I’m going to throw a lot at you. Chew slowly. Don’t forget to floss.****************************

Ella’s very independent. And she’s very able. Someone said recently that she has a lot of spunk. Enough to go around. Let me know if you need some.

Last week Trish was taking a shower upstairs, something she couldn’t convince Ella to share. Trish stepped out of the shower to the tune of the garage door going up.

Trish’s first thought is to wonder where she and Ella can hide from the maniac who just invaded our home.

Ella’s no where in sight. She doesn’t answer when Trish calls her name.

Maybe it’s not a maniac invasion. Maybe it’s that spunk at work.

Sometimes Ella finds ways to crawl up sheer vertical surfaces to reach things the average almost 3-year-old can’t, or wouldn’t want to. Maybe she was playing with the garage door opener on the wall just inside the garage.

Trish runs down in her towel (she never does that when I’m home). Nope. Not in the garage.

The garage door starts going down, and Trish spots her.

Ella has climbed into our 4-Runner. She’s playing with the door opener and jumping up and down, maniacally, on the front seat.

I’m glad I wasn’t home. I would have freaked. When I worked in a medical center one or two or three kids a year would come in after having been run over in their own driveway by their parents’ car. One kid ran over himself. I would have considered Ella’s joyous romp a ripe opportunity for a fire-and-brimstone delivery of the ” DON’T EVER DO THAT AGAIN!” sermon.

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Trish and Ella spent yesterday at the zoo, since the mercury dropped below 95. It was great, they said. No school kids. They had the run of North America and Africa. Except no lions and no seals. Ella yelled at the grizzly, the wolf and the gorilla to wake up. The grizzly rolled over, looked at her and rolled back to sleep. The gorilla gave her a look, rolled over and scratched. The wolf would not be stirred. Trish explained this was typical adult male behavior that crosses all species.

Tonight at dinner, following some crude comment I made about the bone in our pork chops, which I’m sure was very funny, Trish told me her elephant story.

“Speaking of a bone,” she said, “one of the male elephants had to take a leak today.”

“Oh?” I think I know where this is going.

“This elephant was HUGE,” and she holds her hands out like she’s gripping an invisible basketball. “And he was like this,” she said, stretching her arms to illustrate what I would call, considering the proposed girth, stumpy.

There was a lady there with two boys, and the boys said, apparently, “wow, look a that giant wee wee!” And the mom told Trish, allegedly, “of all the things they’ve seen at the zoo, this is what they’re going to tell their father.”

And Trish, my loving and, I think, very satisfied wife, said, “Yeah, me too! I’m going to tell my husband!”

And she thought I’d like that story.

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I had one of those very cool dad moments the other day. I was home with Ella while Trish was still at work. Ella wanted to play with some balls, so I had out a couple plastic kick balls and a rubber soccer ball, and we were having great fun dribbling and kicking around our cul-de-sac.

Then I decided to kick one of the balls high into the air. I held it out, brought up my foot and Fooomp! way up into the air.

And Ella said, “Woooooowwwwww. Here, Dad, kick this one!”
I took the little soccer ball and kicked it even higher, Whhhhpooooooh! and Ella said, “Wooooooowwwwwww! That’s Very High!”

I impressed my little girl. She thinks I’m cool. It doesn’t get much better than that.

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So we have a new sitter. Elizabeth the comm studies major is busy with her senior year and planning the dance marathon.

We now have Danielle, who came all the way down here from Pennsylvania to go to school. She reminds me a little of Sally Struthers — blonde, kind of vacant-eyed, high squeaky voice. She’s a sophomore elementary ed major. She gets here at 7:20 a.m. two days a week, what else could we ask for.

She’s kind of quiet. She’s worked two days so far. Both days she’s worn some kind of skirt thing, and I’ve though, Ella’s not going to play outside today. I’ve come home both days and asked, “How’d it go today?”

“Oh, it went OK.”

“??. OK??”

“Yeah. It went OK.”

Well, both days Ella made it to the bathroom in time every time! No accidents! That’s more than OK. That’s kick-ass!

Ella seems to like Danielle. But she still likes Elizabeth better.

The other day, after Danielle left, Ella walked in the house and said, “Where’s Elizabeth, I mean … what’s her name going?”

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