Small Fry came unglued tonight at bedtime, because she missed Daddy so much. She started crying as I helped her finish brushing her teeth, and continued to cry throughout most of the bedtime tuck-in routine. I hugged her and rubbed her back as she cried and I prayed and kicked out monsters. And giants. And wombats, dragons, and snakes.
Oh, it was heartbreaking.
I'm glad they all love their daddy so much, but I hate how much that deep love hurts when Daddy has to go away. And there's nothing I can do to make it better.
After I sang their goodnight song, Medium popped up and handed me her duckie. "Mommy, I don't want this duckie. He needs a bath. Can you take him and wash him?"
"Sure." I took Duckie. "I'll get you another one."
"I don't want another Duckie."
Good heavens, is she feverish? "Are you sure?"
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. I want to try sleeping without him."
"Okay," I said skeptically. "Goodnight."
Well, every time Medium has tried to sleep without Duckie, I've ended up getting her a new one anyway. When she was smaller, it was easier to keep their location hidden, but she now knows that I keep her ducks in a bureau cupboard in my bedroom. I figured I would get one and leave it on the phone stand built into the end of the hallway by the twins' room, so she could get it if she wanted.
I had stuffed the desperately-in-need-of-a-bath Duckie in my pocket and closed the door. And I remembered that Small had said around dinnertime that she had no more clean pants. I was pulling jeans out of the twins' hamper when I heard Medium call me again.
"Could you come back hewre for a minute?"
I opened the door.
Medium was sitting up in bed, her pillow tossed to the side. "I don't need another duckie 'cause I have fouwr." Her little hands held up four duckies all squooshed together in a death grip.
"So you went into my room and got them all?"
"Can you pick one, and let me put the others away? I don't want to lose them."
Medium shook her head.
"You don't need more than one, honey. Pick one."
The tears starting to fill her eyes told me that she did need more than one. "Can you pick two?"
Medium shook her head, the tears threatening to spill over. She sniffled. "I just want fouwr."
My poor girl. Daddy's not here, and he's her best buddy, and Duckies are a poor substitute for Daddy. I caved like a cheap suitcase. "Okay. You can have four tonight. Tomorrow, can you pick one, and I'll put the others away?"
She nodded, and then tucked all four ducks safely under her pillow.
I collected Large Fry's jeans and tucked her in, and thought how sweet and cute it was that she wanted all her ducks except the filthy one, and I couldn't blame her on that count. I'd seen that Duckie's wingtips in her nose and ears multiple times in the last few days.