Ella is three.
Hard to believe.
Our baby and then our two year old is now a three year old!
Baby no more.
Ella is such an amazing person.
She loves with abandon.
She's wildly smart.
She's a risk taker.
She loves to sing. And to talk.
She loves pink.
She's bold and adventurous.
She loves her dolls.
She loves to laugh.
She loves to make people around her laugh.
The other night after reading her some favorite bedtime stories we were lying on her bed together and I asked her, Ella, who do you love most in the whole world? She said, Well, I love my guys. I asked her who specifically were 'her guys.' Daddy, Jake, and Josh. They're my guys.
Children often have pronunciations that are so cute that, as a parent, you don't correct them because you know before you know it they'll start pronouncing the word correctly and all you'll have left is your memory of the cuteness. There are two words for which Justin and I have just loved her mispronunciations: god and doctor. With Ella, god is gog, and doctor is gockter.
And so in her several unfortunate ER visits of this past year (including one fractured foot, one piece of Lego stuck up her nose, and one head-hitting-the-bed-frame massive bump between her eyes which turned into two adorable and sad looking black eyes), we got to hear her many times over talk about how nice the gockters were. Or, when they walked into the room, "Are you my gockter?" Or when she prays in that serious, pious voice: "Dear Gog..."
In some ways Ella is the classic baby of the family and finds herself often trying to keep up with her big brothers. Early in September right after we had moved into our new place, we found ourselves at IKEA a fair bit picking up new items for the house. Each time we'd go, I'd drop off the boys in the Play Room and Ella would stick with me and we'd shop together. There's this large plaque on the wall outside of the IKEA Play Room with a large red arrow, indicating the height requirements. Ella is yet a couple inches below that red arrow. But still, each time, she stands there stretching as tall as she can, just waiting for that day when she, too, is tall enough and can enter with her brothers. I always say, "One of these days, Ella. One of these days you're going to stand there and you'll reach the arrow and then you'll get to go in, too, little one."
During this season of regular IKEA visits, Justin asked Ella at one point what she wanted to do when she grew up. Her answer: "When I grow up I want to be big enough to go in the Play Room at IKEA." When you're a two year old, I guess those seem like big, unreachable dreams.
"Paint nails!" Ella loves nail polish and having me or her Aunt Caiah paint her nails. But she's found her own creative way of referring to this process. She says, "Can I get my paint nails done now?" Or, "Daddy, look! Do you love my red paint nails?" For some reason Justin and I both just love how she's come to refer to this. Paint nails.
Ella is very fortunate to have an Aunt Caiah who has more variety and colors of nail polish than any person I've met. Recently when we were at my sister's apartment, Caiah dumped a bag of nail polish on the floor and let Ella choose a color and then proceeded to give Ella a purse full of nail polish. (Er... thanks, Caiah...) Ella was overwhelmed with delight. It was probably one of the best mornings of her life. In many ways, Ella has a personality very similar to her Aunt Caiah, and I often find myself calling Caiah, Ella, or Ella, Caiah.
Ella is incredibly efficient and helpful. When she makes a mess, she cleans it up. When she spills something, she grabs a towel and gets to work. It's almost intuitive for her to be responsible with her own messes, or something. In the earlier days of potty training, if she had an accident somewhere, she'd find a towel to clean things up, then she'd change her own clothes, throwing the dirty ones in the hamper and getting dressed in something clean. Usually all this without even telling me. (This has taken me somewhat by surprise because, with her two older brothers, they would barely even tell me if they had an accident and often just keep on playing in their wet clothes, let alone clean it up and change themselves. Just different personalities.) Even this morning as Ella unwrapped her presents, Justin and I were smiling watching her meticulously throw out the wrapping paper after she tore it off the gift. In this respect, she is definitely her father's daughter!
In addition to being responsible with her messes, she also likes to pack her own supply bags when we leave the house. A while back Ella and I were getting ready to leave for some errands and she had two purses over her arm. I asked her what was in them and this was her response: "I packed wet wipes in case I get filthy and undies in case I have an accident and a banana in case I get hungry."
We love you so much, little one.
You bring light and laughter and love wherever you go.
You are a gift from God and we give Him thanks for making you.
Even though I'm sad, in some ways, to say goodbye to my two year old,
I can't wait to see how you grow and change in this year to come.
On this, your birthday, we pray that God would bless you and keep you all the days of your life.
We love you, Ella Grace Galotti.
Happy Birthday, sweetheart! xoxo