Vương Visited the ER

Eleven days ago (Friday, July 21, 2023), Vương came down with high fevers and vomited while we were out camping at First Landing. Five days later, his symptoms hadn’t gone away; therefore, we took him to the pediatrician. He was tested negative for Covid and flu. Two days later, he still didn’t get better. I wanted to take him to the ER, but the on-call nurse advised taking him to PM Pediatric Care. He tested negative for strep and urinary tract infection.

Earlier today, he still had high fevers and still threw up. Worse, he was lethargic. I couldn’t just wait around anymore. My wife and I took him to the ER around 5 pm. He had a chest x-ray. His lungs were cleared. They drew three tubes of blood from him for testing. They also swapped his nose for more tests.

More results will be confirmed tomorrow, but he is not in any immediate danger. He was discharged. I hope the doctors were correct that his viral infection is lasting longer than expected, but will go away.

Seeing him being sick breaks my heart. I hope he will recover quickly.

Chuyện con cái

Sáng nay lau nhà nhờ thằng Đán quét trước. Nó lấy chổi quét vào trong kẹt. Đạo bắt quả tang và nói cho tôi biết. Ngày xưa Đán rất thật thà nhưng giờ đây mê chơi game quá nên trở thành lừa dối. Đúng với câu “Ăn thật làm dối”.

Xuân và Vương vẫn bị sốt và ói mửa mỗi lần ăn. Vượng bị chiều thứ Sáu tuần trước. Hôm nay là 7 ngày rồi mà vẫn chưa hết. Xuân chỉ bị hai ngày trước và hôm nay đã đỡ nhiều rồi.

Con cái bệnh ba mẹ cũng đau lòng. Thấy thằng Vương như thế. Tôi xót ruột lắm. Đi bác sĩ đã hai lần vẫn không biết nó bị gì. Không bị cúm. Không bị covid. Cũng không bị đau cổ họng. Hy vọng nay mai nó sẽ khoẻ lại.

Monday Madness

Yesterday Vương started the Bridge to Kindergarten program to help him make the transition from home to school. Since Vương hadn’t been to daycare, I was surprised that he didn’t cling to his mom or cried when we dropped him off on the first day.

Đạo and Đán resumed their daily writing after a week-long vacation. Xuân resumed swimming competition last evening. Even though he hadn’t practiced the entire time while we were on vacation, he came first on backstroke.

After the competition, Đạo wanted Thai food. We went to 703 Thai Cuisine. Đán ordered a dish called “Crying Tiger Steak,” which came with steamed vegetables and sticky rice. When the food came, Xuân asked to try some steak, but Đán didn’t want to share. I asked him to give Xuân a thin slice to try, but he got mad. He handed over the whole plate and said, “Just take the whole thing and I will have instant noodle later. I replied to him, “If that’s what you want, it’s fine with me.” I wanted to teach him a lesson about sharing.

My wife flipped out and wanted to leave. Xuân cried and begged her to stay. She stayed but didn’t touch her food. The fiasco was childish. We couldn’t even have a nice meal together as a family.

My Swimming Star

I am so glad that Xuân chose to join the swim team this summer. He didn’t do so well in his first competition because he kept looking over the other lanes to see where the other kids were at. I reminded him to focus on his own lane and to get to the finish line first. He seemed to take my advice on his first freestyle competition and he finished first.

This seven-year-old kid is a true athletic. From ice skating to skiing to scootering to swimming, he just puts his heart into and does it. He likes to play video games as much as his older brothers, but he also continues to be active. I really hope that he will stick with swimming. I don’t need him to be great. I just want him to stay active. In my book, he is already already a swimming star.

Summer Writing Challenge

My biggest summer worry is that the boys will spend the whole day on their devices, especially Đạo and Đán. Xuân is on a swim team and he goes to practice every day. He competes almost every Saturday. He likes to go to the skatepark with me. He also wants to join soccer camp; therefore, my wife signed him and his older brothers up as well.

Đạo and Đán protested so I made them a deal. Instead of playing soccer, they have to write everyday. Đán has to write at least 300 words. Đạo has to write 500 words. They can write whatever they like. They can write whatever on their mind. They can curse. They can talk shit about their dad. If they quit writing, they will be banned from their devices for the rest of the summer. They took the deal.

