This is why my Friday is fun and Exciting

Well, I told you my Friday was exciting. Now you’re going to read about it.

What good shall I do this day?

Benjamin Franklin

Friday started like any other day for me. I said hello to Doggie and Kitty, got some coffee and got ready to face the day. I walked to the bus with Slugger and The Oppressed. When I got back home, The Boy was up beginning his day.

I took The Boy to school and again I returned home. I needed to eat a little breakfast, the most important meal of the day. The Gaggle emerged from their room. It was a big day for The Gaggle, as they were going to take the last part of their GED. The whole GED process itself has been an arduous one. I think we were both equally happy to see an end to this.

I spent the time reading while The Gaggle took their test. We made our way back to town when they finished. I needed to run an errand. The Gaggle wanted to go home and enjoy the fact that they didn’t need to study any more. I needed to go home and get things done at the house, but that had to wait.

Meeting People for Lunch

As I was driving home, my mother-in-law called. She was doing errands with her husband and her sister. They were going to lunch and asked if I would go with them. I accepted. Wife was working from home and couldn’t get away. Her day was filled with meetings. She asked if I would pick up something to-go for her. I would.

people in cafe
Photo by Joe L on Pexels.com

Lunch is spent filling in my in-laws and Wife’s aunt on life: school, sports, work, every part of the madness we face day in and day out. People ask me about The Boy’s soccer season. That’s going well. He seems to like it. Wife and I like that he’s out there expending energy. It means he can get tired faster and fall asleep earlier. When it comes to kids and quiet, Wife and I can use all the help we can get.

Lunch is over. I drive home to give Wife her food. No rest for the wicked, though. I need to be at the elementary school to get The Boy. The Boy has plans as he always does on Friday. Friday means rolling through the neighborhood and connecting with his friends. They aren’t able to play during the week. The burdens of homework and extra-curricular activities prevent that. I think petitions are being filed as you read this.

Soccer Practice, and Someone is Disappointed

Speaking of extra-curriculars, there’s a slight bump in The Boy’s schedule this afternoon. He has soccer practice. It was supposed to be earlier in the week, but Mother Nature had other plans with the rain. We’ve been getting quite the amount of rain lately. It would have been nice to have it during the summer when we were dealing with a drought, but I digress.

The Boy is most displeased with this development. Friday afternoons are for Manhunt and bike riding, not corner-kicks and throw-ins. The curtailed playtime is just another of a long list of grievances presented to me by all of my children. I take everything under advisement.

person playing soccer.
Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

The Boy goes to practice. The coaches, bless their hearts, do the best they can with the limited attention spans of the budding athletes. Time is spent on drills and a little strategy. I occasionally peek over my book to see how practice goes.

Practice ends. Parents walk up to the cluster of children to hear the coach’s words of wisdom and to see if there’s any word on the game. For some reason, times and locations of our games are always changing. The coach thinks the league is 90% certain of when and where we’ll be this weekend, and he hopes to be in touch with us that night.

Someone is Still Disappointed

I take The Boy home, and it’s time to eat. The Boy is not happy with me. We call The Boy “A Man About Town”. Friday means no homework. It means he doesn’t have to worry about what he’s doing the next day. Like all cherubs everywhere, The Boy spends his free time around the neighborhood collecting friends and having fun, celebrating their short-lived parole from school. Soccer practice cuts into that. He lets me know how disappointed he is in this change to his schedule.

I think I’m the only one looking forward to my son’s soccer game. ⚽️

I get home. I’m ready to rest a little from a busy week. The weekend has plenty of excitement in store for us, including a soccer game. I’m looking forward to watching my son play soccer. I think I’m the only one looking forward to the game.

Follow me on Twitter @Greg_the_Brave for more insights and nuggets about parenting.

Exciting Back to School Days for the Children and Parents

All over the neighborhood and throughout the town, parents are rejoicing as the heavens open up and the sound of angels singing fill the ears of parents who have suffered these three long months of children who sleep until the middle of the afternoon and numb their brains and eyeballs to the latest offerings of YouTube and Tik-Tok.

