Elisha was the most wonderfully tranquil child through 18 months. Then she mutated into a willful little beast. We’re still working through her terrible twos–the sooner she discovers she’s not queen of the world, the happier she’ll be–but she’s given us more than a few glimmers of hope in recent weeks.

Part of the problem, of course, is that she’s caught in the classic middle child squeeze. Jonah commands a lot of attention, and Jillian, as baby, has to get a fair share our time. How could Elisha not feel slighted?

It’s also frequently difficult to remember that she’s just two, because she is remarkably tall for her age. More than two years younger than Jonah, she’s not that far behind him in height. Whenever we go to play with other kids, no one can believe she’s just two. (We were at AC Gilbert House today where there’s a special “2 years and under” playroom with a small doorway designed for that age group. Elisha has to duck her entire head to get in.) Anyway, the point is that it can be difficult to remember what’s age-appropriate when your two year-old looks like she might be 4 or 5.

The part that fills one with hope, though, is when you see her at her best. She shares with and cares for others superbly well under many circumstances, and she seeks responsibility almost constantly. (“I wanna help myself!” is her unceasing refrain.)

She also likes Christopher Robin, Pooh, Tigger, and Roo, but heffalumps most of all, and she’s taken to “seeing” them in various places around the house and warning us when one’s coming. “Protecting” her from a heffalump gets you a hug every time, which is every bit as wonderful as it sounds.