Day 36: Being a father is easier in the afternoon


those were the days of roses

Place: home
Dramatis personæ: My wife (W), Myself (J), oldest son (O), youngest son (Y), Youngest son’s best friend, Teacher.
Time: one Wednesday morning.

05:30 O wakes up, but stays in bed, counting to 5 000 000. (He later admits he skipped a few numbers.)

06:15 O goes down to his parents’ bedroom.

O (whispers in a loud stage whisper): Daddy! Daddy! It’s a quarter past six.
J (sleepily): I told you to wake me at a quarter to six.
O: Yes, I know, but you always say that you want to sleep a bit longer, so I thought I’d give you more time to wake up.
J: Grhmbnhm.

O goes to the TV-room to watch some cartoons. W turns over and sighs.

06:45 J goes upstairs to take a shower. In the bathroom, he sees Y, not quite awake, missing the toilet and peeing all over the floor.

Y: Where’s Sebastian?
J: In the toilet!
J lifts Y to the toilet. A few drops make it.
Y: Sebastian’s in the toilet?
J: No, he’s downstairs watching cartoons. Go find some other trousers, these are all wet.
Y Stumbles out the door, yawning. J takes a towel to clean up the mess.

07:00 J goes downstairs to the TV-room with clothes for Y. O sits under his duvet, looking pale. Y sits next to him, his legs inside a pyjamas top.
J: Are you alright, O? You wake up too early.
O: I’m cold.
J: And what about you, then? You know how the difference between trousers and tops?
Y doesn’t answer. J turns off the TV.
O and Y: Nooooooooooooo! We want to see some more!
J: No, it’s time for breakfast. We haven’t got that much time.
O: I’m not hungry.
Y: Nooooooooooooooo! I want to watch some more! O has been watching all night!
O lies down on the sofa, his head on Y’s leg. Y hits O as hard as he can. O, ever the slyer, pinches Y. Y starts to cry.
J lifts up O and pushes him out the door, then puts Y on his lap and forces him to put on clothes.
Y: I don’t like this T-shirt! It’s not cool!
J: You wore it yesterday!
Y: Well, I don’t like it now! Besides, It’s dirty! Look, it’s the spaghetti we had yesterday!
J: We didn’t have spaghetti yesterday, it was the day before that.
Y: I don’t want it!
J: You must.
Y hits J, screams, sobs, sighs and gives up.

07:15 O lies on the couch downstairs. O and J sits at the kitchen table. W is upstairs taking a shower.
O: I don’t feel too well.
J: You’re just tired and hungry. Here, I made you a sandwich.
O: I don’t want a sandwich. I’m not hungry.
J: Well, if you really don’t feel well, I suppose you have to stay at home today, then.
Y: I want to stay at home too!
J: No, you… Here, if I give you this sugar-coated, über-sweetened stuff, will you be quiet?
Y: OK.
O: How come he can eat that and I can’t? It’s candy, dad, and it’s not even Saturday today!
J: But you’re not hungry!
O: I am if I can get some of that candy for breakfast.
J: Alright, here.
O joins Y and J at the kitchen table. The children have one candy each. J eats a carrot.

