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

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.

My Child’s Version of the Day they were Born

With all of the debate at my house, my child wanted to set the record straight about the day they were born.

My child saw what I had written about the day they were born and they felt the need to straighten some things out when it came to that day. I didn’t think that was necessary, but they insisted on lending their opinion on the events of that magical day.

So, first I already know my dad is lying because I know I was born the day after Thanksgiving and my mom was in labor for 50 hours, so they would have been in the hospital since 1 a.m. that morning and MY MOM seems to have a different story and they don’t go to my aunt and uncles for Thanksgiving.

Brave Daddy here. We did go to my brother’s and his wife’s for Thanksgiving until they moved.

Plus, I have relatives to back my story up and I have asked my dad if am adopted and he says no.

My children seem to think I can be a little different when it comes to things I say and do. I don’t know where they get this. Seems unfounded to me. Anyways, there always seems to be some different recollections when it comes to that magical Thanksgiving and for some reason, they always seem to come up around Thanksgiving.

He was in the room, so he knows I wasn’t adopted. Well I disagree. (Being adopted is not a bad thing)

My child didn’t want any of their adopted siblings to thing Wife and I loved them any less because they were adopted, so they put that last part in there.

The point is, some people in this house seem to remember the day differently. Whatever happened, and we all know who told the REAL version here, Wife and I were happy to be parents. In fact, you could say we were thankful (see what I did there?) What ever you’re thankful for, enjoy it. Happy Thanksgiving.

Adoption

Our children posing with the judge.

It was a very exciting week for us. It usually is, but this exciting week was a special one for Wife and me. Last week, we officially became parents of The Gaggle. It was a long process. It usually is when you’re dealing with the state, but in all honesty, the wait wasn’t as long as it could have been.

So, what changes? Not much, really. The children have been with us for a long time now. They’ve been with us for over a year and we’ve got our routines down. In addition to school, we also have sports practice, doctor’s appointments, and visits with friends.

We’re going to trip over dirty clothes and find dirty dishes in random places. We’re going to stare in disbelief at the answers we receive to what we thought were simple questions.

We’re still going to have our vacations and our day trips. There will still be our weekend trips to Cape Cod. We’re going to trip over dirty clothes and find dirty dishes in random places. We’re going to stare in disbelief at the answers we receive to what we thought were simple questions. We’re going to shake our heads and facepalm when we see things that happen in our house.

We will continue to team children up when it comes to the chores around the house. We will continue to walk from room to room and wonder why things don’t get done around the house. We’ll hear about school and practice being, “great.” We’ll continue to deal with the challenges faced by us and other parents around the globe.

Children banging the gavel to make the adoption official.

We arrived at court on the day of the festivities. We met with the judge before the proceedings officially began to get the rundown. We then went to the courtroom where things were officially declared. The judge officially named us parents to the Gaggle, now officially known as Slick, Slugger, and Lovie, and children were given a gavel to pound and declare our parenthood official.

One of the children, who had turned 18 before the adoption could become official, was not “adopted” in an official sense. The Oppressed realizing this, promptly drew up a decree of adoption and had Wife and I sign it. It hangs in our kitchen.

A homemade adoption certificate.

From there, we went to lunch to celebrate the day and our accomplishment. We then went home to rest from the excitement.

Friends came by over the weekend for dinner to celebrate and congratulated us on the good news. Our social media has been flooded with likes and comments congratulating us and wishing us the best as we continue our adventures in parenting. It’s always going to be exciting, maybe more exciting than we’d like. There’s going to be a problem, a practice to go to, a game to attend. There will be the hiccups that accompany the days in the life, but that’s okay. We love our children.

brave-daddy

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greg_gorman111@yahoo.com

Protecting your Treats from Nosy Children

Quickly eating before being caught.

You read stories of American colonists hiding stores of ammunition ahead of the British army coming to seize it. Pirates hid treasure. People would secretly make then hide booze. People did whatever it took to make sure someone else didn’t take what was theirs.

photo: gotrum.com

I’m seriously considering these practices in my house. As you know, I’m usually the one who does the grocery shopping. Sometimes I need to go to the wholesale store. This is necessary when you have five children, three of them are in athletics (if you count cheerleading).

I get this. I played sports. I rode a bike. You sweat. You need to hydrate. It happens. I understand this. What I don’t understand is why one of the Gaggle needs to pack four sports drinks in the morning. He needs to stay hydrated. Do the water fountains not work in the school?

The Boy is one of the children in sports. He needs to hydrate. That would be fine if he actually finished his hydration. He doesn’t and he’s not the only one. Wife and I are constantly finding half-full (or half-empty) bottles around the house. They belong to nobody, of course. All of the children are perfect and they finish and properly dispose of everything they consume.

