“Ellie is the teacher!”

This was a rough morning for Ellie.  She didn’t want to get up…at all!  She kept hiding under blankets and telling me that she was sleeping and not going to school today.  She even crawled under the dining room table at one point and covered herself in a blanket and told me she was hiding.  Albeit, she was doing a pretty bad job of it!

As I was fixing her hair, she asked me to brush her teeth.  I obliged because we were going to be running late soon…  And she had stinky breath!  LOL!  I finally got her to be OK with heading to school once I showed her that she gets to use her truck lunch box today.  She was so excited!

When we got to school, it was still wet, so we took her picture by the stairs again.  She didn’t mind, although she did look longingly at the sign where she used to take photos before the heavens started crying every day.  She wanted to show off her new lunch box.  You can tell she’s excited!  :D

It was too wet to sit in her pink chair, again.  I hope she doesn’t expect this Cleopatra routine to continue when it’s dry!

We went inside and put everything away but she wanted mama.  She started to cry, but then the director distracted her with alphabet tiles and we were able to sneak away.

She learned more about amphibians today, which is great since she loves frogs.  They had an entire worksheet going over frogs that she got to color in.  She even gave her frog some googly eyes.  She vandaleyes’d him.  Poor guy!

She also had a cooking class today where she made “frogs on a log” — or raisins and peanut butter on celery.  But before she completed the frogs on the log, she ate all her components and wanted more.  All the other kids had super cute completed treats.  Ellie just had some scraps of peanut butter left on her plate when it came time for photos!

They did a lot of puzzle work today and she decided that she wanted to teach the youngest student about phonics, shapes and how to complete puzzles.  She told the director that “Ellie is the teacher!”  I thought she was a doctor?

During lunch, she went to all the other kids and wanted their food.  I guess she was hungry today, because after lunch, they had nap time.  She didn’t want to nap (not surprised), so, instead, she sat with the director…and shared her lunch of bananas, apples and grapes.  Seriously, I promise we feed her.  She had a full lunch of her own, too!

When we got there, Ellie was unrolling her rug, so she could sit on the floor and work on her little tablet they use at school. She opened a program where the upper and lowercase letters are broken up into puzzle pieces and you need to put them back together.  She didn’t want to stop until she completed every letter in the alphabet.

As we were getting ready to leave, the director reminded us to take her blankets and pillow home for a washing.  Ellie didn’t realize that they brought the blankets and pillow to the back room, so she ran to the closet to get her stuff.  She was sad when it wasn’t there, but excited once she realized we already had it.  We were told that Ellie loves her Bubble Guppies blanket.  Also not surprised about that, either!

The director told us that Ellie is progressing very fast.  She is advancing in all areas of school so far.  Her attention span is growing and she’s picking up everything they’re teaching her faster than expected.  My little genius.

For our end of day photo, we played by her favorite rocks again.  And Ellie let us know which hand was her right hand…and which hand was her left hand.  Sometimes, I think she’s surprised we know about this stuff, too.  You know — us parents can be so behind the times!  :P

“I want princess hair!”

Ellie snuggled with me in bed and didn’t want to get up.  That is our usual routine.  Once up, though, she did ask for me to give her princess hair.  She wanted her hair done like Anna from Frozen.  I gave her two little braids.  When I was done, she ran to the mirror and looked at her hair and jumped up and down in excitement over her princess hair.  I really love seeing her so happy about something like that.  She was so grateful that I was able to give her princess hair, lol!

When we walked up to school, she wanted to take her photo by the sign, but the ground was way too muddy.  We compromised with sitting on the stairs.  I asked her to stand, but she said stairs are for sitting.  How do you argue with that kind of logic?  XD  She showed off her braids some more.

We walked into the backyard to take off her shoes and she couldn’t sit on the pink seat, so Ryan picked her up and made a chair for her out of his arm, lol. I took off her shoes and she made sure I followed her routine.

When she walked into school, she wanted to play with her friends right away, but we made her put her lunchbox and water bottle away.  As she did that she called out a couple hello’s to the friends who were already at school.  This is the first time we’ve heard her call them by their names when she says hello.  It was particularly cute.

When it was time for us to leave, Ellie cried and cried.  She wanted me to pick her up and hold her.  And bring her home.  But, I put her down by her friends.  These were the saddest tears, too.  But, of course, she was fine the minute I was gone.  The director’s husband brought us in the front door (and out of eyesight) again, so he could show us that she was quickly back to laughing and playing with her friends.

