The past few months Ella has been making a lot of progress and doing so many new things that I've been wanting to share with you, but haven't had the time. I'm going to break it up into a few posts, but I'll start with something she started right at the beginning of the summer, which I know.. was like 4 months ago, but whatever.
This was the first summer in my entire life that I was really not looking forward to, actually kindof dreading. Typically I LOVE summer and live for the lazy, laid back days of popsicles and pools and campfires and s'mores. But not this summer. This summer was starting out with a clingy 9 month old who hadn't learned to walk or even crawl yet, and an equally clingy (or maybe even moreso?) 3 year old who had been walking independently for an entire year, yet still refused to do it outside. Since we love to be outside during the summer, even just in the backyard playing baseball with the older boys, that left me with two 'babies' who insisted on being carried everywhere, or at least holding Ella's hand while she walked around the yard. This might not sound all that difficult, but holding the hand of a stumbling toddler, while juggling a 20 pound baby on your hip, who at any moment tires of being held upright and flips upside down and acts like he wants down, but when you set him down screams with all his might to be picked back up again, only to flip back down the instant you pick him back up. Over and over and over, while Ella got frustrated that you were not doing exactly what she wanted you to and that very exact moment so started screaming herself and demanding to be picked up. To say the least, it was exhausting. Match that with 100 degree heat and humidity and just being outside with the two little ones was just plain hard. And not fun at all. And even if I could hold both of them at once, (which I basically did all the time before, but this is summer!) that doesn't leave many hands to do anything like play baseball with, nor would it be very safe.. those boys have a wicked fast ball. It left me feeling sad and a little desperate. I didn't want my older kids' summer to be a dud because I couldn't do anything with them because Ella and Hudson were just too hard to carry them both around everywhere if Ella refused to walk, but it was just so.darn.hard. to go many places or do many things.
But even with my hesitation, time marched on and summer came nonetheless. The very first official day of summer break came and I was determined that it was going to be a good one. We were outside playing in the beautiful sunshine and I had been lugging Hudson around, walking with Ella while she climbed up and down the stairs, back and forth across the lawn, trying to climb the slide, then holding him more while I pushed her on the swing. Finally I had had enough, so I took her out of the swing and sat him down to give my aching arms a break. Of course immediately Ella seized the opportunity of a empty arm and wanted me to hold her while I pushed Hudson. I must have said no because I remember the tantrum that ensued. It was full of mind-rattling screaming, flailing on the ground and rolling in the grass, then screaming more when she got grass on her hands, then rolling and screaming because who knows.. In the meantime, Hudson was starting to fuss because he actually doesn't like to swing that much (I know!!) while the older boys were begging me to pleeeeease play baseball..
This was exactly what I had dreaded for this summer.
I was feeling so disheartened and needed to just walk away for a minute. I couldn't possibly do this the entire summer. It's the first day of summer and already it's ruined, I thought. The entire summer is going to be miserable and there's nothing I can do about it, I pouted while throwing myself a pity party. I told Ella I would be right back and ran into the house to grab a drink (of water!!). Of course she was having a total meltdown when I left so I went inside, took a few deep breaths and prepared myself to go back out and deal with it. I straightened up and walked outside, expecting to hear the shrill sound of a 3 year old tantrum, only to be surprised to hear silence. What was going on??
I looked where Ella had been when I left her just a minute ago and she wasn't there. What??
Hudson was still swinging, but where was Ella?
I scanned the yard and there she was. Standing by herself. Outside. In the grass. Throwing the ball.
All of a sudden when she realized I wasn't going to help her anymore, she just took off.
She realized she could do it.
She played baseball with her brothers
ran around the yard,
(Insert major panic about her possibly running on the road. She hasn't yet.)
going down her slide,
pushing Hudson in the swing
and probably best of all picking me "flowers"
She ran back and forth from plant to plant bringing me these precious precious gems until I had a handful too full to hold and a heart that was bursting with joy too great to contain.
This day will probably live on as one of the happiest of my life. I sat there and cried tears of joy and when Daddy got home? She ran down to the truck and met him on the sidewalk to give him a hug.
It has been so fun to watch her run around outside and become more independent this summer.
And my arms are thankful for the slight relief as well!