Last week, Elisa went with Emily, her daycare provider, and the other kids to walk through the stations of the cross set up at Houghton by students and faculty because Emily wanted to be prepared to take her Sunday school class this weekend. At one point, there was a display that showed Jesus crucified and Elisa saw it and said “Ow,” drawing it out with feeling. May she always be sensitive to the incredible sacrifice Jesus made for us!
In general, she seems to have a good sense of “ow.” We have some sticker bushes as we go down to the creek and when walking down, Andrew pointed them out to Elisa and explained they would hurt. Of course, she touched it and said “ow.” Then she brought us back later and pointed out the bush and said “ow!” She also watched a cartoon short where the character has a vending machine fall on him. As the vending machine tipped she tensed and said “uh-oh” in a worried tone. When the vending machine fell, she gave another sympathetic “ow.”
Elisa has two volumes for speech: full voice (with good carrying power that she comes by honestly) and sotto voce. Frequently her responses are whispered – saying yes or thank you (“Kyew”). As expected she is using new words every day and adapting many old ones. We are now getting consonants regularly in the middle and end of words, although there are still no blends. She says “Bubble” very clearly and has started saying names of her various caregivers. Today she was saying “Bannon” frequently for Brandon, Emily’s husband.
Andrew is particularly good at involving Elisa in his different activities. Last weekend, Elisa enjoyed planting seeds with daddy. Andrew led her through planting two 6×6 trays of seeds of all kinds. The sunflower seeds and those of similar size were relatively easy, with Elisa poking holes and placing the seeds and covering them. Small seeds like herbs and lettuce were accomplished more with a dip and brush method: dip the finger in the seeds and brush off those that stuck into the dirt. Elisa was very patient working through both trays. After the first tray, daddy asked if she would like to get down. She said no and pointed at the seeds that weren’t yet planted – she wanted to complete the job!
The bank clerks – mostly grandmother age females – think Elisa is a perfect child. Last December she picked up a little Christmas decoration (a wire tree with little bells) and enjoyed shaking it and when Mommy told her to “put it back” she did it immediately. I think that was the first example that “put it back” was a magic phrase. Elisa has played with Halloween pumpkins, played peekaboo around corners in the back, written on scrap paper and generally charmed while Mommy was banking. Finally this week, Elisa proved to them she isn’t perfect – she cried when Mommy had to put her down to fill out a deposit slip.
Elisa has other ways in which she isn’t perfect. Like Mommy, she gets irritable when tired. A week ago she had her first real fever – Thursday night and most of Friday she was running fevers around 102 and was pretty miserable. Friday she had her first sick day from daycare and Daddy and Mommy split the day at home. Sabbath, she was down to just a slight fever but she was exhausted from not sleeping well. Then she got a cough that kept her from sleeping, so she finally caught up Thursday and became her normal even-tempered self.
We had another episode recently that shows Elisa may be too devious for her own good. Like most toddlers, she likes buttons. (Thankfully she doesn’t seem to be as obsessed as others!) Daddy has played her music and showed her pictures on his iTouch and she was very quick to figure out how to press buttons and bring up menus. Her favorite buttons are on the dehumidifier in the basement – where she only goes when helping to feed the cat or change laundry. Last weekend we were taking her doll out of the wash (since it had been loved with strawberry fingers) and while Mommy was putting more clothes in the dryer, Elisa walked over to the dehumidifier and pressed a button. Mommy turned around saying no – just in time to see her holding the dolls hand to the power button and turning it off. Mommy told Elisa not to turn it off and pressed on again – only to have Elisa point to the doll as if to say the doll had turned it off. Mommy was not pleased with the implications that Elisa wanted to pass the blame, but the level of literalism as to who had pressed the button was impressive.
While this episode isn’t the best, it shows the beginnings of Elisa’s ability to pretend. Not only has the doll pressed buttons, but the doll has held the guitar pick to strum the guitar and danced as she rides in the car or stroller. The doll has been sat up in chairs or placed on grass. She also is currently pretending to sleep – anytime she has a blanket or pillow on mommy and daddy’s bed, she crawls underneath it and calls out “nighty night.”
One other episode was a little traumatic – with Mommy taking one for Elisa. We were baking two weeks ago while Daddy was away (Mommy had to make cookies to celebrate pi day at school!) and Elisa was following her normal procedure when the oven needed to be opened: she stood across the kitchen holding onto a cupboard handle. She has done this for the past month and done quite well. Mommy opened the pre-heated oven and had to change the level of an oven rack, so she opened the cupboard to get the potholders and pulled out a rack…only to see Elisa moving toward the oven. In the next seconds of confusion, Mommy managed to get the oven rack to her lower lip and chin (about 1.5 inches vertically), put the oven rack in and catch Elisa just as she was about to put her whole hand in contact with the door of the oven. She was so sure Elisa had been burned that Mommy ran Elisa’s hands under water – only to see there were no burns on either hand, which was a blessing. Mommy on the other hand had a very nasty looking bubbly and scabbed 2nd degree burn for the next week. At this point, it is down to a pink line so at least her vanity isn’t smarting quite as badly. And all of this was probably because she saw animal crackers in the open cupboard.
Before the burning episode, Elisa was standing on a chair watching Mommy scoop out cookies. Mommy was focused since Elisa couldn’t get into much – and then Elisa gets down off her chair and gets the dustbuster and comes up on the other side of Mommy to have her turn on the dustbuster. Thinking this was a standard “I think the dustbuster is cool” episode, Mommy turned on the dustbuster only to realize that Elisa had spilled some corn while on the chair (leftovers that needed to be thrown away) and was vaccuuming up all the corn. She is definitely going to be a better housekeeper than Mommy!