While going potty, she took out one of her braids, so the director had to fix it.  The director later commented about how hard it is to do her hair, since it’s so curly.  Her hair isn’t even.  You can’t just part it down the middle and have an even amount of hair for both braids.  I’m learning more and more about curly hair.  I was never good at hair to begin with, lol!

Ellie had a full day at school.  She worked on the 7 continents and she worked on the animal kingdom (specifically mammals, insects and amphibians). She loves maps and planets and she loves animals, so today was a particularly exciting day for her.  They worked on opposites again, and their counting and stacking skills, as well.

When we got to school, Ellie, the director and Adya (one of her best friends there) were working on stacking a tower of blocks.  Ellie was in charge of giving out the pieces to everyone.  Of course, she wanted to do most of it herself.  Especially the very tiny block that goes on the very top of the tower.  She wanted to work on each tower on the shelf (5 total, I believe).  So, we waited for her to complete all 5 with her friend.  When they’d complete one tower, she wanted to put it away.  The director tried to get them to share this responsibility, by having them both hold the box.  Ellie wasn’t having that, though.  And Adya seemed to not be phased by just about anything.  She’s a pretty laid back little kid.  A perfect sidekick for my little girl with the larger than life personality.  One of Ellie’s favorite things to do is rolling up and putting away the rugs they sit on when they do activities like these (or getting the rug and unrolling it).  Pretty much anything to do with the rugs, lol.  She is very particular and holds it in the exact way she’s instructed to do so — with both hands.  Very careful.  It’s adorable!

After they finished the puzzles and cleaned up, Ellie was ready to go home.  She wanted to work on more frog stuff, but the director told Ellie that she had to wait until tomorrow.

We left and took our end of day photos by Ellie new favorite rocks.  She told me she wanted to make a grumpy face.  And she happily tossed rocks all over the place before it was time to head home.

“Criss Cross Applesauce”

After a long weekend of activity, Ellie was ready to go to school.  She woke up and snuggled with me for 10 or so minutes.  And usually we need to ask her a few times to get up or tell her a few times that it’s time to go get dressed.  Today, I told her that she needs to get up so she can see her friend, Hazel.  She said, “Hazel’s at school?” And then jumped out of bed and went to get dressed!

Ellie let me put her hair up in pig tails.  I love how her curly little bangs look when her hair is up.  It really changes how her face looks.  It’s wild.  She wanted to wear her Batman socks and Avengers shoes.  I was totally fine with this crossover.  She also wore her jumper, which she calls her School Princess Dress.

When we got to school, Ellie took her morning photo by the sign and then we went into the back to take off her shoes.  The director met us outside and told us Ellie said they need a blue chair to be the companion to the pink chair.  They have two boxes for shoes — one pink, one blue.  Boys and girls have separate boxes for their shoes.  And so Ellie said if they have a pink box and a blue box, they should have a blue chair to go with the pink chair they already have.  This seems like a fair statement.  I did explain to Ellie that she should be allowed to put her shoes wherever she wants, though.  And if they do get a blue chair, that she can sit in either the pink OR blue chair.  A shoe box does not dictate her gender identity.  She looked at me and said, “You’re right, Mama.”  Already knows what to say and when to say it, LOL!

We brought Ellie’s new washcloths in.  We bought a bunch of plain, white washcloths and then embroidered her name on them and sewed coordinating strips of fun fabrics, so she has:  TMNT, Doctor Who, Star Wars, Avengers, Batman.  We brought TMNT and Star Wars to school today.  The director loved them.  And Ellie does, too.  Plus she’ll always know which cloths are hers!

We left without any issues today.  And that always makes for a very happy day!

Ellie had a busy day at school.  They sang songs together during their music lesson.  Ellie loved singing Pat-a-cake.  She was also very good about cleaning up when they were doing some activities on their mats on the floor.  Ellie rolled up her mat and put it away — she likes to keep her things very organized!

