Taking Your Children to King Richard’s Faire

The Oppressed wanted to go to King Richard’s Faire earlier this season. I’ve heard of it, but I had never been there.

Other than being parked at the fair, this has nothing to do with the fair but I thought daddies and mommies would appreciate the van.

She was very excited to go. Wife even got her a Rennaissance-style dress to wear for the day. I’m not sure what she was most excited about. Going to the fair or having a dress to wear to the fair.

Arriving at the Fair

The big day arrived. It was me and four of the children. Wife and Lovie weren’t able to make it due to an unforeseen circumstance. We got out of the car and saw that The Oppressed was certainly within her element.

The Oppressed graciously accepting her award.

She was not the only one to dress up for this day. There were many people who took the opportunity to dress up for this grand day at the fair. Some were dressed up in Rennaissance clothes. Some were dressed in Harry Potter costumes. A lot of people were dressed up in some type of period or specifically themed garb.

I was dressed in regular, 21st century clothing. That’s right. I was dressed in modern clothes. Wife can’t say anything about how I was dressed on this day. (She tends to think my dress is old-fashioned sometimes.)

We joined the throngs who had assembled outside the gates. Lords, Ladies, and commoners alike waited their turn. There was no privilege granted to anyone. Everyone had to wait their turn until the gates opened.

When they did open, we walked into a completely different world. There were games that tested one’s strength and skill. There were stands that sold handmade items. Some vendors sold food. Some sold mugs, journals, or some other type of trinket. Everything was handmade and nothing was cheap. Children got trinkets and souvenirs.

The slogan for King Richar’s Fair should be, “Enter a lord, exit a pauper.”

Rides and Games

A manually operated ride.

There were plenty of rides to go on. All of the rides were powered manually. The people charged with operating the rides certainly earned their money. I had no idea they made rides like that.

In addition to the rides, we also saw games that tested your strength and skill. The Oppressed went for the skill games. Slugger went for the strength games. The Oppressed showed her determination and was rewarded with a royal proclamation that recognized her efforts and achievements. She graciously accepted her award.

Fun and games were briefly paused for food and drink. We got in another line to buy our fare and refreshments and I handed over another small fortune. The slogan for King Richard’s Fair should be, “Enter a lord, exit a pauper.”

We left for home that afternoon. Wife and Lovie were happy to see us after our day at the fair. The children were excited to show off everything they got at the fair. The Oppressed was happy showing Wife what she got and what she wore while getting it.

Dad and Daughter Together in the Cornhole Tournament

We had a lot to figure out as we prepared for battle. The Oppressed, who is still growing, needed to figure out the proper “oomph” to give her beanbag tosses .

The Oppressed thought it would be a great idea if she and I played in a cornhole tournament together. The tournament was at the local YMCA. I play cornhole occasionally. If you play, you know how fun it can be. If you don’t play cornhole, you should.

There were plenty of other sights to take in that day. The Oppressed and I saw a raffle table, a food truck. There were five or six cornhole courts set up at the playing field. Every team, including us took turns to practice our skills. There were some practice matches before we kept score for real.

The Cornhole Tournament

If you don’t play cornhole, you should.

We had a lot to figure out as we prepared for battle. The Oppressed, who is still growing, needed to figure out the proper “oomph” to give her beanbag tosses. At first, the tosses didn’t reach the board. The arc was too high, then she adjusted her footwork. After tweaking the angle, she was able to hit the board.

Our target for the day.

Sometimes hitting the board was enough to score a point. Unfortunately, the boards were waxed and varnished. They did look pretty, but this prettiness presented another challenge for father and daughter alike. The beanbags would slide off the boards and on the ground. You only get points if your beanbag stays on the board for the entire round.

There was an occasional stroke of luck for us from time to time. Sometimes, we would get our beanbag in the hole. When this happened, the best our opponents could hope for was to get theirs in the hole on offset the points we had scored.

I talked about The Oppressed throwing the beanbags. My throws weren’t that much better. I made adjustments as best I could. A little more arc here. Aim over there. During the game, I tried to shout advice to my daughter from time to time. Unfortunately, our efforts and my advice didn’t do us much good. We lost the first game. We lost bad.

