Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Weekend with Elli

Last Friday, Christi's mom retired from her job as an elementary school teacher.  Her kids helped throw a surprise party for her in Christi's hometown of Ferron, UT which is about a two hour and forty-five minute drive from our house.  Of course Christi wanted to be there, and with the long weekend it sounded fun to take the kids down and stay for a few days.  As we discussed logistics, it became apparent that it would be best if Elli stayed home with me.  She can get very agitated around large groups of people,and all of Christi's siblings and most of their children would be there as well.  So Ellli and I got to spend the weekend together.

It was a good experience overall.  I thought about taking her to Lagoon, a good-sized amusement park about 45 minutes from Herriman.  The first couple of years we had Elli we took her to Disneyworld and to Lagoon.  At that young age she really enjoyed the rides she could go on, including a couple of small roller coasters.  She would laugh and smile during and after each ride.  As the years have gone on, however, she has enjoyed these opportunities much less.  I thought maybe if it was just the two of us and I could focus all of my attention on her, she might enjoy it again.  Before I spent the time and money on a day at Lagoon, however, I decided to try an evening at a very small park called Trafalga.  It has only three or four rides in addition to an arcade, laser tag, etc.  I figured if she enjoyed the rides there I would give Lagoon a shot.

Elli had been great all day Friday.  We drove to Trafalga and she was great.  But as we entered the doors, we were hit with the cacophony of noises that 200 people in an enclosed area can generate.  The rides were back outside, but we had to get our hands stamped first.  Elli quickly started to shut down.  I hoped that if we could get our stamps quickly and get back outside, she might be ok, but, alas, the line was very slow and we stood there for at least seven minutes.  Elli got more and more distraught the longer we waited.  She started to twist around and lie down and get back up.  Soon she started to scream.  Finally we got our stamps and headed back outside, but by then it was too late.  I tried for about 15 minutes to help her get calm, but it clearly wasn't happening.  We ended up going home without participating in any of the activities there.  Poor kid!

Other than that, Elli was a little angel.  We went to the cemetery together and left flowers on Jacob's and Emily's grave.  We went to a park, we ate at McDonald's twice and I sat outside with her while she played on the trampoline and climbed on her climbing toy.  Once cute thing she did: while climbing on her jungle gym she spontaneously began to sing to the tune of the ABC's:  "Grandpa Green, Grandpa Green, Grandpa Green, Grandpa Green."  Not sure what brought him to mind, but it was very cute.  (In the video below I can't get her to sing it again, but she sure seems to enjoy it when I'm singing it to her!)

My favorite thing about the weekend was the chance I had to get to know Elli better.  Christi provides the majority of Elli's care on a typical day.  Most of the time I'm with Elle, the entire family is around.  During these noisier times, Elli is more likely to get frustrated, riled up and unruly.  It was a real blessing for me to be able to spend so much time with her when it was quiet and serene.  She really is a little angel.  I'm so grateful to be her dad.

-Jer












15 comments:

  1. I love your yard! I just bought a home with a large yard, but it still needs quite a lot of work. My goal is to sink our trampoline, too. How do you manage drainage under the your trampoline?

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    1. We live in a desert:). Since it's so dry here, we haven't made any special accommodations for drainage. It hasn't been an issue so far.

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  2. What a sweet girl and a sweet daddy. You are the best, Jeremy!

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    1. Agreed! He is the best! (:
      --Christi

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  3. Wow, Ellie seems to communicate MUCH better than I imagined. It seems like she was really loving her special time with Daddy and having your undivided attention. She is just beautiful and I LOVE her voice! Just precious.

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    1. I love her voice too! Elli was communicating better than usual that day. I was surprised at how vocal she was and that she spontaneously said "get down." Most of what she says is just copying what we say-- but sometimes she really can really say what she wants (like "get down" or "I want drink") and for those times we are SO GRATEFUL! (: Once in awhile she'll really give us a treat by saying a complete, long sentence like, "I want to go outside, please." (: Her giggle is infectious too! It's been such a blessing to have more of happy Elli around for the last few days-- she's been really struggling lately with screaming, aggression, etc but seems to be pulling out of it a little. (: (:
      --Christi

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  4. She is a sweetheart, I love her laugh

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  5. Her giggle is such a great reward!

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  6. Have you noticed a positive change in Elli with her own room and play area? Does she will have a hard time getting settled in her bed?

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    1. YES-- and it is so helpful to the entire family as well! Elli does so much better at this home vs. our old home. We love that she has so many safe spaces designed with her in mind. It has changed our lives! Still, she has plenty of hard times at this house-- but the great thing is that when she does, we can put her in her room. It is a wonderful room with all of her favorite things (a trampoline, swing, bean bag, musical toys, etc) and being in there alone usually helps her to calm down. Even when it doesn't, it eases the stress for the rest of us to have her in a place we don't have to worry about her while she is screaming and upset! Of course, we don't put her in there the second she is upset, but when we can't do anything else to calm her down and she is scratching and biting and raging, that room is a lifesaver for all of us! As far as having a hard time going to bed-- actually, no! Isn't that great?!!! She used to have such a hard time going to bed and sleeping through the night but now she usually LOVES when it is bedtime. She stays in her bed until morning and sleeps great-- thanks to some medication. It has changed our lives in so many ways to have her sleeping well and to have this home to parent her in. We are so grateful!

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  7. Try using headphones in loud places. At first you might need to play soothing music. After a while you will likely be able to just do headphones. If you know you are going somewhere too loud for her put them on before going in. Over time they typically will not need them as much or communicate the issue. Daughter is sensitive to loud places especially PA systems (explains the freaking out on flight back from china ;)). Also worked for to crowded stores (where too much stuff was in the space). Now we rarely need them.

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    1. Allison, that is a good thought! Unfortunately, Elli doesn't usually like the feel of earphones and typically immediately takes them off and throws them. We've tried several different kinds. However, that is at home-- we haven't tried it in crowded places, so it's definitely worth a try. Thank you! (:
      --Christianne

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  8. Sweet girl, wonderful giggles, great dad and I bet this one tickled Grandpa Green! How sweet Elli was thinking of him.

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  9. I was starting to miss seeing Ellie on here :3

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