On Saturday we were outside playing with bubbles, one of Ella's biggest obsessions. She recently acquired a battery-powered bubble gun (aka- we just put batteries in a bubble gun she got a million years ago) that shoots a stream of bubbles with a squeeze of a button. This is pretty much heaven as far as she's concerned, mostly because she doesn't know how to blow bubbles herself and gets frustrated every time she tries to do it until she looks at me and declares, "It's not working." There aren't a lot of perfect antidotes to toddler problems, but in this case, there is. A seemingly endless stream of bubbles that requires not blowing and no help from mommy. That is perfection.
After a while, she got bored of simply blowing the bubbles and wanted to chase them. I dutifully took command of the gun and blew the bubbles in her direction as she gleefully chased them amidst the ever-changing wind. At some point it dawned on her that she was no longer in possession of the gun and ran over to me shouting, "That's my bubble thing, Mommy. It's special to me. It's my special thing." Michael and I tried to stifle our laughter as best we could. Where did she get that one? How does she know the word special? As with most things, I realized she had learned something from me quite by accident. I thought about all the times I asked her not to touch my wedding rings, or a small elephant that was my grandmother's. "These things are special to mommy." Her slow and systematic acquisition of language and social understanding never ceases to amaze me. She realizes that certain things are valuable and worth protecting, and in the toddler Universe, a bubble gun ranks right up there at the top of the list.
I started thinking about what other things might be valuable to her: Her Marcia blanket (made by her teacher at school), and her Nene blanket (given to her by my mother) for sure, her Dora umbrella and raincoat, rocks, dandelions, worms we collect to put in the vegetable garden, her playground, squirrels, socks, Goodnight Gorilla and Marley book, her trampoline, the kitchen chair she uses to help me make dinner, as many kisses as she can steal from her father before bed ("Just one more"), having breakfast with Nene and Pop Pop on Sunday mornings, and that big blue house she calls her home ("Yay! I see our house, Mommy").
These are some of her special things, and I know that I rank pretty high on that list, too. And that's good because Ella B, you are my most special thing of all.