In our house we have a running joke about Ezzy and her giraffes. I’m not certain exactly how it started, but somehow Ezzy wound up with a number of giraffe toys. Of course there was the Sophie the Giraffe that every baby these days has. Sophie was special because she was one of the first toys Ez could make squeak. She wedged Sofie against the carseat and then swung a foot at her. We were so startled the first time, but it soon became the soundtrack of the car ride, a rhythmic squeak, squeak, squeaking.

Next came Peggy, a beautiful European cloth giraffe, whose head was the perfect size for nibbling. Then Mary, a soft snuggly giraffe given to Ezzy by her neighbor in the first PICU stay, Alesea. Finally Tom, a chewable pony-ish goofy giraffe, joined the pack. Each of these three giraffes was named for someone who helped save Esmé’s life in May 2011.

We saw right away that she would get “mad” at her giraffes. They were typically favorite toys, but they also were launched or otherwise apparently “in trouble” more often than other toys…they seemed to fascinate and frustrate at the same time. Once we caught Ezzy, who could barely lift her arms at the time, swinging Peggy over her head in an “Ezzy tornado.” Peggy was in trouble, and inspiring Ezzy to do things we didn’t know she could do!

At this point giraffes were becoming a bit of a theme around our house. We didn’t think anything when our first Sophie disappeared…I was fairly certain I dropped her in the hospital parking lot after a day of appointments. I just picked up a new one a day later (they are everywhere, after all).

When Peggy disappeared we really took notice, primarily because it was virtually impossible to find a replacement for her. In fact the original Peggy wore a pink dress, but the closest replacement we could find quickly (after a day on the internet) wore blue overalls. We explained to Ezzy that Peggy had a make-over. You can see (above) how convinced of that Ezzy was.

When Peggy vanished again soon after her make-over we became convinced Ezzy was giving her giraffes “cement shoes” and throwing them out the window of the car when we went over a bridge…it seemed the only rational explanation.

It seemed that Ez had a somewhat love/hate relationship with her giraffes…because despite, um, disposing of them, she also seemed simultaneously drawn to them. Its pretty funny to attribute just about anything that goes wrong in the house to giraffe “trouble makers”…and it has provided for quite a bit of comic relief around our house. They are like her nemeses…and, as we know of all superheroes, a person is bizarrely completed by their nemesis.

For my part, I like to think of the giraffe as our family scapegoat and mascot all in one. I love the absurdity of a giraffe. How could such a creature possibly exist in this world? They seem just so unlikely. And that is what our family deals in: unlikely. You have heard the saying: “When you hear hooves, don’t think zebras.” Well, in our case you shouldn’t think horses either…

It’s giraffes.

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