Carrie Maldonado – Writer

Freelance writer, wordsmith, and novelist

My life as a parent is in a weird place right now. On the one side, the constant, noise, chaos, and unceasing demands, along with bizarre hormonal shifts, are causing me to feel like I’m on the verge of being committed on a fairly regular basis. On the other hand, I get to witness some of the cutest, funniest and downright sweetest moments I could ever imagine – also on a daily basis. Often they are one in the same.

Take last night, which was fairly typical. Around 6:00 pm we attempted to start winding everyone down in preparation for bed. Dreamy was a champ and gave everyone their baths (or shower as it were) while I swilled Neo Citran like a boss, because now that the kids are in school I have been exposed to every germ in the state of Washington and will be sick until June. We got everyone powdered (I know, I know, baby powder is verboten but it smells so darn good), dressed in flannel jammies because hahahaha SoCal, it’s actually cold enough to wear flannel jammies, and prepared for stories and bed. Aiden and I did a puzzle, while Bisky complained about us doing the puzzle and #NoBen ate playdoh. As I said, a typical evening.

And then bedtime drew nigh. Usually #NoBen is the best sleeper and welcomes bed time. Probably because Aiden wakes him up every morning a good hour before he’s ready. If they didn’t insist on sleeping in the same bed this could maybe be avoided but they’re very close right now. So we have boys tucked in and blankies (Dadus) arranged just so when Ben realized his Teddy (Taddy) is nowhere to be found. This is not okay, so I quickly reassured him I would go get Taddy. In the time it took me to go downstairs, do a cursory check for Taddy and come back upstairs to be SURE he’s not under the bed, Ben had worked himself into a state of full-on hysterical panic. “T..t…t…taddy…I…I..I..want ma Taddy” he sobbed piteously, his little body quivering as he collapsed into my arms.

It was as though his only friend in the world had been dismembered in front of him. I reassured him that we would find Taddy. As I always do when we look for things, to distract the kids from the fact that the things are missing, I called out “Oh Ben’s Teddyyyyyyyy….where ARE you……?” To make it fun, we looked under the pillows and in Ben’s belly button just to mask my rising panic that the damn bear was actually really gone this time. “Oh Ben’s Tedddyyyy? Tony! Are you sure you haven’t seen it!” I asked, my voice reaching that shrill point because I knew I couldn’t hold Ben off forever and he was just so SAD it was breaking my heart!

Finally, against all odds, I found Taddy, stuffed in the ‘Stuck Place’ between the couch and end table. I triumphantly returned the prize to Ben who was emotionally traumatized and limp with fatigue. “Taddy” he mumbled around the thumb in his mouth. Unfortunately, finding Taddy was not welcome to everyone. “Mommy! Find MY taddy!” Aiden chirped from his side of the bed. “You’re holding it, dude,” I told him.

Giving me a disappointed look, he resolutely climbed out of bed, waddled to the top of the stairs and ruthlessly pitched his teddy bear down the stairs. “Now Mommy find YOUR Taddy” he told me (he hasn’t quite mastered pronouns yet). So we hunted for Aiden’s Taddy too and then read a fun game of where’s the bunny to calm them down and go to sleep. Meanwhile, Bisky was shrieking from her room because a) we were having fun without her and b) I had promised to play the letter puzzle game with her after the babies went to bed and forgot. So, even though my medicine had kicked in and there was a great new book just waiting on my Kindle, we played the letter puzzle game and got her settled.

It was actually a great night because I was blessed with the insight that we are in a very short phase of my children’s life where I actually CAN solve most of their problems. When they run crying to me (all the time) it’s because they know I will fix it. I WILL find the teddy bear and I WILL keep my promise to play the puzzle game. These are things I can do and knowing that their little worlds are secure is pretty awesome.

And then there are the completely unexpected moments of cooperation and sharing and laughter. We like to dress up for no good reason so that is always good for a laugh. And then, on Sunday, Bisky WILLINGLY let the brothers play in her room!  They were so excited I thought they were going to explode. And then, this morning we were playing with the flashlight in the dark (because it’s fun, that’s why) and when Ben asked Aiden for a turn, Aiden let him after only 3 asks and NO screaming. This is the golden age, I thought to myself.

It won’t be more than a blink of an eye before we have problems that can’t be solved with a rousing game of dress up, a snuggle or a teddy bear and as much as I think I’ll enjoy a little more quiet time, the truth is this is a magical time of their lives that when I get a minute (Just ONE MINUTE DARN IT) to breathe, I actually think is pretty cool.





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