Thursday, January 25, 2018

Zoe vs. Frustration, Despair, and Bowling

Is bowling making a terrible comeback? Or is it just coming back terribly into my life because a bowling alley is the kind of place you find yourself if you are or if you have a child and need something to do in the winter?
Either way it's unwelcome. Terribly.
I hated bowling as a kid. I hated wearing shoes that had been on strange people's feet. I hated waiting for my ball to come back and then getting my fingers crushed between it and another ball.
But mostly I hated it because I was bad at it, which wouldn't have been so bad in itself, it being generally okay to be bad at something if you're alone. It's the being-bad-at-things in front of other people---especially if the other people are good at the thing you're bad at---that's just kind of super discouraging.

Bowling in a sea of despond
Something something metaphor for parenthood.

Anyway, when I went bowling with Zoe a few weeks ago, how good or bad she bowled was not her issue. She was happy just lobbing a heavy object at other objects to knock them down loudly. Basically, her raison d'etre.
The problem came when she took another little girl's turn by accident and three little girls yelled at her at once. And if you've ever had three little girls yelling at you it's like at least three times that many little girls yelling at you.
Zoe's bowling career seemed over before it started as she ran off to put her head down on a table, the posture that says "don't even try to talk to me, however, if when I raise my head there's not a crowd of people in line waiting to console me, there will be hell to pay!"
I looked around, and realizing I was the mother, I picked up my plastic glass of bowling-alley wine---which either wasn't as bad as you'd expect or my judgment was influenced by a need for survival, and furthermore, made me see bowling in a better light than I had as a child---walked over to Zoe, and basically told her that she'd just made a mistake, and the girls had just been excited, but that she had to just get over it or we'd just go home, after I finished my bowling-alley wine, this final clause left unsaid. Just.
She stayed. Probably because I also mentioned the social studies homework that was waiting for her if we left for home now.
The only thing worse than bowling when I was a child was homework.
But also going to the dentist to have my retainer tightened.
And then there was that time the tongue guard "fangs" on my retainer---which were supposed to keep my tongue back---actually went through and perforated (which may seem redundant but I feel needs to be stated twice) my tongue, trapping a small piece of toast between the roof of my mouth/retainer and aforementioned tongue. This is a Seminal Memory, if you hadn't guessed.

I think this mouth might have bigger problems than an errant tongue.

So Zoe had this project to do for school. A few days after bowling I pushed her to get started on it and she cried for forty-five minutes, on and off, through her tears of despair asking:
Why did she have to do this homework?
Couldn't she do it tomorrow night?
Couldn't I help her?
So I sat with her and made suggestions, which upset her even more, leading to:
Why couldn't she do it her way?
I got up and washed some dishes while she continued to alternately cry and demand I help her which we all know really meant:
Why can't you just do it for me?
Ohh no-no-no-no. No.
However, I wasn't completely off the hook. This was because she needed pictures of New York City tourist destinations, which meant I had to print out a bunch of pictures of the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building at work, probably making my co-workers think I was planning some sort of attack or heist.
I find, though, that when some sort of involvement in your child's homework is required, it's hard to extricate yourself, especially when you watch that child filling in the allotted lines using ABNORMALLY LARGE LETTERS and repeating the same sentence three different ways: "There are a lot of places to visit in Manhattan. New York has a lot of beautiful places to see and go to. These are some sites for tourists to visit."
In the end the project took her a few nights, less crying each night, like the Ferber Method for homework, and Sunday night, the night before it was due, she finally finished.
So much unnecessary drama, but at last it was done, and I was relieved.
Until the next night when I was checking her homework, and I opened her folder, and guess what I found? The project, still there.
"Zoe, why didn't you hand in your project?"
"Oh, I forgot, I'll hand it in tomorrow. It's fine, Mommy."
Inside, I cried. For more than forty-five minutes.

Zoe: 177; Universe: 0

 If you enjoyed this post, you may like this one.

