245 days have gone by since this little girl made her entrance into the world - bottom-first!
I thought it might be an early indication (along with her stubborn breech position) of a personality that would be challenging and difficult. I couldn't have been more wrong.
Ellie is 8 months old, and although some days seem like they have more than 24 hours in them, time overall is flying by. I have hit the point where I can no longer remember what it was like to hold my baby girl before she was able to lift or control her own head. It has been ages since she's fit into my favorite sling. Her hair is thick enough to hold BOWS, people! BOWS!! Headbands are finally optional.
Hoppy rests in the shadow of a little girl who can now sit up confidently on her own, grab for the things she wants, squeeze and pat her dolls with love and joy, and whisper the sweetest little babbles that would make you cry if you heard them!
Ellie has a very easy going demeanor, and is happiest watching all of the activity around her. Whether we are in and out of the car running errands, doing fun things Robbie enjoys like going to the library and driving through the car wash (ha!), or just playing in the family room, she is happy to be along for the ride. Her favorite things right now are her dolls and books. She's fond of anything crinkly as well, and gets very mad at me when I take the wipes package away from her. She does have a little flair for the dramatic... if Robbie swipes a toy from her or if I lay her down in her bed too early for nap time, she will burst into tears as if she might never stop crying. Initially, I would do what I could to make her stop crying immediately, thinking 'wow we have REALLY upset her this time.' I have since found that she can turn off the water works just as quickly, so we're wise to her tricks. :)
Ellie's affections are strongest for her brother (aside from mommy and daddy). In the mornings, she typically wakes a 1/2 hour before he does, and is therefore sitting in her high chair when I bring Robbie downstairs. She breaks out into a huge smile as I enter the kitchen with him in my arms, and can't contain her excitement to see him as her legs flail and arms reach for him, hands frantically making fists and releasing them. Robbie always asks me if Ellie is awake when I first pick him up out of his crib by saying "Ellie wake? Downstairs?" I can't help but believe that God is already beginning to answer my prayer for them to share a strong bond as siblings. It brings me so much joy and I will never stop praying for them in this way.
Ellie is very familiar with her feeding routine by now, which includes 3 solid meals of baby food and/or oatmeal per day, along with 3 to 4 6oz bottles of formula. She has quite an appetite and eats nearly as much at each feeding as Robbie did around this age. I remember distinctly what he ate because we'd be with our dear friends the Larsons and sweet Charlotte, who is the same age as Robbie. She would make a meal out of one jar of baby food and a few crunchy snacks, while Robbie was polishing off 3 jars of baby food and anything else I'd lay out in front of him. Ellie gets hot if I only offer her one jar of food. She wants 2 minimum, and if I throw in some oatmeal to boot, even better. The crazy part is that Robbie really chubbed out around this time, and Ellie has escaped chunky thighs and multiple chins! I think she has my dad's metabolism. Lucky girl.
Activity-wise, she is no longer entertained for very long in the beloved (by mommy) exersaucer. She much prefers to be on her belly, free to roll across the room and spin around as she watches the action all around her. She has been getting up on her hands and knees and rocking back and forth for a few weeks, and I can tell it's driving her crazy that she can't move forward towards objects that she wants which remain just out of reach. I am sure we are close to crawling, and encourage Robbie every day to crawl around her and 'teach' her, now that I know that babies learn things (like crawling, etc.) quicker from other siblings than they do from adults. He thinks it's a lot of fun and once she can move I am sure they will forever be chasing each other around the house!
Ellie and Robbie now share bath time, with Ellie still laying on her little foam thing as Robbie sits quietly next to her. His favorite part is helping me drip water all over her to keep her warm with the washcloth. After a few minutes of this, he drapes his washcloth over his belly to match Ellie, looking proudly at her and then back at himself. I do have to remind him before every single bath what the rules are ("No kicking, no splashing, no throwing bath toys at Ellie's head"). Once he recites this to me, he is well behaved. But I am telling you, if I forget?! Ellie has taken many a toy to the forehead without shedding a tear. She's a tough girl, which is fortunate because her brother is not exactly calm and gentle all the time.
Ellie's charms are many and they are powerful. She has mastered the eye-batt and usually reserves it for daddy and Grandpa Jack.
For mommy and Mima (my mom), she offers the shy grin and then tucks her chin into her shoulder as she looks away and closes her eyes.
When mommy or daddy plant their lips on her cheek and give her endless kisses, she holds her entire body still as if to concentrate on the love. She closes her eyes and smiles and eats up the attention for as long as you continue to kiss her sweet face!
And for anyone who smiles at her at just the right moment, she will smile back and and whisper "da-da-da-da" while squinting.
But when this guy is near her, everyone else might as well not exist.
Ellie, you are growing up so fast and we cherish every day that we have been given with you. We are thankful for who God has made you to be, for your sweet disposition and your energy. Your perfectly kissable cheeks and dainty little feet. Your big old noggin and your 2 lone curls behind each ear. Every time I watch you suck your thumb as you fall asleep, I marvel at the way God knows exactly what we need. Our family needed you, and you are perfectly packaged for us.
Ellie Suzanne, you are a blessing!