Ella wants to be big. I hear her tell me - more times than I can count in a day - all the things she can do all by herself. She can button her own school cardigan. She can get herself up on the big toilet. She can soap and rinse herself in the tub. And, she can do puzzles.
The enthusiasm and satisfaction she feels can be expressed in her confident declaration. Mummy! I can do it! All. By. Myself! (she gives equal emphasis to each word).
In the last two weeks, it's this fairy tale puzzle book that Emily gave her that is her favorite thing. Almost every morning for the last week, she'll pull it off her shelf and bring it to our living room. She picks a page and takes the puzzle off and then reassembles it. Without asking for any help.
Sometimes, she gets stuck. Focusing more on the shapes rather than the pictures. But, with a simple reminder, she's back on track.
She also likes to do a giant Melissa & Doug solar system puzzle. She needs a grown up to help her with this one. But, only barely. Most of the time, it's my mum. Right after Cally was born, my mum and Ella built this puzzle together as the special thing they did together. As soon as Nining walked in the door, Ella ran to her bedroom and got the puzzle out. Now she can recite her planets. All the way to Jud-oh. (Our close family friend Judith is called Jude-oh by Ella. Her evolution to an erstwhile planet has provided much entertainment).
Ella's ultimate goal is to have bubble gum when she's four. One day, Buddy taught her how to snap. She was very pleased with herself. So I told her she was one step closer to bubble gum. Now, whenever she talks about being able to do something all by herself, she often adds, I'm one step to gum!