My name is Greg. I’m from Massachusetts and have been a househusband for over nine years. I am a parent and a foster parent You’ll learn more about the cast of characters as we go along, especially the little darlings that have since transformed me from a gentle, live-and-let-live individual into a single malt scotch and craft beer connoisseur.
The Cast of Characters
Me. A college-educated, well-read individual who has turned into a hardened veteran of “The Homework Wars”. Hostage negotiator who frequently deals with hunger-strikes as a result of limited menus and a refusal to cook multiple dishes at mealtimes.
Wife. Mother of “The Boy” and “The Oppressed”. Claims to work in Corporate America but I and a few others seem to think she works for a secretly-funded black-ops branch of the federal government due to long stretches of not being reached and impromptu travel.
The Oppressed. My daughter. Believes I am conspiring with her teacher to make her life miserable and blames me for her not, “enjoying life”. Anti-homework crusader and tireless advocate for oppressed children everywhere.
The Boy. My son. Proudly announces he will work 10 jobs when he grows up. These jobs include building houses and playing a role in a local S.W.A.T. unit. Considerately stacks five or six books in front of his bed for me to read every night.
The Gaggle. Any one or more foster child(ren) that enter and leave our home.
Kitty. Our cat. She likes to think I am her personal climbing post and Wife is her own bed. Kitty enjoys running around in circles at random times during the day and stalking/pouncing on anything that moves. If you ask Wife, she’s already used up seven or eight or her nine lives.
More fun times. We recently had a child who needed to go to the hospital. It’s always fun when we go to the hospital.
More fun times. We recently had a child who needed to go to the hospital. We took a shot, and hoped it could be something that could be tended to at urgent care. No such luck.
It’s always fun when we go to the hospital. This time, it was The Gaggle who needed to be seen. We go to Urgent Care and tell the nice lady behind the desk of the symptoms they’ve been feeling. The nice lady asks them some questions. The Gaggle then looks at me with a puzzled, helpless look in their face.
“You’re adorable,” I say to them.
The nice lady points to me and said, “That’s the word I’ve been looking for to describe my teenager.”
I help The Gaggle with the rest of the questions, and then we get to that fun part of the Q&A. Insurance. Unfortunately, they don’t take our insurance, and we are forced to go to the hospital. The emergency room. It’s always a fun time when we go to the emergency room.
The Emergency Room
We get to the emergency room. There’s a line of people ahead of us. We go to reception and check in.
The nice lady at the desk asks questions. Luckily, The Gaggle is able to answer them. I think it’s because she had practice earlier. The nice lady gets a bracelet and puts it on The Gaggle’s wrist. I’m disappointed when I find out there are no door prizes for me. After all, I’m the one who drives the children to the hospital. I thought I would at least get a coupon for a coffee or something. Maybe a balloon. No such luck.
We take our seats in the waiting area. I have a book with me and start reading. It turns out to be a good thing for me that I brought the book. We’re going to be there for a while It’s a good book, but the entertainment in the waiting area soon commands my attention.
One woman complained she had been there for five (expletive) hours. this woman was most displeased about the wait. She walked around the waiting area huffing and throwing her hands in the air. After taking a little stroll around the waiting room, she threw her hands in the air and plopped back down on her seat.
Another woman needed to leave the hospital because she needed to take care of her dog. She was adamant that she needed to go home. The nice man who was with her promised a trip to the beach if she stuck it out at the hospital.
The Five Hour Woman got a call on her cell phone. She picked up the phone and said, “Hello, don’t call me again,” then hung up the phone. A couple of minutes after that, the child and I saw someone walking through the parking lot in a Johnny. Back to “Five”. Now she’s pacing, saying she’s been here for six hours, and may flip out in these (ahem) “people”. Another name is called. “Five” raises her hand to announce she hasn’t been seen yet. That’s when we are called.
Now That We’re Called
So, this turned out to be a false alarm. They just needed to do some blood work. After that was done, we were sent back to the waiting area. Someone brought “Five” some food. That seemed to make her happy and quiet her down… for a minute.