When we got to school to pick her up, the director was working with Ellie and her classmates on opposites.  She asked Ellie what’s the opposite of big.  And Ellie said, “Small!”  What’s the opposite of deep?  ”Shallow!”  The director also said that Ellie’s vocabulary is exploding, which we’ve noticed, as well.  She’s talking so much more now…and is having a much easier time of expressing her thoughts.  It used to be that she would speak a bit of her Ellie gibberish and then at the end of the sentence, she’d say a word or two that allowed to you understand what she was trying to say.  I almost always had to translate for her with other folks, since I’m fluent in Ellie gibberish.  Now, she’s speaking in much easier to understand, complete sentences.  And she’s been repeating everything we say and then using new words in the correct context moments later.  It’s wild to watch!

Monday is art class.  When Ellie walked up to us, we saw that her jumper had been art’d on, LOL.  She must’ve had paint on her hands when she was done and she proceeded to use her jumper as a napkin, lol.  (Thankfully, it was water soluble paint and with a little pre-treating fun, the jumper was salvaged.)   The art teacher didn’t have to show me Ellie’s art.  I looked at the 8 or so of them on the counter and picked my daughter’s out of that line-up, lol.  Ellie walked to the counter and took her art and wanted to paint on it more, but we told her it had to dry.

Hazel and her brother and mom were all leaving before we left, so we got to say goodbye.  Hazel’s brother asked me whose mother I was.  When I told him Ellie, he said, “Oh yeah, I know her!”

When we left, Ellie put her shoes on and then we went to her old stomping grounds.  The rocks.  And I took this adorable photo of her while she was in the midst of throwing rocks all over the place.  She told me that she’s sitting, “Criss cross applesauce, just like at school!”  Man, I’ll be honest.  Today was a rough day for me.   But this little girl can really make any day so much brighter.  What a blessing!

“I care about airplanes”

Today started like all other days.  Ellie woke up and then snuggled in bed with me for 10 or so minutes.  She put on her school uniform and I brushed her hair.  While in the car, she asked me what she had in her lunchbox for lunch. First, she asked if there was watermelon.  Yes.  A sandwich.  Yes.  Then she asked if she had grapes, but I told her no.  She then asked if she had carrots, and I said yes.  She was OK with that change.  We continued talking about this when we got to school and took her morning photo.  And then she told me she cares about airplanes.  I asked if she was a Care Bear.  She laughed and said that was a funny joke.  Not even sure what she was talking about, lol!  We took off her shoes and then walked into school and put away her lunchbox.  She said goodbye easily again, which is so nice.

Ellie had a full day at school, but her very favorite part was learning about the Three R’s of Recycling: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.  It was a sorting activity, so she was particularly happy about that!

We did have a small incident today.  On Friday’s, they have their cooking class.  It’s a cooking class without ever requiring the use of the oven or stove, so learning about dipping foods in sauces, or making butter…or making ice cream.  Today was ice cream day.  And anyone who knows Ellie knows that she’s a bit obsessed with ice cream.  And it’s a treat she doesn’t get very often, so when you tell her there’s going to be ice cream, well…she expects ice cream.  During the class, she was so good!  They made the ice cream and she was VERY excited.  But when it had to go into the freezer to set, well, she got upset.  VERY upset.  She threw a temper-tantrum.  She screamed and threw herself onto the floor and cried and tried to pull up a chair to climb up to get ice cream from the freezer.  They were so concerned, since she’s never acted like this before.  They thought she hurt herself or got a bad bug bite at first.  Until she finally communicated (by dragging a chair to the refrigerator) that she wanted to ice cream.  They tried to explain to her that it wasn’t ice cream yet…just cream.  But I’m the only person that can really get through to her when she’s like that, which, thankfully, isn’t often!

When we got to school, Ellie was drawing on a big ass piece of paper.  It was at least twice the size of the table she was sitting at.  No clue where we’re going to display it, lol.  Actually, I need to figure out the best way to store all of her school work.  We chatted with Ellie’s teacher’s assistant, who helped Ellie go to the potty earlier.  She said that after she helped her, Ellie said, “Thank you much!”  That sounds like our VERY polite daughter, lol!

Overall, Ellie had a great week.  She went to school for 4 full days this week, since we’re making up for last week.  And she did so well!  Next week is another week of 4 full days.  We’ll see how it goes for her.

When we left school, Ellie put her shoes on and then wanted to take photos in her new usual spot. And she even posed for me before throwing more rocks!

“I eat Spanish”

Ellie stayed up late last night because she wanted to finish watching her second Disney princess movie, Frozen.  (Her first one was Tangled, because it was on TV, so we recorded it.)  She didn’t get to finish it, since she fell asleep snuggling with me.  But, what she did watch, she loved!

