A week ago my firstborn child turned six. I think that makes me a real-life grownup or something. Ha!
Wait a minute! Does that say 6? 6!!! How did that happen? Will I always wonder that?
My goodness, but this girl has grown into such a lovely person this past year. I marvel at her a little more each day. You know I always thought I’d be so sad that she isn’t a baby, but every day I enjoy her more and more. I think she makes a really wonderful person, and I love seeing her grow and change and learn. I love that I can talk to her about things and she actually gets it. Like we’re having a real conversation between friends. I love that she can grasp abstract concepts. Everything about this stage of her life is fun. Well, almost everything. She’s also very obstinate about things. But also very lovely.
She went off to her first day of kindergarten just a couple of weeks ago. There was a last minute change and she ended up with a teacher she hadn’t met before that day. I thought maybe she’d be a little timid about that. But she marched right in, put her backpack away and plopped herself down next to the neighbor boy, Oliver. She was glad for a friend, that’s for sure. I marveled at her confidence. She’s come such a long way from her first social experiences. We attended a Bible study that met once a week for 3 hours and after the first year her teachers said to me, “You
know, Ellie hasn’t said anything this whole year.” I don’t think any of her teachers nowadays have the same experience. She has a lot to say.
We couldn’t have a big birthday party for her this year because our August and September have been NUTS (all caps). I felt terrible that her birthday had to be the thing that got a little bit taken away. When I asked her if it would be okay if we didn’t have a big party for her she said, “Yeah, that’s fine. As long as everyone still gives me all my presents.” So you know, she not materialistic at all. (High five, me.)
She also had some very specific ideas about her cake. We can’t always have parties, but darn it, we will definitely have a ridiculous theme cake, no matter what. She asked for Octonauts. I thought that would be easy enough except that the little figurines are ridiculously expensive. Why, Amazon, why? Well, I approached her about changing the theme and she said, “Okay! Let’s do a Frozen cake. No wait! An Octonauts cake that has water and then a land part and that part can have Aurora. And a Frozen castle with Anna and Elsa!” And I was like, “Let’s just go back to our original idea.” So we did.
But in the end, I think she enjoyed it very much. In fact she said, “Best Birthday Ever”, although I’m not sure that if she was referring to the low-key dinner we had at her favorite restaurant, Burgerville, (I know…), or the fact that her grandma got her a complete Anna costume for playing dress-up. We’re talking a cap with braided hair wig attached, a beautiful dress and Anna’s boots. It is the Real Deal and she loves it so, so much. Also, she got a scooter, and even though she scoots along with 18 inches of space between her two feet (and no amount of help from us is going to convince her to do otherwise), she is so excited about it.
(A friend also sent us some of these biographies of famous women and they are awesome! I think we’ll have to get a bunch more in the future. The girls love Malala, as they should. They also regularly use words like “Yousafzai” and “Mingora” (Pakistan, the place Malala was born), so you know they’re super geniuses.)
A few other favorite things about Ellie:
Famous : She loves calling things “Famous”. The other day she asked me, all doe-eyed, “Hey mama, can we watch a movie? Will you make your famous brownies? And your famous popcorn?” Didn’t know those things were famous, but cool. We’ve made buckets of marinara sauce these past few weeks to keep for the whole year. And she has been really helpful with peeling the tomatoes and stirring and stirring so carefully. She’s very invested in that sauce and so when it came time to label it, I labeled it “Mama and Ellie’s Famous Pasta Sauce.” Because it was very famous to her, even though not a human tongue had tasted it. (We did later, and don’t worry, it was super delish.)
And also, Terrifying. I have realized that I say things are “terrifying” quite frequently. But, in my defense, I’m usually talking about things that are actually terrifying, or at least close to it. Ellie just likes to say everything is terrifying. “Yesterday I was eating an almond and I got an almond skin stuck in my teeth. It was terrifying. And then I decided I’m never going to eat almonds again.” Good luck with that one, kid. We pretty much live off of nuts in this house.
Music lover: We went to a wedding last weekend and she went up to the DJ and requested a song. It’s kind of obscure (“Tarzan Boy” by Baltimora) and so he had to find it for her. Then he asked her to come over and put on the headphones to make sure he had the right track. He did and he played it later for her and she was elated. It was pretty wonderful.
She got a ukulele for her birthday, a pink one that looks like Olivia’s purple one. So now they are a band and they sing and play together. It doesn’t sound like too much yet, but maybe someday. I think she’s going to start piano lessons this year, and I’m very excited about that. She loves music so much. Her favorite songs are “That Thing You Do, (from the movie by Tom Hanks)” Frozen songs, “Tarzan Boy” (Baltimora), “Highway Don’t Care” (Tim McGraw and Taylor Swift), “Dreamers” (Savoire Adore), “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” & “Circle of Life” (from the Lion King), “Too Much” & “Paris” (Magic Man).
She also likes to go around randomly shout-singing, “THIS WILL BE!” from “This Will Be An Everlasting Love”. But she always stops after the first three words. Ha!
She says lots of funny things:
E: (Holding a wad of cash, a rare occurrence in our house) Can we take them somewhere?
S: What, like, stargazing or something?
E: No – I mean… I want to buy shoes!
At her rest time, for the past couple of months, she has been listening to the New Testament on audio CD. It’s pretty great because she is getting to know those stories really well. And it’s wonderful when she says things like, “We used to walk in darkness, but now we walk in light because we have Jesus.”
But sometimes things get a little screwed up. We were eating breakfast the other day when she said, “The Pharisees didn’t want to use forks, because they were afraid the people would stone them.” I asked her, “Forks? Are you sure.” And she was like, “Yeah, forks.” And then I remembered. “Oh. They didn’t want to use force. Against Jesus. Because the people liked Him so much, but the teachers of the law didn’t like His teachings.”
She’s such a big sister. Sometimes she takes on a little too much responsibility in that role, and is always panicking when I let go of the stroller for one millisecond or freaking out if someone walks in front of her scooter because she doesn’t want to run into them. It’s sweet, but sometimes I have to remind her that keeping everyone in line is my job, and her job is to be a kid and enjoy life for now.
But she’s so great as a sister. She and Liv really love each other a lot. Once, when Olivia was sleeping upstairs because she was sick, Ellie came upstairs after bedtime crying and saying, “I’m trying to sleep and I have nobody and I’m too lonely.” Of course, she’s also come upstairs complaining because Olivia crawled into her bed, fell asleep, and is taking up too much space. So there’s that.
She also said to Steve, “Dad, I know you like love, so I like to love you a lot.”
She’s been learning to use clocks and tell time. The elementary version of this is that we tell her things like, “You have to rest until four-zero-zero (4 o’clock)” or “You can’t watch Saturday cartoons until seven-three-zero.” One morning, in the beginning of learning this she came up stairs at 8 am and declared, “I decided to stay in bed until two-zero-zero.” Steve replied, “Okay, we’ll see you in six hours.” She returned five minutes later to say, “I decided six hours was too long.”
And just to stroke my own ego a little, I’ll include this quote from a few months ago:
M: Ellie, I love the way you listen attentively to my words when I talk to you.
E: I think your words are wonderful, mommy.
(Weirdly, she doesn’t always think my words are so wonderful when I’m asking her to clean her room. Strange.)
There’s so much more I could say about her. As she grows and changes and becomes more and more of her own person, I find it harder and harder to express all that in my own words. But gosh, I love it.
And now some of my favorite pictures from the past year.
She’s marvelous, this girl.