Monday, October 4, 2010

Elena No!

My dear friend Jen (of Just Imajen, the best blog you're not reading -- go check her out) was thrilled when we named our baby Elena -- and spelled it the Italian way. Jen, you see, served a mission in Rome, and as a side effect, became an expert, connoisseur even, of all things Italian. Of course, there's the food -- a fine, deeply flavored simple red sauce is worth its weight in rubies -- but more importantly, there's the music.

Long before this baby was named (or even conceived), Jen made me a CD full of her Italian favorites. I don't understand any of the words, but I know they're having a good time, and, while it lacks a certain . . . sophistication, a little bit of joie de vivre (which I wish I could say in Italian) goes a long way.

Right after my Elena was born, Jen sent me a link to a fantastic little pop gem entitled, "Elena No." (Please go listen. It's so worth the effort.) It's a catchy little ditty, which, according to Jen's translation, tells all about a controlling manipulative diva named Elena who has her man so wrapped around her finger, so trained, that he caters to her every unreasonable whim. "Elena no, Elena no," Lucio croons. "If I'm a man any more I don't know."

 My Elena Kate.

I just might have to call it prophetic.

Last week, Craig came home from work and, in a rare unoccupied moment, got out his iPhone and sat down on the couch to check his e-mail, some scores, whatever. Elena immediately toddled over to him (yep, she's walking and I am so not a fan of precocious mobility) and grunted in the general direction of his phone. In a moment of what I can only describe as acute idiocy and inability to withstand extreme cuteness, Craig acquiesced, turning his attention to something that must have been really important.

Elena shortly returned to him -- without the phone held in her hands. Her cold, wet, pee-smelling hands. Oh, yes she did. It took her a mere thirty seconds to waddle on down to the bathroom and baptize Craig's most trusted companion in a toilet full of yellowed water. Yeah, the boys should know better than to leave an unflushed toilet with the seat up and the door open -- we've been working on toilet etiquette for quite some time now, but it's hard to argue with logic that says there's no need to wash hands that haven't touched anything. But Craig made that bed, and there but by the grace of iPhone insurance goeth he. It took about a week for his new (refurbished) phone to arrive -- long enough that we were without the instantly-gratifying informational itch-scratcher for our entire vacation to the beach. So I had to sacrifice almost as much as he did.

I told Craig this does not bode well for the future. How can he possibly expect to say no to a whiny teenager when he can't even say no to the non-specific shrieks of an eleven-month old? Yes, dear, she's cute. Yes, she's your only daughter. But, um, that was also your only iPhone. Elena, no, indeed. Someone in this household needs to practice saying that about 45 times a day for the next 17 years, lest we end up with a houseful of kittens, dollies, little stray puppies, and, knowing this kid, race cars.

This little girl has spunk in spades. She chases after her older cousin to steal his pacifier -- which he then can't seem to steal back. When her brothers take a toy away from her, she lets out a holler, her meaning clearer than words could possibly be, and chases them down until they give her back what she wants. She turns the charm off and on with a level of skill I still haven't developed. But she holds her own with these rough and tumble boys of mine -- she's still alive almost a year in, and darn if she's not ending up on top!

I tell all of this to my mom, and she just shakes her head and smiles. She won't meet my eyes -- if she did, I know she would break down laughing at the similarities. Laney Kate has the red hair of her father, and the set of her eyes is all him, but that spunk? I'm claiming that all as my own.

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