A look at the cornhole action.

I wasn’t too upset about it, neither was my daughter. It was a double-elimination tournament, and a little break in the action gave us time to discuss strategy for the next game. I liked our chances for the second game. Between the warm-up rounds and the first game, there was enough practicing and fine-tuning for us to redeem ourselves in the second game.

The Second Game

We were ready to go for the second game, and we got out to an early lead. This was good for us. It would give us a chance to stave off elimination. Plus, the extra games would give us a chance to improve our skills, which meant better throws and more points as the tournament continued.

The final score wasn’t pretty. That’s us on the left.

Our lead was short-lived, however and we fell behind. I wasn’t worried, though. I was confident we would catch up and retake the lead. We didn’t retake the lead.

Our team was eliminated in two games. It was pretty ugly. I don’t know if it was our technique or if it’s just been that long since I played a sport (Cornhole is a sport, right?), but we did not fare well at all at the YMCA Cornhole Tournament. We needed to assess our effort and future, if any with cornhole.

Lunch, and a Different Game

We commiserated over lunch at a local restaurant. The Oppressed chose where we would be eating. Coincidentally, it was where The Boy celebrated the end of his baseball season.

I like this place because it has Keno. I like to play Keno when I go out to eat. The Oppressed saw what I was doing, and when she saw that I needed to pick numbers, she immediately decided that I needed her help in choosing said numbers. She was very proud as she presented my slip to me with her specially chosen numbers.

Numbers were played. We watched the Keno screen as we waited for our food. We talked about our day at the cornhole tournament. When the food came, we ate and continued to watch the screen for our numbers. We got some of our money back. We didn’t get it all back, just some. The Oppressed wants to play Keno again. I’m not sure how I feel about her gambling so early.

A Thrilling Weekend with our Foster Child (Now Pancakes?)

We took a foster child for the weekend. I’m going to call him “Jay”. Jay was a good kid. His social worker described him as an energetic, talkative kid.

Friday

When Jay first came here on Friday afternoon, he was understandably shy. He got settled after he moved around the house and saw everything here. He saw where he would be sleeping and where the snacks were kept. I think he got settled when he saw where the ice cream was. Ice cream seems to help people. It helps me.

laughing child face looking through hole in wooden fence
Photo by Gaurav Ranjitkar on Pexels.com

Wife was out of town on Friday night. It was me and the children. We hit the weekend running, as The Boy had soccer practice on Friday afternoon. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny afternoon. This disappointed The Boy, who was hoping for the cold, rainy days we had during the week. He wanted practice to be cancelled. There is a small consolation for The Boy. His game has been cancelled. This pleases him to no end. I’m upset because I won’t be able to wear the cool soccer fan gear I bought for his games.

After practice I went shopping with Jay to get snacks for the weekend. He wanted to get some ice cream. We already had ice cream, but he wanted something a little more in line with his tastes. He decided on rainbow sherbet.

Jay is Looking for People

We returned home after the trip to the store. People sit down to have dinner. After dinner, I retreat to my room for a little reading and a little writing. It’s not long before Jay comes up to see me.

“What’s up, Jay?” I ask.

“Where’s Wife?”

I remind Jay that Wife has gone away for the night, and she’ll be back the next day. Jay asks where she is. Why did she go away? I remind myself the social worker told us Jay could be talkative and likes to ask a lot of questions. So, he does. It’s nice to see he’s warming up to the people in the house.

Saturday

Saturday morning arrives. I’m happily laying in bed. No one needs to be in school. I don’t need to wake anybody up. It’s nice to be able to rest. Kitty is purring on me, keeping me warm. Suddenly, I hear the door open, and my slumber is disturbed by Jay.

“I’m hungry.”

“Okay,” I mumble. “Hold on a second and let me get dressed.