Wife texts me to ask how things are going. I tell her it’s another exciting day of people watching, but I am hopeful we’ll be called soon. I’m always hopeful if this. I’m sure the lady who’s been there for five, I mean, six hours is just an anomaly.
We’re there for hours. My attention goes from my book to the television to the other people in the waiting area. More hours pass. We finally decide to leave the emergency room. We get an appointment at a clinic and are seen. The Gaggle gets a prescription. I have more exciting stories to tell Wife about another exciting adventure in the waiting room.
We are in the middle of summer vacation. It’s had its share of excitement and moments we’ll never forget, no matter how much we want to forget or how hard we try.
The season started with graduation. Two of our children graduated from high school, one graduated from elementary school. Not long after celebrating these milestones, we went to Maine to celebrate my nephew graduating from high school. Not long after that, I was able to watch a friend perform in a concert in a local town green.
Switching from school to summer vacation meant switching gears. We don’t have to wake up early to make the bus anymore, but we do have to make sure teenagers are out of bed and ready to face the day and tackle the chores. Some of the misinformed cherubs think they have a God-given right to sleep all morning into the afternoon. Wife and I are still explaining to them that’s not how life works.
On the other side of the spectrum, we have The Oppressed and The Boy. Both are at camp and spend the days swimming, rowing, and learning arts and crafts. These children have been at this particular camp for years. They love it, as do the other children in the area who attend. It’s a great camp. Parents (including this one) have tried to get in, but apparently there’s an age limit.
When the children aren’t at camp or sleeping, there are birthday parties to attend. Both The Oppressed and The Boy have been busy this season attending parties. This gives the chance for The Oppressed to express herself and her talents with drawings on the card and craft projects that come with the presents picked out for friends. The kids have fun at the parties, and it gives Wife and I a chance to catch up with the other adults.
Yes, it’s nice for things to slow down and it’s nice for us to do things other than worry about getting to school on time and making sure homework is done. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean parents like us can take a break from worrying about our little cherubs. Our little miracles of Christ keep finding ways to keep up on our toes.
Slight Incident at the Pond
There was one such incident I’ll remember and treasure forever. One day, children and I were swimming at a pond. This particular watering hole had a rope tied to a tree. Children at the pond liked to swing off the rope and fall into the water. Seems like fun, right? It is. The only problem is this: You need to swing on the rope a couple of times to get far enough over water that is deep enough. The rope can be a tricky thing to try to control while you’re swinging in mid-air.
One such child had a little trouble with that and their back hit the tree. I was watching the children take turns on the rope and dreading something like that happening. Sure enough, it did.
Luckily for this child, no one was really swinging wild enough or fast enough to do major damage to themselves. There was a little scratch. Nothing more than that. We were all grateful.
A Missing Cat?
There’s been plenty of excitement for our family this summer. Some episodes are more exciting than we would like. There was one morning Kitty decided to go out exploring, and she was gone for most of the day.
I was browsing through social media later that day when I found a post mentioning a dead cat not far from our neighborhood in case anyone was missing a cat. The description of the cat was close enough to Kitty that I felt I should respond to the post and get more information. The nice lady who had originally posted about the cat sent me a message with a picture of the cat. I honestly couldn’t say, “yes” or “no” with 100% certainty.
It was a long day and a long night. I wasn’t sure what I was going to tell the younger children or one of the teenagers, who has a special fondness for Kitty. I told nobody except for Wife. No need to alarm any of the children.
I woke up the next morning and began my daily routine, which started with letting Doggie out. When I reached the door, there was Kitty waiting. She looked healthy and intact, and ready to sleep off the excitement of her night out of the house. I was able to dial down my anxiety until the next fun-filled adventure finds its way to my house.
When in the course of children’s events it becomes necessary for one children to dissolve the parental bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of family and family’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of children requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to separation.
