I had no idea when I started this blog just how much it would bless our lives. Watching each day for miracles in Elli's life has opened our eyes to the love the Savior has for her. We have always thought we were celebrating each milestone she made, but it feels different now. Like we are really seeing His hand in her life.
I am not going to record every little sign of progress right now, but I did want to share one thing. Elli has been, quite frankly, driving us up the wall with her screaming. In the past few days, she has several different times during the day had these AWFUL screaming fits. She is so loud and screeching, that it has my ears ringing. It is so hard to stay loving and patient and kind. We have felt very frustrated, as it feels like there is nothing that can be done. All of the kids have been going crazy with it too.
Well, today Jeremy and I had a talk. We decided that surely the Lord would help us conquer this problem. Thus far, we have been very inconsistent in how we've dealt with her screaming. Sometimes we ignore her, sometimes we try to talk to her, sometimes we are telling her "no" over and over, sometimes we move her to a different room, sometimes we try to rock her-- and nothing works consistently. So today we talked about how best to help her CONSISTENLY. We decided that each time she screamed, we would calmly tell her, "Elli, if you scream, we will have to cover your mouth." If she continued, we would cover her mouth until she stopped. If the screaming started again, we'd repeat the same thing. Elli HATES having her mouth covered-- but in the past if we have done it, we've done it without telling her. It hasn't worked at all-- it just makes her more mad. We felt like it was fair to give her warning and let her know that it was coming. Being consistent in this was part one of our plan. The second part was to PREVENT the screaming by giving her more attention. We decided that each time we (or any of the kids-- they are in on this plan) walked in the room she was in (usually the living room-- so we're in and out constantly) we would give her some attention-- even if just for 30 seconds. In the past we haven't been great at this-- often if she is happy, we just let her be for fear of making her mad. But, we decided that a better approach would be to just SHOWER her with as much attention as possible whenever she wasn't screaming.
We prayed about this plan, and implemented it a few hours ago. The first time Elli started screaming, I told her that if she didn't stop, I was going to cover her mouth. I didn't even know if she would comprehend what I was saying, but she did stop. A few seconds later, she started again. I told her again, and when she didn't stop, I covered her mouth. After she stopped screaming, I took my hand off of her mouth and asked her what she wanted. I gave her some choices, and she sat still for a minute. Then, miracle of miracles, she said, "Going on a bear hunt." (This was of course unintelligable to anyone but me, but I guess that's the way with every child as they are beginning to talk.) It felt SO GOOD that she could stop a screaming fit that quickly and end it by telling us what she wanted! She so rarely uses any words-- it is SO EXCITING when she does!! (: The rest of the afternoon has definitely had fewer tantrums and she has been responding so well to us.
We so want Elli to be HAPPY!!! She is such a light in our home when she is!!!! We love her so dearly, screaming or not, but our home feels so much more peaceful when she is not having her tantrums. (:
By the way, a very Merry Christmas to everyone!!!