Thursday, June 21, 2018

Zoe vs. the Worst-Case Scenario: Play Date Edition

What's the worst-case scenario for a play date?

Play Date Edition

Three guesses.
The kids don't get along.
The parents don't get along.
How about the wrong kid shows up?
Let me back up a bit. First, as my lawyers have advised me to say, There are no "wrong" children. Just wrong situations. Exacerbated by kids acting wrong.
If it hasn't been established by now, I'm an introvert. In fact, here's a meme I made:

Here's another. (I like blue, and personal space.)

So one of the hardest aspects of parenting for me has been the "talking to others" that it requires. Being an "advocate." Speaking up. Asking questions. Plus, if I want Zoe to be more social than her mother I need to learn to make small talk.
I am constantly tested on this front, purposely exposing myself to social interactions until my soul's elbows have blisters from all the rubbing.
I do the best I can but sometimes my reluctance to mix leads to problems. Like cases of mistaken identity. For instance, this weekend's play date, which was like Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" mixed with Mr. Furley's Three's Company
Zoe knows---though I didn't till this weekend---three girls named Kristin.* Actually, and importantly, one's Kirsten (and she's in fourth grade--this is also important!!) and the other Kristin is spelled Krysten, and either that one or the Kristin with the i's pronounces her name Kirsten.
I think.
But Zoe, as has been previously established, is even more of a poor witness than I am an introvert.  
So Zoe wanted to have a play date with Kirsten. Having no idea who anyone is, I gave Zoe's after-care teacher a note to give to Kirsten's mom with my phone number asking if Zoe and her daughter could have a play date. 
With me so far? Sounds so easy. So Kirsten's mom texted me, and we arranged a play date for Saturday.
Come Saturday I'm packing Zoe's bag for the park. The sprinklers are on so I pack a towel, sunscreen, snacks, water, etc., and we're only three minutes late. Then the other mom texts me that she's going to be late because there's bathing suit drama with her daughter. I text back with something like "Ha, been there." See, I can do this! Way to go, me!
As the minutes tick by, Zoe keeps asking me when Kirsten is going to get there, and I keep saying, any minute, and finally, a woman shows up with two little girls. I'm like, hmmm, I thought Zoe told me Kirsten was an only child like her but whatever.
"Look who's here," I say and turn to find Zoe with tears flooding down her face.
Because it's the wrong Kirsten. This is apparently Kristin, a second-grader, from her class. Not to be confused with Krysten, another second-grader, or, more to the point, Kirsten, from fourth grade.
Zoe was inconsolable.
I was embarrassed.
Kristin was super chill, a cool kid that now I want Zoe to be friends with.
And the mom was super chill too, especially considering there was no way to pass Zoe's reaction off as "Yay, she's so happy to see you she had to run away to cry on top of the slide. . . . Y'know, from all the joy."
I had to explain what happened, and again, Kristin and her mom were very gracious.
Then I went over and tried to coax Zoe down from the slide. I said I was sorry but it was an honest mistake by her teacher, and me since I didn't know the kids in her school, and it was hardly a tragedy, and why waste a nice day, etc. It was no go. 
I decided to give her a few minutes and went to be (gasp!) social with the mom and make sure no feelings were hurt. Meanwhile Kristin tried to go play with Zoe, which still wasn't happening.
When I thought it was enough, I went over to Zoe and told her she had two minutes to pull herself together. She knew this little girl and there was no reason she couldn't play with her. Furthermore, how would she feel if she showed up to a play date and the other kid started crying because she was Zoe not Zoey. (The goddammits were silent. Albeit loud in my head.)
To Zoe's credit, two minutes later, she came down from the slide, and two minutes after that, she and Kristin were running off to play in the sprinkler, and Kristin is now my very favorite child with undoubtedly the best-spelled name of all the Kristins, Krystens, or even Kirstens everywhere.
And I went back to chat with the mom and it wasn't so hard. Especially now we had something to talk about.

Zoe: 185; Universe: 0

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent, as if I could even identify them in a lineup.

Hey, want to read something else by yours truly? Head on over to Little Old Lady Comedy for my piece "Vaguebooking from Notable Historical Figures." Enjoy!

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, June 7, 2018

Zoe vs. the TV Viewing Habits of the Average North American Octogenarian.* Or, The Legend of the Fifth Golden Girl

Could Zoe be the fifth Golden Girl? That's kind of like the fifth Beatle, but with more sass and possibly more estrogen, depending on how well hormone replacement therapy is going. In any case, I'm basing this theory on Zoe's TV viewing habits, which are a lot like a senior citizen's.

Or, The Legend of the Fifth Golden Girl

Take, Wheel of Fortune, for example, traditionally everyone's grandma's favorite show. It comes on after Jeopardy!, which the Husband and I watch, and Zoe's bath time is generally right after Final Jeopardy! If we're not quick enough to change the channel, Zoe is begging to delay her bath so she can watch just one more puzzle on Wheel of Fortune, and when she grudgingly surrenders and goes to her bath she wants us to leave the Wheel on so we can tell her who won.
Exhibit B: Reality cooking shows. When visiting relatives, Zoe is famous for her request that they leave the TV on in the bedroom when she goes to bed so she can "watch a little bit of her cooking shows" before she goes to sleep. Chopped, MasterChef, MasterChef Junior. All she needs is a jar of Vicks on the nightstand and a hot water bottle for her sciatica and she'd be a contented tiny senior citizen.
Exhibit C: Other reality shows. American Ninja Warrior and maybe even Superhuman might put her in a younger viewing demographic, but then the other night I was flipping through the channel guide and she suddenly yelled, "Shark Tank!" This is a show that is struggling with the under fifties. Draw your own conclusions.
Have I been sounding like I'm presenting a case? That's probably because the clincher showing her inner advanced age is that she absolutely loves Judge Judy.
I don't know how this happened but she can't get enough of tough-talking, no-nonsense Judge Judy Scheindlin.
Judge Judy is Zoe's spirit animal.
After I refused to watch Shark Tank the other night I capitulated on Judge Judy. Half from pity, half from amazement.
Let me set the scene. . . .
Picture it: Brooklyn, two nights ago.
Zoe couldn't sleep because she was having pains in her legs. With her factual age being seven, I figured these were actually growing pains and not sciatica, but there I was, sitting on the couch with my little young old lady, rubbing her calves while she watched Judge Judy try to settle a dispute between some young man and his baby mama.
Zoe was enthralled. Judge Judy judges behavior under the law, not morals. She just wants to get the facts straight when she's asking about the baby mama's other kid, the one who is not, in fact, related to the defendant. But at issue here is, who has rights to the dog?
I'm not sure what Zoe learned by the end of the episode, but her satisfied sigh as she watched told me, just like Sophia Petrillo, she's seen it all before.

Zoe: 184; Universe: 0

*Okay, so technically only Estelle Getty's character, Sophia, was supposed to be eighty years old, and I know none of the actresses were actually even close to eighty, but in my defense, octogenarian is a funny word. I rest my case.
If you enjoyed this post, you may enjoy Zoe vs. Dr. Phil.

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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