Elsie is definitely a whole, developed, totally herself person. Do you know how I know that? Because it is just plain difficult to try to describe her and to do her any justice. I think this means that I'm going to have to start writing about her and our days more frequently even if it is at less length. I can't remember all of the fun/interesting/enlightening things that she says long enough to get them into these quarterly updates. I think if I were to write without much thought, it would be easiest to talk about all of the frustrations we've been experiencing lately. It's not fair to do that though. We're all tired around here what with colds that won't go away, Arthur not sleeping so well, renovations and relocation preparations, and, what seems like, a prolonged bit of brisk weather. Elsie is still learning about being a big sister, as Arthur is growing up and learning to do all kinds of new things and present brand new challenges to her. We're still learning how to parent two children. It's a strain on everybody and we have just a plain ol' normal family; no learning disorders (that we know of), no real behavioral problems, no chronic illness or even food allergies.
There are certainly bursts of cooperation and downright helpfulness from Elsie. She sometimes likes to clean up her toys, and even though she doesn't use my organizational system, she does manage to make things look more tidy with all of the toys off of the floor. Elsie generally greets an invitation to help make pancakes or muffins with enthusiasm. She wants to do a lot of things by herself, but sometimes she's happy to let us do those things for her too. Tonight, I walked in to the bathroom while she was on her toilet and she said "Mama, can you wipe my bum? I was going to do it by myself, but now that you're here I want you to do it." She did want to brush her teeth by herself... why did I get the bum end of the deal? ha ha
Elsie and Arthur have been playing together occasionally now that Arthur wants people to chase him . He has also started "cluing in" to how to play hide and seek and wants to play that game with Elsie. They both enjoy dancing, so we get family fun when we play popular (to our family) songs. Elsie can have lots of fun, but then gets easily frustrated and emotional when she is in social situations with kids. I don't know if this is a result of not having much practice with this environment, just the way she is, or a common way for almost 4 year olds to be. Just today, she had a visit from her very fun cousins and she seemed socially frustrated from the get-go, wanting them to play with her as soon as they came in and being disappointed that they were engaging with the new-to-them toys and space first. She had a blast with a variety of games and play, but there were lots of tears in between. I've found going to Early Years playgroups has been challenging because she seems to need so much help from me to be able to be comfortable with the other kids around; unfortunately, I'm often occupied with trying to keep Arthur safe and out of trouble. So, we've started attending the one afternoon playgroup that is available to us and generally has extremely low attendance, and that has been working well for everybody.
What Elsie really loves is just time alone with her parents. The photo above is of our first Poetry Tea Time (about 3 weeks ago). I tried to make it fancy and then realized that in my zeal to keep unused/extraneous/decorative things out of our house, I've made it difficult to give a sense of festivity to our tea time. We did finally use Martin's handmade carafe and, unfortunately, discovered some design flaws. But we'll try again, both with Poetry Tea Time and the carafe, and I will try to work on building up a collection of lovely things to bring out to make it feel more special. Elsie somewhat enjoyed the poetry and one of the poems somehow led her to ask if Grampa Rick would be in a new human. So, we talked about how everybody is unique and that's one reason why losing somebody is so sad. She sipped the lemon tea, but didn't come close to finishing it. The food was all consumed... because it was undeniably yummy.
We recently made our just-about-annual trip to Hamilton to visit friends and said friends' kids. It's such a hectic time visiting them, but also very nice to be able to stay in touch and enjoy seeing their kids grow up. Elsie had a brief visit from a bird at Grindstone Park.