Anyhow Ella's class is full of "typical" kids. Ella is half their size and obviously doesn't communicate anywhere near their capabilities. In the beginning I was so worried about Ella being treated like a baby or simply being ignored. However in the past couple of months something quite amazing has happened..... Ella has a best friend.
By all of the teacher's accounts these two seek each other out all day long and actually play together. At the end of class they have a closing circle time, and they receive stickers before they are dismissed. Well Ella and this little girl have to compare stickers, then they hold hands and the girl walks Ella out to her locker and gives her a hug. Seriously, it's all I can do to not tear up everyday. I have heard lots of stories about these two, one of my favorites is this one.... the class was out on the playground one day, Ella and this girl were playing together and hand in hand climbed to the top of the twisty slide. The little girl says lets go down the slide, Ella says "no." (she is afraid of big slides because her trunk is so weak and it is hard for her to hold herself upright while going down the slide.) The little girl tells Ella, it's okay I'll go down with you, Ella says no. So the little girl gets off the slide, holds Ella's hand and walks her back down to the ground and they go off and play something else. What 4 year old would do that???
The mom to this little girl told Ella's teachers that she told her mom "Ella is my very best friend." **tears again** The mom told her teachers how glad she was that Ella was in her daughters class. We then received a card in Ella's locker, an invitation to come and play at her house.
The teacher also told me that Ella and the girl were playing a game at the table. Ella patted her on the arm and said "I like you," to which the girl turned to her and said " I like you too Ella." Um, I could just die from shock. For Ella to put 3 words together and for the teacher and a 4 year old to be able to clearly understand her is just so amazing to me!!!
I really can't put into words how this all feels to me. I remember when Ella was very little and we still lived in our apartment I was sitting out on the patio watching two little girls jumping rope and talking and giggling with each other. I got so sad. Will Ella ever have that? Will she ever be that giggly little girl who has a true girlfriend? It hurt to think this may never happen for her. Now here we are in her first class with "typical" kids and she already has a friend, a real friend. I happen to think that this other little girl is quite special, I mean think about it, at the age of 4 she is befriending a little girl who is much smaller than her and doesn't really talk, yet she treats her like a peer, she doesn't baby her but realizes that Ella does need help with somethings. This friendship just makes me feel so.....I don't know.....just knowing that there are kids out there who will befriend my daughter just really warms my heart.
So, the last day of school before Valentine's Day Ella's class had a teddy bear tea party. The kids were to wear their favorite party clothes and bring a stuffed animal to school. Ella wore her tutu and a little crown. Well as we were walking into school her little friend ran up to us and said that she brought Ella a hat to wear like hers so they could match. Yeah, you guessed it, tears again. I was able to catch a few pics (they aren't the best) between dropping her off and picking her up, so here they are, Ella and her best friend : )
Ella before school.
Helping push Ella up to the table.