Happy 3rd Birthday, my sweet Eliana Grace!

13 10 2008

Three years ago today at 11:54am, a screaming 7lb 3 oz, 20 inch long wiggly pink baby was placed in my arms, and life as I knew it would never be the same.

It’s been an incredible journey, one full of joy and tears, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

As Jake wheeled me out the hospital door with a sleeping babe in my arms, I remember thinking “Why on earth are they letting me walk out of here with this helpless infant. Isn’t there a test we are supposed to take to prove that we are capable of caring for this child?”

I remember laughing at her expressions as we slowly drove home. I sat in the backseat with her, so that she’d have a face to smile at her and a hand to caress her cheek if she got scared. Her eyes widened at the little bumps the car made, esp. when we went over railroad tracks. But soon, they lulled her to sleep, and I enjoyed watching her, all cozy and snug in her carseat, as the light and shadows danced upon her face.

Once home, I debated if I should leave her sleeping or try to unbuckle her so that she could sleep snuggled against my chest. I carefully took her out, sat upon the couch, and then thought, “Ok, good so far… Now what?”

We were in our snug little same and familar home, but now we were a family of three.

Now, three years later, we are a family of four, and it’s been a joy to watch Eliana learn to smile, laugh, sit up, crawl, stand up and creep, walk, and now run and skip through life with a seeming unending source of energy and joy. She has such compassion for those around her and can sense when I’m sad, and goes to comfort her brother when he is fussy from teething. There have been times I’ve found David covered with blankets, toys and books that she has tossed into the pack ‘n play, and I’ve had to stifle a laugh as I explain that he isn’t old enough to use those things yet, but I did appreciate her thoughtfulness to share her favorite comfort items with her brother. She enjoys holding him and giving him hugs and kisses, and my favorite is hearing her “reading” to him while they both are hanging out on the couch.

She loves to learn, and would be content to have us read books to her all day long. I’ve found some great free online educational programs and games for her to play, and she loves playing her “Letter Videos”. She’s becoming a pro at using the computer and I was recently surprised to find her using the Paint program to color, and she was proudly showing off the drawing that she made. Of course I had to save it, and have a copy printed out and displayed on the fridge. She has learned most of her letters and can count up to twenty, but there are a few numbers she mixes up. My favorite is “Eleventy-seven” instead of seventeen.

I have started doing a Christian based preschool program, and have found some great local homeschool resources and groups that we’ve joined. We’ll be able to go on fun activities and playdates and events, and are already reaping the benefits. We went to a fun (and free!) Archaeological Fair this past Saturday, and Eliana had a BLAST sifting sand and finding arrowheads in the sandbox, making a bead bracelet, weaving a basket, decorating pottery, making a hand print on a wall, and dancing to the songs and drumbeats of Native Americans. It was such a fun experience, and we found out about it through one of the Homeschool groups. I’m not sure how long I’ll Homeschool her, but I’ve already seen her learn so much in just a few weeks. She also is enjoying learning Bible verses through songs and doing crafts that have a Bible lesson included. She’s starting to pray and thanks God for different things. Her list changes every night, but Mommy, Daddy, David and her blanket are always at the top of her list. 😀

She loves nature and finds a leaf or an acorn to stash in her pocket on our family walks. I’ve started a nature table in the playroom where she can put her little items, and she enjoys looking at them and telling me about them. She’s fascinated with birds and points them out in our yard and while we are out and about running errands. She likes to help me put birdseed in our two feeders and lets me know when she sees a bird eating. She loves putting the lint from the dryer out into the yard so that the birds can use it in their nests. She chases after bunnies and likes to pet dogs, but luckily hasn’t asked for a pet of her own… yet.

She also has a strong mind of her own, like wearing the color pink, and insists on putting on her clothes, shoes and headbands by herself. She likes things done in a certain way, and is quick to let me know if I deviate from our bedtime routine. Today, I let her pick out what she wanted for lunch and dinner. We were at Market Street for lunch with my mom, and I was surprised when she picked out a Cheddar Potato Cake (like a hash brown with cheese), she choose fish, and then decided on Lemon Pepper Salmon, Red Grapes, Wheat Bread, White milk, and we splurged on Blackberry Sparkling Soda and a Cookies ‘N Cream Brownie for dessert. For dinner, we were at Target, and she picked Chicken Pesto Pizza and Chicken Bacon Ranch pizza to make at home, with Loaded Mint Brownie Ice Cream to go with the extra brownie I bought at Market Street. These certainly aren’t the choices that most three year olds I know would make!

There are defiant moments of testing, but she is becoming a well-mannered and polite little girl, who is eager to please her mommy and daddy. I can see her becoming a strong and confident young woman who will be a great leader.

Sometimes I feel bad that I’ve had to learn and grow about being a mom with her as my guinea pig, and I feel much more secure and relaxed in my role and have learned from my mistakes and do some things differently with David. But she is blossoming, and I was thrilled to hear the pediatrician say today that she’s excelling and is advanced for her age and is so sociable and talkative and intelligent, as well as being a beautiful little girl.

It’s been an exciting three years and I’m looking forward to seeing who she becomes and what impact she makes on the world with her life!

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