Tag Archives: Ella

Weaning: It Happened

11 Dec

Around this time last year, I wrote about Ella UNweaning. This past year of tandem nursing (breastfeeding 2 children) has had it’s ups and downs. Ella had worked down to just having milk after breakfast each morning and if I’m being honest here, I was ready to be done. SO ready.

I tried simply redirecting, and distraction to no avail. It finally dawned on me that in all other areas of her life, Ella thrives on clear boundaries with obvious beginnings and endings. Trying to get her to “forget” about nursing every morning was laughable, especially with  her little brother enjoying milk right in front of her.

So I threw her a weaning party.

The day before, we discussed what kind of cake she wanted and how to decorate it. We baked it, licked the batter bowl together, and she directed me with grandiose gestures how to adore her cake.

The next morning, at 6:30, we gathered around the kitchen table and sang “Happy Weaning Day To You” while she and I blew out the candles. Ella thoroughly enjoyed her cake for breakfast while I ate my slice with nostalgia and dashed with a few tears.

Since then, she’s only asked for milk once and that was with a giggling, silly face.

My little girl nursed for 37 months and from one stage to the next at her own pace.

Decorated  Cake
Her chocolate cake with strawberries and blueberries and sprinkles and strawberries in the middle. Just how she likes it.

Candles

Tasty

3rd Birthday Letter

21 Oct
 Ella's Party Dress
Ella, in her self designed birthday dress. of yellow, green, stripes, pockets and number threes

Dear Ella,

Today you turn three! You’re running around, insisting you’re one so that you and brother can match. Then a little grin creeps across your face and you say that you were “just being silly”.

You are fiercely independent yet still rely so heavily on Daddy and I, for which we are both so grateful. Running ahead down the sidewalk on walks, yet stopping to look for us and wait when you come to a corner. Every item on your body must be approved by you but you are content to pick from the choices I offer. The only thing you won’t be swayed from are the names you pick for your babies. The most recent additions to your menagerie are Glinda and Sushi, both teddy bears. What makes me chuckle is how appropriate Sushi’s name is –he’s a panda bear!

The transition you’ve made from toddler to preschooler has been one so gradual, I didn’t notice until yesterday as we were taking pictures of your birthday dress. Only the last vestiges of babyness remain in your face. Your body is long, lanky and knobby. Three quarters of the big couch are taken up when you lay out full length. There is less falling and more twirling.

I hope you keep on twirling. Twirl through your entire life, always seeing the sunny side of things with a smile on your face. Your optimism as a three year old will carry you far through hard grown up times down the road and  I am going to do everything possible to help you maintain this outlook on life.

So much love, my birthday girl.

Mama

Bigger Picture Moment: Food Struggles

12 Aug

My Little Chef

I can’t keep up with her. Her changing tastes, opinions, and dislikes. One day, carrot soup is the tastiest thing ever and then next she hardly manages to choke a bite down without gagging. Lunch the previous day had been peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with pickles on the side and today? It was scorned and Ella declared she wanted her belly to grumble because the food was icky.

It’s been a frustrating couple of months, trying to find the balance between not being a short order cook and finding food she would eat. Because the idea that she wouldn’t starve herself is not true. She’s rather go all day without eating (and having behavior issues due to hunger and blood sugar) than eat something she didn’t like. We’ve been able to implement the rule of taking one polite of everything on her plate and then after that, she can have a peanut butter sandwich. Even with this successfully in place, with Aaron modeling it by taking bites of peaches and cucumber without making faces, I felt like I was missing the whole point. Why was she acting this way? Yes, it is age appropriate but how can I help her overcome this? Forcing her to take a single bite of food wasn’t going to change anything in the long run.

Finally, I clued into the idea of having her help prepare the food. She’s almost three and can follow direction well with close supervision. So one night last week, I handed her a butter knife and peach slices for her to chop up. She helped me dip chicken into an egg wash and roll them in bread crumbs. After picking out which bundle of broccoli to cook, she washed it in the sink for me. Her all time favorite part was dumping in butter and seasonings into the mixer while the mashed potatoes were being whipped up.

With a flourish (yes, my not yet three year old flourishes), she presented her full plate of food to Aaron. “See, Daddy? See!” she exclaimed with excitement and nearly knocked her plate over with frantic waving. The pride of accomplishment was clear on her face and while she didn’t eat a lot, it was without a battle and she tasted everything with exclamations of delight.

I don’t have the ability to have her help me with every dinner every night since this revelation, but I do strive to include her in ways that she can help. Putting carrot slices on everyone’s plates, washing produce, and pouring dry rice into a pot are all ways that she’s participated in food preparation.