When Ryan brought her down to me, she crawled into bed and quickly went back to sleep.  This has become our morning routine.  After we snuggled for much longer than we should’ve, Ryan got Ellie dressed while I got dressed and then I brushed her hair.  Ryan isn’t a big fan of brushing Ellie’s hair, since it can be a hot mess.

On the drive over to school, Ellie said she was excited that she was going to see her friends.  And, honestly, we were excited, too.  While I miss her tremendously, I can get so much more work done now.  And she’s learning at an even faster rate than we expected.

We got to school and took our customary photo in front of the school sign.  One of her teacher’s, Mrs. Cheryl, arrived at the same time and walked in with us.  Ellie sat down in the pink chair and took off her favorite shoes and put them away.  She walked into school and put away her lunchbox and water bottle.  Ellie waved goodbye and went to play with her friends.  And, again, I was so relieved that she’s no longer crying or trying to climb up my leg, lol!

The director needed some headshots of the kids, so I stayed a few minutes extra and took their photos.  And then we were on our way!

During the day, the director sent me some photos of Ellie.  She also sent me a video of Ellie going through flashcards and matching the animals, as well as identifying them and telling the director the first sound of each word.  Ellie seemed primarily interested in matching them, since she loves playing any match game she can find!

She also sent me photos from Ellie’s lunch time.  She told me that if she sees any other food on the counter, that’s the first food Ellie wants.  There were apples on the counter, so Ellie wanted apples!  Even though she already had grapes and watermelon packed in her lunchbox.

When we got back to school, Ellie was working on matching and identifying with a seasonal set of flashcards.  She went through and identified all the seasons as we watched.  She was supposed to hand out the matching cards to her classmates so everyone could get a turn, but instead she would keep the ones she wanted to match…and give away the cards she didn’t want to match.  She is so my kid!  One kid got pretty sad, because he didn’t like the cards he was given.  She then gave him a new card.  So sweet!

The director said Ellie did a really good job today.  She said Ellie is a joy.  I told her it’s because she got to do a lot of matching and picture identifying today.  And she loves both of those activities.  She also worked on her numbers, as well.  She is a big fan of numbers.  Well, except the number 6.  Not a 6 fan.

Ellie finally saw us and wanted to play with all the toys.  She had Ryan sing a song with her and then she made me a ham, cheese and egg sandwich with lettuce on a roll.  When we asked her what was on the sandwich, she said bread, cheese and…HAMBURGER!  And she laughed and laughed at this joke she just told.  She thought it was the funniest thing ever.  We got to bring home her artwork today.  We asked Ellie which painting was hers and she knew her work right away.  And so did I!

We walked outside and Ellie put on her shoes.  And then we took our end of day photos.  She loves her end of day photos…but I think it’s mainly because she gets to play with the rocks.  She posed with her painting, though, and that was my favorite!

On the way home, Ellie told me she had a great day at school.  And then she said, “I ate Spanish”…or maybe “I ate spinach”…?  I’m still unsure.  Maybe she hates Spanish?  Either way, it was a perfectly silly way to end a wonderful school day.

“Let’s Go to School, Mama!”

Ellie was extra tired this morning.  She had a full weekend of fun (including her cousin’s birthday party) and wasn’t ready to wake up just yet.  And, honestly, neither was I.  I was sick all Saturday night and Sunday.  Ellie even took care of me for an hour or so on Sunday while Ryan was out running an errand.  She rubbed my head and held my hand and told me she wanted me to be all better already.  It was the sweetest thing ever.  So, when it came time to wake up for school, she opted to crawl into bed with a very sleepy mama and we slept for an extra 10 minutes or so.  Ryan was our rock star.  He got lunch prepared, dressed Ellie and got everything in the car and ready to go.  I brushed her hair and then made my way to the car without passing out.  Score 1 for me!

We took our morning photo in front of the sign.  Ellie wanted to sit down, but we told her it was too dirty!  Her pink chair in the back wasn’t wet this time, so she was able to sit down on it and take her sneakers off.  She was happy she was able to follow through with her routine.  She walked up the stairs and put away her things and sat down to play with her friends.  No crying and climbing up my leg.  She was ready to play with her friends.  She took care of me all weekend, so it was fitting that she spent this time thinking about herself!  I was happy that this was an easy goodbye, since I wasn’t feeling super great.

