Thursday, May 29, 2014

Zoe vs. the Long Walk Home

I'm not referring to the 1990 movie starring Whoopi Goldberg and Sissy Spacek about the bus boycott in the South of the 1950s. I have no idea where Zoe stands on that issue from either a historical perspective or as a movie critic who's only seen one movie in the theater---Frozen---but since that was apparently a thrilling experience, I'm sure a Civil Rights movie would impress her for exactly the length of time it held her attention, say, through the opening credits.

Because my blog is timely.

No, I'm talking about the fact that when I pick her up from the day care each evening, she no longer wishes to ride home in her stroller. She wants to walk instead. And by walk I mean run in short bursts---especially as we approach corners, causing me to emit a panicky "Stop, Zoe," drawing stares from onlookers---interspersed with leisurely strolls up the concrete stairs of various houses so she can report the addresses to me and perambulations down driveways in order to knock on every garage door. As a result, even with the running spurts, a walk that should take twenty minutes takes about forty-five.
I know what you're thinking: Why, knowing what I know, did I ever let her walk the first time? Why, indeed. You know those days when you just have nothing left? Zoe was born with an extra sense allowing her to sniff out when I'm weakest.
On a day she sensed my vulnerability, she pounced, in full knowledge I was in no mood to wrestle her into the stroller while she carried on as if I was committing an obscenity like slicing a grilled cheese sandwich lengthwise instead of diagonally. 
Parental Truth Number 245: Say yes, just once, to something distasteful and your position is weakened forever.
Another factor: That particular day there was a birthday party, so she had excess cupcake energy to burn, so I rationalized she might as well walk and maybe, just maybe, she would tire herself out.
Some days I am like a gambler down to pocket change playing penny slots somewhere off the main drag in Vegas, dreaming of the big win. In other words, I am sad and desperate.
And my feet hurt.
When feet fantasize.
So each evening, if I don't finesse her into the stroller before she remembers Mommy let me walk, then I have an alternately harrowing and boring journey home. 
Each night she abuses my patience and each night I escalate my threats to belt her into the stroller so that after a few nights of freedom she gets a few belted nights as punishment but, as I said, she's wily and has fine-tuned her resistance to exactly match my tolerance level.
The hard days are when she wants to pick the direction we go in and I have to hope it's not back the way we came. She used to do that in the stroller, pointing imperiously back across the street we'd just left behind, and I'd tell her no and she'd cry. Slumping in defeat in a stroller is markedly different from slumping in defeat on the ground. It's actually not like defeat at all. It's like a stalemate that eventually results in wrestling with a side of crying. It's also not fun.
Most days though she just tightrope walks on the low garden walls bordering houses, the literal expression of testing boundaries as she attempts to climb ever-higher walls over my objections.
Now that it's spring she's started asking me to pick flowers from people's gardens to give to her. I patiently explain about:
      1) other people's property and how they may not appreciate
                 a) our trespassing and
                 b) our raiding the garden they planted with love (presumably) and
     2) if we pick, aka steal, someone's flower that flower
                a) will die sooner and
                b) will no longer be there for others' enjoyment.
To refute my points, she says, "But I want it."
I suppose I should just save my breath. I have a long walk ahead of me.
Zoe: 46; Universe: 0


  1. Every day! Haha. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Yes. Save your breath b/c there is nothing that can refute "But I want it." Ecept for maybe "I don't care what you want," which I say frequently to my kids (but they're older so they won't have a meltdown).

    "Zoe was born with an extra sense allowing her to sniff out when I'm weakest." - I think all kids have this 6th sense. It's what makes kids jerks. Hang in there. They will eventually walk at a normal rate (in a few years).

  3. I can only hope. It's either full speed ahead or dawdling right now. I'll try to imagine that it's interval training.

  4. She truly is a little rascal! Although I definitely recognize H in here as well... running full speed for corners, check. Meandering up stares, check. Mommy sweating and cursing in Italian, check.

  5. You must teach me some Italian curses, Deb! Somehow cursing will mean more in Italian. All I know is one from my elderly Italian aunt who would say, vafanapoli, which was probably ironic since she was Neopolitan.

  6. HA HA HA HA!! The description is just so perfect of that age! And the flower part made me burst out laughing...because that is exactly how they are. SO FUNNY!-Ashley