I try to read to Lizzie every night.  Some nights we don’t make it, but we do try.  Last night I was going through our most recent stack of library books, and picked out a title by Eric Carle.  I was very familiar with some of his other titles, but this is one I had never read before.  It was called, “The Very Quiet Cricket.”  And it really had a much deeper meaning for us.  [Warning:  Spoilers to follow]

See, the cricket in the book is much like our Lizzie.  He is eager to greet everyone he meets, however, when he rubs his wings together, nothing happens.  On each page he meets a different bug, and each time they greet the cricket and he tries to say “Hello,” but he can’t.  As I read something happened that surprised me.  My daughter, who usually yells through stories, or tries to eat the book, got very quiet and just looked at the pictures.  Each time that little cricket tried to say hello, and his equipment failed and he couldn’t, it broke my heart.  I started to realize that I had my very own “Very Quiet Cricket”.

On the last page, the cricket meets a girl cricket who is also very quiet (because, as Mr. Carle explains in the beginning, girl crickets don’t chirp).  And he manages to finally get a sound out.  And to her it is the sweetest sound she’s ever heard.  I almost cried.

As I closed the book, I looked at my beautiful girl, and I stroked her cheek.  I told her that she reminded me of that cricket, and how I knew that she, too wanted to communicate, but that she couldn’t and how frustrating that must be for her.  I tickled her under the chin, and told her that like that cricket, when she did manage to get out a “Mama” or an “All done” it was the sweetest sound that this mom ever heard.  My girl giggled.  And then she looked at me and smiled, “Ma”, she said.