Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Year Ago Today

I got a phone call about an hour ago.  At 10:37, to be exact.  It was Trent, remembering the moment, one year ago today, that our little angel tried to fly out the window.  He wanted to talk to Angelee on the phone, and drank in her happy little voice as she cheerfully described all the toys she had been playing with.  We are both overcome with gratitude that we still have her with us.

So what has she been up to?  This summer she flushed half of a package of feminine products down the toilet, resulting in our basement flooding with raw sewage.  She single-handedly got us three floods, four costly visits from the plumber, and a forced evacuation for a week.

This was followed up by her tipping her chair over and crashing into the sliding glass door.  The whole family watched.  She was very still, staring straight up while sitting in her booster seat, strapped to the big chair.  The top of her head was through the glass, one arm was sandwiched between two jagged panes, and her smooth neck was exposed to the heavy triangular stalactites of glass just waiting to fall.  I extricated her as quickly as I could - and couldn't find a single scratch on her.  Later, Trent put on his leather gloves to clean everything up, and found that those big pieces were barely hanging in the frame.  I think her guardian angels are working overtime.

We have people ask us all the time how Angelee is doing.  By all respects, she seems to be a fairly normal girl.  She complains when it is time to take a nap, loves to sing and to be sung to, runs through the grass, would eat fruit all day long, talks on her calculator "cell phone," and sometimes plays nicely with her baby brothers.  I looked up a list of "What Your Three-Year-Old Should Be Doing Now," and she's doing fairly well.

She should be able to build a tower of 4-5 blocks.  Check.  If the blocks are interlocking like Mega Blocks, her tower will be more like 10-15 blocks.

She should walk up steps, alternating feet.  She was able to do this by last Thanksgiving.

She should pay attention for about three minutes.  I've never actually timed this, but I'm pretty sure that she has approximately this kind of attention span.  Raisins, fruit snacks, and chasing our cats will increase this time.  Sometimes she won't sit still at all.  I think this is also normal behavior!

She should turn pages in a book one at a time.  Yes, she does this, but she starts from the back and turns the pages towards the front.  Don't try to correct here - that's the way she likes it right now!

She should remember what happened yesterday.  I just asked her what we did yesterday, and she told me, "Gram and Pop and you and me and Daddy ummm... have a party.  (singing)  Party, party!"  We celebrated her birthday yesterday because we were at a family reunion on her actual birthday.

She should know some numbers, but not always in the right order.  I just asked her to count for me, and she said, "One two fee, fo, seben, eight, nine, ten!"  Check.

She should be able to look through a book alone, and like to be read to.  Definitely, on both counts.  She has found a series of Winnie the Pooh books we got (thanks, Grandma Jeanne!) when the oldest boys were little. She hauls them around in her stroller, sits down with four or five of them, and reads to herself.  Last night she had two grandmas reading stories to her, and she loved it.

She should be able to count 2-3 objects.  Not really.  She know plurals, so she knows the difference between  one sandwich and two sandwiches, but if you ask her if she'd rather have two pieces of candy or three, she'll say "two".  Maybe she's smarter than I'm giving her credit for.

She should be able to follow simple one-step commands.  Yup.  Sometimes she will follow two-step instructions, too.  And sometimes she won't do anything we ask.

She should be able to use 3-5 word sentences.  Check.  She's been eating lunch as I type, and just told me that she's all done with her sandwich and apples.  "Now mine can haf some foot sacks (fruit snacks)!"

She should be able to ask short questions.  She was looking over the play dishes we got her for her birthday, and held up a spatula.  "What this is?" was her question.  I love seeing her big, open, blue eyes when she wants to know something.

She should be able to name at least one color correctly.  Check.  I think she knows all the primary and secondary colors.

She should know her first and last name.  Well, she knows her first name, anyway.  She has just discovered the letter "L", and pronounces it in an exaggerated way when she says, "An-zha-LAY!"  I haven't thought to teach her about last names.

She should be able to recognize and understand most common objects and pictures.  Check.  Some of our favorite quiet-time toys are cheap picture books that we have put familiar things in for her to look at.  She loves to look at one book that is full of family members.  We used that one at the hospital, to help her remember her family.

So - I guess she is fairly normal after all.  She does have a few minor reminders of her accident.  She has a tongue thrust that she didn't have before her fall, for example.  And it's time to take care of her loose screw.  But, today especially, we are so heart-glad to have her here.  My insides just shrink up when I think back to that day, and all the long days that came after.  I still can't open the window she went out.  Trent still has flashbacks of seeing her little body disappear out the window.  We really have been blessed.  I think I'll go hug her until she squirms free.