Clara’s new bedtime routine is to beg for me to read her the most grown up looking chapter book she can find in the house, as long as it still has pictures in it. So, for the past few nights I’ve been reading to her from an old history text book with stories about explorers and inventors in early America. So far, in the past week, we have read about Christopher Columbus and Henry Hudson, and then tonight we covered Robert De La Salle.

I was proud of her for paying such close attention throughout each of the stories, since they often get bogged down in some really mundane details. Details that even I can’t be bothered to recall when we get to the questions at the end of the chapter. But she is quick to fill me in on all of the facts that I had read with my mouth, but apparently not heard with my ears.

But she was a little tired this evening, and I think some of the finer points of La Salle’s journey down the great Mississippi River may have been lost in her exhausted mind. For instance, I read to her about La Salle’s friend Tonti the Iron Hand, a man who had lost his hand and had it replaced with a new one made of iron. Later when I had her tell me about this friend of La Salle’s she nodded excitedly.

“Yes, I know about him.” she smiled. “The man that sews.” she made a worm motion in the air with her arm.

I shook my head. “No, his friend. You remember, he had something special with his hand.”

She nodded more intensely. “Yes! The sewing man. He was fighting or something and he lost his hand. So, they came and replaced his hand with a new one, and the new one was made out of yarn. So, he could use it for sewing things really quickly or something.” again she made a worm motion.

“What?” I watched her strange arm dance for a moment more and suddenly realized what had gone wrong. “Oh. No. I see what’s wrong. Not ‘yarn’, ‘iron’.”

She stared at me. “I don’t know what ‘iron’ is. But I know what ‘yarn’ is, and that makes more sense to me.” She started the worm thing again. “So he could make blankets and things.”

I sighed and closed the book. “You are going to have an absolutely ridiculous mental image of early America. Are you sure you don’t want to go back to reading the Boxcar Children or something?”