Thursday, August 30, 2012

Really, really, bigger

 Recently, Ella has joined the ranks of all the other toddlers, preschoolers, and older kids who cannot wait to "get bigger." Whenever I haven't seen her for a while- when she is at school or has been sleeping- she will look at me and stand as tall as she possibly can and say, "You want to see how really, really bigger I got?"

What's funny to me is what getting bigger means to her. The first part is that she will literally be bigger and this will allow her to reach things that are higher (that I, of course, don't want her to reach), and do things that are difficult, like reach the pedals on her bike, or throw a ball as high as Daddy. The more interesting part of this is that she understands that getting bigger also means becoming more grown-up, a status that affords you more privileges. So what kinds of privileges is she interested in? She desperately wants to use grown-up scissors instead of her frustratingly dull ones. She also wants to go to a "big kid" school like Izzy and Arlo and Robby and Joey. She wants to swing by herself and swim without floaties. While I was driving the other day she told me, "When I get too big for my car seat, then I can drive."

To her, being bigger means freedom and broader horizons and new possibilities and I can't deny that being bigger does offer all these things. Ever since she was born, she has always been ready for the next thing: crawling, walking, talking. What's next? What's over there? What are those kids doing? Her fearless desire to know, and see, and do is what I admire most about my big/little girl and I never want to take that away from her, but there are times we all wish children could appreciate the beauty of being little, the freedom that comes from having no responsibilities in the world beyond playing, eating, snuggling, and sleeping. If only I could switch places with Ella B for one day so she could be really, really bigger and I could be really, really smaller and we could both appreciate the benefits of each existence. For now, I guess we'll just have to live our own lives, enjoying our own freedoms, while longing for those of the other.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What a pip

I thought I'd give you a few of Ella B's recent gems to make your Tuesday a little funnier:

I asked Ella if she had a dirty diaper. She replied, "It's a mystery."

One day, when I found her moving her arms and legs very slowly, I asked her what she was doing, and she said, "I'm doing Tai Chi Mom."

After reading a story where a worm is reading a book, the following conversation ensued:

Ella: That's silly
Me: Can worms read books?
Ella: No, they don't have hands!

You're welcome.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"Why that's an airplane?"

 It has finally happened. We have entered the "why" stage of childhood development. At this point, she is clocking a good 200-300 "whys" a day for sure. This makes my parents very happy because as legend has it, I was the queen of the why. I even had to stop going to catechism because all the questions were making the nuns a little nervous. And I'm telling you, I really don't mind all the questions. Questions in and of themselves are great and, really, I am happy to answer them. Here's an example:
                "Mom, why is that man outside?"
                "He's mowing his lawn."

This is fine. The question is straightforward, and I can easily answer it. The problem is that it doesn't end there.
                "Why's he mowing his lawn?"
                "So it will look nice."
                "Why it will look nice?"
                "Because when the grass is short, it looks neat and clean."
 Even up to this point, I feel confident that the questions and subsequent answers are logical and possibly even valuable, but it doesn't end there.
                "Why it looks neat and clean?"
                "Because...because when you cut it, it becomes more even and flat."
                "Why it does that?"
                "Why does it do what?"
 We inevitably end up in this place where we both sort of forget what "it" is referring to, and she gets frustrated because she wants the line of questioning to continue, but we've both pretty much forgotten what we're talking about.
This is the part that drives me crazy. The questions that have no answers, like, "Mom, why that's an airplane?" Why is that an airplane? Because it's an airplane! How am I supposed to answer that question?! Ask me about God. Ask me about sex. Ask me about the meaning of life. But please don't ask me, "why that's an airplane?" because really El, it just is, and that's going to have to be good enough.

Friday, August 10, 2012

My own little 'Lympian'

This summer has been all about the Olympics, or as Ella would say the "Lympics" and our house has been no exception. My husband could spend all day, everyday watching whatever sport is on (handball, ping pong, race walking- yes, that is a legit sport in the Olympics), and Ella has started to follow suit. While we get her lotioned, and brushed, and diapered, and dressed after her bath at night, she usually watches a show to keep her sitting and distracted. Lately, we will ask her if she wants to watch one of her shows or the Olympics, and sometimes she says, "Lympics- I want to watch swimming." While she will watch other sports, swimming seems to be her favorite. She is fascinated by how quickly those men and women can race down the length of the pool, "really fast like an otter," and how they wear goggles and go "all the way under water." She likes to jump on the bed naked and yell, "USA! USA!" as if it really means something to her.

Swimming as her sport of choice is not really random. She has spent a lot of time in the pool this summer figuring out the whole swimming thing for herself. Recently, we went shopping for flotation devices and I let her pick the one she wanted to wear. It is a pink number with one floaty in the back and one in the front that are attached between her legs. From the minute we bought it, she has been asking to wear it in the pool, "so I don't sink."

The thing that amazes me most about this girl is how physically adept she is. As with rolling over, crawling, and walking, she pretty much learned how to swim in a week. Our neighbors who have a pool went away and gave us full reign of the backyard, so Ella B was in their pool everyday, two hours a day, for five days straight. In that time, she went from asking me to hold her, to telling me to let go of her, to learning to kick her legs, to learning how to swim away from me, saying, "Bye! I'm going to New York City!" She also likes to jump into the pool from the ladder and tells me to "move back, Mom. No, farther!"

Because I was never an athlete, I am constantly in awe of  her fearlessness, her determination, and her understanding of how to use her body to learn something. I know she is only two, but I think all these traits are the mark of a true athlete. I'm certain that sports will come easily to her, and I'm looking forward to standing on the sidelines and cheering her on- my wide eyes full of admiration and wonder. 

Summer Olympics 2028, here we come!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Ella B in NYC

Phase three of embracing the disaster came in the form of a little trip to New York City. Jessica has been asking us to come to New York for ages, and I finally decided Ella B and I were ready for the excursion. It helped that Jess was home that day and we were all able to board the train together and head down. Ella loved the train. She spent most of the time staring out the window, or "ruining" the pictures Jess was trying to color. She keeps telling people she went on a big school bus, but it was definitely a train.

Once we got there, we headed over to the Central Park Zoo. All Ella cared about was seeing the polar bear, so we were really hoping he would be out and about. Mr. Polar Bear did not disappoint, and ever since she has been imitating his swimming style. She wasn't really into any of the other animals, so we went to the petting zoo where she could get her hands on some goats, llamas, cows, etc. and that perked her up, but what she was really excited about was the pigeons. This girl is a true animal lover and all she wants to do is pet and cuddle every animal she sees. Much to her chagrin, wild birds don't really like to be pet. So, she spent about ten minutes focused on chasing a pigeon. I assumed her efforts were futile, until, of course, she actually caught the pigeon! Everything about the trip paled in comparison to that.

 Another highlight was seeing a random guy dressed as Elmo. Ella just about died, and it wasn't until we snapped some pictures with him that I noticed his knee pads and fanny pack. Weird.

 We met Alan for lunch at a nearby pub that also has tables you can write on with crayons, a score for anyone trying to actually eat food with a toddler present. 

Finally, we headed over to Dylan's Candy Shoppe and blew Ella's mind once more with a lollipop the size of her head. The whole place is decorated with bright colors, booths shaped like giant cupcakes, and even a bar. I really think this would be the perfect place for a kid or an adult party.

As we headed back to the train station after a fun-filled day, Ella promptly fell asleep in the stroller covered in lollipop, sunscreen, and sweat looking so disgusting that people were giving me dirty looks. I didn't care. Her disheveled appearance was the mark of a truly great day.