Pancakes (But no Pancakes)

Jay goes downstairs. I’m not far behind. I ask Jay if he will allow me a moment to make some coffee. He begrudgingly obliges. I make my coffee and focus back on Jay, who wants pancakes. I look around, but I’m not able to find any pancake mix.

“Can you look again?” Jay asks.

“Jay,” I patiently explain, “The pantry isn’t magic. If there’s no pancake mix in the pantry the first time I look, there won’t be any when I look again.”

This answer isn’t good enough for Jay, who insists I look again and find pancakes. I check the pantry and, alas, there is no pancake mix.

“Now what?” Jay asks.

cute asian boy eating breakfast at table
Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

I tell Jay he’ll have to slum it and maybe have cereal like my plebian children suffer through in the morning.

“Are you sure you don’t have pancakes?” he asks hopefully. I admire the boy’s enthusiasm as I break the bad news to him. No pancakes. The Boy makes his appearance and sees me getting Jay’s breakfast.

pancake with sliced strawberry
Photo by Ash on Pexels.com

“Do you have pancakes?” Jay asks.

“Dad,” The Boy asks me, “Do we have pancakes?”

I stop what I’m doing. I look at Jay, who suddenly finds the ceiling to be very interesting. The Boy smiles at me and repeats the question.

“We don’t have pancakes,” I say to The Boy and his partner in crime. The Boy leaps off his chair and proceeds to the pantry to confirm this. Jay follows him. He wants to make sure The Boy doesn’t miss anything in the pantry, just as The Boy is making sure I didn’t miss anything in the pantry.

Playtime

After settling for a less-than-ideal breakfast, Jay and The Boy go outside for some fresh air and playtime. I celebrate my time with two less children by picking up around the house and trying to get a hold of the madness that’s been unleashed.

Wife comes home while the boys are out playing. We spend a little time talking about her being away and my time helping Jay get acclimated to our madhouse. The children, inside and outside the house, sense Wife is home, so of course they descend to the kitchen. My time talking to wife has effectively ceased, so I go back to my work around the house.

It’s a relatively laid-back night at home as everyone settles into their pre-bedtime activities. Wife and I are holed up in our bed finishing our recap of our individual days. There is an occasional child that enters, since God forbid, we talk without children intervening.

Sunday

I wake up to Sunday, and children are up before me. We begin the daily dance of what’s for breakfast. Some children (Jay and The Boy) begin another quest for pancakes. Again, I tell them there are no pancakes. The two retreat to the living room for a YouTube session as they commiserate over their morning. There is a small silver lining for The Boy’s weekend: There is no soccer game. In spite of this good news, there are no pancakes.

Our Sunday is spent attending to whatever damage is done by the children over the weekend, preparing for the upcoming week, and savoring whatever quiet moments we have before answering the madness of Monday. I’m looking forward to Monday and the children pursuing their academic interests, while the children lament the clock winding down to their doom.

A Look Inside an Exciting, Fun-Filled Week for Daddy

I continue on my way to the dentist. That’s right. I have a dentist appointment. It’s important that I keep my teeth healthy so I can keep eating steak and burgers.

It’s always an exciting time at our house. That happens with four kids in the house and one at college. Sometimes, it’s a little more exciting than Wife and I would like.

Lady resting on sofa and watching tv at home
Photo by Andres Ayrton on Pexels.com

Brave daddies and mommies everywhere have rejoiced and thanked the school gods for delivering their children to the Land of Learning for a few hours. This too-brief respite provides pestered parents everywhere a chance to get things done, even if those things include streaming an episode they’ve been wanting to watch for days.

Our domestic roster has children in college, high school, middle school, and elementary school. It’s the educational perfecta of parenting.

I want to give a little insight to the fun we had on one particular week. This was a time of obligations and responsibilities that involved my children. It was days of driving and hustling that made me glad for my CD collection (Yes, I still have CDs).

Monday

We begin our fun-filled week the same way we start every morning. The Oppressed and I walk to the bus stop. This gives us a chance to catch up on things. She asks me what my day has in store for me and what I’m going to do while she is tortured – I mean – in school. She also fills me in on all the drama on the bus and in school. Middle school has opened her eyes to how petty people can be and how they need to share every last detail of something with the people of homeroom and the lunch table. My daughter makes sure she doesn’t miss any details when she’s sharing with me.

