Carrie Maldonado – Writer

Freelance writer, wordsmith, and novelist

This past weekend Dreamy, the kids, and I took off on Friday for a long weekend in a secluded cabin deep in the mountains. The idea was to totally disconnect from the busy-ness and general chaos that is part and parcel of daily life in our society (and our lives) and reconnect with the busy-ness and general chaos that is our family. We’ve been at this cabin before, in June of 2016, and many things have changed, but many have stayed the same. Both times we left feeling it was an unqualified success and in both cases that was mostly due to our ability to accept unanticipated deviations from the expected as…well, the expected.

In 2016, the boys had only been 2 for a few months. Unlike Bisky at that age, the boys were neither particularly verbal nor obedient, so preserving their lives trumped all. This was not an easy feat; first because of the hiking trails of death, where even ‘family friendly’ hikes pretty much guaranteed your instant demise if you strayed so much as a millimeter (fraction of an inch for my American friends) off the path. Considering #NoBen’s proclivity for straying FAR off the path, this was concerning. So leashes. Before that weekend, Dreamy still kind of thought leashes were something people of my genetic heritage use because we’re incompetent parents, but even he saw the wisdom in being able to yank #NoBen and #StopThatAiden from the jaws of death with one flick of his wrist. Despite all that, the only injury last year was when we were throwing rocks into the river and Bisky wound up only to misfire and hit #NoBen full force in the back of his head with a rock. At least, we assumed it was a misfire.

This year was later in the season, and the boys are 3 ½ so it was better and worse from the physical safety side. I mean, they CAN speak and listen, but that doesn’t mean they DO. And the leashes don’t fit anymore, so we had to decide if we trusted their judgment and decision-making abilities enough to go on hikes where they can get seriously hurt if they don’t listen. So OBVIOUSLY we couldn’t go hiking this year, which limited our potential for injury. Limited, but not eliminated. Where there is a will, there is a way, and #NoBen’s appetite for danger knows no bounds. Fortunately, he recovered from his marshmallow roasting injuries quickly.

IMG_2402Last year there was no connectivity at the cabin. This was great for Dreamy and I but the kids were a little kooky with no entertainment other than us. We played some epic hide and seek, and flashlight puppets, and other fun games, but there are only so many times you can watch Peppa the Pig videos without losing your mind. For Dreamy and I that number was .75. For the kids, it is still undiscovered…sort of like the number of licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. This year I was looking forward to the same, but the cabin owners invested in WiFi. I was devastated! So devastated I took to Facebook to assuage my grief. Then I started watching Dreamy’s social media use and judged him to make myself feel better. Then I decided if silent judging felt good, out loud judging would feel even better. So that was fun.

But outside that, we still played some epic hide and seek, and flashlight puppets, and other fun games, which reminds me of another major difference. This year, Bisky can read, and therefore play Apples to Apples. So another lesson I have learned is that Flying Squirrels is an appropriate or funny answer for almost any question. In case you need to know.

There were other differences. Bisky lost a tooth. After copious amounts of angsting and hyperventilating, the actual loss was anticlimactic. As in,“It’s out,” mentioned nonchalantly as Dreamy and I scrabbled desperately through the rug looking for it. Not as desperately as we scrabbled through every pocket we had looking for SOMETHING the Tooth Fairy could leave. I had Bisky convinced a coin, any coin, was all that could be expected. I really should have left it at that, but we found four quarters and it WAS her first tooth. I didn’t want her proudly producing her quarter only to have a classmate inform her how ripped off she was. It all would have been fine…except the next day the OTHER tooth fell out! So, lesson learned. If your kid has any loose teeth, carry around enough emergency cash to pay off the fairy in case you are miles away from civilization. We drove all the way into a town until we could find an ATM, and I’m not sure what Dreamy did, but all we had to give was five dollars, so the Tooth Fairy left a note that this was a one-time bonus based on losing two teeth back to back and this much money should not ever be expected again. Ever. Phew!

Overall, my biggest takeaway, is that looking at life in the rear view mirror, it really is getting better and better. There was a time not that long ago when I thought any possibility of fun vacations or any kind of getaways at all were off the table because the reality of twins is that you are at a logistical and financial disadvantage. Heck, for the first three years I didn’t feel I could safety take all three to the store alone, let alone anywhere fun. This was a breakthrough for a lot of reasons, and just one more thing to be grateful for.

What were you grateful for this week?

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PS I’ve written, 10 tips on dealing with multiple (conflicting) priorities. If you’d like a free copy, just click here!

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