Tag Archive: Caden


Jed looked up from his book to find Caden frowning as he looked under the porch. “What’re you looking for, Caden?” he asked.

“I’m looking for Liang,” he said. He tilted his head inquisitively. “We’re playing hide n’ go sneak. Have you seen him?”

Jed shook his head in reply but then a thought occurred to him. “Don’t you mean hide and go seek?”

“No it’s hide and go sneak, Daddy. Liang counts an’ I hide and then he comes and sneaks up on me. I’ve been waiting a long time and he still hasn’t found me, so I thought I’d look for him,” Caden explained. Jed grinned as he continued, “Maybe he thought we were playing hide and go fish.”

He couldn’t help but chuckle as the four year old trotted off around the corner to find his friend.

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“It’s very hot,” Chloe complained. “Even when we go outside to play it’s too hot. But inside is boring.”

“I’m bored too,” Caden said softly. He stood up and looked outside. “It’s very hot,” he added, repeating his sister.

“I have an idea for something to do that will cool you off and be fun at the same time,” Jed said. He waved a hand and they followed him outside. Once in the yard, he filled a few buckets, as well as balloons left over from Caden’s birthday, with water. His arsenel ready, he grinned wolfishly. “Head’s up,” he called, tossing a balloon at Chloe.

The five year old shrieked as she missed and was splashed with water. It only took her a moment to realize what was on her father’s mind. She grabbed a handful of absorbent toy balls that lay nearby and ran toward the buckets that Jed had readied.

Caden caught on just as fast and grabbed the hose. Then it was Jed’s turn to scream as his four year old son sprayed him with the water straight from it’s source. The child even managed to use the hose to deflect a water balloon that Jed sent his way. However, Chloe got him with a squishy wet ball.

Then the battle was on in earnest. Amid shrieks and giggles they spent the better part of an hour cooling off and having fun. At one point, Jed wrestled the hose away from his son and turned off the water so they only had the buckets and other water toys to use. Soon enough their resources were used up and they settled back on the soft damp grass to rest.

“Are you two less bored now?” Jed asked, chuckling softly.

“Thanks, Daddy,” Chloe said. “How are we going to get back in the house without getting everything wet?”

“You two can change in the mud room,” Jed said. “Pull the curtain up between you so you can have some privacy. I’ll cange in the bathroom that’s just off the kitchen. I have some clothes in there and you two have your bags from karate in the mud room. Just replace the spare clothes before Tuesday.”

“You’re so smart, Daddy,” Caden said. “Can we have ice cream too?”

“How about we wait until Mommy gets home to have ice cream. She won’t want to miss that,” Jed suggested. “Would you two like to help me make supper? We’re going to have salad.”

“With eggs and cheese and rolled up meat?” Caden said.

“And pepperoni and olives,” Chloe added.

“Sounds good,” Jed said. He got to his feet and led the way inside. Soon Naomi would be home and they would get into their evening routine. The water fight had served its purpose and gotten them over the late afternoon hump.

Spring was the time for visiting the Farmer’s Market and getting fresh vegetables as far as Jed was concerned. Since there were certain vegetables that he would only eat fresh, not frozen or canned, they only entered his diet for the spring.

Caden who, at only four really didn’t remember the previous year, scowled at the vegetables his father was perusing on the farm stand. “What’s that?” he asked as jed picked up a bunch to put in the shopping basket.

“Asparagus,” Jed replied. “Mommy and Daddy love them. Chloe liked them when she tried the last year too. You wouldn’t try them though. Maybe this year?”

“Is it the age of asparagus now?” Chloe asked.

Jed grinned but looked closely at his older child as he asked, “What do you mean?”

“Like the song, Daddy,” Chloe explained. This is the dawning of the age of asparagus. Right?”

Chuckling softly, Jed nodded. “Yeah, it’s the age of asparagus, sweetie.”

They were just getting to the beach when Caden tugged on his father’s hand. Jed smiled, knowing how much the boy hated crowds. “What’s wrong?” he asked.

“My eyes hurt, Daddy,” Caden replied. “I don’t like it here. I think it’s too bright.”

Chloe frowned and Jed was about to intervene in what might turn out to be a sibling argument when she said, “Her shirt is very shiny. It’s like a light bulb.” As she spoke, she pointed boldly at a woman wearing a top of some sort of shimmering fabric.

“I suppose it is a little bright, but it’s not polite to point, Chloe. Caden, how about you put your hat on, then the sun won’t be so bright. Then we can look for seashells for our sand castle.” The subject changed, the children quickly set off down the beach in search of the perfect shell.

My Angel is a Xenophobe

Jed walked down the corridors of Rockland Teaching Hospital with his children trailing close behind. Every time a stranger passed them, Caden would quicken his pace and clutch his hand. After the third time, Jed paused and knelt down to meet the boy’s eyes.

“What’s wrong, Little Man?” he asked softly.

“Teacher says strangers are bad,” Caden replied. “She said they like to take children away from their mommies and daddies and do bad things.”

“That is scary,” Jed agreed. “But, you know what? I think that you’ll be safe if you stay close by me. What do you think? Does that sound good? Just remember, the really bad strangers are the people that Mommy and Daddy don’t know and act suspicious, alright?”

