Eliza is a huge fan of “jumping”.
By jumping, I don’t mean hopping up and down like a bunny. “Jumping” for Eliza means climbing on any surface that is stable enough to hold her weight and she can balance on long enough to LEAP off her launch pad and fly through the air.
We have watched her jump from places we probably shouldn’t have “watched” her jump from. If we weren’t already aware of her agility, we probably would have been there to spot her. Nevertheless, we also know from experience that she would have none of that kind of supervision even if we tried.
“NO! Mommy! I can do this MYSELF!”
There is no careful button on Eliza. Sure, she’s cautious in the beginning but after she’s got her footing, nothing holds her back. Cautious only to make sure she can push the envelope a until Mom is talking in a super fast, high, squeaky voice…
“Wow, Eliza… ohmygodhowdidyougetupthere… pleasestayput… AAAAAAAACK!”
Speaking of pushing the envelope, there are other ways in which she enjoys watching her parents squirm.
I think many parents feel that things were “so easy” with their first born child. They remember how calm everything was, how predictable, how Not. Like. This. In fact, when Franklin is on a play date and Eliza is on her own, things are quite calm and predictable. The differences then only tend to consist of less train track set-up and more drawing and tea party. When she’s having fun, Eliza jumps up and down, claps her hands and emits a piercing scream of joy. These are wonderful moments.
However, there are other times when she’s tired and when Eliza is tired she likes to push the psychological envelope. Apparently, no one’s allowed to be happy if Eliza’s not feeling it herself. My parents laugh and tell me that her personality is glaringly similar to mine when I was her age. So even though she doesn’t look much like me, she acts exactly like me? If this is the case, I apologize to my parents because this child pushes the buttons until you either snap (Franklin) or become, as Dickson described one night after the kids went to bed and we broke open the wine, like the deadpan guard for Hannibal Lektor:
“Get up and face the wall or I’ll mace you in the face.”
“Don’t turn around or I’ll mace you in the face.”
“Hands on the bars or I’ll mace you in the face.”
It’s not that she’s a serial cannibalist (almost 100% positive, anyway) but that her desire to provoke, that mischievous twinkle in her eye, when you know that getting out of the car is going to be a game to her… well, it just brings out the auto pilot in us.
“Eliza, come out of the car or I’ll will pick up your body and take you out.”
“Eliza, it’s time to get into the bath or I will pick you up and take you to the tub.”
“Eliza, either you get into the stroller by yourself or I’ll help your body into the stroller.”
It’s pretty obvious that she’s after negative attention. However, before these auto pilot, calm, tired phrases are uttered, there are plenty of “choices” and “fun games” and “enthusiastic hoorays” to do all of the above actions. Most of the time, she’s really into it. Some of the time, she’s not. Some of the time she just really truly only wants to how far we can go before it’s all over. Franklin, unfortunately, hasn’t totally caught on.
We’re on to her though.
But don’t worry.
There’s no mace involved.