Friday, December 12, 2008

Zo Zo

Well, I think I've gone a little overboard on telling our cat that she is bad. Zoe is about a year and a half old and gets into trouble all the time. She gets yelled at a lot. She gets called "bad cat" a lot. In fact, Aidan chants "bady cat bady cat" over and over, just because it's fun to say, I guess, and maybe because he hears it often.

Leo does not exactly dislike Zoe, but he does not really like her, either. He calls her "Zo Zo" and calls the other cat, Alice, the same thing - Zo Zo. He gets upset if Zoe is in his room or near his crib. He gets upset when she jumps on the counter, when she sniffs the couch, when she does basically anything besides sleep. He likes to feed her, but gets upset if she chooses a different bowl than the one he's given her. He tries so hard to snap at her with his fingers, the way Jeff and Aidan do with her when she's doing something bad (like scratching the furniture).

A few days ago, Zoe climbed the curtains using her claws and caused the whole curtain and rod to fall to the ground. I was pretty annoyed about that. I might have yelled at her for it.

The next day, Leo brought a book to me that had been chewed on by the cat. He kept pointing to the bite marks as if to ask, "What the heck is this?" I told him that the cat, Alice, had chewed on the book. (She likes the tannins used in paperbacks). He made an angry face and said "Zo Zo!!!" I corrected him, told him that it was Alice, not Zoe.

We went downstairs and he pointed at the curtain that Zoe had torn down the day before. He kept pointing at it and saying "Zo Zo!! Zo Zo!!" I said "Yes, Zoe knocked that curtain down yesterday."

...and then we were upstairs, and he was using the squirter to squirt water all over the bathroom floor. I had given him the squirter to use on the doors or on his toy train, but not on the floor. I scolded him a little and gave him a towel to clean it up. He pointed to the water on the floor and said "Zo Zo!!!" I thought it was a little strange that he said that....

... and then a little while later, while we were in the basement, I put it all together in my head. He pointed to my shirtsleeve where it is permanently stained with red paint. He pointed at it, looked at me and said "Zo Zo!!!"

Everything that is bad must mean Zoe did it, or contributed to it - at least in his head. He is overgeneralizing the concept of Bad Cat to include anything that is bad - downed curtains and chewed up books, understandably by the cats. But a mess of water and paint stains?

Finally, today, Leo licked a toy cup from his play kitchen and got some little piece of fuzz in his mouth. He stuck his tongue out and scraped it off, then showed me his finger and said "Zo Zo!" I asked him, "Zoe was in your mouth?!!" He affirmed, "Zo Zo!" and pointed at his finger again.

I'm envisioning I could really use this to my advantage in the future. "Zo Zo" could become our code word for "knock it off, that is behavior I do not accept, please behave more kindly, respectfully, quietly, [insert desired adverb here]" and it would sure save me some time and effort. "Leo, I find that quite Zo Zo. Aidan, no Zo Zo....."

1 comment:

sseehaver said...

Dear Annie,
I continue to love reading your blog but today I want you to know how very proud I am that you are my "baby." You are such a wonderful young woman who continues to surprise me with wonderful insights, reflections, and achievements.

Happy 30th Birthday my dear!!