I am looking forward to reading Đạo’s and Đán’s daily blogging this summer. Of course, I am writing too to keep up with them.

Cha mẹ trực thăng

Chủ nhật vừa rồi tôi tình nguyện đưa thằng Đạo và các cháu trong Liên Đoàn Hùng Vương đi cắm trại một tuần lễ. Từ nơi cư ngụ của chúng tôi đến chỗ cắm trại lái xe gần năm tiếng đồng hồ. Tôi ngại lái trong ngày mệt nên tham gia cùng ba gia đình khác ở lại khách sạn một đêm rồi ngày hôm sau mới về.

Thay vì ở khách sạn, một trong những phụ huynh thuê một căn nhà trong khu resort sang trọng gồm có 5 phòng ngủ với giá tiền $800 một đêm. Chia ra mỗi gia đình cũng chỉ $200. Tôi chỉ đi có một mình nên ba gia đình kia chỉ lấy tôi $100.

Vì hai gia đình có con gái (13 và 14 tuổi) đi cắm trại qua đêm mà không được bên cạnh cha mẹ nên họ ở lại lỡ ngày mai hai đứa con gái không chịu nỗi sẽ đưa tụi nó về luôn. Tối hôm đó khi vào nhà trọ, các cha mẹ ngồi lại với nhau tán dóc. Mấy ông uống vài chai bia nhân dịp ngày lễ cha. Một bà mẹ trong đám cứ nhắn tin cho con gái. Rồi thì con gái đòi về thứ tư.

Chắc là con gái nên họ lo lắng đến thế. Tôi có con trai nên cũng chẳng để ý tới. Lúc đưa thằng Đạo đến nơi cắm trại. Tôi chỉ ôm nó một cái rồi ra đi. Nó chẳng nhắn tin gì tôi và tôi cũng thế. Thằng này biết tự lập nên tôi không phải lo lắng gì. Tôi cũng tin tưởng các người trưởng trong hướng đạo. Họ sẽ lo lắng tốt cho đám trẻ.

Riêng tôi lúc ở nhà trọ thì nhớ đến vợ con còn ở nhà khi thấy ba gia đình kia quấn quýt bên nhau. Vợ tôi không mấy thích xã giao với người ngoài cho dù bạn bè đủ thân. Mấy ông cứ trêu tôi là vẫn còn độc thân. Đi gặp gỡ bạn bè hay đi cắm trại, thường thì tôi chỉ đi một mình hay đi với con cái. Ít khi nào vợ chồng đi chung. Họ thì lúc nào cũng đi cả gia đình.

Letters to the Teachers

In addition to contributing to the end-of-the-year gifts, I wanted to get into a habit of writing short notes to to my kids’ teachers. They are loving, caring educators and I wanted to show my appreciations for what they have done for my kids.

To Xuân’s English teacher:

Dear Mrs. H,

We would like to thank you for all you have done for the kids throughout their first grade. For Xuân in particular, I reached out to you because I was concerned about his reading. Six months ago, he couldn’t sound out simple three-letter words. With your help and support, his reading has improved tremendously. We were reading together yesterday and my heart filled with joy. I deeply appreciate your efforts to help him reach his milestone. He will use the reading skills you have taught him for the rest of his life. We wish you a wonderful summer and we will send Vương, our youngest boy, to you in two years. Hopefully, you won’t be retired yet. LOL!

Regards,
Donny Trương

To Xuân’s Spanish teacher:

Dear Sra. D,

As this school year comes to an end, you will begin a new journey. We would like to thank you for everything you have done not just for Xuân, but also for Đán and Đạo. We were hoping to send Vương, our youngest boy, to you in the near future, but we are happy for your retirement. In a couple of our conversations in regard to Xuân’s poor decision-making in class, you said to me, “Never a dull moment in first grade.” We hope that there will never be a dull moment (in a positive way) in your retirement journey. We appreciate all of your love and support for our kids. We will miss seeing you around. Have a wonderful summer and happy retirement.