Outline of Parents’ Wrongs and Atrocities
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all children are created equal to their parents, that they are endowed with certain unalienable rights, that among these are snacks, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. – That to secure these rights, Parents are instituted among children, deriving their just powers from the consent of the children, – That whenever any form of parenting becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the children to alter or abolish it, and institute new Parents, preferably themselves, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to the children shall seem most likely to provide their own happiness. Parents don’t know what they’re doing, anyway. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that parents should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that children are more disposed to suffer, while evils of parents are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and wrongful seizing of parenting rights, pursuing invariably the same object shows a devious plan to reduce the children under absolute Despotism, it is the children’s right, it is their duty, to throw off such Parenting (themselves), and to provide new Guards for their future security (until they need money or a ride somewhere).
Indictment of Parents
Such has been the patient sufferance of these Children; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Parenting. The history of the present Parents is a history of repeated injuries and wrongful invoking of rights as parents, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these innocent children. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
They have refused to Assent to Children’s input, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good:
They have forbidden their children to make their own rules, unless suspended in their operation until their Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, they have utterly neglected to attend them:
They have refused to make other rules for the accommodation of children’s happiness, unless those children would obey the rules of the house, a right precious to them and formidable to tyrant parents only:
They have called together children for meals and family trips at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from where they can charge devices, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with their measures.
They have dissolved Child Representation repeatedly, for opposing with parental firmness of their invasions on the rights of the children.
They have refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to elect other children, whereby children’s powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the Children at large for their exercise; the children remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of chores and a lack of screens.
They have endeavoured to prevent more friends coming over when chores “need to be done” refusing to allow more children to encourage their migrations hither and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Friends visiting:
They have obstructed the Administration of Children’s Justice by refusing their Assent to rules for establishing additional Children’s privileges:
They have made Children dependent on their Will alone for food, clothing, shelter, and transportation:
They have erected a multitude of New Offices which harass our people and dictate mealtime substances:
They have kept among us, in times of peace, Rules and Curfews without our consent:
They have affected to render their Parental roles independent of and superior to the Children’s Power:
They have combined with others (teachers, other parents) to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution of rights, and unacknowledged by our law; giving their Assent to their acts of pretended Legislation:
For not allowing extended privileges because rooms are not clean.
For protecting other parents, by a mock Trial from punishment for any atrocities which they should commit on fellow Children:
For cutting off communication with all parts of the world after a certain hour:
For imposing chores on us without out Consent:
For depriving us in many cases of the benefit of Making our own Rules:
For punishing us for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of Parenting Laws, establishing therein an Arbitrary Parenting government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute parenting unto the Children:
For taking away our screens, abolishing our most valuable leisure activities and altering fundamentally the Forms of our routines and habits:
For suspending our own Autonomy, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever:
They have abdicated Parenting here by suspending our rights and waging War against those rights:
They have plundered our bedrooms, ravaged our backpacks, ransacked our closets, and destroyed the lives of our people:
They are at this time collaborating with teachers, doctors, coaches, neighbors to compleat the works of confiscating unhealthy snacks and drinks, and enforcing “healthy” choices and habits, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized family:
They have witnessed and consented to other parents, who have constrained our fellow Children taken captive, or “grounded” them:
They have excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and have endeavoured to bring on the merciless punishments, an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions:
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. Parents, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free children.
Past Appeals to the World
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our brethren (and sistern). We have warned them from time to time of attempts by all parents to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us all. We have reminded them of our seeking justice and quest for satisfaction. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common roles as children to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our playtime and socializing together.
The Case for Independence
We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold the Parents, as we hold the rest of mankind, Friends and Equals.
