Wednesday, February 29, 2012


I've heard before that the best reason to have a second child is to make up for the mistakes of the first, and I think there's some real merit to that theory.  For example, we knew to allow Graham to sleep in his crib from the very start rather than hold him all of the time as we had with Cael.  The nonstop "go to sleep" dance wore a path in our bedroom floor and shaved a good year or two off of my life expectancy.  We also learned that, for our children, fruit as a first food was a parenting misstep and guaranteed vegetable rejection down the road.  We offered up homemade "pea" baby food to Graham and it has remained one of his favorite foods to this day. 

But through all of our mistakes and in our infinite parenting wisdom, the best thing I ever did for Graham was to purchase a back-up Barker.

And now for a brief public service announcement:  I would advise all parents to take this step and ward off the nightly search and rescue effort when a stuffed animal is missing.  But do be sure to purchase them at the same time and follow a rotation to create even wear on both animals.  Because if you don't, your back-up who has been waiting idly for his moment in the spotlight will look shiny and new, while the well-loved friend will look worn down and deflated.  Here's a visual of my poorly executed Bloose duplicate in case you need further evidence.

This is your friend.

This is your friend on love.

 Any questions?  No?  Moving on.

You may remember the co-dependent nature of my boys' relationships with their stuffed friends.  Cael can't sleep without Bloose.  Barker doesn't leave Graham's side.  And Bloose and Barker themselves have gotten involved.  A little too involved.

But when Barker #1 went missing a couple of weeks ago, I checked the obvious spots.  Not in the toy basket.  Not under the couch.  Not behind the toilet.  I shrugged my shoulders and traipsed upstairs to retrieve his doppelganger and tuck Graham in, confident that he would go quickly to sleep clutching his blue dog.

All was well until last Friday when, at bedtime, Barker nĂºmero dos was unaccounted for as well.  Where had he gone?  Bloose was in Cael's bed, so we quickly ruled out a late night rendezvous under the pool table.  As we continued searching, I noticed that Bear and "Cheeky Monkey" were also missing in action.  As long as Barker is present, these friends are expendable.  But because his right-hand dog had gone AWOL, Graham mourned for each one of them, and it broke my heart.

I pulled him out of his bed and instructed him to tear apart his toy closet in case Barker and the gang had been thrown in the stuffed animal bin with his other less-loved friends.  While he sniffled and searched, I picked up some clean shirts off of the floor that Cael had crammed inside the closet rather than putting in his dresser drawer.  When I opened the drawer to put them away, I saw each of Graham's bedtime pals, snuggled amongst Cael's warmer weather clothes.

As I called Graham back to his room, I felt like a rock star.  Not in the wildly promiscuous/drug-induced head-shaving/two-day marriage kind of way, but more like the "I kick bottom" kind of way.  And as amazing as I felt, Graham saw me in an even more glorious light.  He looked up at me, eyes sparkling by the nightlight, and said, "Mama!  You find mine friends!"

I tucked him under his covers and he held each one tightly and told me their story.

"Bubbut (Barker) is happy.  Bear is funny.  Cheety Muntey is stinky!"

We laughed together and Graham rejoiced in his friends' return.  Forty-five minutes later, when it was time for Cael to go to bed, I tucked him under his covers like I'd done for Graham not long before.


"Yeah?"  I whispered.

"I want to tell you about my friends like Graham did."

"Okay, but be very quiet."

"Puppy is goofy.  And Bear is kind of mad.  But Bloose is very, very naughty."

"Why is he naughty?"

"Because he hid Graham's friends in my dresser and told me not to say anything."

"Oh really?  I think Bloose might have had some help doing that.  What do you think?"

"I guess so."

"And who do you think was the helper?"

"Back-up Bloose.  He's even naughtier than first Bloose."

On second thought, stick to a blanket.


  1. ha! I did that with Raya but made the mistake of letting her have them both at once one day, and then she became dependant on having them BOTH all the time, so now I have no backup....I'd have to buy another set of two! lol

    1. Shawna- That happened to us, too. Once when the original was missing, we pulled out the back-up, and before I knew it Graham came up to me shouting "Two Bubbuts!!" He was so excited, I just couldn't ruin it for him! But he's been good about putting one away while the other is "on duty". :)


Leave your own "ism". Cael and Graham double-dog dare you.