Monday, 9 December 2013

Now I am 3!

So, now she's 3... How did that happen?! 

She has achieved so much this last year and shows no signs of stopping.  She's gone from taking one or two solo steps just after her 2nd birthday to now running round the house asking to be chased and tickled.  Her speech has come on so much and she continues to use Makaton, learning new signs and words all the time.  

Most importantly, this year she's become a big sister to Lucy - which has been a massive step forward for all of us, as a family.  Ella has grown up so much and it's clear that both our girls adore each other...

With every year that passes, she continues to amaze us. I look back to her first days, sleepy and jaundiced in her special care incubator.  A heart defect, feeding problems and very little positivity or words of encouragement from medical staff.  We were told her development would be slower than children with Down's Syndrome who didn't have heart defects and I got a tut and a head tilt from the consultant when I said we hadn't had any pre-natal screening.  

I'm glad we are rational, pragmatic people and that we paid little attention to their predictions. We had the support and positivity of our family, friends and each other to get us through. It was up to us to give her the opportunity to reach her potential (whatever that was going to be) - and if we, as her parents didn't believe in her then nobody else was going to.   

Being a mum has been the hardest job I've ever had.  But I look back on how hard it's been and know that I am a better person because of these last three years.  I've said it before, but Ella really has bettered any expectation of the child I imagined I would have.  The rewards of being her mum and watching her develop, learn and grow I can't put into words.  She's a wonderful teacher, makes us proud everyday and has a world of possibilities waiting for her. 

You can tell she is three - overnight, she's become very defiant, independent and very quick tempered - we've left the 'terrible two's' behind and most definitely have a 'threenager' on our hands....!

To Ella, who is still unaware of what a birthday is, the actual 'big day' was to her just like any other.  Except there was a big pink balloon to play with and presents to open (she's certainly got the hang of what a present is!)...

We celebrated Ella's birthday with family this year.  A lovely reason for both families (and all 4 generations) to get together.  She was well and truly spoilt - lots of presents, loved having everyone around and her favourite person 'Mr Tumble' made several appearances throughout the celebrations... She also loved being sung to and having the candles blown out - we had to sing happy birthday 4 or 5 times!

Mr Tumble cake

Spotty bag 

After the weekend family celebrations, we had a birthday trip to National Children's Museum 'EUREKA'.  I've been wanting to go for ages now - I have fond memories of visiting when I was younger both with my mum and with school.  The museum is great - like a giant kids playground that all ages can enjoy.  The highlights for Ella were the mini high street (complete with bank, supermarket and post office) where she loved filling her mini shopping trolley with food and then proceeded to do a 'trolley dash' around most of the ground floor area... 

I was pleased to see that my favourite part of Eureka was still there, although it's been recently updated.  The interactive, sensory exhibit 'All About Me' -which is a walk through of the human body, incorporating all the senses, bodily functions, our health - including dentists chair and equipment (plus a giant set of teeth!), a pregnant woman complete with moving bump and ultrasound, body scanner, the importance of excercise and (Ella's favourite) the chance to hold your own baby clinic...

Just like Granny!

Luckily the exhibit was fairly quiet, as Ella took quite a liking to the doll provided and insisted on taking it with us as we explored the gallery...

Lucy enjoyed herself too, especially the tactile, sensory exhibits. And Ella had a ball dancing to the music in the sound booth...

I was also on the look out as we explored, for a little boy called Jack.  I heard all about Jack via the Huddersfield Down's Syndrome Support Group (HDSSG) on Twitter. When Eureka re-developed the All About Me exhibit, they wanted it to echo the diversity of our society and represent the people and families they hoped would visit the museum. As part of this vision, they asked Jack who has Down's Syndrome to model for the project. A massive thumbs up for inclusion. I was worried due to Ella's random approach to looking around that we would miss him, but we did see him dancing and on the feature wall outside the exhibit...

(Picture from HDSSG website)

We had a lovely few hours and will definitely be using our annual pass again as there was too much to see and do in just one visit. 

Happy Birthday little Bean (stop growing up so fast please! xx)


  1. your blog is gorgeous, I am always saddened and discouraged to read about reactions of medical staff, it's not on and really must change (happens that way in Austria too :-( - your daughters are lovely! Happy Birthday Ella (it really does go far too fast says this mother of 3 boys aged 16, 15 and 4!)

    1. Thank you Daniela. Time is flying by, especially with two... you must find life whizzes by with 3! xx


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