Thursday, August 30, 2012

Summer Tales Part 2: The Terrible Reign of Ella

Ella and I watch Little House on the Prairie together.  We both agree Almanzo was seriously miscast.

Ella has exhausted me this summer.  Between her and the three-legged wonder dog, I think this house has gone significantly down in value.  Not that we’re thinking of selling anytime soon. 

Kids across this suburban landscape are headed back on the big yellow bus next Wednesday.   When I think of Ella getting on that bus, I get a little anxious.  And by anxious I mean that I burst into tears and hide in a closet.

Ella is doing great!  Ella is thriving!  Ella has not had any speech therapy this summer because she showed no signs of regression throughout the year!  Ella’s hearing is perfect!  Her hearing loss was due to chronic fluid build-up, which seems to have resolved itself. 

Ella still has a “severe’ speech delay.  She talks.  A lot.  You just can’t be sure what she’s saying.  My friends smile and nod politely when Ella speaks, in an animated fashion, about her small, important life.  She finishes her speeches with a jump and skips away, happy as a clam.

“Did she say hairspray?” my friend asks.

"I dunno.  Maybe.”  I pause.  I rush to my bathroom.

Over the summer my daughter has changed my house from what it was to something so much more colorful. Like a puppy, if you don’t consistently corral this child’s energy, she will use that energy for evil.   

First, she thoughtfully painted her brothers’ bedroom carpet with a variety of watercolors.  After much scrubbing, the beige carpet looks like it was tye-dyed. 

Last month, she took a sharpie marker to my beige couch.  Red sharpie.  She spelled Ben’s name on it and drew a man with a disembodied head and rectangular-shaped eyeballs.

I know what you’re thinking.  Stop it with the beige.

There was a lot of crayon doodling on walls.  Caleb had bouncy-ball making kit.  That was a sticky mess, let me tell you what.

There was the bead incident, the sand hoarding incident, and the toothpaste-smearing incident.  She decorated her rug, her door, and her vanity mirror with blue, sparkly Crest. 

She took a large, fully loaded orange pixie stick and dumped in on her carpet.  Pixie sticks, apparently, stain beige carpets. 

Her hair has yet to recover from the great summer haircut of 2012. 

I’m exhausted. 

I'm learning, at a snail's pace, to let things go. 

I will never have a Pottery Barn house.  It will it ever be spanking clean.  That’s not me.  That’s not us.  I’m not good at it- housekeeping- I don’t like it. 

I wish my carpets were, well, just beige.  I wish Kiah would stop shedding so much.  I wish I didn’t have this overwhelming sense of guilt- why does (fill in the blank) have it so much more together than I do?  Why can’t I keep up?  Why do they have so much energy and I feel like sleeping 14 hours a day?

Why is Almanzo such a whiny chauvinist jerk?

Ella and Dan are going to school.  When Caleb was born, I felt like I’d  lost myself- that I would never gain footing as a mom.  That I’d never be me again.  Nearly ten years later, I feel the same way, because they are all moving on, growing up, and I'm still here, in this house, needing to be needed. 

Who will wipe the peanut butter off of Ella’s face after lunch? 

That question kept me awake last night. 

I suppose if she came home with peanut butter on her face, the world would not come to an end.  We’d go on. 

I’d wipe it off when she got home.