I hope you’re having a wonderful start to your week! I love the holidays, and cheer… though maybe not this insane weather we are having in New England, but I guess we can’t have it all. Since you’re here, let me just jump right in!
This week I am thankful that I get to watch miracles everyday. Yes, everyday. It seems like this is an impossible statement, but I assure you, it’s a fact. Addie has a way of inspiring and demanding more from me, and she does it by looking at the milestone charts for children and “poo-pooing” them until she’s reconfigured it to match her spunk. Here are just some from one month that I observed with my own eyes and ears (also an Addie Update to family and friends!):
* Addie is having full conversations, complete with gestures. From her explanation of “wunning with mama” and swinging her arms, explaining that she fell with a “WOAH!” and open flailing of her arms, to telling Dave she ate “two apple” and holding up one finger of each hand, I am in awe of her comprehension.
* She’s singing songs in the car. Songs she knows the words to, at least. Picking up on the last words mostly, I hear her voice squeal “ball”, “bubbles”, “wall”… I appease her requests for “doot doot doot Harmony” and put on her favorite Rock a Baby song. While we grocery shop, she sings “money, clink, clink, clink” and “people go up”… then signs and asks for “more” and when we are done there is always an “a-b’s agn” (A.B.C.s again), complete with her yelling “ME!” at the end. I just cannot fathom how she understands all that she does, but I am always happy to oblige another embarrassing round of song in a public place.
* Then one day she started giving kisses and hugs and saying she loves without being prompted. In the middle of play, she looks over, stands up, walks over and plants a big one on me. Tears fill my eyes. When Dave leaves for work a big hug, kiss and “wUV YYYOu!” comes flying from her tiny mouth. It’s enough to send anyone off to work with a smile on their face.
* Addie will answer “yes” or “no” according to her wants- We don’t tell her that she shouldn’t say “no” because she should always know she is in control, however, if I don’t want to hear a “yes” or “no” I ask choice questions: Which shoes do you want to wear? Do you want to have this or that? etc.
* My personal book-nerd favorite: She’s asking for books she wants like Moon (Goodnight Moon), or being lifted to her shelf and choosing it herself. She also carries her interactive Hallmark book about Bell, complete with the puppy to me, dropping the items at my feet, and asking for “read”. Hooray for a love of the written word!
* She might be the only child to ask, but she’s constantly wanting to put on her “mtnnes” (mittens) and “hat” before we leave the house.
* She’s also a tiny dictator, telling Carter, our puppy, “no” when he’s too excited. It’s hysterical to see a 22 pound toddler tell a 70 pound dog how to behave (and he listens).
* Addie is jumping! And getting so much closer to getting her feet off the ground when she does.
* She asks for people she wants… often she will take my phone, asking for Mima, then waiting for me to dial. Or when we pull into my inlaws she yelps, “PAPA!” in the most exasperated way, as though she’s just come up for air. It’s awesome. Finally she says, “Ashleeeee” when going to see her aunt and always a “Habwey” for her cousin, Hadley, when we turn into her neighborhood. It sort of rocks my world when she make connections to places and people before she sees them.
* You know the backseat driver that annoys you? I have one of those, yelling “go Go GO!” from the backseat whenever traffic slows.
* As I mentioned above, she asks for “more” and “again” and knows the difference between them. She also showed me her “shoes mama” and handed me “a shoe. Mama shoe”, as I was getting ready for my race Saturday morning. How she knew the difference between a plural and singular? No clue. No. Freaking. Clue.
* The most hysterical thing she’s doing is pretending to eat and drink, complete with theatrical noises. Dave taught her the gulping and “ahhhhhh” afterwards.
* And that Addietude I was worried about… she asks “what” when you say her name. How can I teach her to ask, “Yes mother dear. What can I do for you”?
* In her physical therapy, she is learning to kick, asking for the pool, and learning to push, throw and kick a ball, and do them individually when asked.
* Please and thank you. Or “peese” and “thankin”. When I hear these words, especially without asking, I know that we are on the right track.
Looking to see a miracle in your life? Look at your children. Your best friend. Your own actions. Something as silly as you not crying in the middle of a store during a shopping rush might just be your miracle for the day, or maybe your friend just beat a bad prognosis. Whatever your blessing, count it, embrace it, and most importantly: recognize it.
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My fact this week is one of some sadness, but I wanted to share because a lot of people ask questions about how “normal” people with dwarfism are. There are lots of ways to explain someone’s normalcy, but we are all different, so defining the norm is a truly unattainable task. With that in mind, I often answer that Addie can do anything she wants- maybe she won’t be allowed in the military, but many people don’t qualify for a number of reasons. Perhaps she won’t be a prima ballerina- me neither, and I’m 5’8! The point is, height does not define someone unless they let it. Height also doesn’t make someone immune to all the evils this world has locked inside. For our community, and many others who love the message Jen Arnold sends to thousands a views each year, we received the loud message that no one is safe from harms which we try so hard to protect ourselves from. If you know Jen from The Little Couple and their journey (which admittedly I have a hard time keeping up with because we don’t have TV!), you know that Jen is a doctor in Texas and her husband, Bill Klein, is an entrepreneur. They are a loving, generous and (dare I say it) normal couple. Sadly, Jen is now battling cancer, in the midst of their adopting two beautiful children, and I am hoping and praying for successful treatments and a triumphant return to health.
I had a friend ask me if it felt strange knowing that Addie could have all of these medical complications and that she could just get cancer like everyone else, too. Strange didn’t seem like the right word. More like exasperating. As a parent you think, “not my child” so many times a day. Please don’t let my child split her lip, or get a splinter, or fail that test, or text and drive, or… or get cancer. As a parent, I fear all of these things, but they do not restrain me. People get sick. People with dwarfism are people. And just as I have repeated time and time again, people with dwarfism can do [almost] anything any person would want, but LP also get hit with less favorable average things, like taxes, heartache and illness.
It’s never fair when someone gets sick. Cancer is never fair, rarely kind and always taxing- on families, on friends, and, most severely, on the individual. I ask you to please band with me and thousands of others and use the hashtag #GetWellJen to send her and her family warm wishes and they head into the holiday season with so many unknowns in their hearts. One known is true: we are all pulling for you, Jen.
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My random this week is one I think you will want to tune in for: No-Bake Chai Pumpkin Pie, Coconut Snowballs (also NO BAKE!) and Vanilla Sugar Cookies. Yes. These are all going to be posted TONIGHT at 5pmEST right back here on A is For Adelaide. My suggestion? Set your alarm: you won’t want to miss these goodies!
Lots of love to you on this chilly (at least here!) December Monday!