Yo soy La Lay

adventures in family, faith, and Down syndrome

Ellie turns 8

Every birthday for these love bugs feels like too much, but Eight feels like closing a chapter and opening a brand new one.

I bought Ellie books for her present. BOOKS!!!! Not toys! Do you know what this means? I’ll tell you what it means. It means my little girl is really becoming a big girl.

To be honest, I am kind of enjoying this big girl.

At eight, Ellie is tall. Let’s just start there. She’s a beautiful little girl who loves dresses and sandals. She spends hours outside coasting around on her scooter on the driveway or reading books on the patio. She thinks of herself as a “junior adult” and delights in any opportunity to move closer to her ideal age (which, if you are wondering, is 19). Recently, she told me that she is ready to start using adult toothpaste.

We have a rule in the summer that kids stay in bed until their clock says 7:00. At 6:07 AM today, Ellie burst out of her room in her pink party dress. She got a look from John, but told him, “it’s MY birthday, so I decided to come out early.” And that’s Ellie. She’s smart, that one. She’s a rule follower, but also not concerned about making her own when she feels it is appropriate to do so.

She desperately wants her fairy garden to attract a real fairy, but is teetering on the edge of understanding that the fairy will never come.

She is, by her own description, emotional. Just as she has been since she was a child, she feels things BIG. We’ve called her “Tornado Ellie” for quite some time, not because she is wild and destructive, but because of how she can whip up, push through, and move on before you can catch a breath. Then you’re left wondering what the heck just happened.

She’s covered in scraped knees and scratches from her adventures in the yard. Once I got a call from the nurse that she managed to fall and knee herself in the nose. 🤦‍♀️ But goodness is she graceful when she twirls around on stage in her ballet costume.

She does not like sushi.

She has a life plan that involves going to college where John and I did, studying “biology and all the biggest hardest words in Spanish so I can say everything I want.” She thinks she would like to be a teacher because she is “already working on teaching Tessa.”

I just want to bottle up all of who she is and keep it on a shelf to show her when she is older. It’s not that I’m sad to see her grow. I’m not – I love it. I love to see each stage. But it’s hard to know you can’t go back. Back to this….

Or this…

Or this….

Our precious girl is eight today, and we are so grateful for every nook and cranny of who she is. We love you so much, Ellie Bean!!

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Two… so she won’t resent me.

My baby is two now and friends, I cannot handle it. Not even a little bit.

There’s something about watching the last baby cross off her milestones that is simultaneously relieving and heartbreaking. Goodbye bottle parts, goodbye baby coos, goodbye spit up, goodbye toothless grins. Be still my heart!

There’s no baby left in Two.

I didn’t write a word about her first birthday because I couldn’t bring myself to do it. At two (now that we see that little temper coming through), I think about how she’s going to resent me in 10 years if I don’t write this down. 😬

Lauren is 90% comic relief, 10% get the heck out of the way. She is the queen… the absolute queen of funny faces. She knows how to make people laugh, and doesn’t hold back from doing so. Some of the first words she learned were “let go” and “stop it.” You can try to be mad at her, but be careful, because her anger will bite you right back.

Lauren’s big sisters are part siblings, part extra parents. They love to baby her. Just this week, she got her first time out and as she sobbed on the living room chair, Ellie came it to let us know that “time out is probably not very age-appropriate” for her sister…. and Tessa followed quickly behind with her hands on her hips, reminding us, “be nice to my Wauren.”

We have our work cut out for us.

She’s a blessing, this crazy little girl…. a little bookend that holds up the other two, and maybe all of us, when life gets hectic. She’s the child that curls up in your lap to look at pictures of her family and friends, the one who waves at strangers in the store, who got my sweet tooth and John’s sense of humor. She loves dogs and trucks and sliding down great big slides made for children much older than she.

She is fearless.

Happy birthday, Lauren Ann! Slow down just a little bit, would you?? I just want to hold on to this baby for a little while longer. ❤️

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