We went camping at Mimosa Rocks National Park a few weeks ago. I meant to write about that. About how great Ella was to camp with, how she helped me set up and pack up the tent without telling me "I'm tired" after 3 minutes: a first! How we enjoyed the close encounters with the wildlife. Ella thinks it is totally normal to talk to the animals too. She probably thinks I'm Dr Doolittle when I go: "Bye Mrs Echidna! Nice meeting you! Have a nice day!" Or "Thanks for visiting us goanna! How very lovely to meet you!". I thought the funniest moment was when I yelled: "Hi little wallaby!" upon which the little wallaby promptly plonked down on his bum. I'd never seen a wallaby sit on his behind. He must have had a very tiring day. And I could relate.
I also have some video footage of Ella entertaining the troops at Mimosa, but that will have to wait. Though I'm keen for all of you to hear a couple of her made-up fairy songs that go on and on and on and are all about how 'beautiful' everything is in unicorn/butterfly/fairy land and how the rainbows have pink and purple in them.
I cannot remember what else we did since then. I do know Ella is still 3 going on 13, soon to be 4 going on 14. She tries to pull the: "You made me sad! You are not nice to me today!" trick on me very often. I have less and less patience with it. Just tell her that I may not be nice, but at least I am fair. Or that it is not my job to be nice to her. I also gave her a long lecture the other day about considering other people's feelings. I remember reading/watching something recently about how parents these days seem to just want their kids to be happy. While previous generations wanted their kids to be good. Which made me think... So I told Ella that I wanted her to be a good person. The best person she could be. And being 'good' includes not crying so much because everyone finds listening to crying annoying (which is why I now just calmly tell her to go cry in another room and come back when she's stopped), not making people wait, being brave and always being nice to other people. I now also try to tell her that good things come to good people and have considered telling her that being nice to other people brings good luck while crying over little pains is definitely bad luck. We all seem to take on some superstitious traditions whilst growing up so might as well brainwash her with some that are actually useful.
Now we're preparing to leave for 10 days at the coast. Which should be great as long as it doesn't rain too much. It's been exceptionally wet in these parts of the world for the past few weeks. I'm looking forward to spending Xmas on the beach. I just hope I'll be able to fit Santa's present for Ella in the car.
Then when we come back we'll need to start preparing for Ella's birthday party. As usual, it's going to be much larger than I intended. Ella is adamant that we should invite "everyone we know". So I obliged, though made sure I told "everyone we know" to bring a contribution. Also as always, I'm sure the party will be organised chaos, which is what our friends have come to expect of us and - not to brag - the casual atmosphere usually results in good parties.
But reminiscing on the year past and skills that Ella has gained:
- She writes letters very well. She will often write a random string of letters (with the odd number thrown in) and then asks me what word she's written. But after trying to pronounce the 5th nonsense word, I tell her to go copy existing words instead.
- She can finally dress herself! T-shirts and dresses are usually on backwards, but I won't be too critical.
She can also:
- Open the car doors from the outside
- Put her sunnies on by herself
- Close the zipper of her jackets
- Use scissors quite accurately (as demonstrated by her opening a well-wrapped box containing her Xmas present the other day)
- Draw recognisable figures (mainly fairies of course)
- Operate the tv and dvd player without instructions or assistance (Finally! I've been trying to teach her since she was 18 months old!)
- Use knife and fork to cut soft foods, like potatoes (I suspect she was capable of doing this before but never wanted to)
- Ride her balance bike like a pro
Next year there will be many more milestones including starting preschool (2 days a week) and hopefully riding a proper bike (now hidden in the garage waiting for her birthday).
A merry christmas and a happy new year from both of us!