The Ellie-girl at nearly 2 1/2
I have to record these moments of Ellie Jo’s life. She’s adjusting to American life so quickly and she’s growing up even faster.
First, she’s well on her way to being a big sister. We’re expecting another little one at the end of April and EJ *loves* to talk about the new baby. She insists that she’s having a “baby seesah” even though we have no idea about the gender. She’ll even correct story books that talk about having a baby brother OR baby sister with an emphatic, “Ehjoe baby SEESAH!” She also thinks that since she’s getting a baby that she must be getting all of the other cool things in the baby-prep story books (baby carriers, cribs, playsets etc.). Not sure how we’re going to talk her out of that…
She is intensely interested in “waat’s dat???” That question has led us to look at flashcards of world monuments before bed, to follow thrift store employees and examine their lip piercings, to talk about the physical differences between boys and girls, to watch Grandpa’s burn pile burn through 7 tractor loads of tree branches, to check out every “yowd” noise that crosses our path, to follow big kids and see how they play, to learn to crack eggs and help bake in the kitchen, and to follow countless animals. She’s somewhat shy around new people, but doesn’t mind asking me countless questions when she doesn’t think other people are listening. I usually try to help her investigate her questions and we’ve made a lot of friends that way.
She also seems to have an incredible sensitivity to pain or hurt in the lives of other people. We’ve had to start spelling “h-o-s-p-i-t-a-l” because she gets so worried when she hears about someone going there. When she sees people who have been sick or hurt she always asks them, “Feeling better?” without any prompting. She just keeps this running list in her head of “owies” and checks up on people herself. She ALWAYS stops for crying babies in the store and wants them to feel better. If I’m in conversation with someone and they mention crying as part of a story they immediately find EJ at their elbow with a very concerned face, “Why you crying?”
At the same time, she has a sly little sense of humor. Whenever my brother Daniel leave the house he says, “Bye-bye, EJ” and she ALWAYS responds, “Bye-bye, EJ!” He gives her a look, “Noooo, what do you say.” She giggles, “Bye-bye, Oncle Danol.” The routine never changes. She always laughs and sends him off laughing too.
We’re entering a very bittersweet part of her growing-up years as our breastfeeding, co-sleeping and babywearing relationships come to a close. She’s spending most of the night in her own bed and no longer falling asleep in a carrier. My milk is almost gone due to the pregnancy and she only asks to nurse a handful of times a day. Looking back on the last 2 1/2 years I am grateful for the choices that we were able to make that allowed all of these comforting activities to last so long. They were so important to easing our transition back to the States and to deepening our relationship with Ellie Jo.
At the same time my momma-heart misses all of that snuggle time with my baby girl. We have so much less physical contact when she’s running around all day and falling asleep on a pillow at night. I’m grateful that she feels secure enough in our relationship to not NEED me as much. But then..can’t she just need me for a *little* while longer? At least until I have a new tiny head to sniff and a new little one to cuddle? Then I’ll be ready to explore this big girl stage. Then I’ll be ready to let her go – won’t I?
I won’t, really, I guess. It’ll always be hard to let her pass on into a new stage of life. It’ll always be difficult to invest and invest and then let go when the investment pays off. I’ll always look at pictures like this and try to see my little firstborn in there. And I’ll probably always be wondering, through my weepy moments, “HOW did I get such an awesome kid?”