Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I'm not done talking, Daddy.

As I was putting Ellie to bed tonight, she kept insisting she had something say. "I'm not done talking, Daddy." She actually kept coming up with something coherent to say each time, either recounting an event from the past few days or asking me a good solid "why" question. "Why do you go to work, Daddy?" "Why does mommy go to Mary Kay?"

It was really hard to leave.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Some less successful moments from Ellie's Three Year Photo Shoot

I tried to pose her. She is resistant to posing.

I wanted to try to get something similar to this picture from last year, so I asked her to stand by the barn; this is what I got:

And this is the look I got when she was sick of being told what to do and just wanted to play for a bit:

If put her in a pretty dress, she'll find weeds to tear apart...

and toss into the air.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

In the news...

Sometimes I just can't help but share from the local news reports....

  • A deputy was unable to track down two horses reportedly trotting down the eastbound lane of South 19th Avenue around 11 p.m.
  • A woman who runs a daycare center was concerned after seeing an obviously sick fox in the yard.
  • An elderly woman was having difficulty getting her escaped llama back in its pen around 8 p.m.
  • A gray rabbit, probably a pet, was taken to the animal shelter after it was found loose on East Garfield Street around 3:30 p.m.
  • A black bear was seen on North 22nd Avenue around 8:30 a.m. Bears were also seen on Hunters Way and Oliver Street a short while later.
  • A caller had questions about shooting pigeons that had infiltrated a heating system.
  • A cat was sitting on top of a power pole on West Dry Creek Road around noon.

"Daddy, Look at This!"

A friend of ours was given a bike which was too big for her daughter, so she let us borrow it for a bit. At the time, I wouldn't have guessed Ellie was ready to ride a bike since she couldn't quite coordinate her legs to propel a trike with much regularity. It turned out that she could pump her legs around much better when she was over top of the pedals on a bike. We've been having fun in the second half of summer watching her gain confidence with the bike.

She's quite cautious coming down our driveway, which has a fair bit of slope to it. A time or two when we headed out to ride her bike, I'd put her on her bike at the top of the driveway and she'd freak out because she was so scared about losing control, gaining intractable speed as she descended the pitch, hurtling toward the street of which she has a vivid fear. So deep was her terror, that we called the ride over before it even started.

What she really needed was mastery of her brakes. When she first got on the bike, she reverse pedaled fairly often, which naturally exercised the brakes and eliminated her hard won momentum. Over a few rides that were frustrating for both of us, she learned that there was only one right way to pedal. Retraining her to pedal backwards to break was tough, particularly because the occasions I tried to demonstrate were in contexts she was already afraid: perched atop the driveway and approaching a corner, which necessitated crossing the dreaded street. In the last two weeks or so, she really gotten the hang of it and now can easily control her driveway descent. Of course, she still demands that I stand between her and the street to catch her if she can't figure out the brakes.

Contrast that caution with the following anecdote. She was pedaling over to the neighborhood playground; I was trailing behind, as I usually do now that she can easily outpace my comfortable walking speed. On a long, straight sidewalk section, I heard her yell, "Daddy, look at this!" Glancing up, I saw her put both hands up in the air. Yes, my three year is already playing, "Look, Ma, no hands!"

On our way home from the park she repeated the feat, but this time pulled her hands off the handles and her feet off the pedals.

I definitely see a bit of myself in Ellie's approach to risk taking and derring-do. If she thinks the consequences are severe, she's very cautious; if she judges the possible outcome as mild, she'll push her limits just for the fun of it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Another few Pictures from Ellie's Three Year Shoot that I Love

Last year when we went out for Ellie's annual shoot, we only owned one nice camera, so Elizabeth and I had to trade back and forth. You can imagine how well our sharing went. Conveniently we've picked up another nice camera since then. So this year, Ellie had two crazy people chasing her with cameras and shouting suggestions.

Her response was to run away.

Elizabeth, who took all of the pictures in this post, took this as Ellie was coming back.

See this gesture? I see it all the time. This is the sight of Ellie emphatically explaining something punctuated with her signature raised, slightly curled finger.

I like this one because it's a cool shot and because Ellie has roughly the same dopey look on her face that she used to strike whenever she was examining some new thing deeply, which happened frequently when she was much younger. Nowadays, we rarely see her without a directed, intense look in her eye.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Some of Leif's Favorite Pictures from Ellie's Three Year Photos

Since her third birthday had come and gone without the mandatory photo shoot, we finally took Ellie out to the same barn as in years past for some more mad snapping.

These were a few of my favorites:

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Spiky Hair

I took Ellie down to the river to run wild tonight while Elizabeth went to her weekly Mary Kay meeting. She was having such a fantastic time playing in the dirt, collecting sticks, gifting me rocks, and playing tag that I didn't notice how quickly it was getting late. I'm acclimated to the long northern summer nights and didn't expect dusk to come upon us at 8 among the thick cottonwoods in the flood plain. When it did, I put her on my shoulders and started hurrying back. While she was bouncing along up there, I felt her mussing my hair up into a pyramid. She began telling me that she was spiking my hair. When I asked her about it, she said something along the lines of, "Yeah, I'm making your hair look like Mary Kay hair." Awesome.