Sunday, Dec 27 2009
View LYNNABEL's food & exercise for this day
Ellen is 2 years old (as of Christmas Eve).
She is a handful right now. There's no other way to say it. She is very possessive. She must say, “No, its mine!” a hundred times a day. She's even perfected the gansta stance with her arms crossed infront of her chest and a scowl on her face. I have to try not to laugh. Neither Steve nor I can figure out where she learned that – perhaps its innate to strong willed little girls?
She's having tantrums pretty regularly, especially when I'm home. It usually starts because instead of saying or signing “up” or “help” she goes immediately into screaming. And, of course, I can't reinforce that behavior, so she lays on the grown and cries and yells for a minute or two. And then recovers, and we go on our merry way. Its half-way admirable. I just don't want her to use emotional manipulation to get what she wants. I want her to learn to state her desires/needs and we will act on them if/when appropriate. I want that for her, because I didn't learn until much later in life that I could simply state my needs. It seems very important to me that she, as a girl, learns this.
She can count pretty well, and she sings her ABCs. She is making three plus word sentences like, “Here it is! I found it!” And she tells stories of things that have happened after the fact. Such as, “Ball broken. Hammie sad.” “Wizard lost” (from Little Einsteins). I find this impressive. Her desire to communicate is so interesting to watch in action. She problem solves very well. If I don't interfere, she will often work for what seem to me to be long periods of time to fix something or figure something out. I love this trait in her.
One of my favorite things is this. She will be tromping along, heading somewhere with Ernie tucked under her arm and she'll say, 'Hi, Daddy” or “Hi, Mommy” or even “Hi, Dog” without really pausing. Like she's passing us in the halls at work or school and can't stop to chat because she's got places to be and things to do.
I have to record this even though she'll probably hate me for it later. One, she poops in the bathtub. It makes me crazy. Obviously I need to change my bathing schedule or technique with her, but oh, its so gross. I can handle quite a lot from my children, but this is one thing that makes me gag. Two, the other lovely thing she'll do is take off her socks and eat the sock fuzzies left between her toes. I know, I know. How could I let her do this? This little girl has so much willpower and stick-to-it -iveness that I really have to pick my battles. And believe it or not, eating sock fuzzies is the least of my concerns.
She jumps incredibly well, and loves to dance. She gets such a big, beautiful, genuine smile on her face when we praise her dancing.
She is fascinated by anything with big wheels. Yesterday one of the neighbors came by with his ATV that has a plow on the front, and he scooped out our driveway. Ellen was ENTHRALLED. And of all the ornaments on the tree, her favorite is a tractor one. She appropriated one of Will's books called “Monster Machines” that has pictures of race cars and monster trucks, etc., and loves to look at it. When we get snowmobiles, I bet she'll be the first to learn how to ride/drive them.
In contrast with that, she loves shoes. She's not particular, either – if her Daddy leaves a pair around, she'll wear those. If her “Hammie” leaves some around – well, those are the best. I try not to leave my around since they usually have heels and I don't want her tumbling down any stairs in my work shoes.
Her hair mousse of choice is whatever she's eating. She puts her hands back behind her head to relax from the effort (apparently) of eating, and leaves lovely things in what little hair she has. She looks just like my Grandpa MO looked after a good meal.
We had a low key birthday yesterday for her, with just us, but she LOVED it. We put up a sign and all wore party hats, and that was the greatest thing we've ever done, I think, in her eyes. She was SO excited when we sang her “Happy Birthday” - we felt like we'd given her a huge gift with just that song. She had apple pie for her birthday cake, and loved it. Steve said he thinks we should keep Christmas Eve for Ellie's birthday and do presents on Christmas morning, which is anathema to the Ziebell blood in me, but you make TONS of sacrifices for your children. (Tongue firmly planted in cheek).
