I am still hanging out for those terrible twos to begin. We are nearly four months in, and we have not had a hint or whisper of anything remotely terrible. On the contrary, my dear friend. Elka is an angel. Heaven sent to improve us mere mortals, educating us in the ways of kindness, love and affection. A few scenarios to enlighten you about her glorious nature…

Recently, my husband got into a bit of a debate with someone close to us. Tension flicked between them, but for Elka’s sake, and everyone else’s, my husband composed himself, hiding his emotion behind a blank expression. Elka sidled up and held his shorts. She looked up at her daddy and asked: “Poppy, are you OK?” She stroked his leg with her warm little hand.

On the weekend, I was staying at my parents, and I feverishly eyed off my father’s iPad in all its iGlory. “Can I have a turn, Dad?” I asked.
“Sure,” he says, “but please be careful!” I promised I will, but as I am handing it back across the table, it slips from its protective sleeve and lands face down with a bang.
“Bloody hell!”
“Shit, sorry!” Voices erupt in dismay.
Suddenly, Elka is at my side. “It’s OK Mama, don’t worry,” she says, with the wisdom of the Dalai Lama. “It’ll be alright.” Of course, she was right, and we had all acted erratically. It only took a two year-old to bring us back to reality.

Elka spends most of the day listening to “The Smartest Giant in Town”, by Julia Donaldson, on audio CD. The giant is sad because he’s scruffy. The giraffe is sad because his neck is cold. The mice are sad because their house burnt down. The fox is sad because he dropped his sleeping bag in a puddle. “Poor giant,” says Elka, her head cocked to one side, “really sad!” And so she continues to sympathise with the ill fortune of the characters in the book. Elka applies the same sentiment to most things – dollies, teddies, duckies… “Oh, poor {insert name here}. Really sad!” She prescribes breastfeeding, hugs or walking them singing Hallelujah.

Sharing has been an issue much discussed amongst friends with toddlers. Believe me, Elka has had her “Mine!…No! It’s MINE!” days. But mostly, she approaches a child with an outstretched hand bearing a gift. “Here you go,” she offers with her kind, warm voice and her doey brown eyes intent on revealing her best intentions. Having  very recently been shy, or so she told us, only yesterday she was in a cafe sandpit when she approached a child she had never met before with a toy from the sand. “Here you go…do you want to play with this one?” The child, flabbergasted at the generosity, accepted her gift and the two played merrily until the babycino arrived.

When I take her on the toilet, she says, “Thank you Mama. Thank you for helping me.” She asks politely for things she wants. She thanks us for everything she is given. We honestly made no attempt to teach her manners.

Elka is also affectionate. Always a co-sleeper and a sharer of blankets, she has recently taken to sharing my pillow and tickles my ears with each hand as she falls asleep. She breathes sweet milky breath directly into my face. I have to admit, I love it. If she has had a conversation with you for more than a minute or if her parents kiss you goodbye, good luck leaving without a big fat Elka-kiss on the lips. If you kiss her cheek, she will request a rematch. If you are related or spend any amount of quality time with her, she will cuddle into you on the couch and press her little head into your chest.

She loves like I have never seen another person love. Sometimes she gets “cwanky” but she’ll own it, and name it and not reject you or blame you for how she feels. She will rationally explain her state as caused by tiredness or hunger or thirst or just because she’s cwanky. Usually, she will self-medicate with a bottle of milk or Playschool to “feel better”.

Although my husband and I are generally kind to one another and try to be kind to those we know, I can’t quite believe how kind and sweet our daughter is. Where does she get such wisdom? As a tiny baby, she taught me patience, strength and resilience. As she grows, she teaches me kindness, love and forgiveness. Although I have a supportive husband and family, it is Elka that makes my life as a mother easy. I glide through without barely a whimper because she is magic.

Whatever becomes of you, Elka, piercings, tattoos or inappropriate leather-lad boyfriends, I would just like you to know that when you were two, you weren’t terrible. You were angelic.