Legally, we’re a family of four…but Mark and I know that there are 4 inanimate objects that are more dear to our children than we are most days.

Daddy, Zeke, "Bi & Ra".

I found this colorful “rag” at a consignment sale right before Zeke was born. Some crafty mom had made it to sell. I don’t really know why I bought it…it was a gut feeling. Destiny, I guess. When Zeke was a few months old and his little body was racked with reflux, I would rub this on his little forehead and put the mojo on him. He’s been hooked ever since. The “bink” was a suggestion from the doctor to help with his reflux…Mark and I secretly call it “The Plug”.

Nate and "Baby Dolphin"

Nate’s become a little more flexible in his old age (5). He has a rotating cast of stuffed baby animals. They all have very ingenious names: Baby Dolphin; Baby Manatee; Baby Beluga and Nicolette the leucistic gator (don’t ask). His other must-have is a baby washcloth, folded into a triangle (with the point facing up) covering his eyes. I’m sure his future wife will get a kick out of that. That started out of desperation. When Nate was a baby, he would scratch his face and eyes so bad we were sure Child Protective Services was going to show up any second. I tried those little baby mittens, socks, I even thought about having his finger nails removed by our vet. One night I just grabbed a baby washcloth and put it in his hands. He used it to rub his face instead of his nails! Ha! I’m a genius! (Turns out Nate was scratching because of a slight allergy to our dog, Dublin…oops! There goes that “Mother of the Year” award.)

Now, the problem with these “loveys” as some families call them is when you either forget or (God forbid) lose them. When the airline sent us to a hotel because of late/missed flights from Tahoe, we didn’t have Nate’s gator with us. She was in our checked luggage! (please learn from our mistake) All I can say is, Mark gets the “Necessity is the Dad of invention” award:

“Daddy? Where’s my gator and my rag?”

“I’m sorry, Nate…it’s in the suitcase.”

{voice starting to tremble} “Where’s our suitcase?”

“It’s on the plane, Nate.”

{bottom lip in full bloom}”How can I go to sleep without them, Daddy?”

“Wait here…I’ll be right back.”

Mark disappeared into the hotel bathroom and came out with a face towel tied into a knot and handed it to Nate.

“What’s this, Daddy?”

“That’s Knotty. He’s going to sleep with you tonight”

{painfully long pause…}

“OK. Thank you, Daddy.”

In my head there was a standing ovation, confetti cannons and a choir singing “Hallelujah!” I gave Mark a huge kiss right on the mouth.

Nate and "Knotty" in La-La Land...

When we turned off the lights and settled in for a 4 hour nap (thanks, Delta) we all said our goodnights.

“Goodnight, Nate, Goodnight Zeke..”

“Goodnight Mommy, Goodnight Daddy, Goodnight, Zekey”

{long pause…}

“Daddy?”

“Yes, Nate.”

“You forgot to say, Goodnight to Knotty”.

Mark and I laughed so hard we fell out of bed.

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