Elsie holds her toy telephone to her ear... if her ear were on the back of her head. 'Uh-der!' she says, pausing for the response 'thuh-beliting-no-limi-nuh' her face is deadly serious. 'ah-nuh' she finishes.
'Puh-sh, puh-sh' she says, holding it out to Marek. 'There's the Polish coming out' I smile as Marek takes the phone. Prosze!
'Ra ra!' she exclaims, seeing her puppy. I move it to one side and recover Bagpuss from the toy box 'Ooow!' she says, right on cue. 'Me!' I correct, 'meouw'. She gives me the kind of look she's honed. It says 'whatever.'
We know when she's hungry because she tells us; one hand, finger ends brought together, comes quickly and sharply up to her mouth several times. Once she's delivered the message, she takes herself off to the kitchen, just to underline the urgency. She no longer wants help getting the food to her mouth though. Once you've prepared the food, your role is over. As soon as her bib's on, she tucks it down into her lap, grabs her spoon and fork and watches to see whether we're telling her to blow. It's hot Elsie!' we say and she hoo hoo hoos over the food. Once she's stabbed with her fork, scooped with her spoon and grabbed with her hands, her face is smeared and she chatters away happily. 'Moar!' she occasionally reminds us, if it looks like we might take what's left away. 'What do you want for pudding Elsie?' is usually met with 'Na na!' If it were up to her she'd eat nothing but bananas all day. When she's had her fill, her hands twirl a dramatic conductor's finale.
'Deuh deuh!' she says, in a high pitch, full of feeling. I glance over
and see what she has spotted. 'Yep, there's doudou, Elsie' I confirm, as
she totters over and grabs the light blue blanket toy. She holds his
head and sticks her thumb in her mouth. Do you want to sleep Baby? I ask, watching her droopy eyes. As I watch, her eyes brighten, and she holds clenched fists up under her chin and I take the cue. 'Meunier, tu dors...' I start and she gets to the good bit way before the song does. 'ton moulin ton moulin va trop vite' I sing as her hands swing round like a windmill and her face breaks open into a wide grin. Doudou discarded, she walks around, twirling her windmill, pure contentedness showing on her face.
At bathtime the ducks are 'duh DUH' then her milk is 'muh', not to be confused with water, which is 'murh'. If you ask her to bring a bedtime book, she delivers a selection; and if it's the one with the cow, then you get sound effects on top. 'Bmmmmuh! BmmmmmmmUHH!'
Soon though the games are over. She lifts her arms to be carried, and buries her head in my neck as I carry her to her sleeping bag. We do the nightnight tour, her waving solemnly to the neighbours, her toys, each room as we pass through. Once she's blown her last kiss, the thumb gets stuck in and bunny is held tightly. Good night little one.