Last week the boys attended Vacation Bible School at my parents’ church, which meant that they spent the week at Oma and Opa’s house–and I had a special week with just my girl.

She was very eager to make the drive down (in pajamas–which she insisted required this hat); I tried not to break the news that she wasn’t staying at Oma and Opa’s until it was absolutely necessary.

But to my surprise, she didn’t object to getting back in the van with Mama and Daddy after the boys had been put to bed, and although she asked after her brothers several times a day (“Where da boys? At Oh-Opa’s house? Dey at Bation Bible School?”), she seemed to relish every minute of our girl time.

We went grocery shopping and had lunch at Whole Foods, where her little face barely reached above the table as she shoveled in chicken and strawberries and proudly drank water from her big-girl cup.

We had yogurt and berries and sausage for breakfasts:

And then we went for a morning run, with her clutching her sippy cup and bouncing happily along in the jogging stroller. Toward the end of the run every morning, she would stick both legs straight up in the air and commence singing at the top of her lungs: “GO, DIEGO, GO! GO, DIEGO, GO!” (This may have been prompted by the promise, which quickly became unbreakable routine, that she could watch an episode of Diego while I took a shower.)

We played with her dollhouse. After I had set up these dolls at the patio table, E squealed, “I go get them FOOD!” and scampered off to her kitchen, reappearing with these tasty items. She burst into distraught tears when she couldn’t fit the food on the table without knocking her patrons off their stools; Mama’s defter fingers had to intervene.

She made me cookies in her kitchen, and served one on a plate for each of us.

We went to the chiropractor; and watered flowers in the evenings; and read many, many stories; and snuggled up in the rocking chair to sing songs before bed.

We discussed Daddy’s whereabouts (he was on a business trip for a few days) at great length and at frequent intervals. One such conversation, which I posted on facebook, ran like this:

E: “Where’s Daddy?”
Mama: “On a trip for work.”
E: “Oh.”
(pause)
E: “We need sausage for Daddy!”
M: “He’s not here.”
E: “Where he is?”
M: “He’s on a trip for work.”
E: “He be hungry!”
M: “It’s okay. He has food there.”
E: “He has food? Ok.”
(pause)
E: “Where’s Daddy?”
M: “On a trip for work.”
E: “Where he going?”
M: “New York.”
E: “New YORK?! That’s funny!”
(pause)
E: “Where’s Daddy?”

When Daddy came home (hallelujah), we went out for dinner (Whole Foods again) and sat outside, where E made chirping observations on the cars that passed: “Look, Mama! It’s a ‘vertible!”

On our last morning alone together, we went to a favorite local destination with our neighbor and her daughter, who is 4 months older than E and (have I mentioned this?) has the same name–only spelled differently. The two girls rode around in our neighbor’s little red wagon, refreshed by a variety of snacks, and enjoyed themselves immensely.

There was a carousel:

And a pony ride:

(I couldn’t get my camera settings adjusted quickly enough for this one.) She was astonishingly brave, and when her dear little pony snorted and shook his mane, she laughed and exclaimed, “He shaked his head! That’s funny!”

There was a hayride pulled by a tractor, and then an E-sized pink tractor–which she was loath to leave behind.

There were a couple of rides on the miniature train:

My favorite view on the train ride was her rapt gaze.

We simply had to revisit the carousel:

I think this may have been her favorite part of the day; she certainly absorbed it with wide eyes and a shy, proud smile.

And then we came home, weary and a little fractious (not to mention any names), and had lunch and a much-needed nap.

The next day we went down to see the boys’ closing program, and brought them back with us. It’s good to be all back together again at home. But I will treasure these memories of a week dedicated to my girl, filled with her chatter and affectionate pats on my arm, and punctuated with little bursts of sass requiring serious conversations, and embroidered with laughter, and blessed with a slower pace.

This girl and I have good times together.

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