A Child Finds her Stuffed Animal

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There was an absolutely stunning event that occurred at our home this past week.

Brave daddies and mommies are aware of the tragic turn of events during our trip to Washington D.C. last spring. The Oppressed was distraught and heartbroken when she wasn’t able to find Quackers. Quackers is one of her animals and she was selected to accompany us on our journey. She was inexplicably missing when we returned home and began to unpack and put away clothes and souvenirs.

There was trouble at the house that week and The Oppressed made certain that everyone was aware of it. She went to work, snapping a picture of Sir Duck-sa-Lot from a distance. Quackers is smaller, so a picture of a duck that looks smaller than he really is would help everyone in their job to recover the lost, scared, (stuffed) hungry duck.

(Ahem) “Quackers”

Days turned to weeks. Weeks turned to months. Vigils we’re held. Sad, agonizing thoughts of an abandoned duck being found alone in a checked-out hotel room filled the child’s mind. What would happen to him? If housekeeping needed to get our room ready for new guests, what would become of the little, helpless (stuffed) duck?

One recent afternoon, Lovie and I were en route to her college orientation. I was mentally preparing her and myself for the afternoon ahead. We were discussing the events that lay ahead of us when my cell phone rang. But I may be getting ahead of myself. Here’s The Oppressed.

The Oppressed

My parents told me that I had to clean my room. So, I got to work, but when the time came to clean the drawers of my vanity. I had to clean the last door which I hadn’t opened in months. I opened it and was so overjoyed. A small yellow fluffy “something” was sitting there. I sat there in shock. I cried tears of happiness. It was quackers! I adamantly grabbed quackers and hugged him and got Sir Duck-Sa-Lot and put them on my bed. I ran and called Dad.

“QUACKERS!” I said.

“What?” Dad asked.

“I found him!”

“Really?” dad said.

“Yes,” I said. I was so over-overjoyed. I had done it. I found quackers!

Back to Dad

So, there you have it, Brave Daddies and Brave Mommies. Another stuffed lovie has made it back home safe and sound. Of course, he was always safe in my daughter’s room. She just needed to (ahem) pick up a few things and square away a few more things. Let this be a lesson for your children, keepers and caretakers of little stuffed animals big and small. Take care of your things and keep things organized, and you will be able to easily find them.

Together again

Check out “Gray Rabbit’s Odd One Out” for a good book to teach your children about organization and finding lost things.

When Your Child Loses a Stuffed Animal

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We’re still trying to get back into the swing of things after our Washington D.C. trip. Laundry and dishes have piled back up. The children have moved on from days of walking and sightseeing to days of reading, writing and ‘rithmetic. I’ve moved back to my regimens of reading and writing.

Eight people returning from vacation means a lot of laundry. Lovie and The Oppressed are doing everything they can to stay on top of things and attend to the mountains upon mountains of dirty clothes.

The children brought their luggage and souvenirs back to their respective rooms and all of us, including me, are still going through what we brought home with us and making sure it’s in their proper places. This brings me to the crisis at hand. You see, The Oppressed is the very proud owner of two stuffed ducks, Sir Ducks-a-Lot and Quackers.

Missing Duck

Well, as she brought her stuff back to her room and got re-adjusted with her life at home and school, my youngest daughter noticed that one of the ducks was missing. The one that was missing just so happened to be the smallest of the two.

Sir Duck-sa-Lot

This bothered The Oppressed, who was immediately concerned for Quackers’ welfare. I explained to her that things would be alright. We’ll find Quackers. This is also an excellent opportunity to square things away in her room. I told her I was certain that Quackers would turn up as we put things away and tidied up her bedroom.

Quackers

She was upset with me. I didn’t understand the gravity of the situation. I certainly didn’t understand what needed to be done. Time was of the essence, and we can’t waste it moving things around her bedroom (like she was supposed to do before Quackers went missing, anyway).

The Oppressed immediately went around the house asking all siblings if anyone has seen Quackers. Alas, no one has seen her precious duck. I wish to point out that Quackers is one of the newest additions to the bedroom of The Oppressed, so not only is Quackers new and not totally acclimated with the room or the rest of the house, Quackers is also small and scared, as mentioned before.

The “Missing” Poster

The Oppressed wasted no time in getting to work, not on picking up her room, of course, but in getting to work. She immediately made a poster to make everyone fully aware of the situation at hand, including a hand-drawn portrait of Quackers. She took a picture of Sir Ducks-a-Lot. More on that later.

She put the poster up on the refrigerator and pointed out the drawing of the duck to remind people what Quackers looked like, as well as the reward being offered for finding Quackers. That reward, originally $5, has since been raised to $5.50 and two snacks from her very own Easter basket. Again, if you are not aware of the gravity of the situation, my daughter will enlighten you.

“Missing” poster of Quackers. Note the increased reward and reminders of how scared and hungry he is.

