“I made a book of girls today, Mama!”
I haven’t seen much of Ella this week. Actually, I haven’t seen much of either girl. Opera season is in full swing. But I’ll get to that another day.
“I made it today and Mrs. J stapled it the best she could.”
Okay, baby, show it to me.
“Mmm, there are flowers on this page. And swings and a twisty slide here. And here is Zoe. And this is a page that isn’t colored on. And this page has my friends on it: Addie and Taylor Rose and Brooke. That’s it.”
Can boys like flowers too?
“No…swings and girls and flowers are only for my friends (fwiends) who are girls. No. Boys.”
I think it is safe to say that Ella is learning about gender identification. She’s known, in an academic sense I suppose, that she is a girl and her sister is a girl and mommy is a girl but that her cousin is a boy. She knows about the parts that make us girls and boys.
Ella has always been free to choose her toys. She asked for a “twash twuck” for Christmas when she was 2 and got it. And played with it. She builds with the Legos and mega blocks. She’s not so much into playing with the baby dolls as her sister and pretty much ignores the dollhouse.
This is the time of year (in the upper midwest, anyway) when I get to clean all the summer things out the girls’ dressers and put in the bigger, warmer clothes. It’s one of my favorite mom things to do. Ella wears things that I’ve never seen on her before (new or not new…doesn’t matter…equally exciting to both of us), Amelia wears what Ella used to wear and a thing or two (or six) to call her own and I get to be all nostalgic. I am packing away Amelia’s 3T summer tshirts and skirties and dresses and pajamas. She will not fit into them next summer, I can be sure. Some of those things were purchased for Ella several years ago. And, I’m sure, they will be passed on to another little girl. But never to be worn by one of my children. Sad. A little.
It is bittersweet to be leaving the years behind. On one hand, it’s easier to be a mom now than it was last fall. I don’t change diapers anymore. Ella showers, dresses and grooms herself independently. She also buckles her own seatbelt. She walks to and from the schoolbus. Amelia is okay spending whole days without me. She even sometimes sleeps in her own bed. But on the other hand, this is it. It’s not likely that I will ever get to nurse another baby or smell a newborn or help with those first steps. I won’t get to make baby food or sew tiny things.
So, here’s to girls. Here’s to growing up. Here’s to the change of seasons. And here’s to flowers and swings and twisty slides. Here’s to being five and three years old. Here’s to curly hair and long eyelashes and brown mary janes with pink flowers. And Barbies and babies and ballet. Here’s to my dryer lint always being pink.
And here’s to a mama and her babies…another autumn…together.