I realize that it has been far too long since I’ve updated you all on what’s happening around our house. Honestly, it’s really not too exciting. Ella is still a little fireball…and has been developing a bit more of an attitude, which I am not a fan of. Lately when she asks for something and I tell her no, she responds by saying, “Mommy, I said that I want…” As though clarifying exactly what she said is going to make a difference.
Ella recently started therapy services through an organization here in Alexandria. One of the services she’s receiving is to help her learn how to interact with her peers. At first I wasn’t sold on this. Not that I’m in denial of the fact that Ella has trouble interacting with her friends (I am well aware of the situation), but I was more interested in what exactly this would entail and how it was going to help. She is, after all, only 3. And I’ve been around a lot of 3 year olds and most of them are still learning how to communicate effectively with each other. There’s a big part of me that really believes that when Ella is ready she will interact with her friends just like any other kid. She has friends that she interacts with without a problem because she knows them and they play on her level. With 10 boys in the class I really think that Ella just sticks to herself so she doesn’t get hurt. In fact, during her evaluation the therapist pretty much reiterated that this was likely the case, but apparently they want to give her services just to help her along. The peer interaction lady comes to Ella’s class for 45 minutes once a week and she helps facilitate play time between Ella and one of her classmates. She helps Ella ask questions and initiate conversation with her classmate. After each appointment we get a sheet outlining what they did and how Ella responded.
One thing I have been trying to work with Ella on is speaking louder when talking to her friends and teachers. Ella speaks so softly that too often people can’t hear what she’s saying. At home she talks normal and even yells, but I think in public places her shyness is reflected by speaking softly. So every morning in the car we talk about how important it is to speak loud so everyone can hear you. On the last therapy sheet we received the therapist mentioned that Ella was talking quietly, so she asked her to speak loud in a big voice so everyone could hear her. So here’s proof that mom can say something a million times and a kid doesn’t listen, but if another adult says it then they actually listen…Ella’s teacher told me yesterday that Ella has finally been speaking loud enough for others to hear her. And on 2 separate occasions, the teacher and the assistant both told me that after only 2 sessions, they notice an improvement in Ella. Of course she still has a long way to go, but I think it’s great that they’re seeing results so quickly.
And to add to the social improvement, Ella did something yesterday that she’s never done before. I’m sure most of you remember playing with the parachute in gym class…you know, the big silky circle and everyone in class holds the edge and raises it up and down. They have one (I assume a smaller version) in music class and for the first time yesterday Ella actually participated! She usually just sits off to the side and watches the other kids, but yesterday she actually held on to the parachute and played, then when the time came, Ella went under the parachute! You have no idea how big this is! Ella DOES NOT take risks…she DOES NOT do things outside of her comfort zone…she DOES NOT go under things like parachutes. According to both Metti and Ella’s teacher, Ella was having a blast! In fact, when I asked her about it she told me that she went under the thing (she doesn’t know it’s called a parachute) and that she was, “so happy!”
All of this to say, I was wrong about Ella not needing the peer interaction assistance. Obviously it’s already helping, after only 2 sessions. She’s supposed to start physical therapy soon, and I’m sure it will be just as beneficial as the peer interaction has been.
Other than that we’re pretty much trucking along as usual. Joe’s working hard while I’m sitting around eating bon bons (yeah, right). We did recently join a small group with other couples our age, so that has been good. Metti stays late and watches Ella so that Joe and I can have a night out. It’s only been 3 weeks, but it’s been great so far. We also got to head up to PA last Sunday to visit Joe’s family. His newest nephew, Owen, was baptized and although we missed the baptism (have I mentioned that we’re are always late), we did get to have fun with everyone over lunch. It’s always good to get together.
Sorry there isn’t anything more exciting to say. I hope everyone out in blog land is doing well. I hope the weather starts warming up sometime soon. I’m tired of the cold. And no, we haven't played any April Fools Day jokes on each other, although Joe had better watch his back. :)