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  • Elijah Ricks

Teenaging

We left off last week having celebrated Avey's birthday early. Kira's mother was visiting us, and things otherwise were about typical. Much has changed since then.


On Sunday afternoon, I took Apollo to a play date and dropped off Hannah's lawn chair that I had painted (it was too big to fit in her car). A little later we all went to a park nearby to enjoy the pleasant weather. Avey rode her bike there, and the rest of us drove. While Apollo led me far off on a trail in the woods, Carver had tripped and gotten a big scrape on his knee, putting an end to our fun. We'd been there plenty long, anyway, but that was a good excuse to leave. When we got home, Merritt was furious that we weren't going back so that he could ride his bike some more. I offered to take him on a ride around the neighborhood, which he accepted.

We had a normal dinner and bedtime routine, and then Hannah joined us for some dominoes and a card game after the boys were asleep.


Hannah reminded us that Apollo had missed his monthly heartworm medicine, so we made sure to work that in on Monday. It was another day of eLearning for the kids while I worked, but I came down to help with lunch and then left for a quick run to return something to the library and pick up a few groceries, then Apollo came to the vet with me to pick up his meds. He went inside with me to sign in, but was very glad when we left to wait outside. He really didn't want to go back in, probably remembering that they drew his blood the last time we were there. Boy was he relieved when we left with the pills and no pokes!


At home, Kira's mom kept the younger boys entertained by patiently playing card games at their level of understanding. Merritt was very volatile for much of the week, though: very quick to whine and scream at the slightest thing. He did not want to follow the rules at Uno, so I was on his "team" and tried to help him follow the rules. He even won a game, so that seemed to help.

The plan was for Kira and Grandma to take a night off and go out to eat together (Kira postponed her clients for a week), and so Grandma offered to treat the rest of us to a Wendy's dinner. That was a nice change of pace for a Monday, and we were glad that they let us eat in: we had the whole restaurant to ourselves.


We came home and I got the boys to bed before Hannah came over for some TV, and Kira and Grandma tried out the best restaurant Chesterton has to offer. They had a good time, and Grandma got a nice tour of our downtown.

Tuesday was an overall great day for me, as I awoke nearly free of back pain for the first time in a long time. I was finally at the point where I didn't notice any pain unless I bent down, and even then it was only slight. What a relief! I went into the city, of course, and Kira and Grandma kept things going at home with more eLearning. It was officially Avey's birthday, and so we tried to make it a little special even though it was a totally stupid school day from home. There was library class for the boys, and in the afternoon, Avey went to get her big birthday present of a second piercing per ear.

I debated on whether or not to try to come home early so that I could be more a part of things. I have my evening class on Tuesdays, but I can teach it from anywhere. I ultimately decided to come home, and then taught class from my bedroom while Kira got the boys fed and ready for bed. Although it was Avey's birthday, it was also Grandma's last night with us, so Avey let her choose what to do with our time together. She chose to have us do a small concert, with me playing a few songs on the guitar. That stirred up bittersweet memories of Kira's dad's occasional playing, along with the salience of his absence for nearly 2 years now. Kira played us some songs on our piano, and Avey reluctantly demonstrated a song that she's been composing on the piano. We were all very impressed. We couldn't convince her to play us something on her guitar, but perhaps soon...


After the concert, we played more of a card game and then all called it a night.


Wednesday was another dumb day of eLearning. Kira had to take Grandma to the airport around lunchtime, so I got in as much grading as I could before taking over monitoring Hakan's progress with schoolwork. I tried to work while also supervising, but that was a bit of a challenge until he took a break, and then I dashed through the rest of my work so that I could focus with him.

Kira was home before dinner, so I made another brief run to the grocery store to see if the world outside the house still existed. I then came home for dinner and bathing the children. With Grandma gone, but Carver's bed in the 4th bedroom, we thought it might work for Carver to try sleeping in his own room. We've offered it before, but he seems to prefer sharing (he's a total extravert). Still, he's getting to the age where he could stand to go to bed later than the younger boys, but if they see him still up, they'll never find that fair. In any case, he did great in his room, and loves the idea of making it his own. We'll likely get him fully moved over soon.

