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Tag Archives: Elle

A Rambling Story About Love

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Prologue

I sing to Ellie every night as part of an evening ritual that my mom did with me.

  • Get jammies
  • Brush teeth
  • Read stories
  • Nighttime singing

It has always felt to me like observing vespers, only without the Latin canon. I cried the night my mom stopped singing to me. It felt like being forced to grow up before I was ready. But that’s another story for another time.

This one is about Elle.

Those who sing, pray twice ~  St. Augustine

When singing to Elle, I like to try to personalize the songs. “All About That Base” has become “All About Her Face” and I even have a version of “Goodnight Ladies” from “The Music Man” that my opera-singer of a college roommate has praised me on.

I have tried to make “Mary Had A Little Lamb” all about my girl and her current favorite stuffed animal, Lamby.

One time, Ellie listened, and then told me: “The next time you sing it, make sure you say she because Lamby is a girl.”

Someday, there will be a reckoning and it won’t be about the gender assignments of toys, but rather about the very nature of Lamby.

This is Lamby.

Lamby

Note: not actually a lamb.

Lamby has been with us since before Elle came into our lives. A gift from Mr. Pirate’s grandmother on my birthday, the white stuffed kitten first resided on my dresser and then later, when we moved out of the apartment, into a box. While cleaning, Mr. Pirate and Elle found her and Elle struck her claim.

I don’t know where the name Lamby came from, but she’s called it Lamby ever since she vocalized that the critter is hers.

Lamby has gone through the wash machine a couple of times and has had the subsequent experience of hanging to dry out on the clothesline. She’s ridden in Ellie’s bicycle basket and has made forays to preschool where she only gets to come out at nap time. Lamby likes to fly. She tries to sit at the dinner table. She is, for all intents and purposes, exactly what Ellie wants her to be.

She’s just not actually a Lamb.

Maybe someday, that won’t be a big deal. I just worry  that it will be like the revelation of the Easter Bunny or of Santa Claus and I’ll be taking away from her some essential part of her innocence. But we’ll see.

Today, on the drive to preschool, she told me that Lamby sometimes says “Meow.” We talked then about how maybe Lamby is bilingual and that she speaks two languages — cat and lamb.

Maybe someday it really won’t be that bad when Ellie realizes her lamb is actually a feline. It’ll be a gradual realization much like how we are constantly redefining ourselves throughout our lives. I’m still the sixth grader who wrote about losing her nightly songs, but I’m also the mom who is aware that kiddos are going to be who they are going to be.

I’ll try again to sing Ellie off to sleep with my rendition of “Mary Had A Little Lamb.”

Maybe it will go something like this:

Ellie had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb.

Ellie had a little lamb and Lamby was her name.

Ellie and Lamby

She is always in motion.

~*La!

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The Bee’s Bruised Knees

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Elle and I are a lot more alike than either of us will probably ever readily admit. In the pursuit of being your own person, sometimes the driving factor is to show who you are not.

And yet, I see Ellie’ s banged up shins next to my own bruised legs and can’t help but think, “Yep. That’s my girl.”

Ok, so it's really our shins. Whatever.

We are not particularly careless, but we are not overly cautious either. I’m a mechanic and like a gardener, getting dirty is pretty much part of the job description. By Sunday, my hands are usually not too gray — unless I work on our cars over the weekend — in which case, forget it. However, my legs tend to bear the brunt of my work. On our smaller buses, the Type As (the rest of the world knows them as Short Buses), I remount the tires by resting them on my thighs and then lifting. Don’t judge. It works. So that’s the twin bruises on my thighs.

Then there’s the abrasion on the outside left leg paired with a two-day-old bruise on the inside. Inside is where I banged my shin after a test drive and outside is where I gouged it BEFORE the test drive on some sheet metal.

It’s cool. My tetanus shots are up to date.

Elle on the other appendage, is a complete mystery. I ask her, but I don’t think she always notices when she gets injured. Mr. Pirate and I have encouraged her from the get-go to dust herself off and pick herself back up again. She cries, but almost always follows it up with, “I’m OK.”

Maybe she’s been watching a bit too much “Paw Patrol” and has accepted the accident-prone Dalmatian, Marshall, as her personal hero?

Marshall the firehouse dog

He really is OK. He’s just still growing into his paws.

Regardless of the why, I think I’d rather she learn to be resilient and aware enough of her own body so that she knows when to sit it out and howl, and when to bounce back with a grin and a wave.

So for all of the Moms like mine who had semi annual visits to the hospital, thanks for letting us learn our limits. We’re out there raising up the next batch of cheerfully bruised kiddos, and I think we’re all better for it.

~*La!

Helping

“Momma, I want to press letters.”

And so we are. I remember being her age and sitting at my mother’s blue typewriter, tongue sticking out of my mouth as I poked away at the keys. The satisfying click and thunk of the keys striking the paper roll.

This morning she read the white letters on the STOP sign in one of her picture books.

“S-T-O-P. Stop. That’s a stop sign.”

Ellie might not recognize the connection between what she’s saying and what she’s seeing, but that’s OK.

She’ll get there.

“I holded it up and I holded it down and I banged my heart in weightlessness.”

Yep. That’s my girl.

~*La!

Slow burn

There are so many things that make me burn.

Injustice.

Intolerance.

Deliberate callousness.

So when I feel stuck on a low emotional simmer that I can’t explain, then I feel like I’m not doing enough.

Right now, I’ve tried for over an hour to put one word after another to form some coherent account of my brain space.

It’s really busy in there right now and there’s not enough oxygen to set my mind on fire.

The bottom line though is that I hope Ellie will never be called Honey when she is on the job in the someday future where she is an adult.

~*la.

Blame It On the Toddler In the Nicest Way

There is a slogan often applied to clothing for small children that states: “I am the reason we can’t have nice things.”

Mr. Pirate and I have come to understand exactly what that entails. He amended the slogan this morning after Elle found an uncapped pen and her dad’s open book and personalized it as: “It’s not even nice things. I just want things.”

After the holidays that’s a terribly materialistic thing to say when a person is supposed to be self-sacrificing and interested in goodwill for all. But there you have it. We young parents are super self-centered and our goodwill pretty much extends only as far as our toddler’s attention span.

I’ve been away from blogging for almost a year and although it’s a cheap and lame excuse, it really is all Elle’s fault. Children change you. No matter at what age they enter your life – whether you’re 30 and a parent for the first time or 45 and marry into a per-existing family unit – the introduction of a new, and permanent person in your life is a major life change.

I marvel at being her mom. It’s crazy. There’s this walking, talking person in my life now who didn’t used to be. Without even realizing it, we’ve adapted.

Jonathan Coulton understands.

We plan weekend errands around her nap/feeding schedule. Social engagements have to be kid-friendly. My wardrobe really does revolve around how easy it would be to scrub out unexpected stains.

The Jade House though remains an ongoing-exception. All projects have been put on hold for the time being, but not completely dismissed. We just have to look at them differently. A working hall bathroom would be great before she starts potty-training, but getting a handle on the organizational nightmare our house has become is a higher priority.

This brings me back around to the selfish nature of new parents. She’s napping right now. I should be folding laundry. Or cleaning up the kitchen. Ravenholm, the basement, is still a lost space. But I’m not. Instead I’m blathering to the Internet and giving strong consideration to jumping in the shower. Maybe even I’ll take a nap.

~*La!