There’s a monster that lives among us. This monster doesn’t live in the basement, the closet or under the bed. It doesn’t have red eyes, sharp teeth, or even green fur. It’s not the boogeyman, mothman, sasquatch, chupacabra, or the nain rouge. And it’s not limited to appearances after midnight with a full moon. This monster is 30 inches tall, has brown curly hair, an adorable smile, makes cute little airplane noises and on occasion has been known to bite people. You may know her as Ellie, but can you be so sure? You never know when the transformation will begin, for at a moment’s notice that cute smile can disappear and you will be standing face-to-face with the monster we’ve come to call, Eloise.
Eloise is an unpredictable, devious, bully. I go to bed in fear because when I hear Ellie’s bedroom door creak open in the morning I don’t know who I will see. Will it be sweet Ellie ready to greet me with kisses and a big “Daddy!” Or will it be Eloise screeching and barking orders at me. “ARGH! AHHH!”
What makes detecting Eloise’s presence even more difficult is that she comes and goes without warning. The other day Ellie was happily coloring at the kitchen table talking adorably to her drawings. “Dis? Hmm? Green? Nooo, bluuuee! HAHAHAhahaha!”
But after I asked her in a non-threatening tone, “Hey! How about some noodles (her current favorite) for lunch!?” Uh oh. Duck and cover! I’m not sure if it was what I said or how I said it, but I saw Ellie’s eyes change and Eloise emerge. I froze.
“ARGH!” Godzilla screeched. “No want nooodLLLEEES!”
I jumped back bringing my hands close to my body for fear of them being bitten off.
Trying to keep things light I defensively responded with, “Okay okay okay… Geez, no noodles. How about a sandwich?”
While continuing to color, Eloise looked up at me only with her eyes. (Gulp) I cautiously waited for her response while she thought about her answer.
But in that time, Eloise faded and Ellie returned with a bright smile and said, “I like turkey! Yum!”
Phew! That time I was lucky, but other times my encounters with Eloise are not so brief.
The other morning Ellie’s door creaked open earlier than usual. I was sitting on my bed awake, afraid to see what little being was about to greet me. But to my surprise, it was Ellie. “HI DADDY!” she said while running to give me a big hug. “Okay, great, this is starting off to be a good day,” I thought.
But as soon as I started the water to take a shower, Eloise emerged. “No daddy shower! Argh! Ahh! No Shower!”
I defiantly showered against her wishes, but Eloise also did not want me to go to the bathroom, brush my teeth, get dressed, change her diaper, or change her clothes. And then she didn’t want me to eat breakfast, drink coffee, make eggs, French toast, cereal, pancakes, or oatmeal for her. All Eloise wanted was to wear her pajamas, keep her soggy wet diaper on and eat “lunch.”
When Eloise does not get her wishes, it usually results in tears (her’s and sometimes mine), shouting, screeching, and flopping around on the floor thrashing. Such a strong reaction because I dared to put a shirt on? “NO Clothes!” she shouted as if we were on a nudist colony and were about to get kicked out.
I try to reason with Eloise at first. (Between convincing Ellie to change her diaper, clothes, shoes, eat, and take a bath, I feel like I’m in training to be an FBI negotiator) Sometimes you can negotiate her down, or sometimes a timeout or a threat of a timeout is enough to scare Eloise off. But other times you have to call in the big guns; Grandma! Grandma is like kryptonite to Eloise.
My mom just happened to stop by one day around bath time. (Ellie hates bath time 99% of the time and it’s always a struggle) Aya and I looked at each other, then at my mom and said, “We are going to use you. Get Ellie upstairs for a bath!”
Sure enough, Eloise stayed hidden deep within while Ellie happily walked upstairs, happily took her clothes off herself, and hopped in the bathtub with no trouble and washed! But every now and then, Eloise is so fierce that even the strong krypto-nitic powers of Grandma render useless.
My brother had the misfortune of witnessing an Eloise moment at my mom’s house the other day. He looked in horror as Eloise thrashed around the floor kicking and screaming. My mom chuckled and said, “That’s a mild encounter.”
His mouth dropped open and said, “That’s a mild one!?”
Even my dad was brought to speechless fear when my mom asked him to get Ellie out of the bathtub. He managed to wrangle her up and then said, “Now what do I do with her!?”
I find that when that happens, the best thing to do is to let her run wild in her natural habitat until the encounter passes. It’s safer for everyone that way.
I like hearing these Eloise encounter stories from other people because I find them validating. “Not sweet Ellie? She’s so smiley and playful, she wouldn’t do that,” people would say.
Believe me please! I’m like that guy with the blurry bigfoot video who claims he was attacked by a sasquatch. “No it’s true, you hear that? There’s a squatch in these woods!”
So whether you believe me out not, I know it to be true. Eloise is not a mythical creature. She’s real and walks among us. The next time you think you’re safe and you see something cute out of the corner of your eye, don’t be so sure. Was it the cat? Was it just a breeze? Was it a figment of your imagination? Or was it Eloise?
Beware, you can lock your doors and shut your windows, but she lurks in the shadows behind every door, in every room, in the closet, under your bed and next to your pillow. Are you really safe?
Is anyone really safe?