I remember reading once that despite being told so time and time again, a child often has no sense of themselves as being small beings. They are small people living the lives of giants - in the face of our constant reminders to make themselves smaller, quieter, calmer, they do their best to live the large lives they know they were meant to live.
This is Eliza all over.
At six, she exactly fits the description of a six-year-old as told in the Gesell Institute of Human Development series by Louise Bates Ames. Titled "Your Six-Year-Old: Loving and Defiant" (!!), it describes the average six as a "paradoxical little person...bipolarity is the name of her game". Like a two-year-old, the six lives at opposite extremes. Oh, yes. There is the larger-than-life dramatic, playful giant, and the serious, maturing soul who is so helpful. Here is more that hits the mark:
"Facial grimaces, sometimes almost tic-like in nature, are frequent, and many make numerous, irritating throaty noises or throat clearing."
"...even when not actually ill, she tends to be full of complaints. Her legs hurt, her arms hurt, or the back of her neck...nose and throat membranes seem much more sensitive than at other ages."
"She wants to be the life of the party and tends to be irrepressible. She likes to bounce her ball in your face, step on your feet, climb all over you, sit on your lap. She is likely to interrupt whatever an adult is saying, to monopolize the conversation."
"She enjoys boisterous, ramble-scramble play. She likes to wrestle with her father or a sibling, but this may end in disaster, for she does not know when to stop."
mmmmhmmm. I could go on and on and it all describes where our dear Eliza is right now in her journey of unfolding. As a funny aside, this series of books, while super helpful just when I'm thinking that she is going through something totally abnormal (those throat sounds and facial tics!!), they are also pretty dated. For instance, "...the path of wisdom is to have your child sit beside Mother and as far from Father as the size of the table permits. Then Mother can, unobtrusively, give what help is needed, catch that glass before it spills, and give any other assistance required".
Eliza wants to engage you, to make you laugh, to have you see her. She has been really loving being six - tying shoes, braiding hair, cooking, helping Anika on her better days - and will often ask if I'm proud of something she has done (to which Anika always responds, "I am proud of my own self") or check in to make sure I am really listening. Her energy is huge and she would love nothing other than to be picked up and thrown about - a person (me, for example) who might be crouching down to get a pan from a low cupboard is a target for a running leap and impromptu horse ride (ugh.). Because I am always braced for this level of energy from her, she will surprise me when she is contemplative..."Mama, I guess there are some questions that don't have any answers, and I am really interested in those." She told Dan this morning that she sees how hard it is to have children (I believe she said "manage" children!) and that she thought it might be a difficult thing for her someday...
Perceptive, curious, big spirit - that's our girl.