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Dear Zella: Month Twenty-four

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Dear Zella,

You are two. Though, when asked, you tell people proudly, “I three!”

You are two, and still tiny and hilarious, as you’ve always been. A few days ago, you began making this incredible face, sort of mimicking your dada’s silly staring contest face. Your face is not a stare so much as a full mask of insanely gleeful energy. Your eyes widen, your mouth opens, your fingers stretch out, and it’s all done with so much concentration that you sometimes shake. For a day or two, it took some coaxing to get you to “do the face.” Now, we can get it on request, along with a bunch of new faces, too.

When I went to make your 2 crown, I struggled to find a theme. When Ezra turned two, I made him a crown with a train engine and Goldbug because, duh, he was obsessed with trains and Goldbug. When he turned three, it was Totoro. You hold no such clear obsessions. So, I went with polka dots for the crown, to express your love of fashion. This month, you have been layering a pink tulle tutu dress with hoodies and pants and snow boots. You have worn my socks up to your hips as leggings. You mix colors and patterns and textures with a keen eye for details. When your babysitter brought over a dress she sewed for you (!!!) in red gingham with flower appliqués, your eyes got googly with delight. You chose it for your birthday party outfit, and then very carefully determined that you needed white bobbie socks and party shoes to go with it.

And it’s not quite true what I said about you not having clear obsessions. You do have one. Ezra. You repeat all his phrases, play with all his toys, follow him around. I thought it was adorable how Ezra can talk about all the instruments in Peter and the Wolf. I had no idea how much more adorable it would be to hear you say “Grandpa is a bassoon!” After a week of Ezra demanding Fiddler on the Roof on nonstop repeat, you now dutifully reply “miracle of miracles!” any time I say “wonder of wonders…”

Your deep and abiding need to do whatever Ezra is doing is making bedtime a struggle, because what Ezra is doing is trying to avoid bedtime. Your bed is near the door, and every time he gets up and opens the door to begin his “more water, more kisses, more books, more playing, more food” routine, you dutifully rise out of your bed, even if mostly asleep, and follow him bleary-eyed into the hall. It’s just your job. (On the other hand, on our recent trip to Galena, you discovered that in a new house with easy-to-use door handles — we have knobs at home — you could be the ringleader of some escapes of your own. I’m still tired just thinking about how little you guys slept on that trip.)

I continue to love how fearless you are with markers and crayons and paint. Ezra basically never drew anything until one day he drew a fully identifiable face with eyes and a mouth. You grab a marker, streak a spiral of color up there, and then proudly tell me “I drew a fish!” or “that’s a happy face!” or “that’s Z for Zella!”

Your sentences and grammar are evolving rapidly, partly by repeating everything you hear. The other day you used “already” and “anymore” correctly at various times, and you are rapidly mastering the past tense. You love to tell me exactly what is happening, usually in a state of high excitement as if such a thing has never in the history of the world happened before. For instance: “I nakies! I nakies in the bath!” You also like to add my name onto the end of all your sentences as if you just completed a business seminar. “I nakies in the bath, Sarah.

Then there’s one thing that never, ever changes about you. Your eyes. They are gigantic and chocolate brown and we all want to go swimming in them.

You are my wonder of wonders, my miracle of miracles, sweet Zibba Zabba Zoo.



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