Michael and Ellen, and other stories people tell their kids

*Spoiler alert.  Don’t read this post aloud to your kids if they still believe whatever stories you’ve told them…

Everyone has stories they tell their kids that may not be 100% true:   Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny.  These stories help develop imaginations and create happy childhoods full of wonder and magic.  Right?  Isn’t that the idea behind them?

In our house, we have Michael and Ellen.

Who are Michael and Ellen, you ask?  Let me start from the beginning.

Last year, we were renting an ancient house while we saved up to buy our dream house.  Fortunately, our lease was up when Sienna was diagnosed with FOP.  We decided it was a sign to get out of that house (not so safe for an FOP kid – all hardwood floors with a sunken living room) and move somewhere that we could totally FOP-proof.  We chose an apartment with all carpeted floors and we padded every potentially hazardous area.  Perfection!

But then we realized that for the first time in years, we had an upstairs neighbor.  And it turned out she alternates between bowling, salsa dancing and auditioning for “Stomp” the musical (or at least that is what we have determined from the sounds we hear at weird hours of the day and night).

Upon hearing these sounds, Sienna started to ask what was on the ceiling.  Initially we told her an elephant lived upstairs.  This worked for a little while until we realized she was starting to dislike elephants, and Rare Dad and I actually like elephants.   So, through months of bedtimes where we snuggle up and tell stories, the elephant became a camel.  Then it became two camels.  The camels got names:  Michael and Ellen.  And Michael and Ellen got back stories that coincidentally helped us with bedtime.

You see, Michael and Ellen are siblings who moved here from the farm, but still sleep in beds made of hay. They have parents (their mom is a doctor and their dad works at a paper company, of course), but their parents aren’t home very much.  Right around bedtime, Michael and Ellen ALWAYS want to find a cozier bed than their pile of hay.  So if little girls are fussing too much, making too many bedtime requests and not falling asleep, Michel and Ellen will come down and ask if they can have the cozy bed instead.  And sometimes, when little girls are making a REALLY big fuss, Michael and Ellen actually knock on the front door to ask if they can come in.  The knocking on the door makes our dog bark, which proves that the story is true.  So far, the knocking on the door has about a 90% success rate.   In fact, now if Micheal and Ellen knock on the door, Sienna just yells back “Michael and Ellen, I’m going to sleep!”  And then I’ve heard her mutter under her breath “smelly camels…”

Ellen can’t have my nightgown!

So, apologies to camels everywhere.  And apologies to future Sienna, who may or may not need therapy because of Michael and Ellen.  But future Sienna, you were really tough to get to sleep when you were 3.

Do you have stories that you tell in your house?

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