Wednesday, May 02, 2007


4-year-old Abbie spent the night with us last night. I read her two favorite bedtime books, "I Am A Bunny" and "Goodnight Moon," and then Grandpa lay on the fold-out couch with her and sang her to sleep. This is our established bedtime routine when she has a sleepover here.

For readers who don't know, Abbie has Down Syndrome. She understands and remembers everything but doesn't talk well. She uses American Sign Language.

In the night I woke to to crashes of thunder and explosions of lightning, rain (or hail?) pounding on our camper roof. I opened the bedroom door and Abbie was sitting bolt upright on the couch, wailing with each flash and crash. I lay down with her and talked about how cozy it was inside with the storm outside; she murmured "Yeah," and slept again.

This morning she woke up to get ready for preschool. I was fixing her toast and she said, "Gamma," and made some kind of sign, shaking her fists. I told her I didn't understand. She shook her fists again and pointed out the window and I remembered the sign for "thunder" from last summer. "Oh, THUNDER!" She beamed and nodded, "Yeah!!" Then, the sign for "scared." "You were scared of the storm?" Solemn nod, "Yeah." A happy smile: "Gamma!" "Grandma came and stayed with you?" Satisfied nod: "Yeah." Signed "sleep." Then she said happily, "Away!" and gestured with her hand flying towards the window.

There was thunder, and I was scared, and Grandma came and stayed with me, and I went to sleep, and the storm went away.

I love it. It makes my heart beat faster to send this.




Jen McGarrahan said...

WOW, Ellie what a sweet story, thank you for sharing it with us. Seems children of all ages and levels know what they need to know. She needed to feel same, and knew you were there to make it so. Wonderful.

Nancy Toby said...

Go Abbie Go!!

ShirleyPerly said...

Loved reading this entry. Grandma at 44 ... you're incredible!