As I’ve mentioned before, my wife and I homeschool our kids. Although the brunt of the labor falls to my pregnant wife (pun intended), I help out whenever and wherever I can. I’m often assisting our high school kid with her math and both her and her 11-year-old sister with their book reports and writing assignments. When it comes to the little ones, I try to read to them when I can and find ways to explain what’s going on so they can learn about the world around them.
Take, for example, my 6-year-old. The other day she had a slight fever and an upset stomach. I took her sisters to visit their grandparents for the afternoon while she rested. As the afternoon went by she seemed to be feeling a little better, even though the fever remained low-grade. So, no visit to the doctor was necessary. After running some late afternoon errands and picking up her sisters I came home to find her napping. When she woke, she began to complain of abdominal pain. Usually she’s pretty quick to complain of a pain, but equally quick to shake it off. Not this time.
Abdominal pain coupled with a fever. Yeah, we’ve been through appendicitis before and had some concerns. So I took her to the ER as the pediatrician’s office was closed.
All discomfort, pain and fever aside, she was a brave little patient for the doctors, nurses and techs. When they came in to get an abdominal x-ray, she said, “Don’t you and daddy have to put aprons on?” The techs were impressed she knew that. (Let’s hear it for Curious George Goes to the Hospital.) And every time something new came up I tried to tell her what was going on, like the ultrasound they took. Whenever she asked me a question, I tried my best to answer her. Because when you’re fully committed to homeschooling, it’s a round-the-clock job.
Fortunately it was not appendicitis; just a minor viral infection causing some minor swelling of the lymph nodes in the abdomen on top of constipation. (Weird that our kid who eats the most fruits by a huge margin got constipated.) Of course, paying for an ER visit for constipation is a lot like the late Robert Schimmel paying for an ER visit for gas. (You can pay that on credit card, you know. But it’s embarrassing when you’re on a date and the waiter brings back your card and says, “I’m sorry we can’t except this for payment because…WHAT? YOU PAID $150 TO FART IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM!?”)
So, as per doctor’s orders, we gave her some Miralax to help get traffic moving, so to speak. That happened while I was out, but she continued to have some problems. It’s no fun to hear your 6-year-old say, “Daddy, I just farted and something came out.” It’s even less fun to hear that 4 times in the span of 90 minutes. That Miralax sure worked good. I’m glad I bought the extra jug of All the day before.
Of course, even this was a teaching opportunity. I got to teach my 6-year-old the word “shart.”
“What’s that mean, Daddy?”
“Um, it means shoot and fart put together. Because, um, you fart and something, um, shoots out with it. Yeah, that’s exactly what it means.”
Yeah, I’m quite the homeschooling dad! Always teaching the kids something practical.