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Dear Zella: Month Twenty-three

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Dear Zella,

Recently we had a playdate for Ezra with one of his friends from school. The friend has a baby brother, and there was another baby over as well, so you got to choose: babies or big boys. It was no contest. At one point, the three of you set up our play tent in the living room, and after a few minutes of negotiating, you ran down the hall to tell me, “I get monkeys for the tent!” You had been given an important job by the big boy high command, and you could not have been more proud.

You adore Ezra, and I love watching you two really beginning to play together in earnest. In the morning sometimes I hear the two of you chatting. When Ezra gets up to open the door, he tells me, “we were awake, we were just having a conversation.“ You love getting instructions from him, listening closely and nodding with a solemn “OK” to each request.

I suppose, given how much time you spend with Ezra, that we should not have been surprised when you started sneaking the stray “Sarah” and “Sandy” into the mix. You still use mommy and daddy, but the first names are gaining traction. When something is really serious, you go with Mommy Sarah to hedge your bets. The day Ezra assigned us all animal identities, you called me Mommy Sarah Zebra to really cover your bases. Anyway, there it is. You both call us by our first names. We’re that family.

Speaking of those animal identities, as much fun as it’s been to watch you cooperate with Ezra, I also love watching you forge your own path. I loved listening to you fight back the day Ezra told you you were a fish. “No fishy! I giraffe! I giraffe!” You not only understood the game, but you wanted to play it by your own rules. I love that you are willing to pretend things, like being an animal or eating scoops of Ezra’s “ice cream.”

You love music as much as Ezra does. This month you guys have been obsessed with “What is this Feeling” from Wicked, which you named “the popsicle song” (because it starts, “My dearest darlingest Momsie and Popsicle”) and you request it over and over again. You love Peter and the Wolf right alongside Ezra, and while he shakes his head in despair every time you misidentify an oboe or bassoon (seriously, he is a crazy orchestra nerd), you are still just excited to play along.

You are still quite the fashionista, demanding party shoes instead of boots and specific colors of hair clips and bands. A few weeks ago you discovered a pink tulle tutu dress in the closet, and now frequently demand your “ballerina.” You also discovered Ezra’s old Bubbles costume, and for days you wanted to wear the monkey suit all the time.

In general, though, you’re not quite as obsessive as Ezra about things. He had monkeys, trains, and now orchestra instruments. You just like stuff. It is possible, though that we may have found your first true love. The aquarium mesmerized you, and you could have stayed at the beluga tank murmuring “baby whale…baby whale…” for hours. Other minor obsessions: temporary tattoos (especially of horses), hanging from bars at gymnastics, applesauce, Ezra’s friend Momo, and trying to convince me to let you watch something on the TV.

In another month, I’m sure some of your most adorable habits will have morphed again, so I want to remember these days of you bursting out of your bedroom (released by Ezra) with your floppy hair falling over your eyes, shouting “Guh Mahnin’!” and then beckoning to me with your funny fingers-down beckon, “Come on, Mommy Sarah. Come on!” as you invite me along on one of your adventures.

I love you Monkey Giraffe Ballerina Fish.

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