we interrupt our brooklyn post-a-thon because eloise turns eleven today! well, eleven months, that is. she's come a long way since she was born with no bottom to speak of and barely tipping the scales at five pounds! she's a full-fledged baby who crawls, walks, talks a little, laughs a lot, and is generally all smiles and hugs. she's got a built in best friend in her mentor/older sister beatrix, and the two of them spend a lot of time hugging (sometimes against her will, even!).
but enough from me. let's go talk to the lady of the day! hey eloise!
"whoa! not so close with the camera!"
"just kidding! make sure you get a shot of my tonsils!"
so, deeze. you're eleven months old today. you've come a long way! and like your sister before you, you've burned through a hell of a lot of nick names in a short time. we know you, most affectionately, of course, as chicken. that was one you really had since day one, and it's stuck. but we've also come to know you as lolo, elo, weezie deeze, diesel, dieselle, delightful, buddha, buddha baby, kaluska, ivan kaluskevitch (the slavic snowflake), chicken-lou, loulou, loodie, loodie-toots, loulouise, dima-kuma, wama-kuma... most recently cucumber baby, little fat-face baby, big ears(those last five courtesy of your sister), boy in a dress… the list goes on and on, and i'm certain we've left some out. it's been quite a ride so far, hasn't it?
"when i reflect back upon my time in the womb, i knew almost from the start that place was too small for me, y'know? i just had this… feeling that i was going to outgrow it really quickly. and i'm my parents' child- once that bossy placenta took over i was like 'where's the light? can i go into the light now? there's supposed to be some squeezing, and then i go into the light. can we make this happen?' i don't need some sack of whatever this stuff is telling me what to do."
"yeah. i really needed out, in the worst way. you know those nightmares people have where they're in danger but they're frozen solid, unable to help themselves?"
"that was my life! that was me! even as a fetus, you have a hard time doing anything before your limbs grow. no arms, no legs… oh! but i had this tail! it was awesome! you know that one spot, right between your shoulder blades? perfect for itching that spot! of course, i mainly used it to swim around, one side to the other, that kind of stuff. sometimes circles, and loop-the-loops on adventurous days. there was this one spot i could use it to hit that gave mommy gas. which was pretty sweet."
i would disagree. can you elaborate?
"the acoustics were surprisingly good in there, and if the burst was a strong one i'd be rumbling and tumbling around in there like it was a hot tub washing machine! a full body bubble massage! for as 'full' a 'body' as i had. anyway, holy crap was i excited to grow arms!"
i think we all are.
"except for people who never grow them."
"but just growing them doesn't get the job done. there's this 'new arms' period, where i had to learn to use them and stuff. no manual. no manual in there. trial and error. lots of trial and error. i probably poked myself in the eye about ten times!
when i finally got control, i knew there was one sure fire way to get people's attention. grab that belly tube and cinch it off! it was bound to back up somewhere, right? stuff was always going in and out through that thing."
so, cinch it off?
"like when you're using a garden hose, and you want to turn the water off for a second, but you're too lazy to walk back to the faucet, and too cheap to buy a nozzle, right?"
sounds like me, admittedly.
"so you fold it in half real tight at the end, to squeeze it off. Bammo! boy oh boy i was outta' there in no time."
why was it so important to get out?
"two words: solid. food."
you do really pack it away. at eleven months old you haven't really met a food you don't like.
"you know it."
and as long as someone is putting food in front of you, you'll just keep eating.
"Yes! that's me!"
i've seen you eat continuously for an hour and a half.
"mmm. you're making me hungrier."
"i'm always hungry. all this talk about food is making me hungrier"
oh, okay. so aside from picking up more nicknames than a basketball roster, what else have you been up to lately?
"wow. well, as you know, i'm out touring right now."
yeah, you're doing some walking these days?
"mostly the tv room, but i've been known to hit the kitchen (it's a little slippery), and i routinely make it across the living room without stopping."
that's a long way!
"I'm working on a mean stutter step, a little stop, then go! move. and a pivot. i can go left, or right. whichever. i pretty much have the pivot down."
"i can stand and clap."
"yeah. sounds like two little pork chops being slapped together. it's awesome."
and some language skills, too?
"i've been saying 'dog' for a while now. as far back as anyone would listen. dog, dog, dog. all day, every day. and 'dada' pretty early on, also."
that one's my favorite.
"oh? you're a fan of the dadaists? i personally think there's more going on there, philosophically, than what they actually produced..."
oh, i see.
"wait- you thought i meant-"
no, no. of course not. ahem.
"embarrasing. anyway. i've got a decent 'mama' now, but my heart really belongs to 'blah blah blah.'"
blah blah blah?
"yep. it's a line from my sister's favorite book, The Pigeon Finds A Hot Dog."
huh. okay, well, we're just about out of time here, is there anything else we should touch on?
"i've got a mean wave. and i growl."
really what, what?
"are you questioning that my wave exists, or are you questioning it's vivacity? or was that totally directed at my growl?"
none. neither. i don't know?
"i can actually do each of those things on command. it's a little something i like to use to distract the parents when they're being fussy."
"you see what?"
here we go again.
"yeah, i just get them to ask me 'eloise- can you wave?' wave wave wave. 'eloise, can you growl?' arrrrrghhhhh!
i'm also always trying to improve and change the routine a little."
"how so what? JUST KIDDING! well, what was once a one handed wave is now a two handed wave, and that turns into a sort of flail, and then ends with headphones."
"yeah. i flail my arms around, and then at the end i clamp my hands down over my ears. headphones."
and also, really quickly, i understand you have some artistic aspirations?
"i've been known to throw down a scribble or two on the magna doodle."
that's pretty advanced for an eleven month old.
"actually, i've been doing that since i was ten months old. and you wait all the way untill the end of the interview to start flattering me? you're doing it wrong."
i'm just saying that for an eleven month old, you walk, talk, you have four teeth(two top, two bottom), recognize verbal commands and respond accordingly, you have fine motor skills allowing you to essentially write, you have an actual sense of humor (though it does involve pulling my glasses off of my face, laughing at me, and then throwing them on the floor, followed by more laughing), you love music, and snuggling, and you're delightful ninety percent of the time! all this from a five pounder who had to see a physical therapist for being born a runt! it's like you're some highly developed, ahead of the curve, genius baby, or something!
"i still crap in my pants."
well, you're still technically a baby.
"i'd like to thank the academy…"
happy eleven months, delightful!