What would Mr. Rogers do?

By Julia Pierce | Sep 17, 2020

What Would Mr. Roger’s Do?

My husband and I both work for nonprofits. We’re banking on the hope that at least one of our children will go into the for-profit sector so that we’ll have a nice place to live when we retire. We watch a lot of HGTV, so we expect to be put up in a super glamorous “tiny house” in their backyard. After all, we spent our life savings to bring them into existence.

Let it be known: my children were expensive and hard to come by.

When I was young and first heard the phrase “the birds and the bees,” I never suspected that the “bees” might be a metaphor for needles. By the time I got married in my 30s, I felt like I had a pretty good understanding of the fundamental principles for making a baby. Alas, the Almighty had other plans for me.

In a nutshell, we tried the old –fashioned way for a year. After a miscarriage, it was discovered that I had a number of impediments that we’d need to address in order for a baby to manifest. These included eliminating the fist-sized fibroids growing in my uterus and working with my eggs that were behaving like they belonged to someone closer to 50 years old.

After some surgery and two unsuccessful rounds of in vitro fertilization, we committed to try one last time. The clinic we were going to literally had a buy-two-get-one-free deal . . . and who doesn’t like getting something for free? Besides, my health insurance wouldn’t cover the IVF costs because they claimed that having a child was a “lifestyle choice.”

For those who are unfamiliar, IVF is a ridiculously expensive torture-fest. Basically, you manipulate your normal ovulation cycle by injecting an unbelievable quantity of hormones to stimulate the body to produce several eggs, instead of just one a month. For multiple weeks, your husband (or partner) must stab you in the gut and backside several times a day with giant needles.

Cut to the chase, we were finally able to create two viable embryos to put into my body. The doctor described them as “one really good one, and one that is so-so.”

A couple of unbearably long weeks later, it was confirmed that I was pregnant. When we went for the first ultrasound, the doctor announced that there were, in fact, three embryos! One of the two embryos put in had split into identical twins. Not an ideal timing for my reproductive system to start behaving like an overachiever.

Ultimately, only two babies developed. About seven months later, Baby A and Baby B roared into the world in the middle of the night, five weeks early. They looked like skinny old men in miniature, but they were beautiful to me.

Fast forward six years; keeping our little investments on the proper trajectory has become more complex with COVID-19. Having them home for the past six months in our little padded bubble has certainly felt like a blessing. We knew that they’d be fine as long as we fed them, watered them, and gave them a lot of sunshine and kisses.

Did they develop scholastically as much as they would have if school had not been interrupted in March? Definitively, no. They can barely read and they write their numbers backwards. We tried our best, but my husband and I both have full-time jobs and have been working from home. We consider the fact that they are only a little feral to be a major accomplishment.

The boys are eager to go back to school, and I am eager for them to rejoin the civilized world. However, the thought of their return is flooding me with anxiety. My husband works in the local school system and reassures me that everything will be okay because there are loads of protocols in place.

To which I reply, “Have you met your son? That kid is like a booger Houdini. He could pick his nose while wearing a straight jacket!” Short of painting his nails with Tabasco-laced nail polish (which is probably frowned upon), I’m not sure how to keep him from doing this behavior at school.

How do you explain to a six-year old the gravity of the situation? How do you tell them that they may contract COVID-19 and accidentally bring home a virus that might kill mommy and daddy? I mean, I remember watching some pretty heavy Mr. Rogers episodes as a child that dealt with challenging subject matter . . . but there is no Mr. Rogers episode for the plague!

To top it off, about a month and a half ago, one of our boys developed a persistent and suspicious cough. We got him tested and he’s negative for COVID-19. On the other hand, the doctor has no idea what is causing the lingering cough and suggests that it might signal asthma. Fantastic! My son develops a compromised respiratory system just in time for back-to-school. Cheers!

So, when someone tells me not to worry so much because there is only a small chance that anything will happen, I raise my hand and tell them that I am the queen of statistical anomalies.

What’s a parent to do? I suppose that we’ll just keep doing the best that we can. I will put my faith in the teachers and their devotion to do the best that they can. There’s a quote from Mr. Rogers that says, “Celebrate trying.”

Who knows? Maybe the kids will surprise us too. Maybe they will be well-behaved, mask-wearing models of safety and conformity. This could be their moment to shine! Hopefully, we won’t get too many phone calls from the principal to come and pick up our child who is endangering everyone with his boogers.

Only time will tell how this shakes out. Besides, the next few months may finally reveal which of the twins is the “really good one” and which one is just “so-so.”

Julia Pierce is the Programs Coordinator for the Camden Public Library. She lives in Camden with her husband and their rowdy twin sons.

If you appreciated reading this news story and want to support local journalism, consider subscribing today.
Call (207) 594-4401 or join online at knox.villagesoup.com/join.
Donate directly to keeping quality journalism alive at knox.villagesoup.com/donate.
Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.
Note: If you signed up using our new subscriber portal, your username is the email address you registered with and your password is in all caps