She is now talking away. We went from babbles and sporadic dada's to saying all sorts of things and attempting to say almost anything we get her to repeat. Her word list includes goodies such as: Shay, (her cousins name), Gaga (grandma), Papa (grandpa), sissy, ba-ba, ball, mama, uh-oh, dada, hi, hot, belly, head, and bye. She says "dada!" when he walks in a room, but has yet to really say it for me. Her first two-word phrase was "ka-koo!" which is "thank you". She also says "buh-bye!" This burst of language really took place in the last week.
Those crystal blue eyes are still holding on strong!
From a very young age, Ellie seemed to have really good fine motor skills, picking up the littlest objects off the ground to investigate. She is an expert at finding the tiniest crumb or piece of dirt on the floor. I try not to think about the amount of items she's actually consumed from our floors. As she grows, it has been interesting to watch her develop this skill. She will sit and place items around her and spend an extended amount of time working to put them inside each other or place them in specific orders. In the bathtub, for the longest time she would sit and try to figure out the toggle on the spout to turn on the shower. Every bath, she would look up the faucet, feeling around trying to figure out what that thing was and why it was there. After some time, she discovered if she pushed up, the knob at the top would stick out. And if she pushed that knob down the toggle would come back out for her to play with. She was so excited when she figured out how it worked. Watching her so carefully make these discoveries and figure out how things fit into the world is one of the coolest aspects of this age. I never want to forget that feeling of seeing your child discover something new.
She spent an hour trying to figure out how to put the insert in the shoe like mama did.
With Ellie, there are way more toys all over the house than we ever had when Adly was this age. Adly has an insatiable imagination that is active from sunup to sundown. Because of this, Ellie has developed the ability to pretend much earlier than Adly ever did. She will take the toy foods we have around the house and pretend to eat them. She feeds fake foods to the stuffed animals. In the bath the other night she was filling up a lego with water and having the toy pig drink the water. While Adly continues to impatiently wait for Ellie to really be able to talk, they have developed a level of play that is so fun to see happen. They giggle and laugh and chase each other around the house and Ellie copies everything her big sister does.
Snacking with sissy.
Car Carts. Every child's dream, every parents nightmare.
The biggest accomplishment for Ellie the last month has been her advancement to walking. She was diagnosed as "low tone" around six months. We didn't know much about it other than the fact that she was very bendy and didn't put any weight on her legs. She garnered nicknames like "froggy" and "flopsy mopsy" because she was just that: floppy. When she moved to sitting, she would lean back with her legs flying up in the air. It looked as though she had abs of steel, balancing herself on her tailbone. What we have learned now is that she actually had no core strength and that position was a way for her to overcompensate for that. We followed our pediatricians advice and waited out physical therapy until she recommended it at her one year checkup.
Hearing your child has a deficit and needs some sort of outside help is scary no matter the situation or the age. I kept telling myself she'd be fine. She had hit every milestone in a timely matter and she was so close to walking, she could overcome it on her own. Around 14 months, she did start to "walk". But her ankles were still so loose and I couldn't deny her stance was off. He legs bowed inward and her feet outward to support her weight. Something just wasn't right. It was then that I finally made the call for therapy. We looked into early intervention and a childhood therapy facility our pediatrician had recommended. I am so grateful Illinois offers programs such as early intervention, which provides free screenings and in-home visits for families with a child who is displaying some sort of developmental delay. However, our insurance policy also covered physical therapy, so we chose to go through that. This was mainly because she could start the same week I called, whereas early intervention was more of a wait.
Therapy helped almost immediately. Since Adam is off of work, he took on the duty of taking her every week. She definitely regressed over the first few weeks and quit walking all together. This was mostly due to the new inserts her therapist had her use and the constant therapy she was receiving from Adam at home. All of the changes forced her to re-learn how to walk correctly which took some time. Ellie, ever my stubborn offspring, hates therapy (or the therapist) with a passion. She would spend most visits according to Adam crying, clinging and whining. At week four of therapy, Adam excitedly texted me that the therapist had taken Ellie away to the therapy gym where he could watch her through a double-sided mirror. Once Adam was out of the picture, Ellie started walking everywhere with the therapist. She cruised for an entire session, not sitting down once. By the time she got home, she went immediately back to crawling only. It wasn't until after the next session that she began actually attempting to walk at home. Of course, being at work and not being able to witness any of this awesomeness was pure torture.
A few weeks later and at 16 months, she's now taking careful steps around the house. Her signal that she's going to walk is to say, "go! go!" If we tell her to "go", she'll stop crawling and start walking. Seeing her walk now is completely different than when she started around 14 months. It is amazing to me what becomes "normal" to you when you're dealing with a child that doesn't fit the norm. As I see her now, taking her careful, yet precise, yet wobbly steps the memories of Adly learning to walk come flooding back. She is now learning to walk as any other child does, it just took a little extra help to get her there.
Another thing that has taken a while to get here have been her teeth. She had her two lower teeth pop through shortly after turning one. For a long time after that, there was nothing. Then one day, I was able to get my prodding fingers into her mouth, only to discover she had an entire mouthful of teeth coming through. Her upper right fang was the first to come through with that spurt. Months later, her two front teeth and a few back teeth are creeping their way out. Thankfully, and I mean this with the utmost sincerity, we have been blessed with an easier teether. (Terrible teething moms, I salute you). Besides a few fussy eating sessions and some whining at night, it has not even been noticeable.
Ellie continues to fill every last ounce of our beings with her snuggles and love. She is a total lovey and will happily crawl into our laps at any given moment for a snuggle and a hug. I find myself holding on to every last bit of her babyhood. Every night at bedtime Adam and I have both developed a routine of a little snuggle and song time with her. When we stand up from reading our night time book in the rocking chair, she throws her thumb in her mouth and snuggles her head right into the crook of my neck. With her little arms wrapped around my shoulder I quietly sing, You Are My Sunshine, and hold back tears, willing time to slow down.
Happy 16 months my sweet Ellie girl. We love you to bits.