Her teacher took some cute photos of her today, but didn’t send them my way.  I’ll need to ask her to email them to me!  Ellie learned how to break down her name by sounds.  She kept saying, “Eh, Ellie!”  She also had an art class today.  We got to meet the art teacher before we left.  Today, all the kids painted flowers.  She said Ellie’s was reminiscent of a Georgia O’keeffe painting. I chuckled at the thought.  But, when I saw it…I completely understood what she meant, lol!  The painting was still wet, but once they all dry, they will decorate the school for the next week.  Our daughter, the artist!

We got good news from the director, as well.  Ellie peed on the potty twice today.  That’s a huge breakthrough, since she hasn’t been wanting to pee on the potty.  It’s so frustrating, since she was so close to potty trained almost a year ago.  But, something happened and she regressed and became afraid of the potty.  Well, she’s back on track and we are so very thrilled.  The director used the watering can method.  Sit the kid on the potty and then pour water from a watering can into a bucket next to them.  The sound of the flowing water makes the kid more likely to pee…and then they are so proud they peed in the potty.  And it worked for Ellie.  Twice!  :D

The school’s director is letting us make up our missed days from last week, so Ellie will be back at school Wednesday through Friday.  How exciting for her!  Almost a full week of full days.  What will we do while she’s gone?

Once Ellie saw that we were there, she ran to me and said it was time to go home!  She took my hand and practically dragged me to the door.  I guess she missed us!  We went outside and put on her shoes.  She walked me to her favorite end of day photo spot and sat down for her customary photo.  When we got in the car, she told us about her day.  It’s amazing to be able to hold a conversation with her.  I know we’ve been able to do so for a while, but it still never ceases to amaze me.  Our Ellie Belly is such a big girl now!  And we are so very proud of her!

“School is cool!”

Ellie told me that school is cool.  I am totally excited that she thinks so! When we got back from Dragon*Con, Ellie was just too tired to go to school on Wednesday or Thursday.  We pushed our toddler an inch or two too far across the line, so we let her play hooky for two days.  She went back on Friday.  We can tell that she missed school and that school missed her!

She woke up and we snuggled, as is our morning ritual.  Once we got up, she got dressed and I brushed her hair.  Ryan woke up earlier and packed her lunch.  We drove to school and took her morning photo in front of the school sign.  We walked to the back and couldn’t sit on the pink seat, since it had rained and the seat was wet. Ellie was not happy about this change in our routine.  She sat on the stairs, instead, and I could tell that she did so begrudgingly.  The director of her school met us outside and was so excited to see Ellie.  She was worried about her a bit, but thanks to the invention of Facebook, she was able to follow our travels and shenanigans via the Geek-a-bye Baby Facebook page.  She even commented about Ellie’s costumes!  She mentioned that her son wants to go to Dragon*Con next year.  New volunteer maybe?  Ellie put her lunch box away, as well as her water bottle.  But then she attached herself to my leg.  She did not want me to leave.  Only one little friend was there, but I was able to distract Ellie Belly and get her to play LEGOs with her friend.  And then, while she was playing, we were able to sneak away without any tears.

This was a full day for Ellie.  Literally.  Her very first full day.  Instead of the normal half days she did for the first two weeks, Ellie started going to school from 8:15AM t0 4:45PM.  We were intrigued to see how she’d do with a full day at school.  When we went to pick her up, we learned all about her day.  She learned about butterflies and she learned how to make butter in her cooking class.  She also did all the usual stuff, like geography, math (bigger, smaller), sounding out letters, etc.  And she tried to steal someone’s banana.  Even though she ate grapes AND watermelon during lunch.  My daughter is a fruit thief.  And a chicken thief.  And a bread thief.  And a pretzel thief.  She’s just a food thief, LOL.  She took an hour nap, too!  The director of the school had to lie down next to her in order for her to go to sleep.  See, my daughter dropped napping around 9 months old, lol.  So, taking an afternoon nap isn’t something she’s used to doing.  But, after a long day of school work, I bet she welcomed a little siesta.  Today was particularly wonderful for me because her teachers sent me a bunch of photos and a video showing all the fun things Ellie did during the day.

