Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Project: Anna and Ellie Bear

Personally, I think Anna is being too generous about me...but I thank her for the compliment!  Far more than that, I thank her for being able to re-live Elise's babyhood and toddlerhood.  Everytime I peek at her blog, I see her firecracker of a Bear reliving ALL of Elise's positives with her own personal spin on them!!  I love to see it!!  I love her pictures of Ellie, I love the celebration!  I am ever enchanted by the Ellie Bellie Bear!!  I cannot send you to her blog fast enough!!  In the meantime, here is a tiny sample of why The Bear's blog is so magical!!

When Tiffany asked me to write a guest post, I was thrilled, honored, and scared (she is a big news in the bloggersphere!).  You see, Tiffany's blog was one of the very first blogs I started to devour after having my daughter Ellie.  I wanted to catch a glimpse into the future.  To know that all would be okay.

It has been 3 years and I can honestly tell you that it is okay.  In fact, it is wonderful.  There are trials, of course.  Yet, with great challenges, greatness is achieved.  We celebrate success and determination.  What may see small to those Tiffany refers to as "Outlanders", may be huge for our children with designer genes.  With each milestone, with each accomplishment, we celebrate.

This year, I have so much to be thankful for.  I have witnessed my daughter grow leaps and bounds.  Both physically (yes, she is The Chunky Chicken for good reason!) and developmentally.  She is motivated and extremely stubborn.  She can pitch a temper tantrum worthy of an Oscar.  She is sassy and a drama queen (you should hear her "fake" cry for it is quite impressive and hilarious).  She is my go-getter and my rockstar.  

Until February of this past year, my little girl was predominantly silent.  She could say "dada" and make a few other sounds, but otherwise she would sit, er climb/run, silently.  Screaming was her preferred form of communication and it left the two of us rather frustrated and frazzled.  Then, it was as though a light-switch went off.  She started humming while playing and occasionally, a babble would sneak out.  She said "mama" and actually meant ME, her mommy.  My big mama bear heart wept with joy and gratitude upon hearing that sweet "mama".

Ellie also started to say "ball", "bear", "oh yeah", and "yay".  Additionally, she learned to point.  Pointing opened up a new world for I could actually figure out what she wanted!  Her signing took off and she was picking up signed faster than me.  Then she started to pair either a vowel sound or a guttural consonant sound with each sign.  My daughter found her voice.

With her new found communication, she began to interact with the world more.  Hearing her utter "mama" when she wanted or needed me.  Witnessing her sign "LOVE" back to me at bedtime.  Blowing kisses and giving high-5s strengthened our bond.  All of these seemingly small things, are huge in our world and I am thankful for each and every kiss, hug, and mama.

In working tirelessly with Ellie in helping her to communicate, my husband discovered that she could sight read several words.  I never expected this at the age of 3.  I always congratulated myself on having high expectations. . . in saying, do not set limits, instead, push them.   Yet, I was blind-sided by this.  My daughter is predominantly nonverbal so how can she read? Shame on me!  Ellie has opened my eyes and made me realize that I was not keeping an open mind to her ever expanding abilities.  She also made me recognize that I was falling back into my old, incorrect assumptions about speech equating intelligence.  It is not!  I know better.  I am thankful that I have such a lovely, talented little girl to remind me of such things.

I suppose I should mention that I am grateful to have the reflexes of a cat.  Ellie is not content to sit about.  She is an avid explorer.  An adventurer.  She is a spider monkey scaling the walls and climbing anything that has a handle, shelf, knob, or rung on it.  She also enjoys chin ups.  She pulls herself up with her arms and then tosses that leg over.  Her gross motor planning is impeccable.  When she first climbed out of her crib, I heard a THUNK followed by a "YAY!" and clapping.  Curious about her latest escapades, I observed on the baby monitor and felt both petrified and proud.  Her dismount from the crib railing was beautiful.  A perfect 10.  Needless to say, the Princess now sleeps on a mattress on the floor surround by pillows.  Yes, I am grateful that my daughter has not broken her neck or shattered her femur due to her impulsive, daring, theatrics.

Every night, completely exhausted from chasing The Bear around, I thank God that Ellie is my daughter.  She is so unbelievably precious and beautiful that it hurts.  She has taught me about patience, hard work, and enjoying day-to-day life in the past 3 years.  I am forever thankful that I have the privilege of being her mother.


  1. Awwww....love hurts.....love heals.....love always wins......love this........

  2. Anna, I love your blog and your Ellie Bear!