While being with Elisa is a joy (who doesn’t love a little girl who loves hats and smiles all the time!), it can also be very fun to hear what others’ experience with Elisa! This week I’ve heard a few different stories about Elisa that give a good snapshot of her weekly experiences away from her parents. [Unfortunately, since we weren’t there, we don’t have pictures of that and you have to put up with these pictures of Elisa in a hat she got from her cousins and her green monkey pajamas!]
Elisa is cared for by Emily, wife of one of the physics professors, every school day. Emily is a former elementary school teacher who is a sweet, gentle and steady caregiver. One or two afternoons a week she gets to leave after lunch and starts her nap on the way home. While she is there, she spends her time with a few other kids – a little girl, Adelaide, about 8-9 months old a few mornings a week; a little girl, Sophia about 3 who she sees every day; and the little girl’s older brother, Eli, who comes after preschool. Beyond this, they go to the local church playgroup two mornings a week and to the church nursery during Emily’s weekly bible study.
One of the other faculty members has a daughter named Elise Joy who is a month older than Elisa (we didn’t know about the other’s names until months after they were born!) She goes by Ellie and sees Elisa at playgroup and bible study. Apparently, every time she sees Elisa she says her name and runs to her. She has gone to the nursery during church services and asked to see Elisa only to find Elisa wasn’t there. The faculty member told me today that he hears about Elisa all the time! It is nice to know Elisa is well-liked by some of her peers!
Sophia and Eli are definitely teaching Elisa about a variety of things. Sophia models for Elisa all the ins and outs of being a girl. Occasionally Elisa’s diapers get used to diaper dolls. Sophia mothers Elisa, bringing her sippy cup and other things she needs. Elisa has learned from this by bringing little Adelaide her sippy cup and trying to feed her. This week Kristin looked out the window and saw Emily walking all the kids (she lives just off campus, probably a couple hundred yards from the science building) and quickly realized that Elisa was wearing a pink coat rather than her maroon coat. After a first thought that maybe her coat was inside out since the lining is pink, Kristin realized that Sophia was wearing Elisa’s coat and hat and Elisa was wearing Sophia’s. So Elisa is being trained to trade clothes at an early age!
Last week, I came to find Elisa with a towel knotted around her shoulders as a cape. Having seen Eli with this same setup earlier, it was clear where the influence came from. Eli likes pretending that he is an “evil pharoah that fights for righteousness” – I love the consistency of children! This week Eli read a book about colors to Elisa. He first asked for Elisa to sit on his lap, but quickly switched his request to have her sit beside him when she was placed on his lap. Then he read to her “R-E-D, red…” Apparently Elisa is absorbing early ideas of alphabet because she points to the letters on Emily’s sweatpants and pretends to read them!
Between playgroups at church and daily walks onto the Houghton campus to play on the quad or visit students in the campus center (which keeps Elisa very amused!) many people know Elisa. Besides the faculty member at lunch, Kristin had someone else stop her this noon to tell her how adorable and sweet Elisa was and how much she enjoyed seeing her around campus. Since Elisa is known by more people at Houghton than she is after 4 years, Kristin is accepting that she is identified first as “Elisa’s mom!”