Anyone who knows Julia also knows Ella -- the little yellow elephant that accompanies us everywhere. I got Ella as a gift from my great aunt when I was pregnant. I remember weeping (hormones, I guess) when I pulled her tail and she played Brahms lullaby.
For the first few months, she was a decoration I kept in the wicker basket on the changing table along with the diapers and wipes. At about four months, I started putting her in Julia's crib at night. It didn't take long for the two to bond.
For the past two years, Ella has become a major part of our lives. Julia doesn't go anywhere without her. She sleeps with her, takes her shopping, to the babysitter's, to the mailbox. Once I left her home when we went to the kiddie water park, thinking I didn't want her to get wet. Big mistake. Big. Julia sometimes calls her "Baby." And she could say that before she could say mama.
As you can imagine, Ella's got some wear and tear. She's been run over with the grocery cart in the Wal-Mart parking lot, stuffed into the Christmas tree, sent through airport security and dipped into pancake syrup at Bob Evans. She's had noses blown on her, she's been projectile vomitted on and served as a teething toy.
Actually wear and tear is a kind way to put it. No matter how many times she's been in the washing machine, Ella is downright disgusting. Note the giant stain on her ear. Everywhere we go, people make comments like "Wow, that's a well-loved toy" or "Is that a hand-me-down?"
Soon after I realized Ella had become a best friend, I started looking for a backup. The elephant was made by Carter's and I searchd online, in the Carter's outlet, all over the place. No luck. About six months ago, I decided to do another search and found it on Amazon -- the seller had one left. So I nabbed it.
I wasn't sure what I would do with it, but I knew the first Ella probably wouldn't last all that much longer. Other moms told me it would never work. I mean, the new Ella does look a lot different. I had forgotten how soft and furry she was, how bright yellow ...
But tonight I decided to make a swap, just to see what would happen. Julia looked at her suspiciously at first so I told her that Ella had a bath. "Look how clean and soft she is now, so pretty." Julia fell for it hook, line and sinker. She kept looking at the new Ella and laughing and saying "She got a bath. Ella got a bath." So we'll keep our fingers crossed. I've packed up the old Ella and I'm keeping her in my closet. I plan to hang on to her for a long time. Actually, I kind of miss her already.