Slugger has a doctor’s appointment. It’s a follow-up to a follow-up. I think his doctor is eyeing some investment property up Lake Winnipesaukee. This calls for a little shuffle in the afternoon chores and responsibilities. The appointment means Slugger won’t be taking the bus home. He’s getting out of school early. He doesn’t mind this at all, so he’s willing to suck it up and deal with the small inconvenience in his schedule.

The doctor’s appointment means I won’t be able to pick up The Boy from school. This will cut into our two-minute conversation when we drive home. (The Boy doesn’t allow me to walk). This means The Gaggle steps in and walks him home. They don’t drive. The Boy needs to put on his big-boy pants and hoof it to the house. I’m sure to hear about it when I return home.

Tuesday

Tuesday morning begins with the usual hustle and bustle of getting children up and getting them to the bus stop. After the bus leaves with two of the cherubs, I head back to the house for a few precious minutes of quiet time with the dog before The Boy makes his presence known.

Breakfast. Back upstairs to get dressed. I look a few things over while the child gets ready for his day at school. We arrive at school; the boy departs the car. I continue on my way to the dentist. That’s right. I have a dentist appointment. It’s important that I keep my teeth healthy so I can keep eating steak and burgers.

A little something from Widowmaker Brewery because I was a good boy at the dentist.

The weather’s a little iffy. I’m wondering if soccer practice is going to happen for The Boy, but that’s in the afternoon. Right now, I’m focused on making it to the dentist. It’s a successful visit. God bless the hygienist for having Bob Seger playing in the room.

If you’ll just come with me, you’ll see the beauty of Tuesday afternoon.

The Moody Blues

The Boy’s soccer practice was originally scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, but Mother Nature had other plans. We underwent a deluge of rain. It was nice to see the rain given the dry summer we had, but after the game they had on the previous weekend, a practice soon after the game wouldn’t hurt.

Our coach can’t control the weather, though, and the practice is moved to Friday.

Wednesday

girl in white crew neck t shirt writing on white paper
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Wife and I had some quality time together on Wednesday. Our day began at school where we had a meeting for one of our students. Nothing was wrong. They were transferring and everyone wanted to make sure the transition had been a smooth one so far.

Wednesday night meant an Open House at the High School, where I got to meet Slugger’s teachers. Everyone raved about my boy and how much they enjoy having him in their classed. I went home and passed the glad tidings on to Slugger, who responded to the compliments with grunts and shrugs.

Thursday

Thursday was a day of trying to catch up with things around the house. I did the best I could. There were some things to get at the grocery store. People need to eat.

Four kids at four different schools. It’s fun.

It was an interesting day for me. I needed to shop and catch up on things around the house. There always seems to be things that pop up on you when the kids get out of school early. This was one of those times. Luckily, I was able to be back in time to collect the children. They, of course, enjoyed the free afternoon.

Children got home and got through their homework. Once that was complete, it was off to the familiar refuge of YouTube and other assorted screens. I spent the afternoon cooking dinner. I needed to get this done earlier than usual as there was another Open House at another school that evening. Four kids at four different schools. It’s fun.

This time I’m at the elementary school. I get a look at The Boy’s classroom. This is always an interesting and exciting time. It allows me to find out what’s going on while he’s in school enriching his mind and preparing himself as the future of our country. I see his desk. It’s quite the sight to see. I ask him about the desk when I get back that night. He assures me it never looks that bad and it will be taken care of and righted as soon as he sets foot in school tomorrow.

Coronavirus Test

A friend needed this.

As I’ve said before, it’s been an interesting week. It gets better. There’s been a prescription that’s been waiting to be picked up at the pharmacy. On my way home, I take an opportunity to stop at the pharmacy and pick up the prescription. While I’m on my way to the store, I hear my phone buzzing. I can’t see what’s happening, after all. I’m driving, and it would be irresponsible for me to look at my phone.