Independence is a Must
We, therefore, the Children, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, so, in the Name, and by Authority of the good Children everywhere, solemnly publish and declare, That these Children are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to Parents, and that all parental connection between them and the Parents, is ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent Children, they have full Power to pay bills, cook meals, do laundry, and arrange transportation to friends’ houses, parties, and sporting events, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent Children may of right to. And for the support of the Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Wi-Fi and Uber Eats, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Passwords, and our sacred Honor.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Well, as she brought her stuff back to her room and getting 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(Based on “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” by Dr. Seuss)
Kids in the house had foreheads so hot. Daddy didn’t like it, no he did not. He didn’t understand. It was past flu season. Why are they sick? What could be the reason?
Kids feel like their heads don’t feel right. Kids feel their noses are too tight. It’s real bad. The most sickly child of all Feels like their nose is two sizes too small.
Whatever the problem, the head or the nose, We’re hating this illness – flu or just colds.
My Kids are Sick
Seeing them in bed, their sad little frowns. Everyone’s sick. The sickest family in town. I knew every child, downstairs and up, all were sick. Just please don’t throw up.
“They’re running a fever,” I said with some gloom, Wondering why the littles must be in my room. Then I thought with paranoia nervously running, How do I prevent my own illness from coming?
One day soon, I knew, being this close to kids Breathing on me, would put my own health on the skids. And then! Oh, the coughing, the sneezing, the noise. Noise, Noise, Noise!
Who would cook the wife’s and children’s great feasts? Cajun recipes, exotic dishes, upon which to feast. FEAST, FEAST, FEAST! Who would make them their food, their lovely grilled meats? It was something this Daddy couldn’t stand in the least.
I know they’ll do something I like least of all. Every kid in this house, the tall and the small, Will come one-by-one like Christmas bells ringing They’ll stand at my bed like fallen angels singing And they’ll say there’s no clothes, and, “I’m hungry, Dad.” DAD, DAD, DAD! And the more I thought of these needy kids, I knew I must put being sick on the skids. For two weeks I’ve put up with coughing and fits. I must find a way to end all of it.
Dad isn’t Feeling Well
Then I got a feeling. An awful feeling. Daddy got a terrible, awful feeling. Whatever shall I do? What’s this in my throat? I’m walking around with medicine in my coat!
I sniffled and coughed. This isn’t fun. Another symptom for me, and I will be done. All I need is green tea and I will be hopping But green tea was scarce because no one was shopping. Do we have any juice? “No,” children said. I’ll drink me some water, then off to bed.
I went under the covers with a stuffy head. The next day I drove the kids to their school. Then back home stumbling like a fool. I opened the window for a little fresh air. The state of the kitchen gave me a scare. I’ll close my eyes first, then see what’s down there.
I tucked myself in. My eyelids went down. The dirtiest house, now the sickest in town. But Wife soon went shopping. Green tea filled the air. Daddy needed tea, sherbet, and care.
Dad still Fights Sickness
I faced another day in bed. Can’t leave there.
My throat was scratchy, my stuffy nose hissed. I rolled over in bed, tissues in fist. I slid out of bed, went into the kitchen and grabbed some of that green tea I was missin’.
Water boiling, I sat for a moment or two. Hoping to myself that it’s not the flu. Tea bag in cup. Hot water flows. “This illness,” I said, “Has just got to go.” I slithered back in bed, feeling most unpleasant. Kids sick in the past. I’m sick in the present. Sudafed, Nyquil, hot tea with honey. Cough drops and Gatorade; It’s really not funny.
Tissues and boxes in trash bags so nimbly. Multiple bags filled one-by-one, by Jiminy. I’m just having fruit and sherbet and teas. No mashed potatoes. I can’t have roast beast!
Watch Daddy Take Care of Himself
I cleaned out that icebox of juices and fruits. Why, I even took some iced tea to boot! Then I drank all of my juice up with glee. “And NOW,” grinned Daddy, “I will catch me some Z’s!” So, I climbed into bed, and I’m ready to snore, And I heard the small sound of one kid, maybe more. I raised my head fast; I saw a young kid. The Oppressed, who wanted to know what I did. I had been caught by my youngest daughter Who wanted to see if I wanted some water.
