Today we reached a milestone – Zoe said “You’re not my REAL mother!” She wasn’t angry; in fact, we were playing around at dinner. We went to Purple Cow Diner, and, as usual, Zoe and Maya wanted my French fries AND the leftover mayo from my hamburger to dip them in (yuck!). They were pretending that I was "mean mom" and wouldn't give them the food. I said something about what a nice mother I was to share my food, and Zoe said matter-of-factly, “But you’re not my real mother.”
I answered, “Is that so? Then who am I?” Zoe’s answer: “You’re not my birth mother.” “That’s true,” I said. “Is that what it takes to be a real mother – you have to grow in her tummy?”
Maya surprised me by answering, “No! You live with her and she takes care of you forever!” (How about that! She’s been listening!) Zoe then said, “But I didn’t live with you first and I won’t live with you forever, and when I’m a grown-up I’ll take care of myself.” I reminded her that even when I was a grown-up, Mimi took care of me after I had brain surgery, and then conversation became more general (they pretty much let you know when they're finished talking about something.)
A little later I held my hand out to Zoe and said, “Feel.” She felt my hand questioningly, and I said, “Feels pretty real, huh? Looks like you have two real mothers.” She laughed at that.
So it was a first, but I’m sure it wasn’t the last. And I suppose I still have the angry “you’re not my mother” to look forward to!