Today is Ella's birthday, and I can't believe she's 9 already. It seems like just yesterday that B and I brought her home from the hospital and then looked at each other in terror. Surely we weren't old enough to be responsible for that little, pink bundle.
We have both learned a lot about being parents in the past 9 years, and we couldn't ask for a better big girl to learn from. Ella is proving to be a bright, funny, caring and energetic person, and as I watch her grow up, I feel that we are doing something right as parents.
Eight was a very good year with Ella. She reached the age of reason, and we were able to calmly discuss situations and problems and reach agreements on what needed to be done - most of the time. There is still a hole in the ceiling over her bunk from one thermonuclear meltdown this summer.
I am a bit worried about 9, though. We're already seeing signs of pre-teen attitude with the eye rolls and tone of voice, and I've had more than one sit-down with Ella where I've explained that I love her too much to let her behave badly.
But these problems are few and far between and are vastly outweighed by her sunny, funny self.
We celebrated Ella's birthday this weekend with a slumber party Saturday night with four friends from school. Ella requested a camp out, so B set up a tent in the back yard. Much to our amazement, the girls spent the whole night in the tent.
B also set up a camp fire for them, and we roasted marshmallows and made s'mores and sang Beatles songs around the fire. Once the marshmallow roasting was done, they all dressed in black clothing and ran around the back yard playing tag in the dark.
At 10:00, in an attempt to settle them down, B took the laptop out to the tent and set up a movie for them. Two girls fell asleep during the movie but were woken up at the end by the other three. B sat out by the fire with them until midnight, when he made them climb into their sleeping bags and go to sleep - which didn't work at all.
I woke up at 2:30 to singing and laughing from the back yard. When I went to investigate, I found all five girls wide awake. I threatened to make them come inside to sleep if they didn't settle down. After that, I didn't hear any noise, but Ella and another friend claimed that they stayed awake until 4:30.
After a pancake breakfast, the girls headed home, and Ella fell asleep on the kitchen floor. B moved her into bed, and when she woke up three hours later, Ella declared it her best birthday ever.
Today Ella will get her presents from us and then spend some special time with her grandfather, whose birthday is also today. And I'll make sure to give her extra snuggles at bedtime. Before I know it, she'll be off to college.