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.