Daughter Loves her Dad
She stared at me and said, “Daddy, why” “Why are you stuck in your bed? WHY?” But, you know, this daddy is smart, though he’s sick. I gave her my answer. I thought of it quick. “Why, my sweet little tot,” The sick daddy told, “Daddy’s got sniffles, a headache, and cold” “I’m taking it easy in my bedroom, my dear.” “I’m getting some rest and recovery here.”
My daughter heard the answer. I patted her head. She brought me a drink as I went to bed. And when The Oppressed left me with my cup, I took me a nap with my nose still stuffed up. Then the last thing I did before closing my eyes Was wish to be better, then exhaled a sigh. And the one little sound that I heard in the house Was Kitty’s tail swishing as she tracked down a mouse.
I was feeling the same as my kids felt before: Achy and tired and sniffling and sore. Whatever the time, I know teens still a-bed. Some kids are out playing. At least I’m not dead.
Dad is Doing Everything he Can
Tucked under blankets with meds and green tea, along with the fruit and hot tea with honey. Plenty of food and medicine ingested, I just need to feel healthy and rested. “Pooh-pooh to all this,” I was grumbly humming, “This is how my kids were succumbing. “If could wake up feeling fresh and anew, “I could play catch for a minute or two “Then the boy could go out and get fresh air, too.”
That is fun that this daddy simply MUST have. Daddy rested, pulling blankets to his face Hearing nothing, not a sound in the place. My snores started slow, then started to grow. I suppose it did, ‘cuz my wife told me so. I slept and I snored, then I drank some more juice and after days of suffering, I shook my illness loose.
Dad Feels Better. Dad Feels Good!
I woke up one day, popped open my eyes. I could eat solid food, what a pleasant surprise! We had all gotten better. The tall and the small Were functioning. I could watch the boy hit the ball! Homework had stopped, then restarted. It CAME! I cooked meals no one ate. It was back to the same. And Daddy resumed duties of the day, Driving his youngest children to school both ways. I can cook food and clean, and pick up the clothes. I don’t need to worry ’bout this runny nose. And I puzzled for hours, and puzzled some more. I was happy to feel as I had felt before. I was happy to be well, not feeling sore.
And I can now do a little, and a little bit more. And what happens next? Well, like they say, my sinuses had grown three sizes those days (they do say that). And now my head doesn’t feel so tight. I start my workload at first morning light. I’m picking up toys, and I’m cooking feasts. That’s great! I, myself, love me roast beast!
Sometimes people get sick. When the parent gets sick, specifically me, I need to put my big-boy pants on and deal with it. If one of my children, however, fall ill, I need to attend to them and make sure they are comfortable on their way to recovery.
My services (and my bed) were needed when The Oppressed fell ill one day. I got that phone call from the school that parents dread. Your child isn’t feeling well. They have a slight fever. We need you to pick them up.
I went to the school to pick up my daughter. The nurse spoke to me. The Oppressed had a slight fever and couldn’t stop coughing. I stopped at the store to buy some lemon drops and Life Savers, hoping sucking on some hard candy would help the cough and the throat.
I brought her home. She went straight to my bedroom where Wife checked her forehead to confirm a fever. We checked her temperature. She had a fever. The nurse told us she couldn’t come to school the next day no matter how she felt. The Oppressed was devastated to hear this news.
My daughter was on my side of the bed for the whole night. I camped out in The Boy’s room. The Boy was happy about it. The Oppressed was happy to be with Wife.
The next morning, I gave The Oppressed a couple of sips of coffee to help out the coughing and wheezing. We’ll give a nebulizer later in the day in case this isn’t just her body waking up. I then went to the supermarket. I bought tea, juice, fruit. The things I buy, consume, and promote to my children whenever I or someone else in the house gets sick. I made sure she had plenty of fluids, especially tea with honey. We did what we could to get the fever under control. School said The Oppressed needs to be fever-free without medicine for 24 hours before she returns.
