This week I've been up to the great city of Los Angeles not once, but TWICE! Tuesday I went up for an afternoon, dinner and drinks with my friend Joy, to celebrate her birthday (baby obviously not invited or included) and then today Elizabeth and I went up to have lunch with some of my old coworkers, including Emily's baby Liam, who is fast approaching one. They grows up and they grows up!
It's a funny experience, being back in my hometown after a few years behind the Orange Curtain, especially my first time being out and about with my girlfriends without the baby. Walking down the street, I felt like I had a giant blaring neon sign over my head that said "UNCOOL SUBURBAN MOM, PLEASE OBSERVE HOW SHE IS WEARING FLATS SO SHE WON'T EAT IT INTO THE GUTTER." I also forgot what it's like to run into strung out crazies at the 7-11. Not an experience that I've missed. I am however, proud to report that I still am able to cross 3 lanes of traffic on a busy street and parallel park in a tiny space on my first try. There is a little bit of city girl in me yet!
Don't get me wrong, there are definitely things I miss about my former life, but at the end of the night, I'm thankful to come back to my cute little house, filled with all the people I love. And I'm thankful every day that we live within a half hour of all Ellie's grandparents. I've said it all along - without my mom ten minutes away, I probably would have been forced to eat my own life young or go lay face down in a ditch filled with dirty water during the first few months of Ellie's life (and occasionally, during the last few months, ha!)
As for Ellie herself, she is really cracking me up lately. She's starting to string together actual sentences, and likes to say things like, "I see you, no see me!" Her favorite thing to say, overall is "baby hold" and my favorite thing to hear is "help please" rather than screaming. I'm also amazed at how much she understands - the other day she was losing her crap in our favorite sandwich shop over wanting a cookie, and I told her "you need to calm down and get control of yourself and you can have some cookie," and she immediately took a deep breath and got herself together. She also gets my shoes when I ask her. Her current favorite books are two little books I had as a kid - one is about Timmy and his spaniel Charlie, and one is about a little girl and her rabbit Buttercup. It's all photos rather than illustrations, and Ellie loves to flip through the pages and tell me "puppy night night. Puppy plant. Puppy bite ball. No bite," followed by "hop hop. Hop hop shell [aka flowers]. Hop away. Hop away tail. Hop hop right back. Next page." In fact, I listened to her tell me the stories of Buttercup and Charlie all the way up to LA today (she slept on the way home, hooray!)
My favorite time of the day is still right after her nap. I go in and lay down with her, and Ellie snuggles up to me. She'll lay on my chest and press her face into mine and I think about how tiny she was, sleeping on my chest as a newborn, and how enormous she is now. There's a lot of tickling and antics from the giggle monster, and then usually Lulu comes in and we have to exclaim over and what she's doing.