Hannah came over for some TV that night, and we all tried to go to bed once she left. She gets up earlier than any of us, so we tried to follow her example of getting some better sleep, although the boys have made that hard lately.


Thursday, I was back to the city. It was supposed to rain most of the day, so Kira drove me to the station, but it barely rained at all, so I could have easily ridden my bike. We both had very busy, completely separate days. I taught my 3 courses in a row, and then I ran out for a quick lunch before coming back to meet with students for office hours. I then went straight for the train, so didn't get any other work done. Kira finally had a little more peace around the house with the kids at school for the first time all week. She spent her time doing a lot of work for her RS calling and getting things figured out for some of her clients. Hannah came over for TV that night.

Friday, we got the kids off to school and then I worked to get all caught up on my grading. I did catch up, but didn't get ahead of anything. Kira did more work on her therapist job, trying to figure out what to do with a couple who came to her with some special court-order.

Hakan's Erupting Apple School Project

She got Merritt's lunch started, and I came down to finish up while she prepared to do a meeting for her calling, but then it turned out that the meeting didn't happen, so instead she just worked on more of her calling. I played with Merritt outside until the boys' bus came back, and then the boys went to unwind inside. When Avey was home, Merritt, Apollo, Avey, Hakan, and I all went on a walk and bike ride (although Hakan rode his scooter). Hakan complained of a sore throat that night, and so we kept a close eye on him through the night.

Praying Mantis We Found

Hakan awoke Saturday feeling much worse. He had a headache, his nose was stuffed up, and he eventually started throwing up. We decided to get him tested for Covid, as that would determine much of the rest of our lives for the next couple of weeks. I got him scheduled, but because it was a stupid Saturday we couldn't get him in until Monday, and then it will take 4 to 6 days to get results. What that means is that we have to basically quarantine until we find out what it is. I informed the university, and Kira told our neighbors, the schools, and the library. We are all planning on just staying home until we figure out what's up with Hakan.


Kira was up a lot during the night with Hakan and other kids, so I got up to do breakfast and the morning while she slept in. It was General Conference, so the plan was to pretty much stay at home anyway. I cut the grass after the rain through the week, and in the afternoon I got Avey and Merritt to go on a bike ride while Apollo and I walked. They of course got ahead of us, as Apollo loves to stop and sniff every blade of grass, learn its story, and ask it followup questions. In any case, eventually he and I ended up in a forest area, and he got himself tangled up around a tree. As I came to untangle him, he spotted a chipmunk poking its head out from a pile of sticks nearby. He caught it up in his teeth and shook it, following every murderous instinct he had. It got free and scurried away, but went the wrong way - toward the leash rather than away. Apollo got him again, and then the damage was done. The chipmunk was fatally injured as I pulled Apollo away and we went home. He was feeling very empowered, it seemed, and stopped to eye every passing squirrel or chipmunk the rest of the way home. I still feel pretty bad about the animal's suffering, but I suppose nature is trying to kill everything all the time.

That evening, Kira and Carver went on a walk together, where Carver offered to show Kira some of his karate moves. We don't know where he got these moves, but he showed them to her, and then said, "yeah, I'm pretty good." He does seem to have a natural skill with his body movements, probably also explaining why he likes to dance. It sure would be nice to get him into some sort of classes.


Kira got watching the evening session of General Conference while I got the boys into bed, and then I drove a little just to feel like I wasn't cooped up. Hannah came over after the session for a quick TV episode.


This morning, Hakan is feeling a little better. He has no headache, and he seems not nearly as weak. He still threw up once, so we're taking it slow with food and fluids, but he seems like he may be keeping things down by the end of the day.


I'll let you know what we find out next week. In the meantime, we're going to be seeing a lot of each other...

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