Friday, September 27, 2013

The One With The Things I Love About Ellie (4 Years)

My dear, sweet Ellie. It's hard to believe she is four years old now. Words cannot describe how much I love the girl she is. We have our rough moments, maybe even our rough days. But more often than not, my heart swells with pride to be her mama. I have such admiration for the girl she is becoming.

Here are a few of my favorite things about her this past year:
1. She loves her sister. Like really, really loves her. Do they fight? Yes. Do they steal each other's toys and make each other mad? Oh, for sure. But they're still actual best friends. We moved the carseats around so that Ellie and Olivia sit together in the back row of the van. And on long road trips they spend hours talking to each other and coloring and telling jokes and singing songs. And trying to calm Henry down when he is upset (which is less helpful than one might think). They wake up in the morning and have the cutest conversations over breakfast. E: "I'm going to preschool today." O: "Oh, that's so fun, Ellie." // O: "Is it a scary monster?" E: "No, it's a tickle monster."

2. She is confident. She spent the first few years of her life being fairly timid and shy. She still likes to warm up to situations gradually, but when she does, she knows who she is and what she likes and she isn't afraid to tell anyone. Just ask any number of the unsuspecting solicitors who have nervously knocked on our door trying to sell magazines and got stuck with an earful of detailed information about princess. Or ponies. Or rainboots.  A while back she paused beside a mirror and said, "Hang on. I need to see how beautiful I am." And at bath time, "I can get in the bath by myself because I have big legs."

3. She is learning to piece things together and make sense of the world. It is fun hearing her try to figure out how to use big words that she hears. "Eventually I am going to eat dinner now."

4. She loves to adventure with us. We have all sorts of conversations that start with, "Let's go home and get my blankie and my backpack and then get in the car and go to an adventure. I can take a nap in the car." And this summer when I told them we were going to grandma's house, but I made the mistake of telling them too early and she spent an entire week standing by the door with her backpack, all packed full of all the toys she needed for her trip. And when I say, "We're going tomorrow." and she always replies, "Is tomorrow today?"

5. She loves purses like other people like to breathe. I can't think of a time in the last year we have left the house without a purse or container of some sort full of her little things. Often they are things that you wouldn't really think to take out of the house. Like a few wooden cookies. Or the doll clothes, but not the doll. She takes a backpack full of toys with her to preschool. She never opens the backpack and takes them out, she just wants to have them there. Her teacher has had to send her paperwork folder home separately because it doesn't fit in her backpack. Her teacher probably thinks we are really weird.

6. She likes to make dramatic statements about the world. She has become quite the little aphorist lately. I feel I should enlighten you with some of her pearls of wisdom. "Fishes don't go in compost or toilets. They go in water and they go in tanks." // "Octopuses don't hold children. Only mamas hold children." // "Daddy, you are so big. You are so high up in the sky. You can sit down if you want." // "When I was a baby I walked like a cat. But now I am big and I walk like a human."

7. She reminds me of my sister. Sometimes she actually looks a lot like Candace did when she was little. And sometimes she just brings her up in every day conversation. A few weeks ago she told me, "For my birthday I want angel wings so I can fly up to heaven and see Candace!" Olivia responded with, "I want purple Lightning McQueen wings!"

8. She thinks her various body parts are responsible for themselves. "I can't blow this {pinwheel} because my mouth doesn't know how to blow it." // "My legs are hungry." // "I can't hold Olivia's hand. My hands are busy."

9. She loves princesses and dress up like no other. It's fun to see her so entranced by the wonder of childhood imagination. She will have to be big and responsible for so much of her life; I love letting her get to be the girliest of little girls right now.

10. She is so happy to see me at the end of preschool. Like runs excitedly and hugs me every day. It is just the best feeling. She is always happy to go and always happy to come home. I hope that part never changes.

11. She teaches me important things about life. A few weeks ago her grandma mentioned that it would be fun to take all the girl cousins to the princess dress-up parlor at Disneyland. The next day she asked, "Can we go see grandma and go to the princess dress-up store?" I replied, "Yeah, we can go there someday." She answered back, "No. Today! Today is someday." Today is someday. I want to engrave that on my heart.

12. She loves to help in the kitchen. I have a hard time relinquishing control in the kitchen, but I've been trying to let her participate. Even if it does mean that sometimes things get spilled. But she's getting better and better about stirring things slowly and carefully so they don't end up flying all over the place. And, of course, her most important culinary duty is taste testing. "Hey, mom. Guess what?" "What?" "I need something to lick."

13. One of the things I truly enjoy most is that I can actually have conversations with her. Real conversations. Like about how it is good to be little and enjoy being little. And about helping the family and be a hard worker. It's fun to have a kid at the stage where I can actually see myself teaching her things and see her brain trying to figure things out.

14. She is my little mirror. Sometimes this a good thing. Sometimes it is not so pleasant to see my reflection in the way she talks. Last night she asked me to go get her blankie. When I came back sans the blanket on account of forgetfulness, she said in a very sing-songy voice, while stroking my cheek, "What did I told you to get me?" Or quite frequently she reminds me to be careful, or, "Don't get too much, mom." I hear the things I say to her come out of her mouth quite often. And it reminds me to say good things to her.

15. She was a real little person at her birthday party. Whenever the doorbell rang she ran to answer it and see who had come to see her. And when it was time for cake and blowing out the candles, she wasn't surprised to be the center of attention. She stood and basked in her moment of being adored so much by everyone there. It was almost strange how much of big kid she was there.

16. The other night she asked me to snuggle with her after we had read all the stories. She wrapped her skinny little arms so tightly around my neck and held me so close. I told her much I love her while running my fingers through her hair. She rearranged herself so she could run her fingers through my hair. She laid her head on my chest. "Can you hear my heart?" I asked her. "Yeah. I'm in your heart, mama." I think that moment made up for all the tantrums she's ever thrown. But she could say it again just to be sure.

Dear Ellie,

It has been a wonderful four years with you. It has certainly changed almost everything in my life to be your mom... it has changed my perspective, my expectations, my goals and my time management. It has been challenging and rewarding and terribly worrisome and absolutely wonderful. I very much enjoy this life that I have because of you.

My birthday wish for you this year is that you are
engulfed by all the beauty all around you.
Be filled with wonder.
Stand tall and see that the world is big
and you are small, but not unimportant.
There are endless possibilities.
A million million things you will never know.
Each new day holds something truly wonderful,
something big or small to be noticed and marveled at.
Something to be observed and admired and soaked in.
Take a step back and see the big picture you never noticed.
Creep in close and watch a detail you've never seen.
Ask, ponder, look, imagine.
Pretend, sing, dance.
Be silly. Be smart. Be whatever you want to be.
You only get to be four years old once.

I'm so excited to spend this next year learning alongside you, Ellie. You teach me so many important things.

I love you forever and a day.



  1. Best post you've ever written!!! (Well, probably not, but this one IS really good. You'll have to make sure and save this for her. :)

  2. Whoa man, this one really got to me! She's so big and independent now! I am so looking forward to visiting and hopefully getting to experience a few pearls of her wisdom for myself. Thanks for sharing all these beautiful memories, insights, reflections and observations. You're a wonderful mama!


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