As I promised, another update on our most recent "Ella-isms":
Sharing is Caring
We're trying to help Ella learn to share with us, her friends, her cousins--everyone. I happy to report that she really seems to be getting the hang of it. But it took a while--last week, she asked for cookies after dinner, so I happily obliged. When I ask how many she wanted, she said "1, 2, 3!". So I brought her three, and one for myself. I put them all on the table, and asked her to share with me. She happily gave me her water, with a big smile on her face. Okay, so she did share something with me--but it wasn't quite what I wanted. I asked again, and she put a cookie in my hand, and then quickly plopped it into her mouth. I expressed my disappointment, but she went right on eating her cookies. By the time she got to the last cookie, I put on my bed sad-face, but she already had it in her mouth. As I pouted and shared my sadness, she paused, and then reached her little grubby finger into her mouth to pull out a tiny morsel, which I accepted. We tried the experiment again last night, and she very proudly shared her cookies with both daddy and mommy.
When my husband spent three weeks away, I tried to make my time at home with Ella somehow more special. We started reading our books outside after her bath, and then I suggested that we cuddle and watch the sunset. Sounds nice, right? Except, Ella couldn't get the hang of "cuddling". She wiggled and squirmed and wanted to climb up and down the steps. I put up with it the first couple of nights, and then instituted two ground rules: 1) no talking, and 2) head on the shoulder. Now that she has these rules in mind, it's made all the difference in our bedtime routine. For the last week or so, she has gone down without a sound! She also likes to cuddle at various times throughout the day as well, and it's such a sweet, sweet thing to hear her request "cuddle?".
I think I've shared before that my 2012 New Years Resolution was to read to her every night. Now, whenever I finish a book, Ella insists on reading it herself--complete with an "Ella read it!" exclamation. I'll admit that she has the book upside down half of the time, and today she thought it would be a good idea to put her book in a bucket of water (I caught her before she did too much damage), but for the most part, she is very happily point out pictures correctly.
"Can You Say ________?"
We're definitely in that vocabulary explosion period, and Ella repeats nearly everything I ask her to say--and surprises me every day with new words that she is developing on her own. And she's also starting to put together words and concepts into sentences. For example, after returning from the trip home to see my family, she and I were playing outside when an airplane flew by. She excitedly looked up and exclaimed "Ella! Airplane! Sacramento!!".
We're trying to help Ella develop empathy, and it warms my heart that she is indeed a very caring and conscientious child. When she hears a baby crying, she always points them out to me, saying "baby, crying, sad"--and is visibly concerned for the child. Recently, her best friend Maddy got a pretty bad burn on her hand from touching the stove. Whenever Maddy's name comes up, Ella reminds me "Maddy, burn, hand, hot, owie, no touch, hurt, cry, sad". In fact, Maddy's mom said that she thinks Ella "is going to be that smart and pretty girl that all the other girls want to hate, but can't because she's so nice" (I think I'm supposed to take that as a compliment, but I really hope that no one hates my daughter).
I truly am having a blast being her mom. I love her dearly, and look forward to every new little thing that she learns. It's not easy keeping up with her (or keeping her entertained, for that matter), but it's totally worth it.
Today's blessing is that Ella was such a trooper while I pushed her in the stroller for about two miles, picking up the trash along the road into our community. We collected three giant garbage bags full of cans, bottles, condom wrappers, a pregnancy test box (not mine), and even a roller blade (just one). She was such a good sport for keeping me company while my husband slept in. I don't think that I picked up trash along our road since before I was pregnant with her, so I guess it was about time!