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A Rambling Story About Love

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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.


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.



…And Gilder To Frame For It

Whenever I talk to my aunt she always asks, “What projects are you working on?”

I know that she’s just making conversation but I always feel like Prince Humperdink when I respond that we don’t have any projects going on right now. We’ve been busy.

It’s not as though I’m planning anything as grand as he is, it’s just Mr. Pirate and I have found our time strangely occupied since Elle came along. She really has changed everything. Our weekends revolve around nap time. Our menu planning is determined by whether or not it’s something that can be gummed by a little person with only two teeth.

Neither of us regrets this change in our perspective but it certainly has altered our short-term planning for the Jade House.

We bought this house because of its proximity to the elementary school (it’s at the end of our block) so the goal always has been to hunker down and stay here for a bit. And with that comes our expectation that things will take some time.

The house has come a long way even if we’re not making regular progress. We now have two fully functional bathrooms plus the sole original one that’s located in our creepy basement. Mr. Pirate refinished the hardwood in Elle’s room which was more important to us than fixing the peeling linoleum-whatever floor in the living room and dining room.

We’re working on saving and budgeting for new windows. All of the appliances in our kitchen work, even if the layout leaves something to be desired. It has possibly stopped snowing (for now) so maybe we can start laying down the groundwork for a raised vegetable garden out back and just do some general curb appeal.

At times I envy the family two doors down who had the opportunity to gut their formerly bank-owned home. Like ours, it was in need of some restorative TLC and they were able to set up a Dumpster out front and just give the house a 4-month long makeover before they moved in. It would have been nice to do that.

Instead, we’re just living with poking along and doing one intermittent project at a time. At least this way we’ll never be bored.