The Gaggle approached me the day after The Oppressed came home. They told me they were getting sick. The child asked if I could procure some bone broth for them. It’s something they swear by it when they’re feeling ill.
So, I’m off to the store again. Before I go, I check in with The Oppressed. I mention something to her about when I got sick when I was around her age. My grandfather gave me something when was sick. I had a bad cold. I had never heard of it before, but he gave me something called “Fisherman’s Friend”. This was one of the absolute nastiest things I had ever tasted (right up there with Robitussin DM), but it works. I’ll never forget the taste of it. I explained to The Oppressed how nasty Fisherman’s Friend tastes but also tell her how effective it is. She wasn’t keen on trying it at first, but she appears to be coming around since her symptoms of coughing and a sore throat aren’t going away.
I went to the store for bone broth, more juice, more fruit. I also find a small package of Fisherman’s Friend. This one, however is not like the one I took in the days of my youth. This particular kind has a mint exterior. I take this one and explain to the oppressed that this could potentially be a better one than the original one I take. She agrees to try it. I leave her with the medicine and return downstairs to put the other things away and to inform The Gaggle I have returned with their bone broth. The Gaggle comes to the kitchen to prepare it. After the latest round of groceries are put away, and I go back upstairs to check on The Oppressed to see how she is doing. She’s doing alright.
I am with her reading while she watches YouTube. Moments pass, and I hear my youngest daughter make a weird sound. I turn to look, and she looks like she drank straight lemon juice. She is fanning herself with her fingers and in a gurgling voice says, “barrel”. I give her a wastebasket and she spits the Fisherman’s Friend tablet into it. I’m guessing the mint exterior had melted away and she was tasting the actual medicine itself.
“That stuff is nasty,” she tells me. “How do you eat that?”
“It’s nasty, but it works,” I tell her. “You just suck it up and deal with the nasty taste and feel better.”
Forget the suck it up and deal with it. The Oppressed is done with this nasty-tasting medicine, and she would much rather drink fluids and flush it out. A round of Harry Potter movies should go rather well with the fluids to help the convalescence.
One day, I take her to the beach. This is another remedy I learned from my grandfather. Fresh salt air for the lungs. The Oppressed and I sit down on the bench and watch the ocean come in. She puts on a little magic show for me with the change I have in my pocket. On the way home, she tells me how much better she feels from the beach. The coughing stopped for a little while.
Parents Feeling sort of Better
The week was coming to a close. Everyone was looking forward to two days off from work and school. I was looking forward to watching The Boy play baseball. There was a rib fest happening on the Lexington Green and we had no set plans as of yet. My nose was running a little on Friday, but that’s to be expected in spring with allergies and pollen working together to wreak a little havoc on a delicate creature like me. Saturday came and I took The Boy to his game. He did a rain dance in the driveway before getting into the car and after getting out of the car at the field. It didn’t work and the baseball gods allowed me to watch a baseball game.
The Boy’s team won, and as of now they are tied for first place. I went home and said I wasn’t feeling great, so I thought I would lie down for a bit. I woke up congested with a cough and a runny nose. This is unacceptable. There is a rib fest happening at the Lexington Green. Wife took the kids to the movies on Saturday night.
The Rest of the Weekend
I remain home with The Oppressed. We watch “Hook” while everyone else watches the latest Dr. Strange movie. I pop a Nyquil, retire to bed, and sleep until 9:30. Me sleeping that late is unheard of in this house. I’m not feeling great. I take a Dayquil and wife brings me coffee. This is Day 2 of the rib fest and I’m not feeling like leaving the house on a glorious spring day. The gods are mocking me in this fashion. I sit in my chair, sipping coffee and share my plight with the world. I might have to take a Fisherman’s Friend.
Monday morning has arrived. I sleep until after 7:00. I’m usually the first one out of bed to wake the teens for the bus. Wife took care of that for me. Today, it looks like I’ll be coaching from the sidelines but that’s alright. My kids are motivated and self-starters, right?