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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Zoe vs. 2018: A Seven-Year-Old's New Year's Resolutions. Plus Her Word for the Year

This year's list of Zoe's resolutions is late because it was the first New Year's she stayed up to watch the ball drop---and I haven't recovered yet.
I am a walking yawn.
But even sleepy I'm working hard to entertain my five readers---see how much I care?---so this year I decided to add Zoe's and my "word" for 2018.

Word of the Year

Have you heard about this? People now pick a word for their personal year, and then attempt to live up to that word for the rest of it.
I'm not a New Year's resolution type of person, but I am a word person, so I feel like I'm a natural passenger for the logophile train.
However, this took some soul-searching, because I'm also not the sort of person who thrills to memes featuring people scaling cliffs at sunrise or rowing a skiff at sunset with words like "Aspire"  and "No Limits" written at the bottom. If I ever say I'm "living my best life," you should know that my best life includes sarcasm.
In the interests of becoming at least the sort of person who's maybe not like the sort of person I am, I decided my word for 2018 will be "insouciant." I like the way it sounds and I think I'd like to be insouciant.
Think devil-may-care. Think champagne and fluttering clothes in fabrics that need to be hand washed, which is very impractical and also annoying, but do I care? No? Correct. Because I'm now insouciant.
I was also rewatching Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in Charade---a movie I've seen a million times---over the holidays and I decided I want to embody that movie, Henry Mancini score and all. Charade's a movie with insouciance to spare.

A Child's New Year's Resolutions
"How about making me Vice President in charge of cheering you up?"
Actual line from movie. Can you stand it? I can. Because I'm insouciant.
Still, I think I'll start being insouciant tomorrow, which is when my diet starts. Now, here's Zoe.
(Warning, she uses the phrase "pretty much" in almost every sentence and it pretty much drives me crazy.)

Zoe here! I can tell Mommy's tired because she slept past her alarm the past three days and this morning when she opened the spoon drawer to get me a spoon for my cereal she dropped the spoon, bent down to pick it up, and then hit her head on the open drawer when she got up again. Poor Mommy! I said. After I stopped laughing. Here are my resolutions!

Zoe's New Year's Resolutions for 2018
1. Decide on my word for 2018. (I got a dictionary for Christmas and thought it was boring until I saw it had words like "die" and "feces" in it.)
2. Get the last Lego dragon I don't have, the Queen dragon, which is white with gold and purple wings, and is pretty much bigger---and apparently pretty much more expensive---than all of my Lego dragons put together which gives me an idea.
3. See if I can connect all of my Lego dragons together so it will pretty much be a necklace of Lego dragons.
4. Play all the YouTube videos I want for one thousand one million googleplex hours till Mommy uses the weird voice she uses when she's amusing herself with some imitation she should know by now I can't understand to say I should go outside and play in the fresh air which I know she doesn't really mean because we live in an apartment and so she'd have to go with me into the fresh air, like the air at the park which she hates though she tries to hide it but pretty much doesn't try very hard.
5. Write more run-on sentences.
6. Learn Italian.
7. Write run-on sentences in Italian. Molto bene, abbastanza.*
8. Gain weight. (I put this one in to mess with Mommy because she's trying to do the opposite. Don't know why it's so hard for her.) 
9. Go to the bathroom when I have to go and not wait till I'm so desperate it's almost too late and sometimes pretty much a little bit too late. 
10. On the other hand, don't stay too long in the school bathroom just to show each girl who comes in the bad word (the one that starts with "f") that was scratched in the cell [Ed: stall] door so that I pretty much miss snack time. A bad word is not a reason for show and tell, and show and tell and bathrooms should never go together, unless you require medical attention. Plus, I could get in trouble, even though I'm sure it was a bad boy who snuck in and wrote it cause a girl wouldn't do that. Right, Mommy?

That's all! And I already did my first resolution.
Ready to hear my word for 2018? Schadenfreude.
Because it may be wrong to laugh at others' misfortunes but it's also funny.
Though next time Mommy drops my spoon then hits her head on the open drawer I'll ask if she's hurt first before I laugh. Pretty much.

Zoe: 176; Universe: 0

*Very well, pretty much.

 If you enjoyed this post, you may like last year's resolutions.

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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