Elleanna Joy embodies passion. Each day she wakes up with bright eyes, a few seconds past ready for a bottle. Then we begin our dressing dance. I pull one arm out of her PJs, she grasps the dresser drawers and walks one step away. I then pull out the other arm and she flails them, a little miffed by the fact that they are now both pinned under her shirt. Then I very quickly make a “whooop!” sound and pull the onesie over her head. She runs around jungle-book-style, as Matt calls it – only in her diaper and teething necklace. She talke to me in Le-Lish and begins zooming around the nursery while I pick out her first outfit of the day (outfits usually don’t make it too much farther than 4 hours). Then with another “whoop” I get the onesie over her head. This action usually results in a little angry shout. Then I quickly work to get her arms in the shirt and her legs into her pants. Whew. The first 10 minutes of the day are accomplished!
I am continually in awe of this little beauty. She sweetly waltzed into my life, a graceful little piece of heaven sent to my care. Granted, these fuzzy feelings DEFINITELY don’t last 24/7, and we have had some hard days. But when I get a chance to sit down, and think of all that has unfolded this past year, wonder washes over me, cleansing the strain of hard nights. This year has challenged my core self – who am I as a woman and a mom? I have new dreams and still old dreams in my heart. I have awkwardly stumbled into motherhood (seriously… Matt had to teach me how to properly change a diaper!). I have cried, felt selfish, and I have boiled in frustration and fear. I have embodied selflessness, creatively entertained a grumpy little one, and I even brought some personal equilibrium back to my life.
Tomorrow my LeLe turns one. This tummy drumming, stair climbing, ee-i–eeeee-i-ooo singing little love is blooming into a toddler.
This week, we found ourselves out and about quite a bit in the early evenings, and we often didn’t time getting home at the right time to get the baby to bed. As LeLe cried in the car, Matt and I started singing “me me me” symphonies (where we sing the word “me” like Bieker from the muppets and make up elaborate songs). She immediately quites down when we do this, and this week she even sang a long a little. We also make up ridiculous verses to Old McDonald (I am sure every parent does this trick), in any attempt to keep her from completely melting down in her car seat.
This past month, LeLe has experimented more and more with her vocabulary, copying a lot of things that we say. And she is making up her own jokes. One weekend we were over at a friend’s house for a BBQ, and she really needed to go down for a nap. So I took her into the guest room where her pack and play was set up and tried to get her to go down. After many unsuccessful tries, I finally laid down next to her and gave her a flower from my hair to play with. She started brushing it against my mouth, and each time she did, I made a slurping sound. She dissolved into laughter and then repeated the act over and over again. Oh, how this is my favorite sound.
Let’s talk about different types of pipes and tubes. We have a left over vacuum attachment tube that we use to water our high sitting house plant from the top of our staircase. I laid it on the carpet and started using it like a trumpet. She glared at me a bit, and then when I tried to put it to her mouth, she pushed it away. So I went around the corner. I heard her slowly pick it up and say “do do do do do” into the tube. But when I looked back to watch, she quickly shoved the tube to the floor and looked at me like “this is none of your business mom.” Sigh. This was my first glimpse that someday, I will have a teenager.
There are many other pipes LeLe does not like. She cries when Matt plays his sax. She also cries at any pitch pipes. She does, however, love echoes. In bathrooms, big rooms and especially cups! And speaking of cups, she wants a taste from every single one she sees. LeLe continues to love unpacking, but she has also added re-packing to her repertoire. Because we spent the entire month packing our house up for staging and selling, she had a ball helping us get ready with packing boxes and such.
We had many fun events this month too. LeLe went to her second car cruise. We started on the patio of a main street restaurant for dinner, watching all of the classic cars begin to cruise (and listening to Matt name them all). LeLe and I primarily watched the pretty colors and split nachos with Memaw and Papa. Then we moved down main street to another location and set up lawn chairs with Nana and Grandpa to watch more of the parade.
LeLe also watched The Muppet Show and The Muppet Movie for the first time! She danced to the music and really loved all of the characters. Matt and I love the muppets, so this is a great sign! LeLe also took up many forms of dancing – she dances with her Memaw while punching the music button on her walker (ending the dance session with the barge call and her mimicking this). When we play music on the computer in the kitchen, she crawls over, stands up and be-bops around. And just this week, LeLe started waving hello and goodbye to anyone and everyone. She also exhibits independence in wanting to eat everything on her own (this poses a challenge in finding lots of four-teeth-only-friendly finger foods).
What a progression from finding out I was pregnant to a whole year with our baby. Every growth of her limbs, every breath she exhales and every toothy grin she bestows speaks of God’s miracles. We love our smart, sassy, sweet, cuddly people-person little lady. We see the seeds of a beautiful woman unfolding right before our eyes.
Happy birthday Elle Joy! We love you!
(Here are some sneak peak photos from our family photo shoot this past week with our friend Adam Bradley of AdamFusion. He does wedding videography, but also photography. Check out his website for more of his work – http://www.afweddings.tv/)