Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ellie's 4th Birthday

While home for the weddings I had the time to spend some great quality time with my daughter Ellie. She turned 4 on Sunday and I was there for her birthday but I was also able to spend Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday morning with her as well.
After visiting Nat & Katie for the night on Tuesday and picking up my laptop from Emily at her parent’s house I drove to Greenwich and picked up Ellie at her daycare which is a convenient walking distance from where she lives. Nicolette thought it would be nice for me to walk her home (also because I don’t have a kid car seat) through the park. On the way to daycare I bumped into one of the employees who was outside with some other children and she let me in and directed me towards Ellie’s room.
When I got there all the kids were down taking naps and I felt really bad waking her up. Her teacher (Ms. Ruthy??) woke her up and I was very scared that with her being groggy and tired that she would be upset or not want to see me but in fact the opposite happened. As soon as she saw me she gave me a big smile and ran over to hug me. From that point on, she was super excited to introduce me to every adult and child we bumped into leaving daycare saying, “This is my daddy”. I ended up setting off a small alarm trying to leave through the wrong door which Ellie thought was hysterical.
I also ran into a light post while walking home which made her chuckle… neither accident was on purpose! Ha! She even thought it was funny that I kept bending over to talk to her and told me to “walk normal”!

Back at the house she wanted to show me everything and we ended up watching Robin Hood (the cartoon one and my favorite as a child) until her mom got home from work. I hooked up her birthday gift (a Nintendo Wii) and we played a Ice Princess Dora the Explorer game on it for a while that night. The whole time Ellie was cuddled up with me on the couch. She was so happy to have me around and it felt so good. That night I read her several books and climbed into the inflatable mattress with her, at her request, to go to sleep.

I awoke to Ellie poking me and giggling at about 7am. After some coffee and making breakfast for
her (pb&J without crust and yogurt) we spent the morning putting puzzles together and just hanging out with each other playing with toys. Nicolette called and asked if we wanted to have lunch with her and both of us said yes, but I had no idea what was in store for me! The plan was to pick up sushi she had ordered from a local restaurant then drive the 15 minutes to where she worked. It took a few
minutes to get Ellie dressed and then out the door but as we were heading out she saw her scooter and demanded to ride her scooter to see mommy… not being sure how to respond I told her it was way too far to go on a scooter. I then encountered my first experience of a 4yr old screaming fit from my daughter! Putting her in the car (along with the scooter) she began to scream and just freak out for no reason. I tried talking to her a little bit but that just made the screaming and irrational anger worse so I wisely chose to stay quiet. Then I found myself following my iphone gps to the wrong restaurant to pick up the food and had to turn around. When I got to the right place the orders were a mess and the girl was pissed about me signing someone elses credit card… The screaming went from not wanting to see mommy to demanding to see mommy. When we actually got to where Nicolette works and she saw her mom the tears dried up instantly and she was running around giggling and happy as ever to talk to everyone.
After a quick lunch Ellie and I headed out to Cape Cove State Park about 10 miles away to get some sunshine. She was super excited to have the scooter with us (thank God I brought it). We walked out to the furthest point of land and took off her shoes so she could run in the sand. I then carried her across a spit of rocks out to what may become an island at high tide for her to check out the cormorants and look for crabs (which she was terrified of). It was fun,
but I had to
be careful on the slippery rocks carrying her. Only once did I slip which resulted in my leg coming down hard on a rock splitting the skin open…. I don’t think she even noticed. Back in shoes and heading back to the car Ellie was super excited to go pet the doggies she saw being walked. This excitement manifested itself in a 4yr old sprint across pavement towards the animals. I was less worried about the dogs then her running on pavement and unfortunately I was right because about 30 seconds later she went down hard on her knees and started wailing. I quickly scooped her up into my arms facing me so that she couldn’t see her scraped knees. This seemed to help but it was tiring caring her in one arm and the scooter in another the half mile back to the car as she quietly cried. Back in the car she was really upset about her knees while in the child’s seat because she could clearly see them. I decided ice cream was the best
cure. After some indecision at the shop she chose strawberry in a cone and I convinced her that cold ice cream on her knees would feel great. It was
cute watching her put some on her knees (they weren’t bad scrapes at all). She nearly fell asleep on the rest of the ride home but after getting back inside woke up to want to watch Robin Hood again. She had forgotten all about her knees….

Nicolette had volleyball and went out for a few quick drinks after work but did stop home long enough to help with dinner and give Ellie a quick bath. We both spent the rest of the night playing Wii and hanging out before doing the normal 3-4 book routine before bed time. I laid on the inflatable mattress with her until she fell asleep then rolled off to work on my laptop a bit. She had been up all day without a nap and had a lot of activity so she was out like a rock!

