Tag: squirrel

Charlie’s Room: Bad Day

In the latest chapter of the new dinosaur book, Charlie’s favorite character, the dinosaur detective, discovered that his conclusions were wrong. Isaac put the bookmark in the book as Charlie thumped his pillow angrily. “That’s not fair. He wouldn’t make a mistake like that. It’s written wrong,” Charlie complained.

Isaac placed the book on the shelf. “Maybe he’ll find new evidence in the next chapter and find out he was right after all.”

“Maybe.” Charlie flopped back onto his pillow. “Today just went all wrong. Did you ever have a bad day?’

“Lots of times,” Isaac said. “What happened?”

“I think my lucky socks don’t work anymore. What will I do when I need sun for game days? Or when I have a history test?” Isaac rolled over on his side to look at Isaac through the safety bars on his loft bed. “What am I going to do, Dad?”

Isaac leaned back to look up at Charlie. “It may not be as bad as you think. Tell me what went wrong today.”

“My favorite shoes don’t fit anymore. The red ones. They’re too small now and pinch my toes. I knew right then that it was going to be a bad day, so I put on my lucky socks.”

Isaac nodded. “That makes sense. What happened next?”

“I tried my red shoes on again, but they still didn’t fit. So I put on the blue ones. The laces are too long so I had to knot them over and over, but they still kept going untied. The day was obviously doomed at that point.” Charlie rolled over onto his back and stared up at the ceiling.

“And then?”

“And then Mom and I went out to the garden and something had eaten all the strawberries. Even the little green ones that won’t be ripe for weeks. Who does that?” Charlie sounded confused.

Isaac shrugged. “Something really hungry. It’s still early spring, so not a lot of things are ripe, but there’s still a lot of hungry animals out there that weren’t there in the winter.”

“Oh.” Charlie was quiet for a moment. “So maybe it was starving baby squirrels? I guess if they were really hungry, it wouldn’t be so bad.”

“Did anything else happen?”

“I got a paper cut from my origami paper. It was under my thumbnail, right here.” Charlie held up his left hand so Isaac could see. “It really, really hurt. It started bleeding, a lot. But it all stayed under my fingernail, so I didn’t even get a bandaid.”

“I could go get you a bandaid,” Isaac offered.

“Daaaaad.” Charlie dropped his hand. “I’m not a baby. It was just annoying, that’s all. And there were brussel sprouts at dinner. You know I hate brussel sprouts. And we were all out of grape popsicles. And the chapter in the new dinosaur book was awful. It was just a terrible day.”

“Can you think of anything good that happened today?” Isaac asked.

“No.” Charlie rolled over to face Isaac again. “It was all bad.”

“You can’t think of anything at all?”

“No.” Charlie rolled to face the other way. “Nothing at all.”

“You have a nice family. And a garden. And…” Isaac began.

Charlie huffed and interrupted. “I don’t want to count my blessings. It was a bad day. That’s all.”

“Maybe without the lucky socks, it would have been worse.”

“Maybe.” Charlie laughed a little and turned back to face Isaac. “Maybe the house would have burned down.”

“Then I’m glad you were wearing your lucky socks,” Isaac said. “I like our house.”

Charlie sighed. “I do too. Dad, why did I have a bad day? Was it because I didn’t go to bed on time yesterday?”

Isaac shook his head no. “Sometimes people have bad days. Everybody does. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been trying your hardest to be good, you’ll still sometimes have bad days.”

Charlie sat up, frowning. “But why? That’s not fair. Why would good guys have bad days?”

“If you only had good days, I think you might forget how good they are. They’d just seem like normal days, right?”

Charlie shrugged a shoulder. “I guess.”

“When you have a bad day, and the next day is normal, it seems like a good day because it’s not a bad day. I think bad days help us remember the things we have to be grateful for. And they teach us important things like patience, and empathy, and choosing to be happy.”

Charlie flopped back down on his pillow. “I guess so.”

“And now maybe some baby squirrels are going to bed with full tummies,” Isaac pointed out. “That’s good.”

“I guess so.” Charlie shrugged, and his shoulders made a whispery sound against his bed sheets. “Maybe my socks were lucky for the squirrels today, not me.”

“Or maybe they were just busy keeping our house from burning down,” Isaac said.

Charlie laughed. “Yeah, that too.”

Isaac waited a moment, and stood up when Charlie didn’t say anything else. He crossed the room and turned the light out. “Good night, Charlie. I love you.”