Sometimes I see something I think Wife will really like when I’m shopping so I grab it. Something nice to give her while she overworks at her job. I make sure to give it to her while the little pillagers are at school. If they’re home, I’ll tuck it under something in a bag, then retrieve it and, with great stealth, slip it under some papers or behind a book so she can enjoy it without having it poached by one of the Miracles of Christ.

Wife has seen what’s going on as we find depleted supplies of tonic and juice and assorted treats. She has resorted to taking some of these rations and storing them in special hiding places so she can enjoy a little something when she feels like it instead of gobbling up something for the sake of getting something she’d like before the children conduct their raid and it’s gonna forever.

Interestingly enough, my store of fruits and vegetables hasn’t been pilfered 🤔. It’s a fascinating thing that occurs at my house, but I haven’t had the need to hide apples, oranges, peaches, plums, or carrots. It’s a phenomenal situation, but this is one of the reasons they’re called the Miracles of Christ.

The colonists hid guns in woodpiles, bullets in sacks and barrels. Bruce Wayne has secret passages at Wayne Manor. Heroes have ways to hide and store necessary supplies for when they need it. Wife has taken to these tactics before the locusts – I mean, children – descend upon the spoils of a shopping trip. If we’re lucky, they’re absorbed in a screen that provides some mind-numbing experience for them. This allows us to find a place to hide something being saved for a special occasion or something that’s planned for a meal. Either way, we have our system. It may not be as elaborate of a system used to warn of British coming into Boston Harbor, but it does allow me and wife to preserve our stores and hold off the grocery shopping for another hour.

Follow me on Twitter: @bravedaddy

Larry’s last days

Trees at dusk.
Trees living their best life.

I’m sure you are aware of the loss we all experienced last year when we needed to have a tree removed from our property. If you are not aware of Larry the Tree and the memories he provided the entire family (The Oppressed), allow me to once again share the story of our beloved tree and the day he was taken away from us in a cruel and heartless decision made by Wife and me. Here is the story that honors his memory. Larry the Tree – Drink your juice (and Other Crimes Against Humanity) (brave-daddy.com)

The Oppressed continues to remind me of what happened to Larry and how he is in a better place, no thanks to her parents. I thought it would be nice if you got it straight from the fingers of my daughter. Here it is, the life and times of Larry in her own words.

My father thought I should write a story on his blog (I am The Oppressed). I decided I will write about the famous Larry The Tree (from the perspective of The Oppressed). Now to begin:

One day I was doing schoolwork and I heard my parents were hiring someone to kill my good friend Larry the tree. They told me he was dead but he was still standing and dead things can’t stand; not to mention they killed him on this birthday, Earth Day. They also said they’ve never heard of the tree being named “Larry”. Well, if they took the time to pay attention, they would know his name. It was brutal. I mean, watching your friend die is 100% not ideal. Not to mention the same day Larry was killed, a Barbie doll (named “Tom”) was buried after suffering injuries from a head ripping. Larry’s funeral was small. I put up a grave, put flowers down, and prayed. Only me and two of my friends were there. I wore a black dress.

This is the true story of Larry.

A potted tree.
R.I.P. Larry

Larry the tree

April 7, 1966 – April 22, 2020

Last words: “I don’t want to die.”

(The birthdate and final words are accurate according to The Oppressed)

It’s Time for Coffee

Children are learning things every day. Sometimes they learn on their own and sometimes Wife or I need to teach them.

We had one such teachable moment with one of The Gaggle. They wanted to get a coffee. I stopped at a drive-thru so they could get one. The order was a little difficult as they kept changing their mind as to what it was they wanted. God bless the poor person taking the order. They never lost their temper or raised their voice once. Upon receiving the coffee, I drove away. I could see the look of disappointment in The Gaggle’s face as we made our way home.

“This is black,” they said.

“Yes. You wanted a black coffee,” I reminded them.

“They don’t put cream in a black coffee?”

I put my hand on the child’s shoulder and said no, they don’t put cream in a black coffee. That’s why they call it a “black coffee”. If the child had wanted cream, they should have said, “coffee with cream.”

“That’s dumb,” they said. “I should sue Starbuck’s”

I tell the child to go ahead and try, but Starbuck’s doesn’t care what just happened where we were.

“I mean McDonald’s.”

“Again,” I say, “Knock yourself out, but it’s not McDonald’s fault.”

“Wait,” they say as they look behind them, hoping to catch a glimpse of where we were. “Where were we?”

“I don’t know,” I say. “I’m driving. I need to look forward so I can see where we’re going.”

“Well, wherever we were,” they say as they turn back and get settled. “We should sue them. They screwed up my coffee.”

Of course they did.

Child on the Go

“You know I can’t stand still.” – AC/DC

The chair is only in the room for decoration.

