Friday, March 18, 2011
Reflections on Ellen
Ellen loves to copy mommy; as is typical with children. I let her play around with my makeup on occasion. This is a shot from awhile back of how artistic she can be on her face.
My mother has a photo of me when I was about this age. I had found my way into her dresser drawer where she'd stored her old makeup. I had been much more liberal that Ellen was in my artistic endeavors on my face. I wish I had a copy of that picture to post in comparison.
On Tuesday evening Ellen and I made cookies. There was this moment that totally unnerved me; not really in a bad way, but just in a weird way.
Ellen was helping mix the eggs into the batter when I just glanced down at her and got this weird impression that she was me as I was when I was a child; that I was working with much younger self.
Ellen occasionally has certain expressions that for a fleeting moment makes her look like a photo of myself at her age had come to life and stepped out from the pages of my photo album.
At times her behaviour reminds me of myself at this age. She is timid with other people; just bashfully hangs her head and won't even respond to them. I can remember when I was little, at church I'd just hang my head when folks spoke to me or tried to get me to shake their hands. Ellen does the same exact thing.
When I was little I loved cats. I wanted a cat for my very own, but it never worked out until I was in first grade. Ellen loves cats. Fortunately we have a cat already; and Ellen is always trying to make her a house, or get her to play with her (the cat's) toys, or wants her to wake up and play with her. Last weekend Ellen went to the circus. When she got home she wanted to take the cat with her to the circus the next time she went.
When I was little I was terribly reluctant to try anything new; new games, new activities of any kind, new toys even, to a certain extent. Ellen is the same way. When we got her this new swing, she was excited at first, but was hesitant to try it by herself. Anything new and she will hang back and make sure it's safe before she will partake in it.
When I was little I did not do well in groups of children. Ellen is the same way. She will hang back and watch the kids play, but she won't take part. I try and encourage her, but she's not keen on getting into the big middle of them. I have noticed that she will find and attach herself to ONE particular child if that child shows an interest in her, but Ellen won't initiate the contact.
In my baby book my mother noted when I was just a couple months old; "Rebecca sucks only her left thumb and wants something in her right hand to pet while she's doing that." Ellen was the same way. As soon as she had motor control of her hand it was her left thumb she'd suck, and her right hand would be twisting around in her hair.
As I grew older into kindergarten age there was no doubt I'd be a lefty. Ellen is the same way. She's never tried to write or color with her right hand. It's been the left hand all the way.
I was a book worm from the day I could turn the pages of a book. When she was able to sit up on her own and handle things; maybe by a year old, Ellen would be content to sit and flip through her little books, or old mail order catalogs and magazines. It'd keep her busy for hours. Ellen loves books; she loves going to the library. The other day she even asked for her own library card. She was disappointed to learn she'd have to be 10 to get one. When you are only four years old six years can seem to be a LONG time.
There are more similarities I could list, and it is a bit eerie to feel that maybe I am a child all over again in my daughter. Soon Ellen will be heading off to kindergarten and as I reflect on just these few shared traits I wonder; is she going to be like me in her personality? Will she make the same mistakes I made socially as I grew up? How can I teach her to be more assertive? How can I reassure her that it's OK to speak her mind to let folks know how she feels and what she thinks?
Get up in church, Ellen, and sing your heart out with the little kids! Show the world what you are made of; don't be a wall flower like your mother was. It's OK to make mistakes, laugh at yourself and go on. Don't let little things inimidate you. Don't hang back and let life pass you by; get out there and live it!