Friday, December 27, 2013

Interview with a Four-Year-Old

My daughter turns five-years-old today. It's surreal because the time has gone by so quickly, yet in some ways it's difficult to remember what life was like before she was in it. 

In an attempt to capture her likes, dislikes, loves, and ideas, I sat down with her throughout this week and asked her about some of her favorite things. 

Q. What is your favorite color?
A: Pink and purple and orange. I think just every color of the rainbow is my favorite. 

Q: What do you like to eat best?

A: Pizza and pasta. And broccoli and strawberries. Oh, and icee pops, popcorn, and Starburst. And chocolate.

Q. Favorite songs?
A.  “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer,” and “Rocky Top”

Q. Favorite movies/TV shows?
A. Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. Scooby Doo and Superhero shows.

Q. Favorite sports?

A. Soccer and gymnastics and swimming.

Q. Favorite subject in preschool? 
A. The alphabet.

Q. Are you an early bird or night owl? 
A. Huh? (After I explained) I like to stay up late. 

Q. What do you want to be when you grow up?
A. A ballet teacher, a weather reporter, mail deliverer, or an artist like my dad. 

Q. Best friend? 
A. Everbody!

Q. Best part about having a birthday? 
A. The piñata. And being a whole hand! (five years old :) 

Q. Favorite vacation spot?
A. The beach and Disney World.

Q. Favorite books?
A. Berenstein Bears and Junie B. Jones books. And Even Mosters Need Haircuts, and Even Aliens Need Snacks.

Q. Favorite animal? 
A. Bunnies and my dog, Shelby. 

Q. Favorite things?
A. Rainbows and unicorns and superheros and princesses! 

And just like that, my sweet Ellie was five. 

"feels like some kind of ride but it's turning out just to be life going absolutely perfectly"

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Meltdown

Last weekend Laddy, Ellie and I ate lunch at Panera. We had no idea one chocolate chip cookie would cause such drama from our normally very generous daughter. She’d eaten about three quarters of it, with Laddy and me both grabbing a bite, and he’d brought the rest to the car to see if she wanted to finish it. That was the beginning of the meltdown.

Laddy: “Ellie, would you like the rest of this cookie?”

Ellie: “No thanks.”

Laddy: “Are you sure?”

Ellie: “I’m sure.”

Laddy: “You’re finished then?”

Ellie: “Yes. Finished.”

Laddy: “Okay. Since you don’t want it, I’ll eat it.”

Ellie: “NO! I don’t want you to have it.”

Laddy: “Ellie, if you don’t want it, it should be fine for me to eat it.”

Ellie: [crying] “But I do want it! I want to save it!”

Amy: “No. You’ve already said you don’t want it three times. You're finished.”

Ellie: [screaming] But I do! I’ll eat it now!”

Laddy: [trying to make a point about sharing] “No, Ellie. That’s not the way we act. You already said you don’t want more, and now I will eat this last bite.”

Laddy popped the last piece of cookie into his mouth.

Ellie: [hysterical] “That cookie was my friend! That poor, poor cookie!”

Laddy and I tried to keep from totally cracking up because the entire event was so ridiculous. And honestly, she hadn’t thrown a fit like that in a very long time. Thank goodness. A few miles down the road Laddy pulled into a parking lot to run an errand. Ellie and I hung out in the car so she could calm down, and I had great hopes that I could rationalize with her.

Amy: “Ellie, if you don’t want something you should want your family or friends to have it. Your daddy’s going to be back in just a few minutes. If you’re a smart girl you’ll tell him you’re sorry for acting like that and you love him.”

Ellie: "Well, [in a very matter of fact tone] I guess I’m not a smart girl.”

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Life Lessons

It’s strange how one lesson often morphs into two. Or three. It catches me off guard sometimes when I have to switch directions. Having a child certainly keeps me on my toes. 