When we left school, Ellie wanted to take her end of day photo in her usual place.  She loves those darn rocks!  I also love that she let me put her hair up in pigtails.  And, for the most part, they were intact when we picked her up.  She did collect an extra hair time on one of her pigtails.  We still don’t know where it came from, lol!


Kindermusik and Community

Yesterday was Ellie’s first day of Kindermusik, a wonderful weekly class we heard about through Austinmamas and Google. We really want to help Ellie adjust to a more structured, classroom environment, while still ensuring she’s enjoying every darn second of class. When we heard about Kindermusik, it seemed like an obvious choice. Even my Aunt Sue suggested it for Ellie Belly. See, folks who know Ellie understand just how much she loves music. Even the most basic beat tapped on the edge of a table and Ellie is tapping, singing and dancing along.

When we got to class, we were a tad early, so we could chat with the teacher, Ms. Alissa. Of course, the first thing she says is that everyone needs to take off their shoes and put them on the bench by the door. For Ellie, this is awesome, since she isn’t a fan of trapping her feet. For me, it reminded me that I really should’ve gone for that pedicure with my sister while she was here. Live and learn.

Back to the class — Ms. Alissa was very warm and inviting. We weren’t sure what to expect, honestly. Classes like these can seem…well, like lots of things: elitist, sterile, too clinical, clique-ish. Or maybe that’s just our experience with the Austinmamas Yahoo group? But, Ms. Alissa was everything you’d hope for from a modern day Mary Poppins with an awesome academic pedigree… She answered any question we were going to ask (and a few we didn’t even think to ask) right away, while we were still the only parent/baby combo in the dance room/classroom. She also let Ellie play with an entire drawer of scarves, which made for a very happy toddler. Especially when she was asked to help put away said scarves. Ellie loves playing clean up. She thinks of it as a game. We don’t mind this one bit. 

Before we knew it, babies starting arriving attached to very cool mamas. And class started. Kindermusik has numerous classes based on age range. Ellie is in the Village class, which is for newborn to 18 month old babies. The whole point of the class is to bond with your baby while stimulating their physical and cognitive development through music. But, really, it’s much more than that. It’s an amazing avenue to work with your little one on boundaries, social interaction, self soothing and decompression.

Ellie was the oldest little one there, so she did a lot of showing off. And, of course, she amused the adults with her very special brand of Ellie humor.

The best part, for me, was watching her smile and watching her eyes light up whenever we were singing songs and dancing. Many times, she went to the middle of the circle of parents and kids and danced and sang and laughed. She’d run to the other babies, as if she was asking them to join her in the fun she was having.

Another highlight was during the relaxation part of the class where the lights are turned off and we are all quiet while listening to relaxing music. Think of the end of a yoga class. Ellie decided she wanted to explore the room while we were all resting on the floor. And another baby decided to go and explore with her. They talked for most of the relaxation exercise. Ellie kept trying to get that baby to chase after her, but that other baby wasn’t having ANY of it. But…to the highlight. At the end of relaxation time, Ellie ran over to me and snuggled up next to me. She relaxed. It showed how much she is progressing.

We played one game where we all bounce and bounce and dance and…stop! Ellie was the only baby who did not want to sit on a lap for this exercise. She wanted to run. When Ms. Alissa would sing, Ellie would run back over to the circle, stand next to her and dance and sing, too. And when Ms. Alissa said ‘Stop!”, Ellie would stop and look at her with that coy smile that we all know and love. And she did that over and over again. It amazed me that she understood what she was supposed to do without ever experiencing this song or exercise before. It also introduced the room to her cheeky sense of humor, because she found the whole thing hilarious!

Ellie was able to show off her ball rolling and throwing during a jingle ball portion of the class, but really, it showcased her love of sharing. She really enjoys sharing her toys with other people. And we love watching her continue to develop and cultivate that love of sharing.

The last activity involved musical instruments, which had Ellie over the moon. She played with the egg maracas, just like the ones she has at home from Uncle Roon. She played with regular maracas. And tambourines, too. And at the end, she was a great helper when it came to putting the musical instruments away. When the crate of egg maracas was put on top of the drawer of regular maracas and Ellie noticed a regular maraca that was out of place, she lifted the egg maraca crate out of the draw to put the misplaced maracas back where it belonged. That surprised me — she is very particular about her organization!

