Thursday, May 11, 2017

Zoe vs. Lord of the Flies. Or, Who Said It: A Six-Year-Old or William Golding?

I read Lord of the Flies when I was in seventh grade. I'm not sure if my teacher thought it was a good book to read because it was short or because the characters were kids. But if it was because we were supposed to learn something about man's inhumanity to man, I wanted to say, Lady, all we really need to know we learned that time you stepped out to take a phone call and left us unsupervised for two minutes.
But today, almost four years into writing a humorous parenting blog, I wonder how it is I've referenced Lord of the Flies exactly once? Maybe it just seemed a little too on the nose. The whole children-descending-into-savagery thing. I have a kid. I've been to a playground.
Zoe, like all children, is a walking Id, so imagining her running free and unsupervised on an island with a lot of branches to fashion into weapons gives me pause.
Plus, when you wear glasses like I do, and poor Piggy from Lord of the Flies did (RIP, Piggy), you live in fear of them being broken by a mischievous child. And it's really only a short jump from there to imagining your entire body being crushed under a rock when mischief makes that right turn into murder.

Or, Who Said It: A Six-Year-Old or William Golding?

So today we're going to play "Who Said It?" Is it Zoe or is it one of the British boys from William Golding's Lord of the Flies?
After all, the line between human and savage is a fine one, especially when the latter is digging her elbow into your sternum and you're both cranky.
Answers at the end.
No peeking now!
Who Said It: Zoe or William Golding?
1. "Which is better, to have rules and agree, or hunt and kill?"
2. "I thought I might kill."
3. "I'm going to make everyone dead."
4. "Everyone has to listen to me."
5. "I was chief, and you were going to do what I said."
6. "Everyone's happy when I'm happy."
7. "Kill the pig! Cut his throat. Kill the pig! Bash him in!"
8. "I can explode you two times and you'd be dead."
9. "We've got to have rules and obey them. After all, we're not savages."
     9a. "Who cares?"
     9b. "What matters?"
10. "I'm not going to play any longer. Not with you."
11. “The mask was a thing on its own, to hide behind, liberated from shame and self-consciousness.”
12. "Where's my mask?"
13. "When is the Earth going to be destroyed?"
14. “He found himself understanding the wearisomeness of this life, where every path was an improvisation and a considerable part of one's waking life was spent watching one's feet.”
15. “Maybe there is a beast… maybe it's only us.”
16. "I'm your worst nightmare."

Answer key: 1. Ralph from LOTF. 2. Jack from LOTF. 3. Zoe. 4. Zoe. 5. Ralph. 6. Zoe. 7.  Boys from LOTF. 8. Zoe. 9. Jack. 9a. Ralph. 9b. Zoe (her version of "Who cares?") 10. Jack. 11. William Golding. 12. Zoe. 13. Zoe. 14. William Golding, but this is what the expression on Zoe's face said the other night when she threw herself on the ground and refused to walk another step carrying her backpack because she was just "so exhausted." 15. Simon from LOTF. 16. Trick question. This is an oft-repeated trope from movies and TV, and I imagine it will also be the tattoo Zoe gets when she's fifteen and about which I'll write "Zoe vs. My Worst Nightmare Tattoo."

Zoe: 164: Universe: 0

If you enjoyed this post, you may like Zoe vs. All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.

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

You'll have to pry the conch shell from my cold dead hands. Until then: Click here to subscribe. 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Zoe vs. the Fidget Spinner

When I first heard the words "fidget spinner" I assumed it was just another term for a six-year-old human. Like the one who lives with me and often appears as a blur of motion that makes a lot of noise.
My Darling One is unable to sit still. And she particularly enjoys spinning around in circles. Ipso facto: Zoe's a fidget spinner.

Fidget Spinner

But it turns out a Fidget Spinner is a toy slash tool of therapy for kids who have trouble sitting still in class, in church, at their older sister's accordion recital, or in other places where one is required to sit unmoving through some, shall we say, unexciting material (with apologies to children taking Beginner's Accordion).
The fidgety label can be applied to many children, ranging from the redundant ("I am child, see me fidget") to a formal diagnosis from a psychologist. So these little devices "may" be a good solution for "some." But because this is America, it's quickly spun out of control. (See what I did!)
It feels like last week I'd never heard of Fidget Spinners and now they're everywhere, helping kids focus while distracting those sitting next to them. Adults are using them too, while on the phone with their moms, at work during PowerPoint presentations, and during their oldest daughter's accordion recital.
So could a Fidget Spinner work for my twitchy tot?
I can't see it. I just don't get how what is essentially a toy would help my particular child concentrate. I think she'd just concentrate on the spinner to the exclusion of all else.
I envision Zoe at home, sitting on the floor and spinning away, ignoring my repeated calls to dinner while she inadvertently torments the cat. And he's already stressed out about the shower curtain, not to mention the living room window, which I'm pretty sure has never moved but I can't be sure given the way he stalks and then jumps at it, banging his head, probably thinking it served that other cat who looks exactly like him right.
And if Zoe brought the Fidget Spinner to school, I imagine she'd only tear her eyes away from it when the teacher called her name, telling her to pay attention, at which point Zoe would suddenly let go of the toy, and it would go spinning over her desk and across the room, taking someone's eye out, and then Zoe would have to chase it, the spinner, not the eyeball, though who can say, she likes to be helpful. And then she'd get kicked out of school. And I'd get sued, and then we'd probably have to move to Australia like Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.
(My ability to spin countless worst-case scenarios in my brain is a Mental Fidget Spinner. [Patent pending.])
With these nightmare visions turning over and over in my brain, I was still curious, so on our walk home the other night, I asked Zoe if any kids in her class had a Fidget Spinner.
Naturally, she wasn't listening. Because we were about to pass a woman with a Dachshund puppy who was straining at its leash, entranced by Zoe, seeing in her a playmate or plaything, and the feeling was mutual.
"Zoe, I asked you a question," I repeated, and she glanced at me for a millisecond before turning back to the dog. "Do any of your classmates have Fidget Spinners?"
"All of them," she said.
Now, Zoe is not the best witness, and is given to exaggerating---I have no idea where she gets it from---so I didn't think ALL the kids in her class had one.
"Seriously? All of them?" I said, picturing a little wind farm in her class fluttering all the artwork.
But again, Zoe wasn't listening, for just then a squirrel ran across our path, and I had to grab Zoe back from chasing it as the dog owner did the same for his tiny charge. But Zoe wasn't on a leash, so eventually she broke free and ran after the squirrel a few feet before stopping to examine an apparently alluring stick.
When I caught up with her, she handed me the stick. Which I threw away as soon as her back was turned. We continued walking.
Zoe then said, "Melvin has a Fidget Spinner."
"Ah, Melvin. Anyone else?"
"Melvin plays with it all the time," she continued. "Until the teacher took it away. And now she says no one can have one. They're distracting."
"That's what I wondered."
"Yes. No one can concentrate when they're around. . . . Can I have one?"
I took my time responding, praying another squirrel might intervene.

Zoe: 163; Universe: 0

If you enjoyed this post, you may like Zoe vs. Boredom: In Which a Child's Ennui Becomes Tedious.

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

Don't get distracted ever again! Click here to subscribe.