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I’ve been an “Idiot Dad” more than once. More than once I have convinced myself of a truth just to be proven otherwise. More than once, I had made up my mind before I heard the whole story.

This happens most with my eldest simply because he is the eldest and the way we interact is booby trapped with opportunities for me to jump to poor conclusions.

It happened last Saturday. I got upset at him because he didn’t finish his breakfast. I scolded him for not finishing his food. Eating is an issue with him. Where his younger brother has a healthy appetite, it is rare for my eldest to ever want to eat anything (including the sweets that other parents complain about).

Still angry, I asked him to brush his teeth and get dressed. We had a dentist appointment that morning. We walked quickly to the subway station in silence. On the train ride, I stopped being angry and spoke to him about why I was angry and why it is important that he eats his meals. The remainder of the morning was fine after that. He didn’t even wince as the dentist cleaned his teeth and he entertained himself quietly as he waited through my teeth cleaning.

I knew something was wrong when he said he wanted to go home. Usually we spend the latter part of the morning together after our dentist appointment. We window shop, visit the nearby comic book store, go out to eat, some times even a movie. This time, he just wanted to go home. When we got home I realized why – he had developed a temperature since getting out of bed. That was what probably made him eat even less than he normally does!

I am an idiot! I should have known. The signs were there but for one reason or another I was OK with my conclusion that he was just being difficult about eating his breakfast. I didn’t think that he was out at the playground the day before. It was unusually warm. The temperature dropped that evening. We left the window open. He caught a chill. I didn’t dress him warm enough the morning of the dentist appointment. His chill blew up into a fever.

I am an Idiot Dad and not only did my eldest suffer for a week with a cough and fever, my youngest caught the bug too. I did too. I am even more of an idiot because after the first time I didn’t listen to my eldest, I swore I would not do it again.

(I will tell you about how I became an idiot in another post).

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