Their house isn’t far from where I live, and it means I get to do a little extra driving. Everyone wins.

I get to the store and check my phone immediately upon parking. Friends who live nearby may have a Coronavirus case in the home. There is a call for help. If anyone can spare or find a test kit, these people would be most grateful. The thread soon fills with answers from people seeing what they can do. I write back, informing them I just happen to be at the pharmacy and can pick up a couple of tests for them. Their house isn’t far from where I live, and it means I get to do a little extra driving. Everyone wins.

I end the night with a beer, go to bed, and wake up to Friday. Friday was so exciting it’s getting its own post.

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

Moving into College for the First Time with Your Child

The family has already started our school routine, as we have taken Lovie to college. This was the first time I had a hand in moving a child into their dorm.

The glorious institution
of higher learning.

Summer is winding down. Days of sitting in front of a screen all morning while downing a box of sugar-infused cereal and then complaining of no food in the house will soon be replaced with frantic wake-up calls and glorious reprisals of The Homework Wars. Moving into college has begun our transition from summer laze to school days.

The family has already started our re-entry into intellectual stimulation, as we have taken Lovie to college. She’s living away, and this was the first time I had a hand in moving into college.

“No one will notice me if I stay still.”

There were many trips to the store to buy supplies for Lovie before the big day. We bought bedding, we packed boxes of clothes. There were snacks for the dorm. Days leading up to Moving Day were spent organizing boxes and bags. On the magical day, we loaded up the car and hit the road for what would be Lovie’s home for the next three or four months, minus a few weekends here and there.

Family Outfits for the Day

When we were at Freshman Orientation, Wife stopped by the school store to purchase t-shirts for me, Lovie, and herself. People thought it would be a great idea if we wore the shirts while working on campus.

I wasn’t sure if I would find my shirt in time for our big day of having one less child to worry about – I mean, moving our precious child into college.

I had a small problem. My shirt had been commandeered by The Gaggle, and I informed Wife that I wasn’t sure if I would be able to find my shirt in time for our big day of having one less child to worry about – I mean, moving our precious child into college.

The Oppressed heard me talking to Wife and sprang into action. My youngest daughter, God bless her heart, grabbed a t-shirt out of my dresser and ran downstairs. She returned moments later with a homemade college t-shirt just for me. I would not be left out of the family-themed shirt ensemble, after all thanks to The Oppressed.

My custom-made shirt for the day.

Getting to Work on the College Campus

Upon arriving at campus, we loaded up the available carts. The elevators are small and can only hold a couple of people plus the carts. I was willing to take one for the team and carried things up the stairs. Everything was taken out of the car and brought to the dormitory after a few trips. Some rearranging of the bunks and wardrobes were necessary to accommodate students and personal effects.

A special note.

Lovie saw her roommates come in. She had met them before Moving Day. Wife and I had not. We briefly chatted with the roommates and their parents as they came into the dorm. After our work was done, we went out to get something to eat. We went back to the dorm to wish Lovie well and go home. The Oppressed left a note for her to read when she got settled in.

The family got into the car. There was a lot of room for us now that all of Lovie’s things had been taken out. We enjoyed the extra room as well as the air conditioning. Lovie’s dorm didn’t have central air unlike our home, and I’m wondering how our sensitive little creature is adapting to the third-world conditions (There is a fan in the window, nothing else). We returned home and rested our weary bodies from the stair-climbing and box-lugging that filled our day.

Setting up the dorm.

Our Daughter Called from College

Our services were required less than a week after bringing our dear daughter to her home in Academia. Some of her new housewares had fallen apart and needed to be replaced. I bring some of the children and Doggie to campus, as Lovie seems to think any animal in the house is her support animal. Children, Doggie, and I see her and drop off the needed wares. We say our hellos and goodbyes and head back home. There are crises to attend to back home, and I need to prepare for the next crisis on campus.

Endeavor Advising specializes in helping families navigate their way through the college selection and admission processes. If you have a family member who is in the college application process, visit endeavoradvising.com for the next important part of their life’s journey.

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.