It almost sounds like a cruel joke: The toddler who won't stop laughing and smiling. Except that 2-year-old Elliot Eland can't stop laughing and smiling. And he will never learn to speak. Elliot has a rare condition called Angelman syndrome. He not only cannot learn to speak, he has numerous other severe learning difficulties and he only sleeps four hours a night.
And there are other ways this condition affects the whole family. On one hand, Elliot's mother, Gale, says his happiness is contagious and brightens everyone's moods. “But it can be upsetting if his brother Alex cries after he’s hurt while playing. Elliot just laughs and Alex, who is three years older, doesn't understand why.” For Gale, her son's condition has made her think about what's most important for her child.
“At the end of the day, when you have children you just want them to be happy -- and Elliot always is," Gale says. So he may not learn everything his brother learns, and it certainly sounds like the Elands aren't getting as much sleep as they'd like to. They have many years of therapy and special education ahead of them. But wow, that's offset by a child who is always ... happy!
It seems strange to imagine since the rest of us know the full range of emotions. I wish we knew more about this story -- what does Elliot do when he's frustrated or hurt? Sometimes crying is an important message parents need to know when something is wrong. Fortunately the Elands are teaching Elliot sign language, so as he gets older, he'll be able to communicate with them -- what ever he's feeling.
What's the most important, basic thing you feel like your kids need?
Image via qwrrty/Flickr