Sunday, July 27, 2008

The only child

Last week Ella got upset about something that had happened, I forget what. She retreated to her bed and buried herself under the covers, wailing. Once she settled down a bit, I went in to talk to her. As we were talking, she said, "I wish I was an only child with no little sister or brother, but that wish can't come true. I already have a little sister and brother and another one on the way." I patted her back and made comforting noises, but I didn't try to talk her out of wishing for that because I knew exactly how she felt. After all, I'm a big sister, too.

Later that day, during dinner, Ella told us she wanted to invent a machine that would make little brothers and sisters disappear for a while. Lily protested until Ella promised her that the machine would send her someplace fun - with fairies and unicorns. B and I asked Ella if little brothers and sisters could use the machine on their older sisters, and Ella said no: The invention was only for oldest children.

Last night Ella got her wish to be an only child. B's dad, in an effort to help us out since B was still feeling the effects of his root canal, offered to take all three kids to his house for a sleepover. Lily was thrilled, but Ella said she didn't want to go. We finally wormed it out of her that the last time she had spent the night there, she and granddaddy had had a bit of a struggle over something she was doing and she lost. We reminded her that she has to follow granddaddy's rules the same as she does ours, but we let her stay home with us.

I did my best to make it a fun evening for her. She and I went to pick up dinner, which included a root beer float for her and a milkshake for B. Then we watched a marathon of "Mythbusters" on Discovery Channel.

Our neighbors were having a big shindig last night, and I went over for a while, leaving Ella in charge of B, who was under the influence of painkillers. At one point, while sitting in the neighbors' back yard talking to other guests, I heard giggling. I turned around to see Ella spying on us from our back porch.

We let her stay up extra late - when I got home from the party at 10:00, she was out on the back porch reading with B. I even let her curl up in bed with me to go to sleep. B moved her into her room when he came to bed.

This morning I took her to Michael's to buy her own set of circular knitting needles and some wool with which to knit a hat for the baby. She's been begging me to teach her to knit in the round, and I figured this would be a good project. Then we went to the bookstore and a few other places before picking up her friend for playtime.

I think the one-on-one time did both of us some good. Ella is a really neat kid, and I don't get to spend nearly enough time alone with her. I need to remember to make opportunities for us to do things like go to the bookstore together. She needs the chance to be the only child once in a while, even if it's just for an hour or two.


Damsel said...

I'm the oldest of four, and still feel like Ella sometimes... Kudos to you for recognizing that she needs as much one-on-one time as the littler ones! :-)

O'Pine said...

I just realized why you're going to have a fourth child (aside from the obvious biology). You're a f#$%ing incredible mother.

Pat yourself on the back today, Mrs. G.


Memarie Lane said...

I'm the youngest, and I always wished I was an only child too. It seemed to me like my brother and sister had been procreative experiments gone awry, and my parents had stopped with me because they'd finally gotten the child they wanted. But we till had to have those failed experiments around because it was the humane thing to do. :P