To the right (or directly above this paragraph if you are reading this in Google Reader) you will see a photo of two stuffed lambs. They were a gift from my parents and Ellie loves them a great deal. We call both of them Lambie (sometimes Lambie Original Recipe and Lambie version 2.0) and you will have to take my word for it because the photograph is terrible, but they are identical. They came in a two-pack from Costco and we all thought they were a brilliant choice for Ellie’s lovey because there is a backup, in case of what I am told is the inevitable but traumatic lovey loss experienced by most toddlers at some point in their lives. To prevent one from starting to look more loved (dirtier) than the other, we’ve had both in constant rotation since day one. One Lambie usually stays in the car and one stays in the house, but they’ve been swapped back and forth many times over the past few months, and bathed (and bleached) at roughly the same frequency. They are, for all intents and purposes, COMPLETELY IDENTICAL. This was a brilliant system, we told ourselves, chuckling and patting ourselves on the back. Two Lambies! We have outsmarted our child!
And yet! Over the past couple of weeks, Ellie has started to clearly prefer one over the other, to the point where she cries piteously if we try to give her what we have started calling (when we’re out of her earshot) Crappy Lambie. The only difference — and I really mean this, it is truly the only ONLY difference — between the two Lambies is that Good Lambie has an ear that looks a little … chewed. His ear fluff is a wee bit frayed. Mike thinks Good Lambie must also have some sort of ineffable Good Lambie Quality that we just can’t sense because we don’t spend 24 hours a day with him. We’ve tried to return Crappy Lambie to her good graces, hugging him and kissing him and performing elaborate skits in which we hide Good Lambie and then produce Crappy Lambie a few minutes later, joyously exclaiming, “Look who we FOUND! It’s LAMBIE! Isn’t that EXCITING?” but sadly this has accomplished nothing save for reminding Mike and I why neither of us was particularly suited for a career in the dramatic arts.