Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Milestone You Hope For, But Don't Admit

'Flower', 'hotdog' and 'swing' are a few of the most recent words Elise has added to her rapidly expanding vocabulary. At 15 months old she can say well over 50 words which is far more than her brothers were speaking at this age. Henry, in particular, had about 5 words by 15 months and some of those were made up. At 2 and a half he is now speaking perfectly fine, which just goes to show that they all catch up eventually.

One milestone Elise has not yet mastered is WALKING. She was slow to crawl, so I'm not at all surprised that she is not toddling around the house yet. It's just that my arms are getting really tired. Also, it's summer now and the cement is hot and the playground is mulchy, so whenever we go outside she is not inclined to crawl around on surfaces that cause discomfort to her knees. Instead, she prefers for me to indulge her every whim and cart her around like her personal walking chauffeur.
Elise not walking outside.

Elise not walking at the park.

"Fow-a!" she yells, and I haul her over to smell the flowers. 

"Swing!" she demands, and we trot over to the playset.

"Ball!" she points across the yard and I say, "Let's just stay here and swing for a little bit."

"No! Nnnoooooo! Ball! BALL! BAAAAAALLLL!!!"

I am ready for her to walk.

Occasionally I try standing her up, stepping back and reaching out my arms. "Come on, Elise! Can you walk to Mama?"

"No." she states matter of factly. 

Sometimes I show her videos of her peers walking. My friend's 10-month-old recently took off and is practically jogging around his house.

"Look at this baby walking, Elise!"

"Walk-y, walk-y, walk-y" she chants in a sing-song voice. 

"Yes, he is only 10 MONTHS OLD! You've got 5 months on him! It's kind of embarrassing, really. Don't you want to walk like the baby?"

Elise at the strawberry farm.
Not walking.
Instead, she made Grammie cart her around.
"Now take me to that strawberry."
"And feed it to me."

At least her refusal to walk has benefited her communication skills.

Another word she has recently mastered is 'Elmo,' or as she calls him, 'Melmo'. In fact, this post is about how Elmo himself helped my baby achieve her latest milestone.

The funny thing is, she has never actually seen an episode of "Sesame Street," because I am vehemently opposed to toddlers watching television.

JUST KIDDING. No, it's because her brothers hog the TV and she has never expressed interest in watching cartoons about mutated turtles.

Her only Elmo exposure has come from books and hand-me-down toys and still, SHE LOVES MELMO.

I'm not sure what kind of muppet voodoo Jim Henson did to create the ultimate toddler celebrity, but they are all crazy about that little monster. I can only assume that Elmo is the toddler equivalent of Will Ferrell. Think about it: everybody loves Will Ferrell for reasons that can't be explained, he is rather furry too and the more you watch his movies, the funnier they get. I think toy manufacturers need to create an Elmo doll that says all Will Ferrell's catchphrases like Elmo needs more cowbell! and You're Elmo's boy, Blue! I would totally buy it. Yeah, you would too. See what I mean?

Anyway, Elise's favorite Elmo toy is a moving, talking doll passed down from cousins to my oldest when he was little. Basically, it's been through 4 children before her. It used to dance and stand on one foot and tell all sorts little stories and jokes. Unfortunately, one day my 2-year-old decided to use Elmo as a weapon and hurl him down the stairs at the 4-year-old. Jack ducked out of the way just in time, but poor Elmo smashed on the hardwood floor and broke his leg. Now, when his switch is flipped on, he immediately collapses to the floor and exclaims Uh oh, Elmo fell down! Can you help Elmo up, please? And since he will never be able to stand again, that is the only phrase he says.

Uh oh, Elmo fell down! Can you help Elmo up, please? Uh oh, Elmo fell down! Can you help Elmo up, please?

And STILL Elise loves Melmo.

She crawls around the house, dragging him behind her. Uh oh, Elmo fell down! Can you help Elmo up, please?

"Uh oh," she repeats.

So today I had a brilliant idea. I used Elmo to help my daughter achieve a major milestone. No, it was not walking. It is the one milestone that mothers secretly hope for but never admit.

Today, while Elise was busy not walking, I dug out an old Elmo DVD and popped it in.

She paused. She looked at the screen. She pointed. "Melmo. Melmo. Melmo! MELMO! MEEEELMO!"

And there she sat for the next 20 minutes thoroughly engrossed Elmo's World.

And I cleaned the kitchen without anyone trying to "help" me unload the dishwasher.

Elise may not be walking yet, but PRAISE THE LORD she is watching TV!

So if you'll excuse me, Elmo is doing a riveting impression of a horse right now, which means I have 20 minutes to go SHOWER IN PEACE for the first time in 15 months!

I'll take it.


  1. I recently found your blog somehow through our mutual friend Kaylyn. I think we should be friends, because we totally speak the same language. I hung a rag doll my 3 year old is terrified of on my back door yesterday so I could take an actual shower and not worry she has escaped because she has mastered both lock and deadbolt. My neighbors think I am practicing voodoo, but at least my hair is washed. :)

    1. Hey Jackie! So nice to "meet" you! I definitely laughed out loud at your voodoo doll trick, but I'll tell you what, that is GENIUS! Whatever it takes to get clean every so often! I'm with ya, friend!

  2. This is hilarious. First, my daughter who is also the third and also the only girl didn't start walking till almost seventeen months. Little turd. BUT she has been an avid TV watcher for quite some time. Woohoo! Sometimes I feel guilty that she loves TV so much. . . but then I don't haha. She loves bubble guppies. Will sit and stare at it for episodes. Not that I ever let her watch more than one. . . riiiiiiiight.