Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ella’s Wish Came True

For months Ella has been asking to make a Frosty (snowman). Every time it snows she asks, “Is it enough to make a Frosty?” And unfortunately, every time the answer has been, “No, it’s not.” A couple of weeks ago it started snowing while she was at school and the entire drive home she kept asking if there was enough snow for a Frosty…”Is there enough now?” wait 2 minutes “Is there enough snow now?” wait 2 more minutes…you get the idea.

Last night it started snowing and Ella was ready to dive right in and start building her Frosty. This is how she spent much of the evening.

We kept assuring her that this time there would be enough snow to make a Frosty, but that it would have to wait until the morning. This morning the first thing she asked was if there was still enough snow to make a Frosty…I think she thought it would all melt before we got out there.

Joe headed to work and Ella and I took the morning easy (this much snow meant school was canceled). After some laundry and watching Snow White (of course...what better movie for a snow day), we got dressed, ate lunch and headed outside. Since I’m cheap I didn’t buy Ella any snow gear this year (other than the standard hat and mittens). The coat was left over from last year, and I prayed that her boots from last year would still fit. Thank heavens they fit perfectly (one of the benefits of having a tiny child). I figured if her pants got too wet we’d just have to come in and change clothes.

Well, after a lot of hard work from both Ella and her mom, here is the finished product.

At school the kids have been talking about winter and even created a Wintertime Book, which talks about all of the items necessary for a snowman. Ella kept telling me what Frosty needed: hat, sticks for arms, rocks for eyes, a carrot for the nose, and of course he needed a scarf. She was so proud of her Frosty and is so excited to show daddy when he gets home from work.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Every other Tuesday I attend a mom’s group at our church. It’s called Capernaum and it’s specifically for moms of kids with special needs. Our church has a great Women’s ministry with several activities during the week for moms. I’ve tried a couple out, but they just didn’t seem to be a right fit. I love going to Capernaum. I’m the only one in the group that has a kid with a physical disability (the rest have developmental or behavioral issues), but I still feel like there’s something comforting about the group.

It might be because the other mom groups have 20+ people and this one only has 6. It might be that the other group meets in a large room with a tile floor, white walls, plastic chairs and folding tables, but Capernaum meets in the church parlor with comfy chairs, couches, lamps (lamps always make things feel more homey) and flowers (who cares if they’re fake). It might be that even though the moms in Capernaum have kids with different challenges than Ella has, they still have kids with challenges, so I know they understand, even a little bit, how our life is different from others. There are things I talk about in Capernaum that I would never mention in one of the other bible studies. There are prayer requests that would go unmentioned in any other group, but in Capernaum I feel like I can say them.

Today the women finished up a book that they’ve been going through for several months. Since I just joined before Christmas I didn’t read the book with them and have just listened in on the discussion. Today the chapter was about heaven. As we were talking several of us tried to imagine our kids in heaven…perfect…flawless…without their special need.

It’s hard to imagine Ella without bandages. When she was a baby she was much less bandaged than she is now, so I can picture her right leg without boo boos, and her tummy without boo boos, but her left leg…no, in my mind it will never be normal. During the discussion I joked that in heaven Ella will still wear bandages, I just won’t have to change them. Maybe that’s true. The bandages are such a part of who she is that something just wouldn’t feel right if they weren’t there. I feel the same way about her scars…they tell her story, and I don’t ever want to forget her story…even in heaven.

I guess, as I reflect back on the discussion, I imagine that in heaven Ella will still be Ella…scars and all. She’ll still be quiet and prefer sitting and reading a book over running around a playground. She’ll still be small compared to all the other angels flying around. And she’ll still love to sing. What will be missing is the pain, and all of us will be more than happy to give that up.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

More Ella-isms

While walking along the boardwalk in San Diego, Joe and some of the other men had gone into a store. Ella, in her most dramatic way (picture Scarlett in Gone with the Wind), said, “I only have one parent.”

One Saturday Joe and Ella had spent the morning running errands, but he wanted to go hunting in the afternoon. So when he dropped Ella off at home I just hopped in the van and took her to McDonalds. Ella spent the entire lunch talking about how she only had one parent and saying things like, “Mommy, I’m so sorry that daddy’s gone. I’m sorry that I only have one parent. I’m sorry that daddy had to leave us.” I got concerned that people around us would think that my husband had totally ditched us, so I would respond with things like, “Daddy just went hunting but he’ll be back tonight.” And I made sure to keep my left hand on top of the table so people could see that I am married.

