Before Carson was born, Tate and I lovingly prepared a nursery for him. I scoured the Internet during my long days alone in our new home in Alabama, searching for the perfect crib and changing table and chair, where I imagined my future motherly self, gently rocking my perfect baby boy to sleep. By moonlight we removed wallpaper and patched damaged walls. An edging expert, Tate painted around the window and closet and along the ceiling and baseboards, while I painted the walls. This whole process? We actually ENJOYED it and would gaze dreamily into one another’s eyes as we talked about our future son. This definitely wasn’t a like a typical household chore on a to-do list.
Throughout my pregnancy with Carson, we documented my growing belly and even had pregnancy portraits taken. Nary a hotdog or slice of lunchmeat passed my lips, nor did I ever (never!) drink caffeine. I faithfully visited the gym, where I lifted weights, and practiced yoga poses.
Carson came onto the scene and we promptly took 57 million pictures of him. By the time he was one, I’d been enriching his young mind at the story time at our local library, bonding during mommy and me classes, and taking an infant swim class together.
Baby number two came, our beautiful girl Ella was born. We brought her home to Carson’s nursery that, despite being blue and green, we had decided that good enough for a baby girl, exactly the way it was. The thought of painting the nursery again and choosing new bedding the second time around seemed like work, though that didn’t stop us from painting and decorating a big boy room for Carson to move into once Ella arrived. These room and furniture decisions were more than likely made with my mouth stuffed full of Oscar Mayer lunch meat ham and Coke.
Carson’s room in our new(est) house was finished soon after we moved in. It was just three months ago that we finally bought Ella her very own furniture for her bedroom, though she is still living with varying shades of green paint swatches on the walls. Tate and I keep saying that we’ll get around to finishing someday.
I have exactly one picture of myself pregnant with Ella. When she was born, I somehow forgot to take 57 million pictures of her. Actually, most of the pictures I have are of her and Carson. On Flickr, there are 1,169 photos of just Carson and only 569 pictures of just Ella. They are only 18 months apart and this is just too much of a discrepancy! I’m consciously trying to take more pictures of her, just her, so that when she’s fifteen, this won’t be the reason she says I’ve always loved Carson more.
Ella has never attended a story time at the library or a mommy and me class. Her favorite toys are whatever Carson likes, trains and tractors. Ella doesn’t at all seem to mind this, and I guess I don’t really mind it either, but I feel like she’s never even had a chance to like anything completely on her own without Carson’s influence. Since they are so close in age, it truly is nice that they like the same things, but it can also be difficult when it comes to age restrictions.
Last spring we signed Carson up for t-ball and this fall, for soccer. When we registered Carson for soccer, Ella was devastated when we told her that she had to be four before she could play. Ella has sat through twice weekly games and practice, as she has insisted that she should be playing, too. “But? I AM big, Mommy. I’m really, really big! I want to play soccer!”
So based on this information, naturally I signed her up for dance class during the summer. “But Mommy? I want to play soccer,” she told me before almost every dance class, while wearing the tutu and leotard that I had always pictured her wearing. She seemed to like dance class enough, she went, she followed directions, but it just didn’t seem like her “thing.” At the end of the summer when the class ended I asked her if she wanted to keep dancing.
“No. I want to play soccer,” she told me with great conviction.
I luckily found a place for Ella to play soccer, a place with a program for kids who are only three and not old enough for Upward and AYSO. It’s a Parent and Me program that meets one evening a week. She and her daddy started this week, where for the first time, she got to do what she chose, something that was solely hers. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen her so enthusiastic.
“A soccer shirt for me?!?”
“This is where I play, Daddy?!?”
Besides her SHEER JOY at getting to play her very own soccer “game,” the other best part of the night was Carson cheering her on. “You make me so proud, Ella!” he yelled.
They BOTH make me so (so!!) proud.