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

Friday, 28 December 2012

Ella's news...

Just managed to squeeze in one more update before the new year.  And I think it's a perfect post to end 2012 and welcome 2013 with...

I feel I must apologise for being so quiet recently.  I have neglected the blog, my emails, text messages and social events.  And the reason for this, I can now share with you...We are delighted to say we have news. 

Big, exciting, happy news...

Due May 24th 2013

For a long time after Ella was born, I often wondered if it would ever happen.  The thought of having another baby sat uneasily in my heart and my head for a long time.  They say time is a great healer....But Old Man Time has nothing on having Ella in your life.  She has taught me so much and I am a braver, stronger mummy and a better person because I have her.  I still have worries and uncertainties but I don't think they now differ to any other mum expecting a new baby.

Sorry to those of you we have seen recently and not told.  Due to Ella's little extra chromosome, we have had lots of decisions around ante-natal screening to make. Due to our results being a lot higher than we were expecting we decided to have an amniocentesis and to wait for the results (all ok so far) before sharing our news.  It's also becoming a little more obvious now too!

I will leave you with the words of the actress Sally Philips, who has a son with Down's Syndrome.  They have played on my mind since I read them many months ago and made me realise which scenario I wanted for us and more importantly, for Ella (She also touches on the reason why I chose 'A Different View' as the name for this blog...).  

"Either you say, “This child needs extra help so we’re going to devote everything to him.” Or you say, “This child needs siblings.” Both are equally good, but we felt there is a lot they can get from siblings, and vice versa. 

The siblings of special needs children are quite special. Absolutely accepting and totally loving, from birth.  

Someone who is different mentally and has a different way of seeing the world, is a wonderful trait. It’s a trait I wish there was another way of getting, but there isn't   And it does involve a degree of not having it fantastically easy..."

I have no doubt that Ella will be a wonderful big sister and take her new role in her stride. I can't wait to introduce her to her new baby sister next May. 

Hopefully more blog posts soon... Until then, have a happy weekend and a Happy New Year to you all xx

Monday, 17 December 2012

Christmas is coming...

The run up to Christmas has begun and it's been busy already.  The tree is up, presents are being bought and wrapped, cranberry sauce is made and the turkey has been ordered...

Ella's Advent calendar

The Makaton charity contacted me a few weeks ago and asked if they could use the video of Ella signing 'star' in their on-line Christmas advent calendar.  I of course agreed and we waited patiently day by day, not knowing what number she would be.  We have learnt lots of new Christmas signs and Ella finally popped up on day 12... You can view the calendar using the link below...

Last Saturday was the South Manchester Down's Syndrome groups Christmas party and we had a lovely time catching up with everyone.  It was also good to meet new parents and their babies.

This time last year Ella and her friends were the youngest members of the group.  We were battling recurrent chest infections, Ella had her feeding tube and things like crawling, standing, talking and signing seemed a long way off...  What a difference a year makes! 

Fun in the sensory area with friends... 

Ella is most definitely more independent now and we really had to watch her. She disappeared numerous times - under the buffet table, through gaps in chairs and crawling off through the crowd at speed.  I had put her in a dress for the party which she was finding difficult to crawl in and was doing the 'legs straight walking with hands on the floor' manoeuvre  - until she found she could keep it out of the way by stuffing the hem into her mouth...  

She has suddenly become a very sociable and confident toddler, even when surrounded by lots of people she doesn't know.  She delighted the choir and audience by sitting at the choir leaders feet in the middle of the floor and copying the conducting actions (unfortunately I missed this due to talking to some new parents).  She spent the rest of the time stood on the floor in the middle of the stage looking up at the choir as they sang.

And then Santa arrived - I know she is still too young to understand who he is or what he represents but she enjoyed receiving her gift from him - he even got a high five...

We have also recently seen a huge increase in her understanding and use of signs and words.  She is copying new signs very well and then using them independently and in context.  Some of her newest ones are 'granny', 'Henry' and 'hot'.  She loves her music too, especially songs with actions...

I'm off to continue the Christmas preparations but if this is my last post before it arrives then a very Merry Christmas to you all xx

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