The unbearable lightness of Ella

I didn’t have much patience for Ella’s impersonation of a tortoise as she was climbing into the car today. After my impersonation of a military drill sergeant, I apologised to her by saying:

Me – I’m sorry Ella, I’m just a bit grumpy today.
Ella – Why?
Me – Not for a reason, I just am today.
Ella – But you’re so funny when you’re grumpy, mummy!

When I assured her I would not be grumpy anymore tomorrow, she said in a disappointed tone: “But then you won’t be funny anymore!”.


Ella had just come out of the pool and was standing on the lawn with a towel wrapped around her, nibbling on a cracker and looking around when she stated:
“Men don’t have hair, do they?”

I remembered I’d seen a bald man amongst the pool dwellers earlier, so I said: “Some men don’t have hair.”

Ella took a bite of her cracker, still looking around and then turned to me and said casually: “Shame, isn’t it?”

I laughed for about 5 minutes.


The medicinal properties of wine

I needed some cheering up after a very painful phone call to the tax office yesterday afternoon, so we had dinner in a restaurant on the way back from daycare.

Ella is such perfect company when we go out to eat with just the 2 of us. She enjoys every part of the experience and is a great conversationalist.

The funniest part of our conversation was after we did ‘cheers’ – me with a glass of red wine, she with her glass of water:

Ella – Don’t you want some water too, mum?
Me – Yes, actually I’d better drink some. It’s always good to drink water with dinner.
Ella – Yes, and beer is good for your tummy, isn’t it? (I tell her regularly that the berry juice I give her occasionally is good for her tummy)
Me – Well, if you say so, it must be true. But this isn’t beer.
Ella – Oh, what is it then?
Me – It’s wine.
Ella – Wine is good for your tummy too.
Me – Oh good, because I like drinking wine.
Ella – I don’t like drinking wine.
Me – That’s good because wine is only good for mummies’ tummies, not for kids.
Ella – Nooo! Juice is good for my tummy, not wine. (Pfew!)

Then, when I told Ella that we’d better go home because Luna was waiting for us and it was getting late, she said to the people at the table next to ours – who had not even looked at us, let alone talked to us – “Bye! We have to go now. We have to go to Luna. Because she is waiting for us. So we’re going home now.” She said this in an almost apologetic way because – naturally – everyone, even strangers, are sad when she leaves.

Baby foxes

One of Ella’s monologues in the car on the way home from daycare today was:

Ella – When I was a baby, you saw a fox, but I was not scared because I couldn’t see it, because I was a baby and I sleeped and I cried and I sleeped in a bag…
Me – A sleeping bag. [I could just see her go around telling people I made her sleep in a plastic shopping bag when she was a baby]
Ella – And I sleeped in a sleeping bag and I sleep with my dummy and I was sad because I couldn’t swim then.

The fox… I once told her that there are foxes at the lake but that I last saw one when she was only a baby. She came up with all sorts of questions and statements about her interaction with the fox and I’ve had to explain numerous times since then that she couldn’t have been scared of the fox because she couldn’t have seen it, etc… But she is utterly fascinated by this story for some reason.

Which is interesting to me because I very vaguely remember a slight obsession with foxes when I was very little. I once thought I saw one run up the stairs in our house. I must have been about 3 or 4. And my favourite book at that age was about a fox.

The only book I’ve read Ella that has a fox in it is The Gruffalo. Since then she looks out for foxes ‘in the woods’ and is somewhat scared and attracted to them at the same time.

Apart from her interest in foxes, she is currently extremely fascinated by stories of when she was a baby. So the combination of her two favourite topics makes for a story she never tires of.

The barbie quest

My mum had put a barbie doll in the latest parcel she sent us. It looks like a really old one.

Ella immediately knew it was a barbie and was quite happy with it. Though all she has wanted to do with it so far has been to take her into the wading pool with her. For some reason she seems to think it’s a water toy, maybe I encouraged that, I can’t remember.

