Addie received one of the most amazing birthday gifts I could think of. Not only was it hand-crafted, but I know it is something that she can pass along to her future sibling(s), her children and that she, herself, will always treasure. She will remember this gift as a favorite throughout her childhood.
When I think of Addie growing up, specifically her, I think of all the things her smaller hands might struggle with. There are the things that are personal to each LP, putting a ponytail up, toileting issues (public restrooms in general, as well as other considerations), and there are feats we all battle against like tying our shoes and buttoning our clothes that hinder children with dwarfism longer than AH kids. I follow all the message boards and posts that speak to the newest gadgets that will help her learn independence. I often remind her to push her own arms through her shirt and legs into her pants. We talk about on and off, buttons, snaps, velcro and zippers. I let her help me remove her clothes, untie loose knots and pull strings on hooded sweatshirts. But when I went to my parents’ home and saw the 1979 children’s book The Baby Animal Dress Up Book, that served as both my sister’s and mine, I grabbed it and packed it back to Rhode Island.
As Addie and I sat and played, I made a vague realization: it’s not safe. I am really not that mom, in fact when Addie fell and hit her face on a chair, I smiled at her tears and told her she was OK. A minute later a nice shiner appeared next to her right eye. Nice work, Mother of the Year. So I’m not that mom, but I am this one. I wondered if the book would make it through the laundry and decided against it. I pulled at the ribbon and scarf and they seemed attached. The zipper sometimes got stuck and I figured I could oil it. I added a few stitches to the button for security and Addie and I would play with it together.
Then, glorious Facebook showed me my friend Gianna’s newest pictures. Glossy image after glossy image scrolled across my HTC smartphone screen of a book she had made for her daughter, Livi, only a few months older than Addie. It was my book, updated. It was 2013’s answer to 1979’s attempts. I immediately emailed her. We talked about the pages I loved, the specific things that I knew would be more difficult for Addie (buttons, belts, tying, etc.) and she set to work. Gianna personalized the cover with a fabric of my choosing and Addie’s full name (Adelaide), and made the “braid section” in brown highlights (although maybe we should have added red, too!) and made the colors a painter’s palate for my budding artist.
The book is, quite simply, beautiful. It’s handmade, but looks like it is something that says handmade but comes off a machine. It’s perfect. Each page is exquisite and the attention to detail truly amazes me. Addie and I play with it now, but I know it is something she will use for years to come- to learn her numbers, colors, shapes, and more. She will learn about dressing up, about fastening clothes and about dead-ends (mazes). Below are pictures of our book, but Gianna can make pages specific to your wants- maybe a page of tools, or a color palate of different color eye shadows, a child with red hair, shaped beads to count… the possibilities are endless and the memories you will create are too.
I think you get the idea: whether you have a little one or you know someone who does, they need this book. It is a learning tool, memory maker, rainy day joy. I bring it when we go out so Addie has something to play with in public that isn’t a pack of crayons (which she eats), and isn’t left bored and thus looking for food. This book is great for babies all the way up to first grade!
I plan on asking Gianna to make one for my nephew for Christmas! Looking for ideas? I’ll be doing dress up with a doctor, policeman, fireman and swim trunks (for my little Florida boy!), the braid in “rope” form (he’s a nautical man) and the colors as gum balls! Prices vary based on the number of pages and styles chosen. Contact Gianna at Gianna0526@gmail.com for more information or to get started on your very own heirloom book!