A few important tidbits about Queen Elisabeth:
1) She never wears denim. Or shoes. Her wardrobe is made up entirely of knit tops and leggings. I refuse to dress her in anything restricting or uncomfortable - because why? Denim is great when you need something durable, and shoes are critical if you're walking around, but Elisabeth doesn't need durable and she most certainly doesn't walk around. It drives me a teensy bit crazy when I see other special needs children dressed for fashion and not comfort and practicality.
2. Her binky chain always gets clipped near the right shoulder. Elisabeth learned at a very early age where to find it by touch since her vision is extremely limited. There have been a few times where it has fallen off in the car without my knowledge and then I see her feeling all around for it unsuccessfully. That breaks my heart.
3. If Elisabeth is in the room I don't want any shows or movies on the television that sound scary. No gun fire, no yelling, nothing that sounds harsh or stressful. She doesn't understand about fiction or entertainment. She only knows what she hears and I never ever want her to feel frightened or worried.
4. When she wakes up in the morning, I cheer. My goal is for Elisabeth to have the best self esteem of anyone on the planet. I want her to feel special and beloved. I want her to know that she makes us happy, that she is worth celebrating. So when she wakes I carry her to the family room and announce, "She's up!" Then we all start cheering together, "Yay!!! She's awake! Elisabeth is awake!!!"
5. When she messes her pants, I also cheer. Let's face it, no one likes changing poopy diapers, but with Elisabeth diapers will always be a fact of life. Even though there are times when I feel like saying, "Why did you have to poop now?" (out at a store, for example) or "Not again..." (when she has three in a row like yesterday...) I instead choose to say, "Elisabeth! You are such a good girl! You did your poopoo's! You make your mommy so happy!" Because I never ever want her to feel like she has done something wrong or that she is a burden. Truthfully, I don't like changing diapers, who does? But Elisabeth will never know that.
[Elisabeth's feet, age seven. Still mint condition, never been used.
I love that they still look like newborn feet.]
All photographs by Lee Ann Norris.