07:45 The children still eat their candy. O sits on the couch, Y at the table. W comes down from the bathroom.
W: It smelled like pee up there. Did Y have an accident?
J: Yes, it was all over the floor, but it’s alright now. I cleaned it up.
O: I’m cold.
W: So, kids, ready for school? Why do they eat candy? It’s not even Saturday?
O: I don’t want to go.
Y: Me neither! I’m cold too!
W: You don’t look good, O. Do you have a temperature? J, have you measured…?
J: Yes, yes, I was just about to get the thermometer. It’s in our room, right?
W: It’s in the bathroom. Second drawer from the top, on the left hand side, next to the nail clipper.
J: Yes, I know, that’s where we put it, I was just about to…
J goes upstairs and fetches the thermometer. When he comes down, Y has taken off his sweater and T-shirt.
Y: I don’t like this T-shirt! It’s not cool!
J: I told you to wear it. We don’t have any other T-shirts.
W: But it’s dirty! Look at it! Yesterday’s spaghetti!
J: We didn’t have spaghetti yesterday, it was the day before that.
W: And you want him to wear a T-shirt with two-day-old spaghetti on it?
J: I… I’ll go get another one.
J goes up and comes back down with two new T-shirts. He shows them to Y.
J: Are these cool?
Y: No, I don’t like them.
W takes up a T-shirt from a chair.
W: What about this one?
Y: Oh! Ninja Turtles! I’m Leonardo! Zapp whapp whapp!
Y puts on the Ninja Turtles T-shirt all by himself. J goes back up with the two other T-shirts. When he comes back down, W has a concerned look on her face.
W: 38.5.
J: Oh. I suppose he really has to stay at home, then.
W: Do you think it’s a coincidence that he gets sick the day after he wore nothing but a T-shirt and an unbuttoned jacket on his way back from school? Perhaps next time you make him wear more clothes?
O: I’m cold. Can I play Wii now?
Y: I want to play Wii too!
J: No, Y, you must go to kindergarten. We have to go now. Put on your jacket and button it well.
Y: Noooooooooooo!
J: If you come now, I’ll give you your candy. You can eat it on your way to school. Look, you’ve got plenty left!
W: O is sick, and he has to stay at home. Next time you’re sick, you can stay at home too.
J: And he won’t even play that much Wii, he’ll have to lie in bed all day.
O: Noooooooo!
J: Candy, Y, candy, candy, come on, we’re in a hurry.
Y: O can’t play Wii?
W: And your best friend is waiting for you at the kindergarten.
Y: OK, I’ll come.
Y and J get dressed. W stands in the door as they go out. W stretches out her arms.
W: Hug?
Y goes over to W and gives her a big hug. As he moves away from her, he wrinkles his nose.
Y Mum: why do you smell of pee?
J: Gotta go, gotta go! Bye!

08:15 At the Kindergarten. Y has just seen his best friend and is throwing his jacket on the floor out of joy. A teacher comes over.
Teacher: You’re earlier than usual today?
J: Are we? Well, you know, some days are worse than others.
Teacher: And how are you today, Y? I can see you have a candy there.
Y: O got one too! Because he’s sick.
Teacher: You won’t eat it here, of course?
Y: (silence)
J: No, of course, it was just a morning bribe, you know, some days…
Teacher: … are worse than others, yes, so I’ve heard. I’ll se you inside, Y.
The teacher goes inside.
J: Could you give me the candy?
Y: No.
J: You heard your teacher. You can’t eat it here.
Y: No.
J: If you don’t give it to me, your teacher will take it from you. Give it to me.
Y: No.
J: Just…!
J takes the candy from Y.
Y: Noooooooooooo!
The teacher comes back with Y’s best friend.
Teacher: Are you alright, Y? Here, come with me, we have a new toy for you today.
Best friend: Yeah, and we can play with it together!
Y (sobs, sighs, stops): What’s the game like?
Y tags along with his teacher and best friend.
J puts the candy in his pocket.
J: Well, I’m off then. Hug?
Y: No.
J: OK, bye!
J puts on his own jacket, opens the door. Y comes running and gives him a hug anyway.
Y: Bye, dad!
J: Bye. I’ll pick you up around three.
Y: Bye! Bye! Bye!
J: Bye.
Y: You smell of pee too! Bye!


Identify the last three actions for which you did not think your way through.

  • putting a sticky candy in my pocket
  • giving out candy in the first place
  • bringing candy to kindergarten
  • telling O to wake me at 06:30
  • letting O be cold
  • putting the towel back on the rack
  • I can go on…

Tomorrow, I’ll do the exact same thing. Except for the towel. That’s a bit too much.

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