This girl is too much. I can’t even. Heart is bursting. Soul is swelling. I’m feeling very humbled that we get to raise her and watch her grow. I’m feeling so grateful that we are lucky enough to have her. I’m feeling a tinge (or several) of sadness that we can’t hold on to these days and stages forever.
Elsa is my buddy and my pal. She always tries to find a way to help me in the kitchen (even when I tell her that the best way to help is to go play somewhere else). She’s always game to play with her brothers and be in on whatever they have going on. She will not hesitate to name her dad as her favorite parent and takes any opportunity to spend more time with him.
Nearly every single day for the past year she has had some comment to make about her birthday: what her cake would look like, what she could do when she was 4, who would be there . . . all kinds of hopes and dreams. And when it came down to it, she wanted berries on her cake and a few friends to share it with. And to wear her new bunny dress. Her wish is my command.
In the past few weeks she has learned to ride a pedal bike, demonstrated serious skills on the climbing rope in the kids’ bedroom, and gotten better at reading. She still comes out and sleeps on the couch almost every night, is the most likely of my kids to make herself some food if she’s hungry, and has tried to get Felix out of his crib and bring him to me a couple of times.
She’s a strong girl and a strong personality and boy oh boy are we glad we have this girl.
Big fans of balance bikes over here. Elsa has been cruising around on hers for about 2 years now, and leaving a wide eyes and dropped jaws in her wake. How could such a small person be so quick and agile on a bike? We’ve enjoyed watching her on it.
But she’s nearly 4 now, and altogether too old for such things. (Okay, not really, but there is a little boy down the street who has been waiting patiently for Elsa to outgrow her balance bike so he can borrow it.) We put our little red Radio Flyer bike back together and took her out the other night for a spin.
As with the older boys, she was a bit of a slow start. We went up the street and down the street and coordinating the pedaling with the steering was a bit of a challenge. But by our second pass she was getting it, and she insisted on trying to get around the block before we went home—which she did, though not without lots of stopping and starting.
The next day I took her out again to go to the library. She struggled mightily with the “hill” on the way there, but something switched on the way home and she cruised up a much steeper hill without much trouble. And even managed to get herself started a couple of times.
Now the tricky part is the brakes: she still drags her feet to stop. I suppose we can give her some time to get that down, especially since she basically mastered the rest of it in less than an hour.
It is important, every now and then, to remind yourself what a nightmare the Holland Tunnel can be, and also how important it is to live through that nightmare so you can see what is on the other side of it.
On the other side of it, this time, for us was The Country Willow House near Bedford, PA. Where the neighbors are far enough away that you can’t see them. Where there are woodpeckers and fireflies and chipmunks on the property. Where there are several ice cream stands just a few minutes away. And where children are allowed to run and yell and chase each other and there is nobody to be annoyed by them.
We went there for the 4th of July weekend and loved pretty much every minute. Ice cream for lunch and dinner. Hiking after church. Owl hunting and woodpecker stalking. Hot dogs and marshmallows at the fire pit. And fireflies and sparklers to close out the night.
It was a magical, magical weekend. A dream come true, and worth sitting for 2 hours in traffic in Manhattan to get to the other end of the tunnel for.
I thought that baby mouths are the ones with most of the drama. Teeth busting out, sleepless nights, drool covered clothes, and fingers gnawed to the point of pain. But Oliver’s mouth has given us quite a bit of joy the past couple of months as well.
It started with a swollen cheek, which he was sent to the nurse’s office for. I immediately catastrophized it into a salivary gland infection or possibly cancer (because moms are like that) and took him to the doctor who told me to go to the dentist.
The dentist said he had a molar coming in and that was it. And he also said he had a little cavity that would probably not be a problem as long as we kept brushing.
So we kept brushing and a month later I looked in Oliver’s mouth and noticed that half of one of his teeth was gone. The cavity was not so little any more. I took him to a different dentist who was surprised that Oliver wasn’t howling in pain since his tooth was eaten down to the pulp. He filled the tooth and we were on with our lives.
But during this time there was also a lot of moving and shaking going on. Suddenly all these gaps started opening up in Oliver’s mouth as teeth loosened and made way for new teeth. He lost a couple of them. And now he looks exactly like an almost-7-year old boy should look:
Mismatched teeth, funny gaps, teeth half emerged, the works. Tell me that isn’t the best smile you’ve seen all week.
Those last few weeks of school are . . . busy. Celebrations and performances. Field trips and parties. And lots of work coming home. My favorite from Oliver’s backpack:
“If I could get to scool with any kind of transportation I would use a flying whale. It would be Invisible so you can’t see it. It would have a sleeping bag so I could sleep. It would be a normal whale with a diselusment charm and levitating charm on it. I got the charms from Flitwick and the whale from my backyard. I would get home by flying It. I keep it in my pocket while it is small. I mini turves it to I can carry it around. Oh, one more thing bye”
Both boys had a really great year. Simon wrote to his teacher that he hopes she moves up to 4th grade too. And Oliver’s teacher was so patient and persistent in helping him push himself and be more focused. It is always hard to say good bye. Actually, this is how I felt this year: Those last few days of school I was feeling very grateful for those ladies who were in the classroom with my sons all year. Then the morning of I was feeling frazzled about getting there on time and worried about not being able to express how grateful we were. And then the moment we said goodbye to the teachers there were tears in my eyes. And then the moment they were gone it was, “Let’s go party.”
But again: great year. Lots of growth from the boys. Lots of great moments. Can’t believe the year has gone and we’re looking at bigger numbers next year: 4th grade and 2nd.