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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Lions and Rabbits and Turtles, oh my!

We did it! We braved a major tourist spot and made it out alive. We went to the New England Aquarium last weekend. The place was a mob scene and we worried that Ellie would be overwhelmed and shut down by the frenetic activity and noise of the crowds. I am happy to report that she did GREAT!

Ellie had been watching Signing Time Zoo Train . Her favorite part is the chapter about the aquarium and the song In the Water. So like any good concertgoers we played this video and that song, signing it to her, all the way there.

When we got there it was a zoo - no awkward pun intended. There were tons of people in line. Kids running around everywhere and a general happy din. Ellie and I waited for Dave to get the tickets. She insisted on my lap and we did her favorite signs, lobster and the crab that tickles her, about a million times. It was loud and Ellie was keeping a low profile and would not look away from me. When Dave finally got in, he carried her through the lobby, which was a major accomplishment considering it's cramped and awkward layout. After getting assaulted by random grockle traps in the guise of pushy photographers and navigating crossing lines of comers and goers we managed to muscle our way close enough to the big 5 story tank to see in.

It took a little time and some special encouragement for Ellie to work up the courage to look in the tank. She first explored the cement of the window casing and snuggled in Dada’s shirt but would not look in no matter how much we pointed and said and signed, "Ellie! Look at the fish!". Then a GIANT sea turtle came up to the window we were holed up in and put his face right up against the glass facing Ellie. We of course got very excited by this and Ellie finally looked up and smiled and then laughed and got excited too. There he was, this giant turtle facing Ellie, nudging at the glass right in front of her for a few minutes. It was amazing. She was delighted. I wondered if he could see her or if the glass was a mirror on the other side. Either way, he wanted to get her attention and maybe, like Lion did, had some message for her. I think turtle is definitely another one of Ellie’s special animal guides/symbols.

Like I said before, sometimes you just have to open yourself up to the mystery of it all. Because after her encounter with turtle she looked at everything. Rode in her kid kart without issue. She got to touch a starfish and see sea anemone, harbor seals, penguins and many other amazing animals. After an hour or two of this I think I was more exhausted by the crowds than she was. It was a great time and we will go again.

I was so proud of her. It seems she has really turned another corner. A year ago this experience would have sent her spiraling into a major shut down. But last Saturday, with help from turtle, all she did was enjoy it, explore it, and share her discoveries with mama and dada. I am so proud of my warrior princess!

Any thoughts on the symbolism of turtle anyone?

Tip: We got free discount passes from our local library. This required reserving them a week in advance and saved us a fortune.

Special Note for Uncle Rupert: Notice the fringe?! I finally cut Ellie's hair for the first time a week ago - just a little. It was getting in her eyes and no amount of elastics for the pigtails would keep it out of her face. So I very carefully cut a fringe. ;-)


Danielle said...

That's so awesome!! And you two seem like such great parents--Ellie is so very luck to have you.

About the symbolism--you are getting too deep for me there. LOL You made my brain hurt, but I will think on it.

Kathryn said...

Hi Danielle - thanks we try hard to make Ellie's life great. What are parents for if not that anyway?! And that is a huge compliment, that I made Your brain hurt, you, a person who uses a lot of brain power!

Hope you are fairing well in your psych rotation. ;-)

Lisa said...

My mother saved this artwork I did when I was a child. I think it was for Thanksgiving. It had a drawing of a turtle and I wrote "I am thankful for turtles." I have no idea why I was thankful for turtles as a child. But, now again, I am thankful for turtles!

Glad you had a great time!

Miracles said...

Hi Kathryn,
I wanted to thank you for leaving such a nice comment on my blog.

I found Ellie's blog about 2 weeks ago, and have been reading through it to find out more about her. She seems to be doing so great. No doubt because she has a wonderful mother like you.

I have read so much negativity lately on other blogs about preemies. When I began to read about Ellie I found your words so refreshing. You are someone who a lot of mothers could learn from.

In one of your posts you talked about how if you had of had a healthy term baby you probably would not appreciate all the little accomplishments Ellie has made. I feel exactly the same way. I have cried at every milestone the girl's have reached, I have appreciated every breath they have taken, and when I'm having a chaotic day with them I think back to when they were born and remember how hard they fought to stay alive. In an instant that rough moment goes away.

I look forward to reading more about Ellie. She is such a beautiful little girl who will go far in life and have many accomplishments along the way.

Jacqui said...

I've been having trouble loading comments - still reading though!

Love the fringe - you are so clever!


Angela said...

Yes, I am impressed by the haircut! Let's just say I didn't do so well my first time...

I love the pictures -- we hope to go to the Aquarium in Baltimore this fall!

Emma said...

I was just looking up what an animal I think maybe a spirit guide/totem of mine and couldn't resist seeing what the turtle meant. A lot of it reminded me of Ellie and of you. Particularly: Grandfather Turtle has amazing survival skills and strategies. They sense vibrations in the water through their skin and shell. If turtle comes with a message for you, it may be interpreted to mean that you should listen closely to your physical and spiritual senses and vibrations and move slowly and cautiously to adapt. I got the info here.

And that is such a great picture of Ellie with the turtle. Aquariums rock!

L, Emma xx

Kathryn said...

Lisa - that is so cute. I am thankful for Turtles too as they got Ellie to look around at the aquarium!

Miracles - I think it is a quintessential error not to have hope for your child no matter what the circumstance. i also feel like focusing on what is wrong all the time and/or only presenting that side of things to make a point is not honest. I have changed for the better from this whole thing - a thousand times. Your girls are beautiful and I look forward to tracking their progress too through your blog.

I do believe it gets easier as they get older because they get stronger and more interactive and that is the fun, FUN part!

Great to meet you!

Hi Jacqui - great to hear from you. I wonder if there is some setting I need to change to help your comments come through.

Yes - cutting the fringe - way scary but her hair was sticking to her face and looked so uncomfortable so I cut just the tiniest amount and saved the dear locks. Now to find a locket or some cool place to keep them. Sigh. She is getting older. Sometimes I wish she could stay 3 and then 4 forever. It is just such a Cute age!

Angela - I only did so well because I wimped out and did so little. I was sure I would Never cut it - like her hair is her source of power like that Greek god....! Good luck at the aquarium. The signing time video is a great introduction to it!

Emma - thanks for the info on turtle - very cool I will check out that link! Aquariums are great - now we just have to figure out it's least crowded times - I think for me more than Ellie! Gah!

Kristin - thanks for the info as well on turtle - it's a very cool animal symbol for Ellie and me I think!


Anonymous said...

Good job on the hair Kathryn, the fringe suits Ellie she looks like such a big girl!Glad you enjoyed the aquarium, we must take the girls on our next visit. Give Ellie a big hug & kiss from Aunty Rie

msiagirl said...

she looks great in her fringe!