playing princess

…being present…enjoying moments, and cherishing the small things.

In the last couple of weeks, as things have picked up in life (at work for both Joe and I), I’ve not been as present as I would like to be…but I’ve not totally failed at my New Years Resolution…not totally.

Joe and I have both made an effort to be present for Ellie and for each other.  And while there are times when we’re both on email while she’s being babysat entertained by the television, we have made some positive gains.  For instance:

1) We try to all sit down to dinner a couple of times per week.  This means music on, at our table, to a homemade meal.  Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve cooked a lot more, and my slow cooker has gotten some serious use.

2) We do story time every night.  Whether it is one or both of us, wrapping up the day while cuddled under covers on her big-girl bed is just magic.  Lately she’s into hearing stories read to her…it’s become less about looking at the pictures.  And while I may not have jumped right into Little Women, I’m having a wonderful time reading When We Were Very Young every night.

3) Mommy & Ellie date nights.  With Joe making his way through another flight syllabus, he’s been spending a couple of nights a week flying.  This typically means that Joe doesn’t get home until well after Ellie (and I) have gone to sleep.  On these nights, I pick up Ellie from school and sometimes we treat ourselves to a night out.  Last week we ate at El Cerro and went to Michaels to pick up supplied for some new princessy stuff (and fun little things for a certain party that’s coming up in the near future).

4) Lazy mornings with Daddy, following night flights.  If there is a silver lining to Joe being gone at night, it’s that he (for the most part) gets the morning off.  A typical morning in our household involves being up by 6, out the door by 7:20 and off for a full day of work.  The mornings that daddy is home?  They are pretty much heaven.  They are full of snuggles and breakfast, and mugs of coffee with my favorite Marine.  And while both the Bean and I have our day underway by 9, it’s lovely to have that extra hour and a half.

…it’s not much.  But it’s a start – right?

All of this to cherish the moments we have with her while she is little, and to fill her memories and childhood with special, quality time with her parents tuned in to what is going on.

When I thought about this, about my resolution/goal for the year, I thought about making life better for Ellie and Joe.  I didn’t really get that this would make my life so much more full.  It’s nice to tune in to the ones we love, to suck up all the loving you can get…to enjoy the moment, and have something of quality to pull from when life gets busy, or you’re far away.

Plus, life tends to slow down when you start being in the moment, and not focused on what else needs to get done.  Which is bonus, because Ellie is growing up too fast.  Maybe this is part of my effort to bottle her up and keep her my sweet little nut forever.

But, despite my best efforts, my little one is growing up.

I am constantly amazed by the words she uses, the phrases she has picked up, and how she interacts with others.  As she’s getting older, she’s starting to show preferences…everything from crackers to toys she plays

Today, we’ve been enjoying MLK day.  In this house it means being home and catching up on both house work and regular work between naps and playing with trains.  Between baths, snuggles, and putting in “pig-ponies” (pig tails).

Ellie is into anything that has to do with pink, sparkles, dressing up, or princesses. Couple that with her obsession with our dog, Tubby, and that should effectively set the stage for what I walked in to this afternoon.

As I was wrapping up lunch, I heard:

“Look-a you, Tubby!  You a pin-cess,” coupled with “You so boo-ti-ful.”

As you can imagine – someone was thrilled to be her victim playmate for the afternoon.

What?  You only WISH you could be this awesome.

My poor damn dog was all “princessed out”, complete with headband and pink glitter lipstick smeared across his snout.  He didn’t seem to mind all that much…

At least they were matching.

He got a treat for his efforts, and we snuggled in for nap shortly after.  As I lay, listening to my little hum herself to sleep, I couldn’t help but smile at this funny little chick that is growing up before our eyes.  Granted, she’ll eventually learn that putting lipstick on the dog isn’t the best idea (neither is sharing said lipstick with him), but what stuck out to me was her level of complimenting him.

“You so boo-ti-ful!”

“You so pretty, Tubby!”

“Mamma, you look a Belle!” (Apparently, I bear some resemblance to Belle from Beauty and the Beast – particularly after Ellie has finished my hair and make-up).

And I was SO happy to have heard it.  To have caught it amongst the daily grind of life.

My little girl has started complementing others.  And she does so with originality and sincerity, with a sweet smile on her face and urgency in her eyes.  As if what she’s saying is the most important thing she has ever said in her whole life!

This.  This trait is something I hope she holds onto forever.  I hope that she grows knowing that making others feel good is important, mostly more important than making ourselves feel good.

Life today consists of running and racing and barely finishing one thing before diving head first into the next.  It’s full of fast food dinners and mothers needing to remind themselves to enjoy the young life of their littles.  It’s full of bullying and social networks that make it impossible to escape the cliques and the mean girls…impossible to leave them at school and have home be a safe haven. 

As evident by the randomness of this post…my head has been consumed with deadlines and rushing and projects and fitting in down time with my precious family and missing my baby as she grows and stressing about who she is going to be when she grows up, what she’s going to face, how she’s going to handle it.

But this afternoon, I played and cuddled, and came upon a special memory of my babe and her puppy playing princess.  Of Ellie’s sweet little laugh, the confidence she had in her ability to make Tubs a princess, and the genuine, pure, precious little nature of her. I witnessed Tub’s gentle spirit as he laid with his head in her lap, wagging his tail when she squealed, not protesting too much when she poked his eye with the end of her headband.

And it was sweet.

It was so damn sweet. 

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