The Picture

Back to the picture of Sir Ducks-a-Lot. Quackers is just a smaller version of SDL (I’m getting tired). The Oppressed has used this to her advantage. My daughter took a picture of SDL just in case the drawing of Quackers isn’t enough for people to go on. Also, the child has directed everyone’s attention to the refrigerator where the drawing and photo are. We hope everyone will study the drawing, the picture. She hopes everyone will take their own pictures and share them with friends, with neighbors. She hopes anyone who can help will join in her mission to bring a scared, lost duck home.

There is also a chance The Oppressed will be making a guest appearance on this website, as she is not confident that I can fully convey the magnitude and immediacy of this dire situation. Stay tuned for her message and for further developments on this story.

If you need help finding your child’s lost toy, or a replacement, visit lostmylovey.com to see if anyone has found it, or where you can purchase a new one. You can also visit multiple pages on Facebook for help with a lost friend.

A Fun Field Day at My Children’s School

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There have been more exciting events and experiences as the school year winds down. Some events were a field trip to the zoo. This time, there was a Field Day held right at the school.

I volunteered at The Oppressed’s field day. This was a great time for students, parents, and faculty alike. Not only did I get to play some games with my youngest daughter, but I also got to talk to the teachers and get the real lowdown on what’s been happening at school.

Kickball

Field Day was a learning experience for me and the children. I manned the kickball station and got the rules from the coordinators before my first group of cherubs descended upon me. Apparently, you can’t throw the ball at the runner anymore. I’m not sure when that rule came about but here we are. No throwing at people.

I’m not sure exactly what it is the children do with themselves nowadays, but this is why I weep for the future of our country.

Another situation I needed to adjust to was actually needing to explain kickball to the little Field Day warriors. Kickball was almost a rule for me and my friends at recess. Apparently, that was then, and this is now. I’m not sure exactly what it is the children do with themselves nowadays, but this is why I weep for the future of our country.

This used to happen every day at recess.

After explaining the rules of the game, we are ready. Games last about 15 minutes before the signal to move to the next station. Children excitedly move on. A new group of eager, active students arrive. I explain the ins and outs of kickball to a new band of children. Each time I introduce the game to a new pack of participants, I hope I’m passing on a love and appreciation for the great game of kickball. As the students leave the field and the glorious games, they tell The Oppressed how much fun they had at my station. The Oppressed passes the approving remarks on to me later that day.

Cornhole

The week brought another Field Day. It’s nice to see the school sending the children outdoors for activity. This time, there are more grades involved than just my daughter’s. The Boy will be there, but a prior commitment prevents me from being there when it’s his turn. I’m there for The Oppressed, though. There is no kickball for me and the children this time. Instead, I am running the cornhole station.

There was a slight faux pas committed by Yours Truly on this fine and glorious day. I awarded two points if the beanbag went in the hole. You’re supposed to get three points in Cornhole. I apologize to all children who were cheated out of that extra point. Besides not awarding the proper points, I also took another liberty with the game. Teams were given a chance to tie the game. An overtime format was created. Was that a thing? Who knows, but I made it a thing.

I oversaw the matches, cheered when points were scored, got excited when a beanbag got in. I got nervous when a team got close to winning and wondered if a team would get a chance to tie. Out of respect for the losing team, I did not celebrate with the winning team. I’m not even sure they would allow it, but I stayed away nonetheless. If time allowed, we played another game.

The end of the Field Day brought a Tug-o-War tournament. Students watched as they waited their turns. Students screamed as a team got close to defeat, then found it within themselves to give a heave and stay in the contest. A team emerged from all the others for the ultimate bragging rights that would soon be forgotten, as the end of the school year is upon us.

Tug-o-War capped off the day.

Thank You, Volunteers

Students assembled at the end of the day. Teachers congratulated the events’ winners and thanked the volunteers for all their work and contributions. I was happy to be there and spend some time with my child. Not only that, but it was nice to be outside and work on my tan.

I picked up my kids at the end of the day. It was a fun day. We talked about the games played and what their favorite activity was. The Boy was glad he got out of the classroom. The Oppressed was glad to be outside with her friends. I was glad I could spend a little time with her.

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The Exciting End of The Boy’s Baseball Season

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The weather has warmed up considerably since the first pitch of the baseball season was thrown back in April. The Boy and his teammates have faced down opponents two days a week since the start of the season.

It has been a season of multiple surprises. Some have been pleasant; others have been not so pleasant. It all depends on who you ask. The Boy was very disappointed with one development of the 2022 baseball season. When he was told (by me) that the season was going to end two weeks ago, no one realized it was the end of the regular season. There’s still the playoffs.

This slight miscommunication was a major issue with The Boy, who was told he wouldn’t have to (that’s right, “have to”) play baseball after the final out of the season was recorded on that pleasant evening that included chicken fingers and french fries from the concession stand.

Instead, The Boy was upset, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the regular season was a way to determine seeds for the playoffs. All of the teams at this level make the playoffs, and my son’s team, the second-place team in the league, was the number-2 seed in the tournament. The Boy understood the final game of the season to be the FINAL game. There was not talk of playoffs beyond that.

