Latest Post

Dear Zella: Month Twenty-one

  • Tagged The letters
  • Commenters cousin caroline

Dear Zella,

OK. That’s your word this month. Pronounced “ho-kay” with a little catch in the middle that makes it sound as if you are taking a moment to resign yourself to whatever crazy plot your father/mother/brother is suggesting. We often find ourselves acquiescing to your crazy plots: pretending to be sleepy (“cheepy”) over and over again, playing peek-a-boo, or singing your new favorite songs to you over and over again. “Mo’ Kana-o-kana,” you demand, thrusting the Hanukah book that came in the mail a few weeks ago into my face.

To your Blue Totoro Halloween costume, a thing you didn’t completely understand, you mostly gave a big ho-kay, though “no hat!” was a frequent refrain, as you pulled the hood back off your face. You loved being a big girl and going up to houses to get pieces of candy, but I think you mostly just loved having a fun thing to do with Ezra.

This month you have played together more and more. Ezra has lots of ideas for you, loves telling you where to go and what to do, and you’re pretty good at following his instructions (until you decide that you will not). You’ve also learned to say “my turn” while reaching longingly for a book or toy that he has commandeered. On our recent trip to Vermont and Boston, the two of you stuck together, reading books and sharing cozy spots on the giant dog bed.

Speaking of the giant dog bed, our whole life, your dada has been a bit worried about your fear of dogs. We don’t have one yet, but we will eventually, and you have a history of screwing your tiny face up in utter terror as soon as a dog gets close enough to lick. But this month when we took a trip to Vermont to see Aunt Lilli and Uncle Jed and their two poodles Rufus and Bessie, and then continued on to Boston to stay with my friend Amanda’s family and their two dogs Levi and Heidi, and you were amazingly brave. You actually loved the dogs, asked for them by name, snuggled them, petted them, and let them lick you over and over. Amanda’s dog Heidi was the smallest of all, and you loved giving her hugs, grabbing her around the waist with your whole body. You put your hands on her face and giggled as she slurped your fingers.

This wasn’t the month you discovered our phones and iPad, but it was the month you decided that they are the best things in the history of things. You want them, and bad. Your favorite phrase is “mommy phone,” said while reaching in my pockets. You also take my cheeks in your hands and demand the “hap-pad.” We started introducing you to these much later than we had with Ezra, but it doesn’t matter. You picked up on how to unlock, navigate, and play toddler games in the blink of an eye.

We’re obviously not opposed to letting you play with these ubiquitous gadgets — we are, however, opposed to the EPIC STORMS OF RAGE that accompany being denied said gadgets. You have discovered the temper tantrum, my dear. Screaming, crying, face down on the floor, flailing your legs. Sometimes it’s losing the iPad, sometimes it’s mama trying to put your shoes on for you when you want to do it “do’f,” sometimes it’s being denied a third, fourth, or fifth prune (your favorite food). You have strong opinions.

What I have always loved about your strong opinions is that, while it’s sometimes difficult to find the magic thing your heart desires, if I find it, you are instantly settled. One night you were screaming inconsolably at bedtime, and at my wit’s end after trying all my other tricks I threw out, “do you want me to sing Apples and Cherries?” which is your new favorite song from music class. Tears shut off like a faucet. “Ho-kay,” you said, sniffling. “Then lie down so I can tuck you in and sing the song.” “Ho-kay.” And that was it. You went to sleep.

Wishing you sweet dreams full of apples, cherries, and, prunes. Ho! Kay!


cousin caroline

Nov 25 / 00:04
Say something