Today marks Elise Morgan’s second year here and she makes use of every moment. She is a child full of life, energy and enough raging passion for all of us. Which is fortunate, because she can take it out of a person. She is a cuddly child and is perfectly content to snuggle up on your lap or be carried for as long as you can manage. She is quick with hugs and kisses. She likes to lay with you on the couch or bed or floor and will do so for hours. Unless she decides at a split-second notice that she suddenly wants no such thing and then makes her exit with squirming and moaning and screaming and pushing and kicking if needed to get away from you, thank you kindly. She will also bite, hit, and pull hair without provocation as her mood determines.
And The Moan. She makes this gutteral sound like a batteried siren on its last legs. It started at the age of 4 months and every day since we have said She will stop that when she’s 6 months old, one year old, 18 months old….no child continues making such a desperate noise only an infant can perfect forever. Yet she can and so she does. One cannot stop it and one cannot tolerate it. The source must be found and appeased. Anything to stop The Moan. I am going to record it and play it in a loop when she’s 12 and doesn’t want to get out of bed for school.
She sometimes speaks with a slight British accent, adorable and curious. I don’t know what the source of ‘duddy’ or ‘huh-loo’ is, but it is charming. She loves all songs and demands repeated sing-alongs of The ABC Song or Wheels on the Bus at the dinner table. She is very good at Head Shoulders Knees and Toes (and will proudly declare all her other parts – belly! arms!) and delights in All Fall Down!! while she slams herself on the floor for Ring Around the Rosie.
Elise is quite physically able and has always been quick to learn. Crawling, walking, jumping off the ottoman and onto the couch. In this way she is a bad influence on Amelia who would never attempt such feats on her own and now they both try to pitch themselves off the bed. Thankfully, only Elise thinks that repeatedly and intentionally whacking her forehead into the headboard is funny. Yet, she doesn’t really bruise and tears from injuries are quickly forgotten as are any physical signs that such an injury ever existed.
She does not! like her hair washed. She does not! want to go to bed. She does not! want her hair combed. She does not! want to get dressed. She does not! want her diaper changed. She does not! want that for dinner. (I Don’t Like This!!!) In case I haven’t quite received her message, she will remind me with whatever aggressive form of communication is at her disposal. But, she does! want to put her shoes on. She does! want chocolate. She does! want to snuggle. She does! think that tickles are hilarious. She does! want to play Restaurant with her sister. She does! want to play hide and seek with grandpa. She does! want to go to school. She does! want to color. Whatever it is, she is fully committed and gives it her all in whatever extreme that may be.
Elise had a bit of a delay in her speech and we took her to get her ears checked by a specialist in early spring because of recurring infections. She ended up having to get tubes in her ears and it has been a godsend. She had some verbal catching up to do, but has done so at a pace that even I was unsure she could accomplish. Please, Thank You and You’re Welcome are her favorite words. She is learning to ask for what she wants instead of just crying, especially at bedtime when she is cranky and upset that she does, in fact, have to go to bed. She will give you anything she has if you ask her. She follows very complex directions, going to specific locations in far rooms to look for an item with very specific descriptions when told.
She is very good at helping me clean up when asked and she immediately apologizes and kisses Amelia (Ah-meena!) when she accidentally harms her. Her favorite play is taking her dolls for walks, feeding them, changing them, and putting them to bed. She loves to be near Amelia constantly and becomes very upset if Amelia leaves the house without her. Never developing any ‘stranger danger’, she lets anyone hold her and is affectionate to relatives that she has just met or hasn’t seen in a while. Her teachers adore her and tend to spoil her. They give her preferential treatment, cupcakes an hour before dinner and special gifts for her birthday.
Elise does everything with gusto and does not back down. She runs into the ocean at full-tilt, jumps right up when she’s fallen, runs until she passes out, covers me with kisses, and is determined to the fit-pitching end to do things her way. The bruiser and the snuggler. The screamer and the giggler. The irreverent and Miss Manners. She puts her whole self into it and is always determined in her two-year old convictions. It will carry her far and to whatever destination in life she chooses.
To my brave little cuddlebug, Happy Birthday!