Finding the bigger picture was vital to this solution and I hope it continues to grow as she grows. Right now, food preparation is helping her expand her taste palette and creating a more peaceful meal time. In the future, I hope this will foster a love of cooking and preparing food. A person has to eat and if you can enjoy preparing the food you eat, it makes food prep so much easier.

Find more stories about finding the bigger picture over at Sarah’s today.

Thursday Thoughts

22 Jul

There have been moments where I’ve questioned our choice to sleep with our children in our bed. To be completely frank, it’s hard. This set up has been the only way we’ve stayed sane with Ella’s sleep struggles. It has allowed us to meet her needs without having to get out of bed, which provides a small hope that we would be able to go back to sleep quickly. I’ve always been a bit jealous of friends who talk about how wonderful cosleeping is and how it encourages their family bond with night time snuggles and early morning giggles. For us, bedsharing was out of necessity and desperation, not happiness.

Then a couple weeks ago, something changed. I woke up with a strange feeling, something I struggled to identify. Finally, I pinned it down. I felt rested! Refreshed! I was actually ready to get out of bed instead of fighting sleep as I tried to roll out!

Then I realized everyone else was still sleeping. Did you read that? Everyone else was still sleeping. At 7:00 AM. Miles, Aaron, and Ella were still fast asleep. Even though I had to desperately use the bathroom, I refused to get up and run the risk of waking someone. So I laid there, luxuriating in the fact that I was the only one awake. At 8:00 AM, Miles opened his eyes with a smile and promptly sat up. His giggles woke Ella, who kissed Aaron to wake him up. We all talked and laughed together for a good ten minutes until someone’s limb ended up in my bladder and I had to break the spell to make a dash for the bathroom.

I got my wish. By following our instincts and meeting Ella’s needs, we got to celebrate as a family the huge milestone of sleeping past 5am. I am so incredibly thankful it happened this way. It’s a moment that I hope never to forget.

Taking The Time

17 Jun

Sometimes, it’s hard for me to remember to take the time to individually connect with Ella. Miles isn’t a problem because, well, he’s a baby and in a baby carrier or nursing a good portion of the day. Aaron and I have time after the kids are asleep. But Ella? It seems to be slipping through the cracks lately.

I didn’t even realize this until the other day. She grabbed my hand and practically dragged me into the bathroom. She closed the door, locked it, climbed up on the back of the toilet to sit and told me to sit on the edge of the bathtub. Then, she proceeded to talk my ear off about all sorts of random subjects.

At first, I thought it was cute. But as the minutes wore on, I became increasingly frustrated and mentally fidgety. What she was telling me wasn’t terribly interesting. I had things to do! Then I took a good look at her face as she chattered away and realized she was glowing.

And suddenly, a knife in my heart twisted.

She needed this. This one on one time and connection with me. My baby girl was becoming a little girl and needed a different sort of attention from me. THIS is what I want when she’s an older girl in school. This emotional connection and easy freedom of shared thoughts and emotions. Even though what she is sharing with me at this time in her life I already know, I need to foster this practice NOW if I want her to do this in the future.

So I stopped fidgeting. I mentally put away the dishes and laundry behind a closed door for later. I focused my energy on her animated face, her words, and the emotions behind her structurally incorrect sentences. Within moments, Ella had talked herself out. She climbed down off the back of the toilet, hugged me and said, “Lets go get Brother, Mama. I’m sure he misses us”.

We unlocked the door and left holding hands.

The Days And Years

13 Jun

Some days seem they will never, ever end. Days like yesterday.

Flower Girl

And then I realize that a day is just a day. A 24 hour period that will pass. They always do. It’s the years that fly by and bright moments need to be found in every day. Regret is not something I want to live with after the years have flown.

Parktime fun

Fairytales and Daydreams

10 Jun

Ella woke up to the surprise of a castle appearing in her backyard this morning. Her jaw literally dropped and her lips formed a perfect “o”. With a gasp of delight, she raced across the grass in her pajamas and scampered up into the tower.

I heard all sorts of things coming from behind the castle walls this morning. Giggles, full blown laughter, and stories. At one point I heard her say, “It’s not a scary dragon! It’s just a poor lonely lizard. Let’s be friends!”

Dreams start early. Imaginary play has become her best friend. I love listening to her talk to the friends I can’t see. I hope her childhood memories are filled with poor lonely lizards, castles, fairies, and adventures. It’s those sorts of things that inspire your future endeavors.

Castle

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