Wednesday, December 22, 2010

dear santa 2010: a letter from leah

dear mr. claus,

hi santa. it's me again, leah. full name: leah licious karen stinky danger layton. this is my fourth letter to you, so i think we're on a first-name basis, but i know you visit lots and lots of kids, so i just wanted to make sure.

anyway, i just wanted to give you an update on my highs and lows this year. overall i've been a good girl, but i believe in full disclosure. let's start with the bad {hopefully you'll forget about it by the end of this letter}:

first, i have a temper. man, can i throw a doozy of a tantrum. but, for the record, i'm three. and aren't a few tantrums allowed when kids are three? i haven't checked the official rule book lately, but i'm pretty sure they are. i kick and flail and bite and hit and scream. i'm mean, mean, mean. mommy and daddy are trying to teach me that anger isn't the best way for me to communicate, but i'm only three. i'm still learning. the biting is definitely waning. i've stayed away from furniture and people {for the most part} for months now. hitting has mostly taken the place of biting. i'm super good at whipping my arms around like a windmill and let's just say it stinks for whoever is in their path. i'm quick and i'm strong. but i guess hitting people with my braced propeller arms is bad? i'll try to stop.

second, sometimes i'm lazy. i know, i know, laziness shouldn't really kick in until my teenage years. but sometimes i don't like to do the work it takes to learn how to use my spoon or to bite my food when it's not already in small pieces. i don't always love to walk up and down stairs {mommy's always saying she needs to work out more, by making her carry me i'm just helping her with the weight training part}. sometimes i just close my eyes when i don't want to do something. this is partially good and partially bad. mommy says closing my eyes and taking a break is a much better option than the aforementioned rage, but she also says i still need to work. i say work shmirk. i've got the rest of my life to do that. let me be a kid! plus, it's not fair. i have to work so much harder to do even the smallest of normal things. but i'll keep trying.

third, i kind of don't like to sit still. ever. anywhere. mommy and daddy really want to take me places {like the movies or to dinner} but i just won't have it. if they try to make me sit, i wiggle and wriggle until i set myself free - or i scream until they set me free. i'm working on it. it's a goal at school to sit for longer periods of time and i get better every day.

fourth, i'm a terror at the table. a serious terror. it kind of has to do with not wanting to sit still and it kind of has to do with not wanting to work so hard. but mommy and daddy really don't like when i paint the kitchen with cereal and spaghetti and salad dressing and saliva. i try to tell them it's art, but, unlike the food i toss, that doesn't usually fly.

fifth, my tiny little fingers won't stop moving. oh, i know i can't help that - that's not the naughty party. when i'm snapping i often walk up to dad and my busy little fingers get all tied up in his arm or leg hair. he says it really doesn't feel very good. but it's so tempting. plus it makes mommy laugh. but i'll work on that too.

okay, i'm getting carried away. enough with the bad. onto the good!

first, i'm still walking. i work hard at it every day. i walk, i run, i crawl, i climb and i'm keeping my muscles strong.

second, i'm gaining weight. the doctors told mommy she had to help me gain a pound a month until march and so far i'm doing it. i totally just let her feed me butter and cheese and milk and avocados and all sorts of yummy things to make me chubby. okay, not chubby...just a little more than skin and bones. other than my food flinging or hand whipping at the table, i'm a great eater.

third, i'm so good at following directions. whenever my body will let me, i come when i'm called, i can sit down for mommy or daddy to put on my shoes, i climb into bed, i put my hands down at the table {even if i have to be asked hundreds of times a day}, i close my eyes at bedtime, and all on command! that's pretty amazing for a girl with severe apraxia. double points.

fourth, i give great kisses, hugs and cuddles. i'm not sure how it works, but no matter how big i get, i fit perfectly in mommy's and daddy's arms. like a glove. my hugs melt them, they relish my cuddles and the kisses evoke enormous grins.

fifth, i don't mind when mommy and daddy brace my arms. i've actually figured out how to maneuver around with robot-straight limbs. that's pretty awesome for a three year old.

sixth, i'm pretty good in the car. actually, i'm really good in the car. i either chat {in leah-nese, of course} or giggle or sit ever-so-silently. sometimes i blow enormous amounts of boogers out of my nose and mommy can't get to me immediately, but it's pretty funny so you should let that slide.