“Sometimes people are strangers to us, but not Mommy and Daddy,” Chloe pointed out.

“Right. Your teacher wanted you to be safe and not talk to strangers who your parents don’t know. She didn’t want to scare you. Most strangers are safe. They’re just ordinary people, like Mommy and Daddy.” He paused, hoping that he’d allayed his son’s fears. Caden nodded and Jed stood up to continue their journey through the hospital.

A Single Smile

She touched the little box in her pocket and smiled. She hadn’t put the ring on yet, telling her boyfriend that she’d wanted to talk to her parents before wearing it around them. He’d understood the reasons behind it. Her father didn’t approve of her dating Tyler. He’d hate the idea of her marrying him. She’d have to work him around to the idea. She’d also told Tyler that it would help immeasurably for him to ask her father’s permission.

Old fashioned as he was, he might be impressed. Besides, Tyler needed to learn that her father wasn’t going to eat him like half a sandwich. If there was one thing that she disliked it was how scared her boyfriend… fiancé was of her father. She loved her father and knew his overprotective streak – even his dislike of Tyler – stemmed from his own strong feelings toward his daughter.

So, though in her mind, Chloe was engaged to be married, she refused to put on the ring just yet. She bounded into the house and dropped her books, looking up as he brother bounded into the room, listening to music and singing.

Caden had a nice voice. He seemed to mishear lyrics on a regular basis, however. “I’m blue, I’m a bee, I’m a guy, I’m a bee, I’m a guy,” he sang. When Chloe giggled he paused. “What?” he asked, all innocence.

“Not, ‘I’m a bee, I’m a guy,’ Caden. It’s abudee, abudai. They’re nonsense words,” she said.

“Right,” Caden said. “How’d your date with Tyler go?” He grinned when he saw her blushing.

“You still seeing that kid?” her father asked as he leaned on the doorjamb. He shook his head. “Just once I’d like him to come inside to get you, instead of waiting on the porch.”

“Well, he’s coming over to dinner tomorrow so you’ll get your chance to actually meet him,” Chloe said. She smiled and pecked her father’s cheek. “Just don’t scare him off because he’s really very nice.”

“If he treats you right and makes you happy, I’m fine with him. I just don’t know what kind of person he is since I’ve never actually met him,” the older man said. “I’ll tell your mom to let me make something special tomorrow.”

“Schnitzel with noodles?” Caden proposed.

“We have the materials,” he replied. “You offering to help?”

“You know it’s his favorite, Dad,” Chloe said. “Of course he’s offering to help. I think it would be the perfect example of soul food ala Eckstein.” She kissed her father’s cheek again and bounded up the stairs with a call of, “Thanks Dad.”

Jed sighed and ruffled his son’s hair when the girl passed by them the third time. He could understand that she was anxious and in pain but her constant trips to either the bathroom or the front desk were making his son even more frightened than he already was.

“It’s going to be alright,” he whispered to Caden. “Mommy will be here soon and she knows all the doctors in the hospital.”

“My tummy hurts,” Caden said softly. He leaned on Jed as the girl passed them once again. “She’s scary,” he whispered.

“Sweetie, she has a tummy ache too and she’s here for the doctor to look at her, just like you are,” Jed said softly. He sighed again and wished that the pediatrician had been available. If he had, then they would not have come to the clinic that was attached to the hospital where his wife worked.

Caden whimpered when the woman sat just two seats down from him so Jed pulled out a health magazine and opened it. “Let’s see what articles in here have the letter ’J’ in them,” he said.

They sat for several minutes scanning the magazine. Finally the nurse told the woman the doctor was ready and escorted her to an exam room. Jed smiled and settled back, letting Caden continue looking. Hopefully, any other adult patients wouldn’t be so frightful for the child.

The Ants are my Friends

Jed limped over to where his son knelt on the ground. The boy was chattering nonstop as only a four-year-old could. “What’re you doing, Caden?” Jed asked softly. When the boy didn’t answer, he added, “It must be really interesting if you’d rather be here doing it than playing with Ling and James.”

“They wanted to squish ‘em,” Caden said softly. “I push’ded Ling an’ now he’s mad.”

“Did you hurt Ling?” Jed asked, tilting his head so he could meet his son’s eyes. He hadn’t been far away but he’d missed the altercation. He might have been helping Chloe on the swing when it happened or even weeding in the garden.

“No, he’s mad though.” Caden looked up a bit sadly and added, “I know it’s not nice to push, but he was going to squish ‘em an’ even though I said not to he still wanted to do it.”

“What was he going to squish?” Jed asked.

“The ants. Mommy said ants are helpful if they’re outside. I tried to tell Ling but he just wanted to squish ‘em.” He looked down and added, “Now James won’t play with me either.”

“Maybe you should say your sorry to Ling for pushing him,” Jed offered. “It was nice of you to protect the ants but you upset your friends.”

Caden nodded and bounded over to the fence line where the other boys were playing. The apology took moments and, as with most four-year-old sized dramas, the matter was quickly forgotten. Jed looked down at the anthill his son had protected and smiled. How would the world be if everyone was as fervent about protecting the weak as a four-year-old guarding an anthill?

Monica Ferris

an author with many hats

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