I’m going to apologize in advance, as this is going to be a rather long post… so read on if you dare!
Despite her tendencies to lick shoes and windows (that’s a whole other story!), I love Ella to pieces. She is kind, gentle, persistent, loving, generous, intelligent and cautious. She loves to tease, eat ice cream and she makes me smile every single day. She’s an amazing big sister who loves “My Tehya” and has a heart of gold.
When Ella was born, her right foot was super flexible, her toes could touch her shin. (I’m not going to lie, it kinda creeped me out). This was all due to her position in the womb and her foot being squished up against the side. We were told to stretch it out, so we did. Every day, as I nursed her, I would hold her foot and stretch it. We wanted ensure everything would be okay. And it mostly was.
Ella has always been a fairly quiet kid. As an infant, she was happy to sit and play with toys. She never crawled and when she started walking she was SUPER cautious and very unsteady. My doctor told me not to worry about it. All her joints were fine. Some kids are just not “movers”. So we let it be. I would sometimes watch her walk and think that there was something “unnatural” about her gait. Mostly, I tried to reassure myself that she’d outgrow it. That I was simply being an “over-protective new mom.”
When we started her in gymnastics last year, I really saw how many things other kids her age were doing that Ella wasn’t. She didn’t run. She was slow to walk. She still hadn’t learned to crawl. She didn’t like to jump off of anything. Slowly, over time, she started to learn all these things. But it still remained awkward for her.
I justified all these little things that nagged at me by saying, “well she was spending that time learning her fine motor skills.” or “Well, she’s 1 1/2 and out of diapers, that’s where her energy’s been focused.” Anything to stifle the worry.
A couple of weeks ago, I took Ella to the Birch Tree for a Craniosacral Treatment. I met Cherise at the Grand Opening we’d attended. I was familiar with craniosacral work, as it had worked wonders for me when I was recovering from a car accident. When Cherise and I were chatting, she mentioned that sometimes when you see a big shift in your child’s behaviour (ie. all of a sudden they are really cranky all the time) this can be a sign that something is out of alignment. I’d noticed this change in Ella recently, so I thought I’d take her in.
Little did I know, just how much would change. As I watched Cherise work, Ella chatted about different falls she’d had, what she’s “bonked” and sometimes even where her lion had an “owwie”. Some of these things I’d even forgotten about. Then just as Cherise was finishing up, Ella said, “okay, I’m all done now.” She had laid still on the table for about an hour. Pretty good for a kid who doesn’t do well with strangers.
Then I started to notice the changes. When we got to my parents place that afternoon, she walked up the stairs really fast. She said hello to my sister and wanted to tell her stories. She was happy to play on her own again. Her walk appeared more “natural” and she was moving better. Then as she has gained confidence in her new found mobility, she’s started to run every where. She’s climbing up onto our bed, which she’s never done before. She’s not sitting still as much. As my mom said, “She’s acting like a normal two year old.”
Then at gymnastics this past Monday, it was like everything started to fall into place. She walked the balance beam all by herself, she did her spider walk and stork stands without support, she was climbing over and under things more quickly. She even went swinging on the bar and let go to fall onto the mat below. She’s still not jumping, but I have a feeling that’s next. As I watched her accomplish all of these things that she’s struggled with I was so proud. Proud and happy. Happy to see her running and playing and having fun. Proud to see her achieve all of these little milestones that she’s worked so hard on. She’s my little super star.
Ella loves the stamps that she gets at gymnastics. This week’s was rather fitting.
Keep Smiling 🙂