Sunday, 27 January 2013


I had no idea I was waiting for it or how much it would mean to me.  One little word said millions of times a day all over the world...
This week for the first time, Ella said 'mama'.  She's been using the sign for a while but this was the first time she's used the word as well.

She was sat on our bed with us and signed and said 'da' (daddy - which she's been doing for a while now).  She then turned to me, signed and said 'mama' then gave me a hug.

Heart melting stuff! 

I have always expected that Ella's speech would be delayed, but just like everything else I've known she will get there in her own time and (in true Ella style) in her own way.

To help with her speech, other ways of communicating to help enhance her developing skills have been employed from a very early age.   These include makaton signing, picture cards and giving her adequate time to respond to requests and questions.  

I have also started naming anything and everything (including the use of the sign where it's known) and I always repeat what she has said back to her to acknowledge that I have understood her (and hopefully this will help with her ability to pronounce words correctly, which is something she already struggles with).  She's really got the hang of copying now so picks up new signs easily.  She can then also use newly acquired (and not well practised) signs in context, sometimes days later.  

She has always loved her books too, which I think has generally helped her signing, talking and communicating...

Being a mum is a wonderful thing, but it takes on a whole new meaning when that one little word - 'mama' - is used by your child.

In other news, she's now walking much more confidently - mostly around the house but reports from nursery suggest she's getting braver there too.  Really need eyes in the back of my head now! 

We have also recently taken the side off her cot (my expanding bump was making it difficult to lift her in and out and we felt it was time to give it a try).  So far so good - she's quite happy to climb onto the bed but hasn't attempted to get out (yet!), possibly too difficult in her sleeping bag or she just doesn't realise she can get down herself...

So I'll leave you with Ella (complete with lots of self-applause) doing some signs with daddy...

Have a good week everyone xx

March 21st 2013 is World Downs Syndrome day.  More details coming soon!...

Thursday, 3 January 2013

High points, challenges and hopes

Hayley from Downside up has invited fellow bloggers/parents to answer her 2012/2013 questions. Great idea and here are mine....

1) What was the high point of 2012 for you?

I don't think I can narrow this down to just one particular thing or event...I am lucky that 2012 has held so many highs.  From the small things - like Ella finally waving & clapping, me mastering new recipes (in an oven that cremates everything!) and exploring our new neighbourhood as a family - to the bigger ones...

A new home

New beginnings

Unexpected nomination and award for the blog

Ella standing and taking her first few steps

I think my biggest high, looking back has been watching Ella's development.  I am extremely proud of and inspired by what she has achieved in 2012. This time last year she seemed to be constantly poorly, was only 6 months post open heart surgery and still had her gastrostomy (feeding tube).  

So, 2012 has seen her crawl, stand and start talking and signing.  She's moved into the toddler group at nursery, had her feeding tube removed and we've really begun to see her cheeky, independent and mischievous character flourish.  

And I know she has more to show us in 2013.

2) When was the most challenging thing, the part that tested you to your limit?

Deciding to have another baby was both an exciting and worrying prospect.  After Ella was born, I dismissed the thought of having another baby for a long time.  Slowly, I came around to the idea and we're delighted to be expecting baby number 2 in May.  

The most challenging thing during 2012 has been making decisions regarding ante-natal screening.  We declined screening when I was pregnant with Ella and nothing was picked up during scans so my pregnancy was pretty stress-free whilst we excitedly awaited the appearance of our first baby.  

This time I was aware it would be more stressful and knew that we would potentially have to make difficult decisions based upon what the screening results told us.  Our triple test results did come back a lot higher than we were expecting - 1:330 (1:1000 is the expected risk ratio/chance for a woman of my age (30) to have a child with DS). 

It left us with a decision we really didn't think we'd have to make - whether or not to have more invasive and risky screening.  After some tears, talking and speaking to other parents we knew who had already been through the same experience, we decided we had to know for sure this time whether there were any problems.  I was also battling feelings of guilt towards Ella about my need to have information this time around as well as guilt towards the new baby for risking miscarriage to get that information.

We went ahead with the amniocentesis and waited a stressful 3 weeks, wondering 'what if..' for the full results. As far as they can tell, all is ok and we're very excited to be having another girl...   

3) What 3 hopes do you hold dear for 2013?

  1. I hope that Ella loves her new role of big sister - I already know she'll be good at it.
  2. I hope Ian and I continue to meet life and it's challenges as a team, enjoy the exciting times to come with our girls
  3. That the hard work going into changing the perception of Down's Syndrome and other disabilities continues to be a force to be reckoned with!
Happy 2013 everyone xx

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