On Friday I followed Ellie and her daycare class to the Sam Bridge Nursery pumpkin patch in Greenwich. I drove behind the bus because I had to head out after for Emily’s brother’s wedding rehearsal dinner in Portland, ME (5 hours north). All the
kids were really excited except for Mckenzie who did not stop crying and asking for his daddy all day (his dad Steve stays at home with the kids). I felt bad for McKenzie and tried to cheer him up but I was told it happened nearly every day. The
other children also tried to no avail . Ellie’s teachers are really wonderful and it was impressive how well the kids behaved and listened to them. I got to really hang out with Ellie’s little boyfriend Trip and it was so cute to see them interact with each other. We had a really nice hayride about a quarter of a mile to the “pumpkin patch” which was really just a bunch of hay sculptures, climbing hay, and picked pumpkins on the grass. The kids had a great time playing on the bails of hay and jumping from one to another. I was quickly named “Ellie’s dad” and every child seemed to be yelling at the same time “Hey, Ellie’s dad, watch me!” . It was cute but Ellie quickly demanded they all call me Jon instead! Ha! Only she was allowed to call me dad! All the kids ate a quick lunch and then were allowed to pick out one small pumpkin and one gourd. Ellie chose ones that looked just like the ones Trip picked out! So cute!
After the tractor pulled hayride back to the bus I quickly and steathly said my goodbyes to the children and told Ellie I would be back for her birthday party. I think she thought I meant later that day when they would have cupcakes at school for her birthday but I didn’t have the heart to tell her I was really leaving for two nights! It was a nice morning with the children and I was looking forward to seeing her
on her birthday on Sunday.. but I was also looking forward to a good night rest with Emily in a comfortable hotel room bed as well!
Returning for Ellie’s birthday on the 24th was rough after a wedding reception night with the Riggott family. I dragged myself out of bed at 7 and was on the road by 8 to make it to the party that started at 1:30pm. When I reached Greenwich I was able to make a quick 15 minute stop at Boston Market (Love & Miss their food) before getting to Nicolette’s. When I arrived there were several children there but more quickly showed up. My mom was there (had driven down in the morning) and
she had brought the birthday cake. I set about helping put food and snacks in bowls but Nicolette had done the bulk of the amazing decorations the previous night. It was a halloween party and all the kids came dressed up and looked really cute. I was exhausted but was “volunteered” to pull the kids around in the radio flyer wagon. I didn’t mind doing it because they all really enjoyed it but man, was I tired doing it. Eventually I just couldn’t pull them anymore and suggested perhaps that one of the other fathers on the back porch put in a turn. When they stopped the kids decided to go for it themselves and almost pulled themselves off a small rock ledge at the base of the backard hill! That scared the crap out of all the parents so we decided to leave the wagon at the bottom of the hill where they couldn’t pull it back up. Amanda and Sean showed up with their new baby (Ellie’s new cousin) Nathan who looked adorable in a little lion outfit. It was my first time meeting him and he was absolutely one of the cutest kids I’d ever seen. Baby
Jack showed up with his parents and he had grown so much since the last time I saw him. Although Jack’s mom doesn’t like me I’m glad Ellie will be able to grow up with him. Ellie was a bit overtired at her party and she certainly didn’t like the other children playing in her room with her toys. She started to throw a real fit so I quietly went into the room to have a chat with her and asked the other children to leave. She was really upset that all of her stuff wasn’t in the right place (sounds like her dad) and asked me to keep the children out which I did for a while until she forgot about the whole ordeal.
The rest of the afternoon was a whole bunch of children eating way too much candy and running around in ridiculous outfits. Ellie eventually began to open presents but it wasn’t until most of the children had left for home except for Rhea and Mckenzie and their mom. Both children were adorable and Rhea seemed to really like me sitting on my lap and chatting
about Ellie at times. Eventually they left and we cleaned up the apartment before my mom also left for home (a lot of driving for her in one day). After we ate a little food for dinner we watched a few of her new movies and then I followed her into her room for bed. I was exhausted and laid down on the floor only to have Ellie pull the blankets and stuff off the bed to join me by my side. I read a few books and lay quietly beside her until she fell asleep before returning to the living room couch. The air mattress wasn’t out that night and her mom had already gone to bed. The following morning after breakfast Ellie (still lacking a bit of sleep from her birthday probably) threw a bit of a fit in the morning and didn’t want me to pull her in the wagon to school before I left. I told her I was going far away again and wouldn’t be home for a long time which briefly distracted her 4yr old mind from her tantrum enough to give me a big hug before I got in the rental car to
drive away. I always hate leaving her but I did notice her mom had a computer set up for video chat so I looked forward to that from Oregon.

It was a roller coaster of a wonderful time with Ellie. She has grown up so much! She is potty trained very well and she is can even put together 100 piece puzzles on her own. I took back a bunch of stuff she made for me including a card with her voice in it that Nicolette had for me since father’s day along with a thoughtful gift bag Nicolette had made for all the children after the party. She really is an amazing mother. I knew she would be good but she’s been far better than I had ever hoped for! Ellie is a typical 4yr old for sure, cute as a button and lovable as ever when she wants to be but at the flip of a coin be bossy and demanding and can throw unbelievable tantrums that don’t make any logical sense. Hopefully for her mom’s sake she will quickly grow out of this stage. She is a wonderful little girl and her hugs are so tight and amazing! She loves animals and loves being outside which warms my heart. I’m glad I’ll be able to communicate with her more often face to face over video chat! Miss ya Ellie!

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