Ella is six going on sixteen. I didn’t think we’d have to deal with all of this emotional turmoil until she was much older. At least until nine or ten. But it’s here and we need to deal with it. You see, she’s sensitive, but more than in just the physical sense. She’s almost entirely a vegetarian now, because once she realizes a food comes from an animal, she can’t eat it again. The Haitian earthquake coverage (even though we tried our best to monitor what they saw) traumatized her for several weeks. I can’t imagine what we’ll go through once she sees a picture of an animal covered in oil. While she’s very bright and understands a lot, she’s still so young and emotionally immature and can’t verbalize what she’s feeling most of the time. It usually takes us about a week to even find out that something specific is bothering her.
I don’t presume to have the problem solved, but we’re working on it together. Long before she could write, I had heard about mother-daughter and mother-son journals, and I thought they were such a great idea. I forgot completely about it until I saw this post last week. I dug in our stash for an empty notebook and copied Beverly’s first entry almost exactly. Then I told Ella I left something on her bed.
You have never seen a child so excited when she came skipping in to tell me she left something for me on my bed. Here is just one of the entries she has left me over the last few days:
Sorry it’s so blurry. I was trying to rush out of there before she caught me taking the picture. I don’t think she’ll mind me posting this one in the long run, but since I told her it was our special, secret book, I didn’t want her to see me photographing it. Dirty Rotten Bugs is a library book she checked out this weekend (she's on a bug kick now, since she read all the shark books in the library), and “claws” is one of her imaginary pets that she’s been trying to introduce me to. The biggest thing here is the “sorry for fighting with Harper” part. She never apologizes. Ever. Ok, very rarely. Not even when we tell her she must or she will receive some consequence. She just refuses. So this, apologizing without any prompting or encouragement or anything like that, is a BIG deal. A really big deal. And I think it’s the beginning of some beautiful things around here. By golly, I think we might actually understand one another one of these days.