My little girl is 4. Well, the older of my two daughters. But she will always be my little girl. Sweet Ellie Sue.
She is having surgery first thing tomorrow morning to have ear tubes put in and adenoids taken out. I'm thankful that this is what our next step is, after 5 ear infections in the last 3 months, fluid that won't go away, and countless allergy/asthma attacks and cold viruses. My sweet girl, how she suffers sometimes. This surgery should bring her relief in many ways, and I'm so thankful for the opportunity for her to have it.
For the last 2 weeks I've been trying to think about what it is like to be her. To be 4 years old, to be around 4 feet tall, with a little world that keeps getting bigger with each day that passes and with each experience she has, but still with so many unknowns. I have been trying to view this upcoming surgery from her perspective, in order to best anticipate her needs. I've been listening to her questions, and paying attention when she repeats back to us (or explains to others) what is about to happen. I've been putting a game plan together.
I think I've landed where most parents do.
A simple explanation of the surgery will suffice...
Ear tubes (like the ones your little sister has!) will help your ears to not hurt as much anymore. Those ear infections are painful, aren't they!? And it's annoying to always have to take medicine to try and get rid of them. At the hospital, they'll give you a mask with silly air that makes you fall asleep, and after they put your ear tubes in they will also take out your adenoids. We aren't really sure what those guys do anyways, except make it hard for you to be healthy when you get a cold. You'll be asleep the whole time and when you wake up, it will all be over and mommy will be with you.
Picking out a new (clearance, ha!) nightgown to wear to the hospital, and saving it for that day, has given her something fun to anticipate rather than the surgery itself. We have also been calling the morning of the surgery her "special date with just mommy". I feel a little pathetic about this, but any alone time with either parent is automatically a 'date' to our kids no matter what the activity is, so we went with it. Breakfast date with mommy at the hospital (sans breakfast!)! HAHA.
Another simple explanation of what the recovery process will be like...
When we go back home, you get to eat as many popsicles and as much ice cream as you want for the rest of the day because your throat might be a little sore. Also, brave girls deserve a treat. And you are a brave girl. You will get to watch a new movie and rest on the couch. And then it's the weekend, and you know how much fun we have as a family together on the weekends!
I hope I'm speaking my girl's language. I hope all of these thoughts and plans communicate loving care and protection over her. I hope I've learned to listen to my daughter well, anticipate her needs, and that when my actions speak to her, all she hears is "you are precious to me... you are loved and cared for."
Ellie, on the morning she asked Jesus into her heart this summer.
Precious daughter of the King, indeed.