Every night when I tuck her to sleep, I tell Elise I love her. I try to tell her and show her as many times throughout the day how much I love her. No matter how many tears I've shed over her ways (and all the ones I'll shed in the future), I'll love her forever.
Elise was born on Saturday, October 6, 2001 at 5:13pm. She weighed 8lbs 13oz.
Our first few weeks together were not the easiest. Elise was jaundiced. Her levels were high enough to cause concern and enough to give us other problems. I desperately wanted to breastfeed, but it seems Elise had other ideas. She slept all of the time and whenever I would try to bring her to my breast she would SCREAM and work herself into a frenzy.
I decided to pump and finger fed her my milk for a few weeks. In the meantime we kept trying to bring her back to the breast, but she would scream time and time again, holding her breath at times to the point of turning blue/purple. I was attached to the pump morning, noon and night it seemed and I just couldn't pump enough. I worked my rear off trying every suggestion to increase my supply, but nothing really worked. My husband fed Elise (first by finger and then by bottle) most of the time as I was usually pumping.
I felt rejected by my child. I resented her and pushed her away. I was MAD at her. I don't know that I realized these feelings/actions at the time, but they were eating away inside of me. I was so miserable after pumping for three months that I decided that enough was enough and I would stop pumping. Shortly thereafter I decided to return to work and slowly my feelings about Elise improved.
Elise was a happy baby and loved being with anyone. She loved taking car trips and was a trooper in her car seat. She loved music and smiled a lot. Elise was a wonderful sleeper. She was a great napper and would sleep through the night like an angel.
We introduced solids at 4.5 months, but she wasn't thrilled about them. It wasn't until she was about 6 months that she really started to catch on with them. Up until her first birthday she really preferred smooth baby food and wasn't too thrilled with any table food except for snack type foods. Elise also wasn't thrilled about anything but milk and wouldn't take her milk in anything but a bottle.
The older Elise got, the more and more we realized how very strong willed she was. Either she got things her way or she FREAKED. Eventually we got to the point that we stopped trying new things because we didn't want to fight with her.
A perfect example of this was how she came to walk. Elise started crusing with the aid of furniture at ten months. She never wanted to hold onto anyone's hands to help her walk. She wanted to do it herself, but she rarely would let go. The months rolled by...eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen and UREKA...Elise decides that it is her time to walk and really starts letting go and exploring on her feet. By her eighteenth month she was walking along (though not all that gracefully). The doctor always said that she would just decide one day that it was her time and she did.
Elise was always a "talker" but didn't really excell at voicing what she wanted with words. She had a few of words: tickle, daddy, mommy, doggie. These were her main words before her first birthday. Until recently, she had only added a few more. In the past two months however, she has been adding words by leaps and bounds and has just started using phrases. There is/was some concern about her verbal development so we have started the process to have her evaluated and it appears she will qualify for services.
I should be fair to Elise and mention that we moved away from our families and our home in Illinois when she was fifteen months. I know it did a lot to all of us and I'm sure it did help with her development.
Sara, Mom to Elise (10/01) & Luke (12/03)
Fast forward to present day.
Elise is turning two a week from today! We have decided to have a little dinner party for her Sunday night with presents and cake. On Monday, we are all going to Disneyland.
Last week, Elise started attending a toddler program on MWF mornings. She absolutely loves it and gets a little upset with me when I come to pick her up - she wants to stay! It really has given me some time for myself (especially since my husband is gone five to six out of seven days from 7-11) and she has a ball. I really hope this will help her verbal skills and I've already seem an improvement in her coordination.
Elise has also started to respond to me when I ask her, "Where is Mommy's baby?" She seems to think that the baby is in my belly button and has to lift up my shirt to find my belly button. She also looks at her belly, but I try to explain to her that she doesn't have a baby in her belly. It's too cute.
This past week Elise added a few new words and phrases.
-cookie? (Can I have an animal cracker?)
-swing? (Can I go out and play on my swing?)