Steve will be starting ECFE with her this spring, and I think it will do her lots of good. Right now her only interaction with other children is at church in the nursery room and the Kid's Museum. Unfortunately, at the Children's Museum, she tends to boss around any one littler than her. Anyone bigger than her she smiles at and gets right in there to play with them. She definitely has well-developed social / hierarchical system of classifying people – I hope its nothing she's learned from us because it isn't the kindest of approaches, but it seems to work for her. I have yet to see a bigger/older child not make room for her.
Am I making her sound horrible? She's really not - she's bright, strongwilled, inquisitive, and pretty certain of what she thinks. She loves her family. I think she has more self confidence that I've ever had, and I will cheer that on forever.
Will is 4 and a bit. I don't have my age calculator handy.
If there was a William Ziebell Richards fan club, I'd be its President. I am such a fan of my son. And I am so relieved and appreciative to have him back after those few months of “Who is this person and what did he do to Will?” He is nearly always a joy to be around. He is so good the majority of the time with his sister. He basically gives up whatever he is doing/playing with if she wants it. He is nearly always polite, and is especially willing to consider other options when you take time to explain things to him. The more matter of fact I am with him and the less I talk down to him, the more he is willing to go along with whatever needs going a lot with. Because he is generally so well behaved, he can be a bit of a tattle tale when other children don't adhere to the rules, as he sees it. He is so open and generous though, with other children and they so rarely reciprocate. It makes me so angry when I see it happen. It takes everything in me to not show Will what I'm thinking, which is “Why can't parents teach their children basic social interaction skills?” When other children do reciprocate, Will has a great time with them.
This winter he learned a lot of Christmas / Winter / Holiday songs at school, and it is the best thing in the world to listen to him sing them. He and his class mates went to a nursing home to sing their songs, which was a hit, apparently. Unfortunately, Will got it stuck in his mind that he wouldn't be coming home from the nursing him, and that caused him some significant anxiety. (Understandable). When I finally figured out that this was the source of his concern, I addressed it and so did his teachers, and it ended up fine. But you know what I thought - “How brave of him!” Yes, he showed some anxiety, but he still went to school and still learned the songs even though this idea of going away forever was in the back of his mind. Precious, brave monkey.
In many ways, Will is a very innocent, sheltered child. And mostly I am okay with this because it really is who he is, it isn't so much something we have foisted on him. But there are drawbacks. When Will and I met his friend and his friend's mother for a morning at the zoo recently, Will's friend told him about the baby zoo dolphin that had recently died. Will's friend is the same age as Will, but has 2 older sisters, so he (the friend) sees and hears a lot more about life than Will. Will was confused and a bit concerned. The only other exposure to death he's had is Grandma Jean dying, and that was really difficult to explain in terms he could relate to. Anyway, Joven's mother felt badly that he had exposed Will to this idea, but it was / is inevitable that Will will encounter these things. And I do think I do a pretty good job of explaining strange/new/unusual things to him, but death is hard. I don't know if I believe in heaven, but I used that concept when talking to Will about dying. When Grandma Jean died, he wanted to know how she would go to the bathroom without her body. I explained that she didn't need to go to the bathroom anymore, but that just make the idea of dying sound pretty good to Will. Argh.
Will has never, until very recently, been motivated by the idea of being a big boy, or getting older. Which has contributed to his innocent self – when you are happy watching Baby Einstein videos with your toddler sister, you don't necessarily explore the world from a hunger-to-learn standpoint. But recently we were reading a book called “Old Bo Bear” where the little boy and his bear blast off into space at the end of the book, and Will asked “Can I do that when I'm bigger?” And I said yes. He said, “When I'm 5?” I said, “No, when you're 18.” He was okay with that – and mentions this every time we read the book now. “I'm going to do that when I'm 18.”
He's going through a growth spurt – the pants I got him two months ago are starting ride higher on his ankles. And he is eating us out of house and home.
I don't think I've had to mourn Will's getting older yet because he doesn't push beyond where he is at – in fact, its been me pushing him to advance in certain areas. I think I am in for a bit of heartache here soon. I just noticed that he can't fit on my lap and tuck his head under my chin anymore.