The thing about Eli is... well, goodness, there are quite a few things. I can think of single words to describe all my other children, but with Eli, I'm stumped. He's his own (tiny) man, our Eli, a tiny man of mystery.
Hours after he was born, he yawned big and revealed an equally big dimple. Be still, my heart! Neither Ben nor I have dimples --they must be inherited from Ben's dad, who has a matching set-- and I was done for, right then. All the jokes about dimples are true, you know: Have mercy, that child has saved himself from the intense wrath of Mommy by grinning.
But you know, the grins aren't doled out generously as they are by the exuberant brothers he's sandwiched between in the birth order. Eli was a fairly somber baby, always watching, stoic, reserved. We, his devoted parents, have invested much effort into finding what pulls him from that place inside himself, makes him giggle (you should hear his giggle).
It's when he emerges all on his own that he shines best, though. His siblings will babble and squeal and yak away mealtimes and he'll sit quietly, chewing more slowly than you can imagine on a handful of whatever we've compelled him to ingest for his health and well-being. But sometimes, when you ask him about his day, he'll let loose a stream of carefully chosen words, and he'll get excited beyond what he seemed prepared to show, and he'll smile and talk and smile... and you, the blessed listener, will feel your heart explode in your chest.
Don't be mistaken: He's not all zipped lips and emotionless stares. Did you know he does a running start before he flits from room to room? It makes us think of the Flintstones for some reason, the way he prances in place on the tips of his toes and then bursts in a direction.
He's fond of putting his forehead against ours and laughing with heavy breaths all over our cheeks. "Spider eyes!" he'll say in his squeaky voice.
And when he learns something, the dimple pops and the hazel-brown eyes glisten. He learned how to write his name a few weeks ago and now I find scraps of paper here and there with the parallel lines of the E, the lightly-scratched L, and the mostly-dot I. ELI here and here and here -- Eli, in the palm of my hand, etched permanently and spiritually in my heart by an Artist who doesn't need words to do so. I guess he's not such a mystery after all.
You can read here about Noah, our third-born.