After that wonderful class, she signed up for Kindermusik right away. Ellie had such a wonderful time and we know it will be a great environment for her to continue to develop and experiment with boundaries and social interactions.

She hugged and kissed everyone there and waved hello and goodbye. And she did so with such an understanding of what she was doing. It was just so lovely to see.

Community is so important. When I had Ellie, I knew that there were people in our lives that wouldn’t be a good influence for her. People that I wanted to limit her interaction with, as best as I could. But, it was hard to cut those people out, for lots of reasons. As those friendships came to an end and a sense of relief washed over my husband, Ryan, and I, we knew it was the right thing to do because we truly believe in the ‘It takes a village’ mentality. That being said, it can work against you, too. It’s important to understand that everyone who is interacting with your kid(s) will have an impact, in some way. And it’s your job, as a parent, to make sure the right people are interacting with your child, especially during these formative years. When we joined Austinmamas and started going to playdates, we quickly learned that most of the parents we interacted with were not the kind of people we wanted around Ellie.  (This is likely influenced by the fact that the playdates seemed more about the mom and less about the baby, along with the fact that most of their events are not dad friendly.) Not to say we’re sheltering her, but why purposely have her interact with people that we feel do not add to her development? After one 45 minute class at Kindermusik, we knew we found a group of parents who have similar mentalities to us.  And they welcomed Ryan with open arms, which is very important to us, since he is so actively involved in Ellie’s life. We experienced a sense of community that we couldn’t deny Ellie.

We hope our next class is even better than the first!

A big, small girl.

Yesterday, my Ellie Belly turned 15 months.  We took her aunt and uncle shooting at Red’s and bbqing at Salt Lick.  Not so surprisingly, Ellie had fun with all the above activities.  It was adorable, actually.  She wanted to run around the store section of the shooting range.  When I wouldn’t let her do that, she started yelling.  An older gentleman came up to her and looked at her, smiling, and said, “You’re louder than the AK-47!”  And she was.  :D

Today was Ellie’s 15 month check up.  She is 31.25″ and 21.25 lb.  76th and 24th percentile respectively.  She is riding around in her big girl car seat now.  It’s an adorable cow print Britax that we found at BabyEarth before she was born and just had to have!

It was a weird feeling to see her sitting in her big girl car seat.  She seemed more comfortable, for sure.  But, she also seemed a little unsure of her surroundings.  She was scratching and pinching the new fabric.

The doc visit went well.  Ellie is stringing words, so Dr. Spencer said that is pretty advanced for her age.  Even if she only does it when she wants and not on command.  Dr. Spencer said Ellie seems very strong-willed and independent, so it’s not surprising that she’s only going to do things on her time table.  Ellie is still very physically advanced and her ability to comprehend what you’re requesting of her is well beyond her age.  Not surprising, although I was concerned that she doesn’t just parrot away with her words, like some kids her age.  Since she says a word for a while and moves on to a new word after, Dr. Spencer said there is no cause for concern.

She has an umbilical hernia. Apparently, 10% or so of babies get them. It should go away the time she’s 2 or 3.  Dr. Spencer says if it’s still there at 3, she’ll want use to consult with a surgeon, but she hopes it goes away on its own.  As do we.

And when she got her two shots, she didn’t even utter a peep.  She is such a tough cookie.

All in all, a great visit and a great transition for our little toddler.

Packing Up Memories

Ryan is straightening up the upstairs since my sister and brother are visiting for a week. When I went up there to visit with Ryan and Ellie, I saw two big bags full of Ellie clothing. She has officially outgrown enough clothing to warrant packing them up and putting them in storage. This was a bittersweet moment for me. All those adorable little Ellie clothes that I won’t get to see anymore. It’s a strange feeling.

She’s still in her 9-12 month clothing, but she is getting closer and closer to the 12 month-only end of the size spectrum. And as she gets bigger and bigger, so many amazing changes come with her change in size. But, there is something so sweet and special about those newborn items that she barely fit into when we took her home from the hospital.

We framed her first ever outfit from Dell Children’s Hospital in a shadow box. We still need to add a few finishing touches, but then it is ready to hang on her bedroom wall. I can’t wait for Ellie to be old enough to understand how tiny she used to be.

I guess that is always a parental dilemma. You want them to grow up so you can share new and exciting things with them. But, you want them to stay small, so you can forever enjoy their newborn innocence. And smell.