No smoking.
When we're driving down the road and see someone smoking I ask Ellie to promise me she’ll never smoke. I really paint a horrific picture of cigarettes. In hindsight, the message of smoking equals badness may have been a little shortsighted.  Not long ago she and I were walking on Market Square, and she pointed (yes, pointed) to a gentleman who was smoking and said, “Oh no, Momma. Look at that man smokin' that yucky cigarette. I bet he stinks and is gonna get sick. I’ll never do that will I?” I’m fairly certain he heard her (Ellie hasn’t fully mastered the method of whispering.) but he graciously turned in the other direction. I was horrified. We talked about how pointing at a person is never okay. Ever. And I explained how smoking is a bad habit but that doesn't make the person who's smoking bad. Then, I still made her pinky swear she’ll never smoke. 

No hablo espanol.
A few months ago Ellie and I were shoe shopping at Dillard’s. I could see that she was mesmerized by two young girls who were speaking Spanish. It still plays out in my memory in slow motion, but it actually happened so quickly there was no way for me to intervene. My kind daughter who just wanted to say hello was somewhat overconfident in her Spanish speaking abilities. She can count from uno to diez, and she's watched about 400 episodes of Dora the Explorer, but that really doesn't prepare one to carry on a conversation. She walked over, smiled, and said something like, “Si, click clack, blue, me, si si.” I literally stood there with my mouth open in complete shock.  Once I gathered myself, I asked Ellie to come along and embarrassingly nodded a quiet apology to the mother. While I was literally dragging Ellie out of the store without any shoes, she innocently asked me, “What did I say to those girls in Spanish?”

Life lessons also work in the other direction. I’ve learned so much from our sweet girl. I’ve relearned how to see things I’ve taken for granted for years. There’s such beauty in the clouds, the moon and stars, and these mountains that hug us every single day. She genuinely finds splendor in leaves and acorns and sticks. How this girl loves her sticks. Sometimes the lesson goes beyond how clearly she sees certain things and poignantly shows how she feels about them. Oh, how blessed I am to be her momma.

Pray without ceasing.
Ellie and I were driving to meet Laddy. Off the Interstate at Western Avenue stood a man holding a sign. She asked me what it said. I was torn between whether I should read it truthfully or just make up that he was wishing us a nice day. In the final second I opted for the truth, and it broke her heart. And mine. She wanted to stop and help him. She wanted to go get him food and give him money from her piggy bank. I tried my best to explain how we really had to be careful and just couldn’t stop. I told her how we do help those who are less fortunate. I explained how we are able to give and to whom, and how there are places for him to go and get help. After about 10 minutes of unsuccessfully trying to change the subject she perked up and told me she'd figured out how we could help him. Then, she prayed the simplest, most sincere and precious prayer I’ve ever heard. And she was at peace.

“…and a little child shall lead them.” Isaiah 11:6

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Confessions of an Artwork Hoarder

In 2013 I've resolved to make a sincere effort to reduce clutter and chaos in our home. I was inspired by a William Morris quote: "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." This makes sense to me, and I've made some progress by cleaning out some cabinets and drawers. I've given away a few things and made a couple of trips to local donation centers. And I've been feeling pretty good about myself until I realized this week I've saved nearly every piece of art, scribble, letter, writing effort, project, etc. my preschooler does at school and home. And I've done this for four year. I treasure it all, but let's be honest. It would be impossible to keep it all. 

I've stored it in a few places and decided to bring some of it out tonight just to see. Wow. I'm not sure there's any other way to describe how I feel seeing it all like this other than overwhelmed. I'm overcome with wonderful memories, and pride and a little nostalgia and sadness that my sweet girl is growing up so quickly. It's an impressive collection. But I'm faced with the question of what now. How do I part with it? How do I choose? Where do I even begin? (And I thought the closets would be difficult.) 

I mean how in the world could I get rid of this campfire pic of glued construction paper "fire"and sticks?
Or Ellie's interpretation of her dad, Spring, or Planet Earth?     

How could I possibly part with this drawing of a carrot, her favorite veggie?

Or this Halloween footprint "ghost" the Pilgrim and Indian or these dictated letters to Santa?
I'm not sure. So I'm open for suggestions. All of her creations warm my soul, but there's only so much I can realistically keep. If I'm going to be on a TLC show it needs to be "What Not To Wear" not "Hoarding: Buried Alive."