“I love you too,” Charlie said. “I am glad you’re my dad, you know. Even on bad days.”

“And I’m glad you’re my Charlie,” Isaac said.

“Good night, Dad.”

“Good night.”

Charlie’s Room: Pixie Dust

It was Saturday, and Marianne and Charlie were going to the bug museum. They left, chattering excitedly about the new dragonfly exhibit. “There were dragonflies at the time of the dinosaurs,” Charlie said as they walked out the door. “Do you think they were friends?” The door closed.

Isaac sighed and coughed and turned onto his left side. He was stuck at home trying to sleep off his cold so that he didn’t miss the caroling in the evening. Was it possible for extra sleep to heal a cold? Marianne said it was. So, here he was, stuck in bed on a perfectly good Saturday morning.

He rolled back onto his back. This wasn’t working. Maybe if he drank a nice warm cup of cocoa, it would help. He sat up and coughed for a bit. Then he trudged into the kitchen.

He filled up the kettle at the sink. While waiting for it to fill, he looked out the kitchen window. The backyard looked small and empty. With all the leaves and flowers gone, it should have looked bigger, but it didn’t. Even the plants in the windowsill had gone dormant and quiet.

Isaac coughed and shut off the water, feeling glum. Just then, something fluttered at the edge of his vision. He turned and leaned closer to the window. Something was flapping around frantically at the neighbor’s bird feeder. Was it an injured bird?

Setting the kettle on the counter, Isaac raced outside to the rescue. The cold air hit him like a slap to the face. He could hardly breathe through the coughing as he hurried across the yard, blinking the tears from his eyes. He was sure he would scare the poor bird away before he reached the feeder.

But the fluttering wings were still there and just as frantic. However, it wasn’t a bird in distress. It was a pixie. It had somehow been trapped in the wire mesh meant to keep squirrels out of the bird feeder.

“It’s okay,” Isaac said in a calm voice. “I’m here to help.” And then he coughed for a bit.

The pixie calmed down and stopped the panicked fluttering. Instead, it watched him closely. Isaac assessed the situation. The wires were separated and bent the wrong way, making a sort of monkey trap for the pixie’s foot.

Isaac made soothing murmuring noises as he reached in and bent the wires further apart. The pixie wiggled free and darted away. It paused five feet away, and fluttered in place, watching Isaac. “Go on,” he said. “Or did you want some bird seed to take with you? I imagine you were hungry, and that’s why you were here.”

He looked over at his neighbor’s windows. Miss Marta wasn’t looking out. He tipped the bird feeder over, pouring out a tablespoon-sized heap of birdseed into his hand. Then he held it out to the pixie, flat-palmed.

The pixie swooped down and gathered the birdseed into its skirt. Then it flew around his head, shaking pixie dust onto him like a rainbow fall of snow. The pixie flew away over the treetops, but Isaac didn’t watch it go.

He was too busy trying to think unhappy thoughts. He managed to get to the back door by imagining floating away like a balloon at the mercy of the strong winter wind. But, the moment he touched the doorknob, his relief was enough to take his feet off the ground.

His hands clutched at the doorknob in fear, and his feet hit the ground again. He hurried into the house. Inside, it was warm and smelled like pine trees and cinnamon. Within seconds, he was floating up by the ceiling.

There wasn’t any danger of floating away, so he decided to just enjoy feeling weightless and happy. He swam through the air, looking down at the tree in the living room. The top of the bookshelf needed to be dusted. Too bad regular dust didn’t work like pixie dust. Then everyone would want to dust.

He swam into Charlie’s room and reached for his book. He couldn’t reach. It was too low. How sad. He floated lower, feeling sad. Until finally, he could reach the book. He snatched it up, feeling happy, and floated higher.

Drifting from room to room, Isaac spent the rest of the morning reading. At lunch time, feeling hungry, he swam to the kitchen sinking lower and lower. He made himself a sandwich and sat at the table. He closed his eyes in bliss at the first bite. When he opened his eyes, he was still sitting at the table.

The pixie dust had worn off. He smiled and finished his sandwich. Then he realized that he hadn’t coughed once since the pixie had dusted him. Pixies could cure colds? Amazing! Now he didn’t need to take a nap.

Isaac started planning out the rest of his day, feeling thankful to the little pixie. That evening, he sang with Marianne and Charlie and felt happy and peaceful and thankful. It was a perfectly good Saturday, after all. He needed to add a bird feeder to the back yard. One without wire mesh.