When Ciara was about 17 months old she had to have surgery to fix a blocked tear duct. I decided that going through such a traumatic experience so soon after spending several days in the PICU being poked and prodded definitely called for some sort of special treat. At the time Ciara was completely obsessed with "La La Street" (That's Sesame Street to the rest of the world, but remains La La Street in our home to this day), particularly Elmo. I thought that it would be really cool for her to have a special Elmo to take into surgery with her- so I went and bought "Elmo Knows Your Name". Unfortunately, Elmo was extremely defiant and flat out refused to say much of anything. A few weeks after the surgery a replacement Elmo arrived in the mail and a beautiful friendship was born.
Where there was Ciara, there was Elmo. Poor, poor Elmo. 18 Month old children aren't particularly gentle with their toys, and they aren't terribly cleanly at that stage of the game either. After a while little Elmo really started to look a little worse for the wear. Unfortunately, he had computer parts sewn into his belly and I was never able to give the poor fellow a bath (Not that Ciara would have let him out of her sight long enough for that to happen anyway). However, the more worn out Elmo became, the more love Ciara seemed to have for him.
After a time our little friend Elmo became known for the most part as "Sweetie". I have no real idea how it happened. I remember driving home from school one day listening to Ciara chattering away in her car seat and hearing her call him Sweetie. I thought that it was the cutest thing ever. Sweetie was not a term of endearment that I used overly often with her at the time and I wasn't all that sure where she had heard it so it seemed especially poignant. This is one of those stories that I will remember forever and embarrass her with when she turns into a sulky teenager. It just melted my heart.
Anyway, from pretty much that moment on Elmo ceased to be Elmo and was now to be called Sweetie. If you tried to call him Elmo you were swiftly and emphatically corrected. As Ciara approached her second birthday Sweetie really wasn't looking so hot and I began to have some concerns that we had a terminal case of Toddler love on our hands. Uh oh.
Now, I'm not completely dense. I have had my own Sweeties in my lifetime, and I know that they are not easily replaced. Still, I figured that I had to try something. So I went back to Walmart and purchased a second Elmo. The idea being that I would just do a switcheroo as soon as an opportunity presented itself. Sadly, I made the grave error of shopping in the company of my Toddler. Now we had Sweetie, who continued to be the constant companion...and another Elmo, who mostly sat around in Ciara's crib looking lonely. Eventually spots began to wear through on Sweetie's abdomen where the computer box was and I knew that something had to be done. One night I waited for my precious little girl to fall asleep, and then I did the unimaginable...I went into her room and kidnapped her best friend.
The next morning Ciara woke up and wanted to know where Sweetie was. I tried to play it cool and pass the replacement Elmo off as Sweetie like nothing was wrong (Of COURSE I knew that it would never work- I'm not brain damaged!). It took a few days, but when it became obvious that Sweetie was gone for good, Elmo became an acceptable alternative. There was just this one thing...the replacement was NOT Sweetie. Over time he became almost as careworn, but not once was he ever referred to as Sweetie. It nearly broke my heart. I have kept Sweetie saved away to give back to her when she is older because I simply could not bear to get rid of it. My little girl's first Love.
There is however a new Sweetie on the block. Well, not Sweetie exactly, but rather Lamby. Lamby was actually the first gift I received upon confirming that I was pregnant. I don't have any idea how it happened, but one day Ciara simply decided that Lamby was to be her new best friend. I couldn't even begin to speculate as to what it was about Lamby that won her over. She has a rather large collection of stuffed animals and most of them had taken up residence in her crib with her at the time, but apparently Lamby had something special.
Lamby wasn't always known as Lamby. The first time I asked Ciara if her lamb had a name I was told very matter of factly that the lamb was "Mary Lamb". Pretty soon our old pal Elmo had fallen to the wayside and Mary Lamb had taken up the post of constant companion. As Ciara has gotten older she has branched out a bit and experimented with having other fluffy companions, but Lamby, as Mary Lamb eventually became known, is still the favorite.
By now you're probably thinking that all of this is very sweet and all, but you're also probably wondering what exactly my point in telling you about it is. Well, the reason that I started writing about all of this is because Ciara was so cute tonight and I wanted to blog about it- but I felt that a little history was needed before I could do so. Now that I've done that...
Tonight when I went to give Ciara her bath she was in her room watching Bambi on her "puter". She really wasn't terribly inclined to join me in the bathroom and so we had a bit of an argument. I won, and as she was tearfully making her way to the bathroom she said in her sad, pitiful little voice "I want my Lamby". I gave a cursory glance at the bed and did not immediately spot Lamby and as I was pretty low on patience at the time I hustled her off to the bathroom sans Lamby. Once we made it into the bathroom she told me she needed to "go peeps". By now I was feeling a little guilty about being so impatient with her, so while she was doing her thing I went back into her room to retrieve her buddy for her.
Ciara would happily take Lamby into the bath with her and has tried to on a few occasions- enough times that Lamby now has her own special seat in the bathroom (otherwise known as the back of the toilet) where she can quietly observe bath time.
So Lamby sat in her spot and Ciara and I made up and acted silly with each other while she had her bath. When the bath was over Ciara sat in the tub for several minutes using her rubber ducky fingernail scrubber to "clean" the bathtub ("because it's very messy Mommy. You got too much water. I have to wipe the water. See?"). I eventually managed to get her out and get her teeth brushed and we headed off to her room to find jammies. Except that once we got into her bedroom she realized that it was time to go to bed, and she wasn't at all pleased.
"Ciara, if you come to bed now you'll get to have a story, but if you take too long then we won't have time to read one."
This must have sounded like a reasonable argument because she put on her pull-up and picked out some jammies and climbed into bed for her story...or should I say stories?
"I want 2 stories Mama. I want this one (pointing to a picture of a dalmatian on the cover of her Disney book) and this one (pointing to a picture of Captain Hook on the same book).
So we get comfortable together and find the page that 101 Dalmatians starts on, and I start to read. I get through the first sentence and then...
"Mommy, wait a second. I have to go get my Lamby. You forgot my Lamby. We can't read without Lamby." (she's walking into the bathroom while she's saying all this) (now coming back) "Mommy, you forgot Lamby. We need to have Lamby to read the stories." There was more to it, but I'll be damned if I can remember exactly what she said. All I really remember is the accusatory tone in her voice and the absolute conviction that we certainly could not even begin to think about getting ready for bed without Lamby! It was really very amusing. I tried so hard to commit it all to memory because she was really cracking me up. I knew I was going to fail.
Ah well, now you know all about Ciara's Sweeties.
So much for keeping the posts short.