Anyway, so I decided to look at Barbies and similar while I was at Toys-R-Us anyway today. Oh my god! I knew I’d be disgusted, just hadn’t realised how much worse it had become since I was a little girl. The unlikely body shape is still the same, but if Barbie used to look like the dream American housewife, she now looks like the quintessential call-girl! More make-up than facial features and very revealing clothes. I couldn’t find one Barbie or similar doll with more than about 20% of her body covered. Oh, except for the princess ones in their long glittery dresses, but we don’t do princesses either. She/we will never be treated like royalty, so I don’t want to put funny ideas in her head. I know, I’m cruel…

So I decided to make it my quest to find a barbie doll alternative with clothes and without make-up! I like a challenge. I finally found a Mary-Kate and Ashely doll somewhere that was fully clothed and had very subtle make-up and looked somewhat natural. Her bodyshape was probably still far from average and she was wearing heels, but definitely a step in the right direction. I had no idea who Mary-Kate and Ashley were until I googled it, but it’s highly irrelevant anyway. Especially since I decided at the register that I should stop buying Ella so many toys and put it back.

The quest continues.

Family legislation, article 31b

We were having a discussion last night about whether or not Ella should be allowed “something else to eat” (read: something sweet and unhealthy) after she’d finished her dinner. I insisted that she should not be allowed to because I was pretty sure she’d been feeding some of her dinner to the dog when I had walked out of the room. Walking out of the room and leaving her alone to finish her dinner is my newest strategy to try prompt her into eating faster/at all.

Ella – Can I have something else to eat now?
Me – No, because you didn’t eat all your food
Ella – But I did eat it all, look!
Me – No, you gave some to the dog, so you did not eat it yourself.

[The same arguments were used a few times until Ella realised she wouldn’t get anywhere with that line of defense and changed her strategy…]

Ella – But I’m very nice?!

I’m proud to say that her making me laugh did not tempt me to cave in on this one.

The dinner rules as of yesterday are now:
Dessert/biscuits will only be distributed if said child:
a. eats most of her dinner
b. without the assistance of other people of animals

Dinner plate will be removed immediately if said child:
a. Gets up from the table without parent’s permission
b. displays clearly anti-social behaviour towards parent or pet

If child does not show clear signs of progressing with eating of said dinner:
a. parent will retreat to other room or outside area
b. dog will be removed from room in which dinner is present also.

And so I keep fine-tuning our family constitution in my capacity of family dictator. One day I’ll publish our lawbook, maybe for Ella to use with her children in a far and distant future?


Ella – Mum, I have jellies in my mouth and in my tummy. And they don’t want to get out.
Me – Jellies?
Ella – Yes, jellies.
Me – Do you mean germs?
Ella – Yeah, germs.

Great absurdity

Last night, after we unpacked a parcel from Belgium and I allowed Ella to eat two different types of bikkies and let her use her new scissors to cut up some left-over wrapping paper, Ella declared:

“You are the great mummy!”

Yep, that’s me: Mummy the Great. Though I immediately realised that it is hard to believe the authority of someone who a little earlier in the car on the way home forced me to get involved in this conversation:

Ella – But what are we going to do with all that cheese??
Me (unaware that the topic of cheese had been mentioned at any point during that day) – What cheese?
Ella – All that cheese! What are we going to do with it?
Me – What cheese?
Ella – I don’t know. But what are we going to do?
Me – Where is the cheese?
Ella – In our loungeroom at our home.
Me – (Finally giving up on trying to stick to the facts, being 99.99% sure that we do not have a large amount of cheese sitting in our loungeroom) – I don’t know. What do you think we should do with all that cheese?
Ella – We should eat it all. Because I have nothing else, so you have to eat it all!
Me – Ok then.

Then she sang her rendition of the ‘Incy wincy spider’ song, made up a song about cauliflower and had a conversation with her monkey about catching crocodiles (“Because crocodiles are dangerous, that’s why we have to catch them”).

So Mummy the Great thinks it is probably wise to take anything Ella the Great says with a tiny grain of salt.

(I keep thinking of Dylan Moran’s “What are children? They’re just drunk midgets!” quote.)