Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ella B in NYC (the remix)

This weekend, Ella B took her second trip to NYC and this time she got to sleep over. The anticipation of this almost destroyed her. When I told her we were going to stay at Aunty Jessica's apartment and sleep in Aunty Jessica's bed, she just about died. I, of course, was dying to know how this was all going to work out.

We made plans to run/walk/stroll in this charity event for Big Brothers Big Sisters that Jessica's boyfriend, Alan, is apart of. I decided it would be easier to go in Friday night and sleep at Jess's than to take the train Saturday morning. Of course, this meant that Ella would have to sleep somewhere other than her crib. It also meant she would have to sleep in a regular bed in an apartment that is about the size of her bedroom. There were some very real fears about how this was going to work out.

We decided that it was best if she and I slept in the bed and Mike took the couch. The problem was how to get her to bed and whether or not I would be able to get up again once she was down. Luckily, she went down pretty easily. We took a bath, read a few books, had a bottle (I mean, what? My two-year-old doesn't drink out of a bottle. That's ridiculous. Anyway...), and then I shut out the lights and pretended to go to sleep. We told her that daddy had to "go to work" so he wouldn't be forced to lie down, too. This meant, however, that he had to sit in the living room/ non-functioning kitchen and occupy himself while remaining fairly silent. Every time Ella heard him clear his throat, she'd say:

"I think daddy's downstairs."

"There is no downstairs El, go to sleep."

She also kept putting her hand on my face and whispering, "Mommy, open your eyes."

Eventually, she gave up, rolled over and fell asleep. I was able to stealthily sneak out and sneak back in undetected. She slept through the night with no problems. I, on the other hand, kept waking up to find a tiny hand draped across my face, or a foot in my crotch. Now I know why she always wakes up with a huge knot in her hair. That girl doesn't stop moving.

In the morning, we headed over to Alan's apartment where Ella couldn't wait to tell Jess, "I slept in your bed last night." We went to Riverside Park and got ready for the race. Ella was especially excited that Dora was there and we got to take a picture with her. Mike narrowly avoided a traumatizing moment when he and Ella were following Dora as she went into a little tent. Suddenly, Dora started to remove her head, and Mike quickly turned around telling Ella, "Dora has to go potty right now."

We ran/walked/and strolled our way around the park and ate a few Whole Foods sandwiches at the end. Ella was excited to see "a lot of Franklins" which were really just Ninja Turtles, but she didn't know the difference.

The highlight for her was probably when we started and impromptu parachute party. She desperately wanted to hold up the parachute lying on the ground, but with only the three of us, it was pretty difficult. A few people joined us and before we knew it, we had formed a group and the kids were running and laughing underneath the parachute every time we lifted it up. Ella was afraid at first, but soon she was running underneath between Mike and I, laughing the whole way.

She never napped, so we called it a day soon after that. She fell asleep in the car on the way home and went to bed pretty early. All in all, it was a successful trip to the city, and Ella had another first. Her first sleepover in NYC, something I didn't do until I was probably 18. Ella B, you are so much cooler than me.

Friday, September 21, 2012

My muse

 Yesterday in Creative Writing I asked my students to write a poem in the style of Gertrude Stein. If you know anything about Stein, then you know what a difficult task this is. If you don't know anything about her, then, well, you aren't really missing much. The overall point was to write a poem that was experimental in form and word choice and didn't follow the usual conventions of what we think a "poem" is supposed to be.I asked them to write about someone or something that seems indescribable. They grew increasingly frustrated, so I decided to write a poem about the person in my life who cannot really be defined by words alone, Miss Ella B. I think you'll see that even though this poem doesn't technically make sense, it sums up Ella B quite well.

Ella B Let her be and be and b

Ella B let her be and be and believe and live and buzz yellow wind
Let her swift run electricity
Carbonated lightning
Let her be of a squeal squawk run
Let her be zipper clang and scream of trumpets blaring
Ella B Ella B Ella B be be beat thump crash and swish splash
Be bathtub and belly down and up and down and up
Let her be a heat in winter a ship dives deeper
A wild thunderclap will be her and b and b and b
Believe and Live and Ella B

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sleepover party

 Last weekend we were lucky enough to have a four-legged house guest. He goes by the name of Bowie McGee and is the "child" of our good friends Amy and Mike. I awoke bright and early Saturday morning to a text message by Amy telling me our little friend was waiting downstairs and Ella and I rushed to greet her. Now, I have always been a dog person,and this is by far the longest period of time that I have ever gone without a dog in my life. It hurts a little bit to know that Ella doesn't have a dog of her own, mostly because I always thought our beloved pitbull/bulldog, Niko, would be her childhood pet. When Niko passed away, I figured we would get a new dog eventually, but on most days the truth is that I don't want another dog, I just want Niko back, and so our house remains pawless, and Ella remains petless.

Enter Miss Bowie into our lives for one short weekend and the toddler/beagle magic began to work its charms. Ella could not have been more excited and did not leave Bowie alone for one second of her visit. She pretended as if Bowie was just another friend who would want to play with her.

"Bowie, I'm gonna take your temperature." (That one made me pause and take a look).

"Does Bowie like headbands?" (Answer: No). 

"Bowie, let's play hide and seek. You hide first!"

"Bowie, watch me ride my bike."

And just as we all get annoyed when our friends don't listen to us, the love affair between Bowie and Ella had its problems, too.

"She's not hiding!"

"She's not watching me ride my bike."

Trying to explain to a two-year-old why a dog won't follow her orders is like trying to explain anything to a two-year-old. It doesn't work. But overall, they had a great time together. Bowie is the most patient toddler toy I have ever seen and she was handsomely rewarded with snuggles and chicken after Ella went to sleep. Just don't tell Amy about the chicken.

Overall, it definitely got those dog ideas swirling in our minds, but no progress yet. For now, I am only responsible for cleaning up one creatures poop, and that's fine with me. Mike's dad brought over two fish a few weeks ago, so we'll start there and see where it takes us. Who knows, maybe next week we'll get a hermit crab.