Daddy wakes up at 6:30 a.m.-ish to distant chattering in the house, but not coming from their room. Emerging to investigate, he finds the kitchen light on and the two sitting on the counter next to the bowl of candy that Papa prepared for tonight’s festivities. It’s like Christmas morning ’round here.
F/C: Smell this one!
(And, of course, it took all of five minutes before Cory starts the “let’s put all of one candy in this pile and all of that candy in this pile” game. Little organizer.)
Mornings remain rocky. Two days might pass smoothly, but then the separation anxiety kicks back in. The bell rings. Cory races to her classroom, and Fisher races to the top of the play structure to hide. Daddy eventually coaxes him down and into the room, but Fisher begs Daddy not to leave. Daddy stays for five minutes one day before finding the right moment to jet. The next day Fisher watches more closely, and it takes 20 minutes to break away…until finally, Fisher sits for the entire first hour of class just watching Daddy with teary eyes that try very hard not to look away. A guest teacher with gardening tools proves too intriguing, and at the one-hour mark, when those eyes look away to consider a hand rake, Daddy slips away.
In the dark at bedtime…
D: Fisher, can you try not to cry tomorrow when I drop you off at school?
F: But, Daddy, I don’t like school.
D: Why not?
F: Because I jus’ miss you.
D: I miss you, too, Fisher, but if you could give me a hug and a kiss and then go to school, it would be better for us both. If you cry, it makes you sadder and it makes me sadder, too. And, that’s no fun.
D: Some days you don’t cry, Fisher. Those days are better because you get to learn in class without being so sad. And, I get to work without being so sad.
F (voice cracking): But, Daddy, on those days when I don’t cry, I am still very, very sad. (Pause.) I jus’ don’t cry on those days, but I am still very sad, Daddy. (Pause.) It is a long day to be away from you, and I jus’ don’t like that.
Whether aversion to something specific about school or true separation anxiety or something else, mornings remain a definite work in progress.
It is Cory who tries to throw the throttle open this time. Papa catches it in time. Later in the week…
C: Daddy, are we going on the boat today?
D: No, silly, today is a school day. You are going to school.
C: But, you can pick us up early to go on the boat.
D: No can do, Cory Bee. No can do.
C: Daddy, are we getting a bigger boat?
D (looking over): No! Our boat is plenty big.
C: Papa says we need a bigger boat. One that is 44.
D: No, our boat is just the right size.
C (smiling): I want a bigger boat, and iffin we don’t get a bigger boat, I…
D: Let me stop you right there, Cory, because we aren’t getting a bigger boat, so be careful how you finish that sentence. (Pause.) Now, come on over to the hair station. I’ve got just the thing for that rat’s nest today.
Cory harrumphs…but still smiles…almost as if someone has put her up to this conversation. There’ll be no bigger boat.
After a third (!) pumpkin patch visit of the year, Cory has a Blow-Pop in the back seat of the car. She keeps dropping it as she babbles with Fisher. Daddy watches as she picks it back up and puts it in her mouth. At somepoint, she stares at her hand, all three hundred sixty sticky degrees of it. She moves the candy to her other hand and proceeds to lick a finger. Fascinated to see how far she’ll pursue this, Daddy just watches via the rear view mirror instead of jumping in to give her a wipe. She gets through a good fraction of the entire surface of the sticky hand, wrist to tips, before Daddy can’t stand it any longer and intervenes.
Definitely gross, but…hmmmm…let’s see…rarely sick? That’s it, rarely sick. At least they are rarely sick.