Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Whenever members of our church have babies, a woman named Sharon calls to set up a good time to visit. She arrives bearing a dinner and a baby blanket, as well as coos and praises for baby and parents. It's a lovely gesture.

The blankets are all the same: pastel fleece with knotted edges. Ellie's is pink, and unusually large. ("A special blanket for a very special baby!" Sharon said.) Ada's is yellow and about 18 inches by 12, which is the perfect size for a snuggley to be carried around the house without dragging on the floor and tripping toddler feet.

Ellie has no current interest in her blanket, so I made an emergency substitution once when Ada's yellow blanket was in the laundry basket. Ada is a child who loves to hold a lovey - or two or three - whenever possible, though she will (usually) happily accept substitutions. Dolls, toys, stuffed animals, blankets, books, small bottles of lotion, all have taken their turns.

Right. So imagine my surprise when one day last week I picked up Ada from her crib after her nap only to find her lunging back down toward her mattress, crying like she was physically attached to it and I was ripping her away.

"What's the matter, sweetie, do you want your doll?" I handed it to her and she cuddled it tightly but continued to reach for something in the bed, saying her word for blanket when pressed.

"Oh, you want your blanket. Here it is, honey." I handed her the yellow blanket, both because it is hers and because of its aforementioned perfect size for hauling around the house.

No, no, no, this would not do at all. "Pink!" she said, reaching for Ellie's blanket. And so you have it. I have a 13-month-old who can label similar items by color, and Ellie's short one baby blanket.

For her part, Ellie is doing some amazing things as well. She still doesn't usually answer general questions, like, "What did you do in school today?" But a more specific question, like, "What did you play with in the sensory table at school today?" got the appropriate answer, "Dinosaur bones!" rather than the usual reenactment of a scene from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Generally, she's just looking and acting very grown-up lately. I can really see the little girl she's becoming, with occasional glimpses of the teenage she will be someday (so help me, God).

As always, it continues to be a constant struggle to remember not to talk down to my children, subconsciously assuming that they can only comprehend as well as they can speak. Knowing that this is not so is much harder than acting on it at all times.

Fortunately, Ellie's on the case, helping me out with daily reminders by way of perfect mimicry.

"Good job, Mommy," she says, clapping for me when I successfully complete a trip to the toilet, or, "Good singing," when I burst out with one of her favorite songs. My current favorite is, "Try again!" when I've done something she really likes and would like to repeat, like one verse of Ring-Around-The-Rosie (which, despite popular belief, is not about the plague) or an especially funny dance move/silly face/tickle attack.

They're perfectly wonderful, perfectly adorable, perfectly delightful. Why, then, do I have such a hard time going to bed at a reasonable hour, so as to better have the patience to enjoy them the next day?


ccw said...

Ada is something else. I would be impressed if Nonami could do this and he is almost 2.

I'm glad that Ellie is progressing. She is such a delightful little girl. I would love to make it to Missouri to meet her.

Beach/Vic said...

Going to bed at a reasonable hour is HARD. You get so little time to be an adult and to do things uninterrupted. Having an hour (or two) to surf the Net, to watch grown up TV shows, to read a book, etc. It's precious time. I cherish mine and I only have one child to contend with.

Sarahlynn said...

CCW, Ada is something else, but note that I do post the exceptions here. I mean, it's not like she's reading street signs and labeling every car we pass by color. She just . . . has a preschooler big sister, you know? I work with Ellie really hard on basic preschool stuff, and Ada's involved in that. (I suspect that perhaps not everyone spends as much time as we do practicing things like letters, numbers, and colors. With Ellie's learning disabilities, sometimes learning takes her a little longer and I figure that as long as we're having fun, we can work a little more at home than we might otherwise do.)

Beach, Yes! Exactly. But, then, what was my excuse before children? Hmm.

Beverly said...

That's a real blessing that she can say "pink" so that you can understand. I think most kids have those thoughts inside them, but their speech is slower to develop.

Sarahlynn said...

Beverly, I absolutely agree. I don't think that Ada is a prodigy (thank heavens!) but her speech is developing a little ahead of the curve, which eases some of the typical frustrations for toddlers and their parents!

Also, I thought of you while I was at a meeting last weekend. I am beginning to understand a little better why some families choose to homeschool. I have not chosen that path, but have been doing a little bit of training on how to work with Ellie at home, and can really see the value - both in bonding and in education - with this approach.