-one, two (she uses this when stacking and when playing with her phone buttons)
-no night-night (I don't want to go to bed.)
-no Daddy (That's not Daddy.)
A few other things have also happened this week that have led my husband and I to make some decisions about Elise and her habits.
1. A few days ago, Elise climbed out of her crib while I was putting away her blankets. She fell and scared herself, but didn't seem terribly shaken up. Regardless, that night we went to get her a bed rail. She hasn't tried it again so she's staying in the crib. We decided that if she tries it again, we will break down the crib into the toddler bed.
2. Elise is still drinking only milk in bottles. We had previously thought that we would wait until after Luke was born to switch her, but it looks like now is the best time as any. We have formulated a plan which includes a reward system and are planning to start on a weekend that my husband has off. The bottles (or at least the nipples) will go into the garbage that weekend and we will go cold turkey. I talked it over with her ped. and we all feel this is the only way this will possibly work with Elise. I'm going to have a lot of high water content foods on hand to make sure she is hydrated and I'm hoping that she learns to forget about the bottles and accept that we will only have a cup from now on.
Elise has been an angel today (well, except for waking up at 5:30). I'm sick as a dog and she's been happily playing all day and not hanging all over me. She knows I'm not feeling well and is being wonderful!
Yesterday was Elise's speech evaluation.
It went well. I know even though I hoped she qualified for services, I didn't want her to have a "problem" with her speech.
The therapist watched Elise and we all played together. She noticed that Elise's biggest problem is that she does not want to imitate or mimic others. This is probably the root of her problem as most children learn speech this way. She discussed Elise's personality with us and gave us a few ideas that might push her along in her speech development.
She evaluated three areas...receptive language, expressive language and speech. Elise has a mild (if any she says) delay in receptive language at about the 18-21 month range. She has a mild to moderate delay in expressive language at about the 15-28 months range. The therapist didn't feel comfortable making an assessment on her speech as it was a bad time for Elise (lunch/nap time) and wanted to see her at least another time before making a determination.
We should be getting a call soon to set up her appointments.
I did ask the therapist specifically if Elise's use of bottles is affecting her speech development. The therapist said that Elise's delays do not appear to have any muscular involvement (meaning she can physically make the sounds/words, but doesn't choose to) and the bottles are not causing a problem. Sooooo, that changes our feeling on the bottle issue, we're going to start eliminating a bottle a day and we've chosen to give her something to drink with dinner in a cup from now on. I got down a few of her cups yesterday and we have been modeling using a cup. In fact right now she is "drinking" with them in the living room. Maybe she is ready!
Back to our regularly scheduled program...
Elise had a great time at Disneyland! It was a great way to celebrate her 2nd birthday. We celebrated at home the night before with a Blue's Clues paw cake and a few presents. She really likes her desk and her Fridge Phonics set.
It's amazing how much she has changed this week. She has started imitating/repeating us! She doesn't do it all the time, but definitely 100% more than before. She's added at least 10 new words as well. Gary is convinced that we somehow are doing something different and that is the main reason for her increased interest. I disagree and have noticed a LOT of positive changes in her since we started her in "school". I'm not saying that we haven't changed things a bit, but I doubt that that is the main reason.
I love my Elise!
It's been a hard few days over here, but Elise has been great through it all. I had to go in to the dr. for my 3 hr GTT and Elise had to come with me. To be honest, I was expecting the worst. I mean, what 2 year old wants to be cooped up in a drs office for practically 4 hours? All I can say is she was excellent! She played and listened to me and charmed everyone.
She really is starting to pay more attention to me in general or at least wants my attention more. I frequently hear, "Mommy, mommy, mommy!" It doesn't bother me because she usually has something she wants to show me or wants something. It's such a change. I'm not complaining, but wonder what it will be like when Luke comes. I know she senses something is up although I doubt that she REALLY grasps that a new baby is coming into the house.
Well, Daddy is home this weekend so I hope we have some quality time together instead of just running around doing errands. Elise misses her Daddy (as I do) and it's great when we all have time together to play.