seventh, and i'm not sure why i didn't mention this earlier, but i'm learning to go potty like a big girl. this is HUGE for me. i'm not sure if you know much about rett syndrome, but it's really hard for me to control my body. so to sit on the potty and actually get my body to work correctly at the right time is down right amazing. yup, i'm amazing. i've filled up two potty charts already and i loved the prizes so much {mostly my date to the zoo with dad} that i'm still making progress!

eighth, i work so hard in school. my teachers love me to pieces. i'm learning all sorts of things like letters and colors and shapes numbers and the weather. i work hard in occupational therapy and with my communication specialist. i look cute every day {which means i let mommy dress me and do my hair}; so cute in fact, that i've earned the name "miss ribbons" and i get comments on my cuteness daily. i'm a great friend to everyone in my class. i give them nice, gentle pats and they give me sweet hugs. i've learned how to move my body to say "hi" to people, i've held onto my marker and colored for prolonged periods of time {as much as 23 seconds at a time!} and i love to dance. my teachers say i'm making great progress and i'm usually happy as can be while there.

ninth, i let people wipe my nose. let them. yah. i don't shy away or run and hide. i do occasionally wipe my nose on them before they get to me with a tissue, but i'm really getting good at clearing my nasal cavity and letting others dispose of the waste.

tenth, and my final point for this letter, my sleeping is back on track. no more mid-night scream fests. i often fall asleep within minutes of mommy or daddy reading to and rocking me. and, to top it off, they started to wean me from my sleeping medication last month and haven't given it to me in probably two weeks. no problems. oh, they were worried. they were scared to death to wean me. but i took it like a champ. if i get
out of bed, i can usually calm myself down and either find my way back into bed or just find a comfy spot on the floor. i let them sleep until at least 7:00 every morning and i let them know i'm ready to escape from my quarters by politely banging on my door.

so, mr. claus, as you can see, the good outweighs the bad two times over. i'm twice as nice as i am naughty. and i only get better every day. i don't want a lot. i'm pretty easy to please {plus, i can't play with most of the plastic junk they sell in stores}. i'd love a pair of roller skates {mom can give you the full story later - 26 years in the making}. i'd also love anything princess or anything to entertain me on the tv. also, i have a rough time calming my body down, so i'd love a weighted blanket {but could you specially make it for me with cute fabric?}. i'd also love some music. i love to dance. i'm sure you've seen my moves.

that's all. thanks mr. claus! it was fun to see you today.


p.s. we got some carrots for the reindeer, and are hoping you'll like them too. mommy says you could afford to lose a few l-b's. if you're worried about them not having enough flavor {like me - i'm a total dipper}, we'll leave a little bit of ranch dressing in the fridge. mommy sometimes makes it with my vitamin d milk. it's


  1. im SO PROUD OF YOU Maren!! I wish I had the guts to do that. that is so awesome and now Im crying like a baby! way to go leah!!

  2. Dear Leah,

    I think you've triply nice as any naughty in you. I hope you get those roller skates. You are the sweetest!

  3. Goodness Miss Leah. You are too cute. Way to go for talking to Santa! Lots of kids your age just cry at Santa. Happy Christmas to you sweet girl!

  4. Sweet Leah you are so clever by the end of the letter all I could think of is how deserving you are. What a nice letter! You can go in front of the judge and win your case no need of an attorney :)

    big hugs

  5. Leah is so brave to sit on Santa's lap!

  6. That was the most beautiful letter ever written! What an amazing little girl you are Leah, I think you get that from your mommy!!!
    I LOVE that Santa - he looks real and so super sweet!
    Have a wonderful Christmas!!

  7. This is the first thing I read and now I am crying, but couldn't think of a better start to the day. I am so proud of you both, and Ryan for that matter! Please tell Leah that if she gets the skates, we want to skate with her!

  8. Dear Leah,

    Thanks for sharing your letter to Santa with us. What a great update! Keep it up, girlie! You're doing great!


  9. Okay Maren, I know it's a little soon to start thinking about this, but I really hope that you consider writing a book someday. You are just too talented, and the people of the world (in addition to your faithful blog readers) need people like you!