The summer is winding down. The weather is getting cooler, and the days are getting shorter. All over the neighborhood and throughout the town, parents are rejoicing as the heavens open up and the sound of angels singing fill the ears of parents who have suffered these three long months of children who sleep until the middle of the afternoon and numb their brains and eyeballs to the latest offerings of YouTube and Tik-Tok.

The choirs of angels accompanying the opening heavens are heralding the start of the new school year. It is a glorious time welcomed by all parents. The months of suffering the Miracles of Christ come to an end and we begin a new school year that will mold minds and give children new and exciting opportunities to learn things that will serve them well in life.

This, of course, also means Brave Daddy himself needs to adjust to a new routine. Children not needing to get up early in the morning means Daddy doesn’t have to get up early in the morning. I’ve been able to stay in bed for a little bit and contemplate what needs to be done and what excitement lays in store for me. Now I need be up and ready to go.

Riding the School Bus

There’s also another part to this school year that makes it different from any other. This year we have three children in three different schools, four if you include Lovie in college. High school, middle school, and elementary school.

Thankfully, the high school and middle school students are on the same bus in the morning and the bus comes earlier than when The Boy needs to be dropped off at school. I walk to the bus stop with the bus children. It gives me some exercise and helps to prepare me for all the moving I need to do that day. The Oppressed is glad to have the company as she waits for the bus. Slugger is too cool to interact and listens to his earbuds.

Ready for the bus… Kinda.

I was there for the bus to return twice in those first few days of school. The first time was because The Oppressed wanted to see the teachers from her old school, and the second time was because it rained, and I took pity on the children by driving them down the street. There have been new routines, but the same answers to questions. The kids did, “nothing” all day and school was, “great”.

I don’t get much else from the cherubs. Maybe that will change as the year goes on. One can only hope. Maybe something will happen that will be exciting enough to tell their dad. Maybe they’ll learn something interesting enough to share with me when I see them at the end of the day.

Driving to School

As I said before, we have three (four) children in three (four) schools. For the first time in years, I am only driving one child to and from school. This makes it easier for Daddy, who only needs to make sure that one child has what they need before getting into the car and getting to school. There are no wars over who is sitting in the front seat. There is no yelling at each other over some insipid issue that (to them) is a matter of life and death.

The Oppressed checks out one of her new classrooms.

Afternoon pickups give me a chance to see the other parents and reconnect. I get to commiserate with them about the daily struggles of getting to school and making the bell. My time with the other clueless adults is usually cut short by The Boy, who wants to get home and drop his bag and go to his friend’s house to play. I try to take advantage of the quick ride home with The Boy and ask about his day. What did he learn? What did he play at recess? Who did he play with?

School was great. He did nothing. He played with his friends, but he doesn’t remember what he did or who exactly he played with. Good talk, Dad. I’m going to my friend’s house to play.

Follow me on Twitter. @Greg_the_Brave

Grilling a Delicious Dinner with Your Daughter

Our kids, all of them are growing up (supposedly). Some days Wife and I question this, other days children tell us they are ready to try something they’ve never tried before.

The Oppressed recently told us she was ready to try something new. She wanted to cook dinner. Our youngest daughter picked a challenging night to try cooking dinner. We were having steak.

It’s August. It’s summer. That means we throw steaks on the grill. That means teaching The Oppressed how to work the grill and cook the steaks. If that was all we needed to be worried about, we would still have our hands full. Like other meals, we weren’t just having steak. We were also having baked potatoes and broccoli.

The Oppressed made it abundantly clear to me that she, and nobody else, would cook dinner. She would allow advice and answers to questions if she had any, but this was her gig, and she (and nobody else) would be doing the cooking.

Potatoes and Broccoli

We began with heating the oven for the potatoes and the broccoli. After that, we pulled the steaks out of the refrigerator to take the chill off. The potatoes were easy. We just needed to poke them with a knife and put them in the oven.

The broccoli required a little more effort and ingredients. We originally intended to use olive oil, salt, and pepper. Unfortunately, some of the children saw The Oppressed going to work and immediately decided their input was needed when it came to what to add to the broccoli.