Ella loves to play like she’s going to work. She gets her Tinkerbell purse and comes to tell me that she’s going to work. Her biggest concern in leaving her lunch (just like daddy). The other day she was playing and said, “Bye mommy. I’m going to work. If you need me just cry!” Clearly she has caught on to the fact that if she cries she usually gets her way.

When we first returned to potty training, Ella quickly learned about the power of positive reinforcement. She started saying, “Mommy, if you go wee wee on the big lady potty, then you’ll get some chocolate, ok!” Then after I had gone to the bathroom she would say, “Mommy! I’m so proud of you! You get a special treat!”

One Saturday morning Ella was listening to the iPod and singing along with Elvis to Silent Night. She had her pink microphone out and everything. After the song ended she said, “Mommy, I’m a very good singer, just like Aunt Jenni!” Of course referring to Jenni Benson, my BFF who made the CD when Ella was a baby.

Ella’s new phrase that she says all the time is, “What in the world?”

Ella had a conversation with her Sponge Bob macaroni and cheese:

Ella: Hey Sponge Bob?

Sponge Bob (which was really Ella pretending to be her Sponge Bob mac and cheese): Yes Ella.

Ella: I want you in my tummy!

Sponge Bob: Ok Ella.

Ella: Sponge Bob, I’m going to BITE YOU!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Potty Training…Take 2

You probably remember this post. Well, after some serious frustration and no progress we decided to postpone potty training. Since Ella was starting preschool and Metti was leaving for 2 months and couldn't take her potty while she was at school, it seemed like the best idea was to wait until after Christmas. So, the time has now come…we’re potty training once again.

I decided that with a new year came potty training, so we started the process on Sunday, January 2nd. Well, the first day she went in her underwear 4 times and not once in the potty. Needless to say I was pretty frustrated. I just kept reminding myself that this was the first day.

I had to find some kind of incentives for her. Candy just wasn’t cutting it (mainly because I pretty much let her have candy whenever she wants, so it’s not a treat). And she didn’t really care about the stickers or putting them on a chart. Then our neighbor gave us a Christmas present for Ella. Ella was so excited for her present, so I told her that she could open it if she went potty on her big girl potty. That was all it took! She sat down and took care of business.

That triggered something in my head…Ella LOVES surprises (just like her mom), so I needed to get a whole bunch of surprises. I headed to Target and bought all sorts of crap stuff from the $1 section. Ella and I even went for a stroll in the bedding section and she saw some Princess bedding and some Tinkerbell bedding that she wanted. I told her that if she started using the big girl potty all the time, I would get her one of the sets.

The toys/surprises totally worked! She quickly learned that whenever she went potty on the big girl potty, then she would a treat. She didn’t care if it was a book, candy, stickers, whatever. She just liked that she got a surprise. Tuesday afternoon (January 4th after school) she didn’t have any accidents, and Wednesday she was in her big girl panties all day with only one accident (and I take the blame…I should have had her go potty after boo boos but I didn’t).

Thursday was the first day she used the potty at school. Boppie has been going in the afternoons to help Ella during recess, then she stays with her for the rest of the day (just 2 hours). So when Metti arrived she took Ella to the bathroom. Ella took care of business and came home with a dry diaper! She wore her diaper all day without going in it! She did have an accident that afternoon, but again, I take the blame (there is also some ‘parent training’ involved where the parents have to be trained to remind their kids to go to the bathroom).

Knock on wood…that was Ella’s last accident. She went all last week without one accident. She was dry the entire time at preschool all 3 days, and she was dry all day Wednesday and Friday. In fact, we took a family trip up to Philly and Ella rode 2 hours in her big girl panties, then she actually went potty in McDonalds when we stopped, then she made it the rest of the way to Joe’s sisters house. She went all weekend (including a trip to a museum and a meal out at a restaurant) without any accidents, and she made it the drive home without any accidents (one stop at Panera where she went potty).

As a special present for going “wee wee” in the big girl potty all the time, Ella got new Tinker Bell sheets for her bed. She saw them at the store and wanted them so badly! I told her that if she started using the big girl potty all the time then I would buy them for her. Boy was she excited to finally get them! The whole way home from Target she talked about how important it is not to go wee wee in your big girl panties and if you go in the big girl potty then you get special Tinker Bell sheets.

The biggest shocker was that Monday morning when she woke up her diaper was dry! She hadn’t gone potty all night! In my humble (and totally and completely biased) opinion, that is awesome! I don’t want to say that she is totally and completely potty trained, because the second I say that she’ll stop going in the potty, but I will say that she’s definitely got the hang of it.