. on the Day of Days, or, less dramatically, Picture Day. For a week I'd been dangling the "pretty idea," sometimes casting it as "looking like a princess," as incentive so that when Picture Day came Zoe would be primed/brainwashed/whatever to put on her dress, submit to a hairstyle, and maybe even allow me to wipe her face. My inward feminist had cringed when I'd say these things, so I have to admit to being a little proud of Zoe for her response. She'd clearly learned that the Evil Queen from Snow White, obsessed with her looks, was no role model. (Not that Snow was much of a role model either with her "Someday My Prince Will Come" passivity.)
So I was proud of Zoe's verbal response. Her physical one, not so much, since soon after announcing her stance against pretty she removed her pull-up and peed on the floor. Of my bedroom. (Puddle, puddle on the floor, paper towels, please, some more.)

Scene from Picture Day: The Reckoning

Just a few months ago Zoe had been obsessed with pretty. When Mommy wore a skirt for work, she'd say, "Ooh, Mommy pretty." One night, when I got into my mismatched pajamas (perhaps I'm not much of a fashion example) she said, "Mommy, you not pretty." Ouch. Still my goal was comfortable, and comfortable and pretty are two states ever at odds with each other.
Pretty and all that it entails is such a loaded issue for we feminists. Zoe was watching TV the other day and there was a commercial for a talking Barbie. I assume the doll had several phrases in its arsenal but the one it spoke in the ad was: "I need new shoes." Barefoot in the kitchen making dinner, I winced. It's possible, but I rather doubt, that one of the other things the doll says is, "I need a doctorate in astrophysics." Also I suppose I have to admit that I myself have said, "I need new shoes," a lot more often than I've said the bit about the doctorate. In fact, I've only expressed the latter sentiment once, just now, and I'm pretty sure I didn't mean it.
Returning to the Day of Days, I should've seen it coming. Picture Days Past had been rocky. Plus Zoe had been getting more and more resistant to getting dressed in general. Some history . . .
The first Picture Day at her day care is one I look back on fondly where the only threats I had to worry about were surprise spit-up and explosive diarrhea. Zoe was six months old, a time when she wore whatever I put her in with no verbal or physical protest. And since she had no idea what was going on, she smiled for the people making silly faces while taking her picture. 
Irma realized her rookie mistake in letting a friend
give her a perm the night before Picture Day.
The next Picture Day came six months later, and you could see Zoe was starting to develop her trademark serious face. Think Clint Eastwood, only flintier. It went downhill from there. Every Picture Day she was either sick or she'd fallen the day before and sustained some obvious facial wound, such as a black eye or a chin gash or a scab below her nose so that her pictures looked like mug shots after a hard night of partying turned into a bar fight. The most unintentionally hilarious was when she was sick and gave the camera the Saddest Look in the World (patent pending), a sigh made flesh, one finger listlessly circling the carpet beneath her. She was not ready for her closeup.  
Then there was the time she would not put on her dress because she was going through this phase where she would not do whatever Mommy asked, at least I hope it's a phase, and I just brought the outfit with me to the day care and they were able to get it on her. Of course, it was a fight every morning after that to put her in anything besides that dress.
My mom "hearted" this look.
Then there's her hair. After wrestling her into her clothes every day, with a special fight on Picture Day for stockings and shoes that are Not Standard, ask me my mood to do her hair? I'm starting to understand why my mother gave my sister and me the Dorothy Hamill haircut. Once around the rink and it was perfect. If I'm able to sneak up behind Zoe and catch her by surprise, I must make a choice between combing her hair or forcing it into a clumpy ponytail because I've only got one shot at it.
On a normal morning, getting Zoe dressed is reminiscent of Debra Winger riding the mechanical bull in Urban Cowboy except the mechanical bull only bucks to throw you off, it doesn't also scream at you. Plus, it obligingly lives in a bar where a plentiful supply of alcohol awaits after you give up.

Mothers can nap anywhere, anytime.

I've tried the Offering a Choice idea. This is where you present two outfits and they get to pick one, the idea being that thus able to assert their independence in this minor way they'll be more willing to give you a break already. What Zoe likes to do is pick one, then halfway through getting it on insist on the other one. Repeatedly. While twisting around and screaming. So I give up and she goes to day care in pink and purple striped pants with a black and white polka dot shirt, like a regular clown aspiring to be a Harlequin clown. Meanwhile after all this pandemonium, the cat's by the door, valise at her feet, and a train schedule in her paws.

MarySue had worn the same outfit in her yearbook photo, where,
coincidentally, she had been named Most Likely to Commit a Felony.

Back to Picture Day. After I cleaned the pee from the floor Zoe agreed to put on her dress. Perhaps she just needed to show me who was boss, as if I didn't already know. However, she would not submit to putting on matching shoes or having her hair brushed. I'll take what I can get.
Zoe: 19; Universe: 0


  1. I'm with Zoe. Down with pretty, up with comfortable (and peeing anywhere you want at all times).

    1. Haha. I hate when I agree with her. Makes it so much harder! I'll have to rethink the peeing thing too!

  2. Picture day is always a damn nightmare!! Why is there always a very obvious facial injury...ALWAYS?! (Now that I have a daughter with long hair I, too, TOTALLY get why all moms were obsessed with the Dorothy Hamill cut back in the day!!) Hahahaha. --Lisa

    1. And not just before Picture, but she also falls before holidays and her birthday. I'm sensing a pattern!

  3. I had the Hamill, too. Ah, wedge hair.
    I'm sort of in love with Zoe.

    1. That's how her evil genius works. She makes you love her. Haha. Thanks for commenting.