Soon the spice drawer was emptied out and multiple cherubs were trying to add other seasonings and flavors to the dish. One child made it past me while I was telling people we didn’t need so much input or spices. The child that did make it through added garlic.

Steaks on the Grill

With broccoli and potatoes in the oven (we decided to cook everything and reheat the broccoli later), it was time to focus on the steak. I went outside to turn on the grill while The Oppressed went to work and seasoned the steaks. When I returned to the house, The Oppressed demanded to know where I went and let me know how upset she was that I had turned on the grill. She reminded me she was doing everything.

My daughter seasoning the steaks.

I tried to explain to her that the grill had to be warmed up before putting the meat on. This didn’t matter, of course. I should have told her it was time to turn on the grill before applying the seasonings. What’s done was done, and I told her I would be mindful of that the next time. She had informed me there would be a next time, but we’ll get to that later.

Steaks on the grill.

We get to the grill. I run back into the house to grab a beer because I’m grilling and it’s a rule to have a beer while grilling. The Oppressed allows me to put the steaks on the grill, as they are big, and she is struggling a little with the tongs. That’s all I can do, though.

Pouring a Beer

A beer is poured by me, not the boy. The Boy emerges and lets me know he’s upset that I poured a beer without telling him. He wanted to pour the beer for me.

A rather heavy pour of beer.

Daddy sips on his beer, reflecting on how The Boy has been let down. I turn a steak over to see if it’s done on one side. The Oppressed demands to know what I’m doing if she is the one who’s cooking dinner. I surrender the fork to my daughter, who gives me a suspicious look and focuses on the grill, checking on the meat.

I let The Boy know I’m ready for another beer. He forgives me for my previous transgression and proceeds to open the beer and pour. He is still learning this art, and there is more foam than beer. I give it a couple of minutes for the head to die down a little.

Dinner is served.

Steaks are done by the time the second beer is finished. They are brought in by The Oppressed and her father. I begin to set the table until my daughter pushes me away. She reminds me she is the one preparing dinner. I tell her forks on the left, knives on the right. The Oppressed puts a finger to her lips and say, “Sshh!” Everyone sits down at the table, set by The Oppressed. Dinner passes with the entire family.

Pork on the Grill

The Oppressed was so proud of herself, she decided to prepare dinner the next night. I would be allowed to help a little, but this was her job, and she would be the one to do it.

The next night’s menu was pork. I went to the store to buy some marinade and prepared the meat. Beer was taken out for The Boy to pour. He poured it. Big head. I turned the grill on and gave it a minute to warm up while the head tamed down.

There was a slight challenge when I opened the grill to put down the pork. The fire was out. This was a small problem, and the children and I closed up the containers of marinating pork and went inside. The Boy wanted to carry my beer. I told him I would do it.

One night was grilling. Another night was cooking on the stove top. Two different methods of cooking that required different sets of skills and attention. I watched The Oppressed watch the meat and the clock. I told her when to turn the meat. She had a little trouble handling the utensils. I attempted to step in and assist, but she put up her hand, informing me she had a handle on things. I backed away and sipped my tasty beverage while she continued cooking.

Drinking a beer. This was really the only thing I was allowed to do while my daughter cooked.

We all sat down to dinner. Pork, french fries, and corn. Again, everyone raved about the efforts of The Oppressed. She had been wanting to make dinner for everyone for a long time and finally got to do it. After two successful meals, I think everyone is looking forward to her next effort.

“Down on the Farm” is now available for purchase on Apple Books.

I Took my Child to the Hospital

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.

Urgent Care

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.

Waiting for someone,
anyone, to appear.

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.

People Watching

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.

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.

Other comrades-in-waiting.

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.

“Down on the Farm” is now available for purchase on Apple Books.

Plenty of Excitement in the Lazy Summer Days

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.

A concert on the town green.

Switching Gears

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.

The scene of another birthday party just before the kids fill up the floor.

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.

Safe and sound asleep.

The Declaration of Independence for Children

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all children are created equal to their parents, that they are endowed with

(With apologies to Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence)

The Declaration of Independence

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.

Click here for an interesting article on the connections past presidents have with Independence Day.

A Child Finds her Stuffed Animal

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

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

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

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.

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