This past week brought us to those playoffs. This team has had good hitting all season. Fielding is a little suspect. Pitching? Well, they’re not far-removed from T-ball, so I’ll let you figure that out.

Taking the field for Game 1.

The Playoffs

Game one was an absolute anomaly for our diamond defenders. Our usually competitive team got spanked, making game two a critical “must-win” in the best-of-3 series.

Game 2 went back and forth. The Boy’s team went ahead, fell behind, and ultimately came up short, eliminating them and saddening many baseball bairns, just not the boy.

Postgame Words and Celebration

After the game, the manager gave players and parents alike a speech thanking everyone for their dedication to the team and the season. He invited everyone, players and families out for pizza immediately following the game.

The Boy and I graciously accepted his generous offer. We met coaches, children, and families at the restaurant. Boys were frantically moving from one table to another. I stayed at one table most of the night eating pizza and keeping an eye on the television carrying yet another baseball game while conversing with other parents.

The Boy and I then went home for the evening. We thanked the manager for his help this year and his generosity that night. While we drove home, The Boy told me how glad he was to have played baseball this year and even hinted that he MIGHT want to play next year. This, of course, did my heart good. We drove home with another season in our rearview mirror.

Lessons Learned

It’s tough when your kid doesn’t make it to the next round of playoffs. I am glad to have been able to watch my youngest son play baseball again. It wasn’t from the bench of the dugout where I can impart knowledge and savvy to the youngsters. Still, it was nice to be able to eat popcorn and Cracker Jacks and talk to other adults without worrying about eight or nine kids fighting over who’s playing first base or what the batting order is.

This year, I just got to watch baseball and talk to him about the game after. Of course, I had a little advice to give after the game and of course he was in no mind to hear what I have to say. In the meantime, I have 10 long months of nurturing that small ember of interest in baseball and make sure it doesn’t die out before sign-ups for the ’23 season start. A special thank you to Coaches Mike and John for their work and patience this year. Thank you for teaching everyone to be brave, play brave no matter what the score or situation was.

Follow me on Twitter @bravedaddy.

I Chaperoned a School Field Trip to the Zoo

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The Boy went on his first ever field trip recently. It happened later for him and his friends than it normally would thanks to Coronapalooza. One of the advantages of being a stay-at-home dad is being able to accompany the children on said field trips. Before I could prepare for this trip, however, I needed to complete yet another background check. Loyal daddies and mommies everywhere remember that momentous day I learned I had yet again passed.

There were many details to tend to before the big day. The Boy and I went to a local sandwich shop where we bought sandwiches, drinks and a special dessert.

The Boy and I were at the school on the day of our trip. Students and teachers took the bus. Parents lit a candle and said a prayer for the teachers. Five of the parents piled into a mommy’s minivan and made our way to the Franklin Park Zoo. It was a nice ride. There were adults, no kids, riding in a climate-controlled car. No kids yelling. Nothing being thrown.

Arriving at the Zoo

We get to the zoo and get out tickets from the teacher. It’s a small group for me, just The Boy and two of his friends. We are told there is a little time for us to check out some exhibits on our own before we are to meet for a presentation.

Walking around the zoo, I’m disappointed to see maybe half of the exhibits are closed. Animals are being moved, or at the vet, or maybe they’re just on vacation. I don’t know. What I do know is that after walking around the zoo for a little while, it’s time for us to attend a show put on by zookeepers. This is a welcome change for the grown-ups because it means someone else can deal with their questions and statements regarding zoology.

The zookeepers are very nice and patient with the children. That’s probably because they only have them for a few moments before they can dump them back on us and get out of there. We walk around for a couple of minutes. Some kids are hungry and start to eat their lunches. Kids eat while we walk. We see zebras. We walk into the bird sanctuary. No food is allowed in the sanctuary, and the kids put their snacks away while we are there.

This is when we get to the highlight of the day. There’s a playground at the zoo. The children’s eyes light up. We travelled miles to see this place, and the children stop at swings and slides that are at their school every day. I think there were some lions who were a little insulted at this.

Lunch on a Quiet Afternoon

I took advantage of the children’s distraction to eat my own lunch. In between bites, I survey the playground, making sure all three boys in my charge are still alive. There are normally six kids for me to check up on, so three is a nice little downgrade.

After expending some energy at the playground, I convince the boys to walk around the zoo and look for some more animals. We see some more, and then I check my phone. It’s time for the children to get back on the bus and head back to the school. The children board the bus. I board my minivan. We all go back to the school where I read a book and wait for the bell to dismiss the cherubs and I can bring home The Oppressed and The Boy.

We get home and they go upstairs to see Wife, who asks The Boy about the field trip and the fun he had. He said it was good and he did nothing. I fill in Wife on the animals who were on vacation (or break) and the playground, the highlight of the entire day. It was nice, but we can’t just hang around. The Boy needs to get changed. He has a baseball game.

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