Regards,
Donny Trương

To Đán’s English and Spanish teachers:

Dear Ms. B & Sra. B,

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your love and support for the fifth graders this year. Đán, in particular, had such a great year. He told us that he had the best academic year so far and we could tell by his actions. He enjoyed school and thrived in a smaller group under your supportive guidance. We appreciate the discussions we had with you to get Đán the help he needs to succeed in his education.

We wish you a wonderful summer. We have two more boys sending your way in the next few years. LOL!

Regards,
Donny Trương

Our Sweet Xuânshine

The other day when I took Xuân out of school early for his dental appointment, he told me that his classmates laughed at his last name when his teacher called him for dismissal. Xuân is sensitive and emotional. He worries what others think of him, which
makes him an easy target.

At home Đạo and Đán often exposed Xuân’s vulnerability. They made him screamed in tears. Đạo’s and Đán’s behavior toward his younger brother infuriate me. No matter how many times I had told them that they were supposed to protect his younger brother, they had done the opposite. They accused me of favoring Xuân because he’s my golden child. I love all of my boys, but I sympathize with Xuân who is a sweet boy.

When Xuân was younger, he fought back hard and defended himself when someone attacked him. I am not sure when he stops hitting back when other kids hit him first. Even his little brother, Vương, is hitting him now and getting away with it because Xuân doesn’t defend himself or striking back.

Xuân is physically strong and he’s a tough kid. He is competitive in sports trying to keep up with his older brothers. I learned ice skating with ease after seeing his brothers zooming around the rink. He picked up biking to keep up the pace with his older brothers. He’s joining the swim team. He skis from the bunny to double-black slopes all on his own. He scooters hard at the skateparks. He busted his chin twice—one from falling off the ramp at the skatepark—and got stitches both times. I thought he would quit scooter after that accident, but he went back at it.

My main worry is that he can easily get manipulated if he wants to please others, especially his peers. He got himself into trouble a couple of times at school because he followed other kids breaking the rules. Several months ago we were at the skatepark and he told me that other kids told him to lie down on the ramp so they could jump over him with their scooters. I was horrified imagining if they landed on top of him with their scooters. I had to explain to him that he didn’t have to listen to them and he didn’t have to put himself at risk. Xuân and I bond because we always go to the skatepark together. Even when he was playing video games, he would turn it off and head to the park. His brothers had to be forced to get off and get out.

At the beginning of this school year, we did Let’s Read together and he was struggling to sound out the words. We stopped reading for a while because I lost patience. Midway through the school year, he was still struggling. I raised my concern with his English teacher and she told me that she would work with him. This is their last week of school and I asked him to do Let’s Read again. I was so happy that he could read fluently.

Xuân’s reading progress proved that I should back off and trust my kids to learn on their own.

Vương is a Badass

My four-year-old boy is such a badass, and yet he is so damn cute. Last week, he told me to “Shut your damn mouth.”

Last Friday, I tried to get him out of the house while he was watching YouTube. I invited him out for lunch at his favorite place: McDonald’s. He refused. I offered him a happy meal and he said to me, “You go buy it and bring it home to me.” I said, “You better recognize.”

After giving him a bubble bath tonight, I told him to put on the clothes himself. I joked with him, “You can put on your clothes yourself. You’re a big girl.” He asked me, “What did you say?” I replied, “You’re a big girl.” He hit back, “I am not a big girl. I am a big boy, you big dummy.”

I got nothing but love for this kid. I ain’t even mad at him.

Biking with the Cubs

Dear Cubs and Parents,

Our beloved Cub Master has appointed me to organize a group bike ride on Sunday at Occoquan Regional Park; therefore, you are cordially invited to this special event. To participate, please bring your bike, helmet, and water bottle (no plastic please).

We will gather in front of Shelter 3 (our assigned picnic area) at 10:00 am sharp. We will take the blue trail from the park to the Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail, which will lead us to the Workhouse Art Center (a former prison). Then we will turn back and stop by the Suffragist Memorial.

By the way, across from Shelter 3 is a volleyball court. If anyone has a volleyball, please bring it.

Heads up: I invited Chị Thi, Anh Nhan (I believe it’s Nhân not Nhẫn) and their twins to our picnic. They are looking to send their kids to scouting next year.

See you all on Sunday!

Donny