One of the complaints about baseball is that it takes too long to play. In Major League Baseball, steps have been taken to help speed things along. There were some people who didn’t like the batter stepping out of the box after each pitch. The pitcher would walk around the mound, blow on his hands, wipe sweat off his forehead, grab the resin bag, motion for the hot dog vendor to bring him something to eat, run to the bullpen to see if anyone wanted something. There were little things that were taking time away from the game itself.

I think of this as I tell you about my son, The Boy, who can take the simplest task and turn it into a union project that makes the Big Dig look like a quick run through a fast-food drive-thru. For my friends who do not live in Massachusetts, look up The Big Dig.

We’re still not sure what it is exactly that ails The Boy. It could be Ants in the Pants, hyperactivity, boredom. Pick something. We’re open to suggestions so we can identify it and treat it.

One of the Gaggle first noticed it about the boy. When the family sits down to dinner, it will be a matter of seconds before he is out of his seat, running around the table, playing with the cat. It has now reached the point where The Gaggle will watch the clock and let everyone know how long he was able to sit still.

This constant need for movement and inability to stay in one place is not just limited to the dinner table. One of the underlying issues of The Homework Wars involves Boy Genius’ stroll around the bedroom after writing one word. After two words, he needs a snack. Three merits a bathroom break. Four? He’s tired and he needs to lie down on his bed.

Math involves the same. He does one problem and he needs the bathroom. Wait. I haven’t dressed yet. I need breakfast. (I made it for him two hours ago.) He wants to check on Kitty. He wants to see if Doggie is okay. He just needs to lie down on the floor because David had five apples and gave two to Omar. The mental stress of that calculation may have wiped him out. He needs a nap and maybe a snack. Maybe he just needs to use the bathroom. His room is upstairs. He needs the bathroom in the basement, of course.

As I patiently await him to complete the four-word sentence he merely needs to copy, he laments over his unfair lot in life. He throws himself on the bed and wails to anyone in the house who will hear. He slaves everyday on his work. He works so hard but his father doesn’t know it. He wishes he had a nice dad. Other dads don’t make their sons do this. I remind him every kid in his class has the same assignment as him. Of course, that doesn’t matter. His classmates have nice parents.

Time for another nap. Not in his bed, though. This time, he needs to go downstairs and lay down on the couch. One of the Gaggle, done with their work, is watching TV. The Boy thinks he’s no one will notice him under a blanket. He is found and he runs back upstairs. Hopefully is hiding in his room… At his table… in front of his work with a pencil in his hand. We all have our dreams.

Prince of the Road

Being a foster parent gives you numerous challenges everyday. There are things to deal with for school. There are doctor and dentist visits. Meetings with social workers. Another wrinkle being a foster parent can bring is a change in the order of milestones.

Our children range in ages from 17 to six. We will be celebrating a driver’s license before we will celebrate graduation from elementary school. We will help prepping for a high school final exam before dealing with middle school orientation. Things like these are perfectly normal for a family that doesn’t exactly do “normal”.

One of the Gaggle has their learner’s permit. This person has made Wife and I proud. They have shown initiative in their life and work. They looked for and got a job. They sought out how to get their permit and they are looking into driver’s ed.

The child and I have been out on the road getting practice and experience whenever we can. They do well most of the time. Then again, there was this one time…

I fancy myself an amateur craft beer and bourbon critic. One time nearly became a “Four-finger Night” as a neighbor likes to say. We were driving around town. The Gaggle had a few rounds behind the wheel under their belt and kept improving. We were making our way home. On our right was one of those glaring-red stop signs. Painfully obvious to me right away. Somehow, the Gaggle didn’t see it until we nearly passed it. Being the diligent person and stickler for rules, they slammed on the breaks as soon as they recognized their folly. I exclaimed an expletive and put my hands up to shield myself from the dashboard in case the seat belt didn’t work.

The Gaggle apologized. I reminded them to keep their eyes open when driving. They promised to do so and thanked me for the advice. As we continued our way, the route called for a left-hand turn. Unfortunately for our driving novice, this was one of those clearly visible streets that somehow remained hidden until you were halfway by it. Most people would continue on and make the next turn and make their way back to it. Not the Gaggle. Our driving dynamo saw the nearly passed street, slams on the brakes, and cuts the wheel for a hairpin turn that would make Vin Diesel proud. If they ever start casting for “The Fast and the Furious 17”, I think I’m signing the Gaggle up for it. Wait. They haven’t made part 17 yet. Have they?

We continue. We’re almost home, much to my relief. I think the car’s relieved, too. I instruct the Gaggle to make a turn. Maybe they were thinking about the turn they almost missed. Whatever it was, they make this one a little premature and we’re on the left side of the road, practically on someone’s front lawn. I thought I heard a mailbox scream and a lawn gnome reciting a prayer. I tell the child the laws haven’t changed and we’re still driving on the right side of the road. He apologized and literally rights the situation. We get home. He apologizes again before we get out of the car. We get inside the house. People inside ask how it went. We both say it went great. I poured a bourbon.