After breakfast together on Sunday, Joshie and Benny took Wyatt to the family room to watch Nickelodeon. They did that for a couple of hours and then came out to ask if they could go swimming again. Since it was another nice day and the weather report I'd heard the previous evening said the temperature was going to drop sharply during the week and we'd be an enduring a cold spell, I agreed. Noah quickly let us know he had another idea about what he wanted to do.
"Can I go down to visit my friend, Adam, again?"
"Why don't you wait until after lunch to do it, since we don't know if his family goes to church or if they might like to sleep in."
"Can I call and find out?"
"That might wake his parents if they like to sleep in," I mused as I glanced over at the clock. "Ok, it's almost 10:30, so go ahead. I think they've had enough time if they wanted to get a little extra shuteye this morning."
Before long Noah came back to tell us that Adam said his family didn't go to church so he could come down if he wanted. We gave him our blessing and he took off.
As soon as he was gone, the rest of us stripped down, including Trey and Dion because they'd agreed to join us this time. As we were walking to the pool, Benny looked around and made a couple of observations. "Hey, you're just like me!" he said while pointing at Trey's penis.
"Yep, I'm uncircumcised too, and you have a few other uncles that are as well."
We could see that this pleased Benny immensely, but then he was distracted by something else. "Wow! Yours is really big!" he announced, while pointing at Dion's penis.
The rest of us just smiled but didn't say anything. Dion's penis had been a topic of discussion ever since he first came to live with us, and by the looks of things it appeared as if Joshie was going to follow in his father's footsteps.
"Wyatt's got a little one, but he's still a baby," Benny added next, satisfied that his was bigger than at least one other person.
Now that those things had been cleared up, we enjoyed the rest of the morning lounging about in the water. We played Marco Polo with the boys, another new activity for Benny, and he seemed tickled with everything we did.
We stayed in the pool until noon and then came inside to have lunch. Noah came home shortly after we sat down to eat, but he wasn't in a very good mood. It seemed that he and his friend had an argument, but he wouldn't tell us what it was about. We opted not to pry, but told him we were available if he decided he wanted to talk about it later.
After we finished eating, the boys went to the family room to play video games and Noah ended up joining them as well. He'd been asking Joshie about the PS4 and wanted to know what games he got for it, so Joshie and Benny told him he could play too. After a while, Brandon and I asked Noah and Benny to sit with us for a few minutes so we could explain something to them, while Joshie kept playing video games.
"Not next weekend, but the one after that we'll be going to visit Elliot at college."
"Will it be for the whole weekend?" Noah immediately asked, and we could tell he was hoping that wouldn't be the case.
"Pretty much. We'll be driving there on Friday night and won't be coming back until Sunday," I answered.
Noah made a face to show he wasn't exactly pleased and then he spoke. "Hang on and I'll be right back." He then got up and rushed out of the room, but a minute later he returned carrying a piece of paper.
"I can't go because we have a soccer match that Saturday, and we'll probably have a practice Friday after school too."
Brandon and I looked at each other momentarily and attempted to communicate nonverbally. "That IS a problem," Brandon finally added.
"We wanted all of us to go, but we know your team is counting on you being there for them too," I replied. "Give us a chance to talk this over and we'll get back to you. We wanted the entire family there for a number of reasons, but it will also be the first time Elliot will get to meet Benny."
"Oh, yeah. I kinda forgot about that."
"Are we going far away?" Benny wanted to know.
"Yes, we'll have to drive several hours to get there," I replied. "We've already made reservations for a place to stay while we're there that will put us close to his campus. We will stay there Friday night and then we'll drive the rest of the way the following morning to meet up with Elliot."
"Can I go with you?" Joshie suddenly asked. He'd been playing on the PS4 while we'd been talking, but we didn't think he'd been paying attention to our conversation.
"That would be up to your fathers, because they may have other plans for you."
Without missing a beat, Joshie jumped up and raced out of the room. A short time later he came flying back, with Dion arriving a few seconds after Joshie burst into the room.
"Do you really want him to go with you?" Dion wondered as he looked at Brandon and me.
"That's up to you, but it won't create any problems for us if he tags along. In fact, he might make the long trip a little easier for Benny, and we could use your help too, because we'll need a favor from you in return." Dion seemed to ignore that last part.
"What about the sleeping arrangements?"
"We've already reserved a room with two beds, but Noah just told us he has a soccer match that weekend and wants to stay here. If you and Trey will cart him around and keep an eye on him for us, then we'll take Joshie with us. He can sleep in the other bed with Benny, since Noah's not going."
Noah looked hopeful as Dion considered what I'd said. "Let me talk this over with Trey and I'll let you know." He then left the room, with Joshie and Benny close on his heels.
"What if they won't do this?" Noah basically whined after they'd disappeared.
"Let's see what he says first, before we start thinking about our other options."
Dion and Trey returned a few minutes later, ready to give us an answer.
"It's alright with us, as long as you don't think Joshie will be a burden," Trey replied. "We know he'd probably be miserable if we made him stay here, and we won't be doing anything special while you're gone so we can help out with Noah too." After he finished speaking, all three boys began to cheer and jump around.
"This should work out fine then. Thank you very much," Brandon stated, and the boys went back to playing on the PS4.
Seeing the boys were entertaining themselves, Brandon and I called Elliot to find out about Family Weekend.
"Who's coming?" Elliot wanted to know.
"Brandon and I will be there, but the rest will be a surprise."
"What kind of surprise?"
"I'd rather you wait and find out."
"I knew you were going to say that," Elliot grumbled. "Is Noah coming?"
"No, he has a soccer match that weekend and wants to stay home," Brandon replied, and Elliot didn't seem thrilled about this news either. "So what exactly will be happening on Family Weekend?"
"There's a bunch of stuff going on. There'll be tours, the drama department is going to put on a play, the football team has a game, and there will be a concert featuring the Yale Symphony Orchestra, the Yale Concert Band, and the Yale Glee Club. I'm not exactly sure what type of music they'll be playing, but I'm sure there will be some classical stuff."
"What about meals?"
"The University will provide a continental breakfast on Saturday and Sunday, and they'll serve lunch and dinner on Saturday, both buffet style, and a buffet lunch on Sunday too."
"Did you want to show us around the area as well as the campus?"
"Nah, I think you'd be better off staying here. It's kinda rough once you get away from campus."
"Ok, so what types of things do you suggest we do?"
"You two might like the play and the concert, but since I don't know who else is coming I'm not sure what else to tell you. I'm not big on football, but if you want to go I can buy tickets for you."
"No, that's ok. I wouldn't mind, but that's not Brandon's thing either, so we'll just skip it. Do you have to get tickets in advance for the play and concert?"
"I think those will be easier to get, but I'll check and find out. If I have to get them in advance I'll call back and you can tell me how many tickets to buy."
"Ok, that sounds like a plan."
"I'll also take you guys around to see the parts of the campus I think you'll be interested in, because there are many fascinating buildings and other things to see."
"Ok, sounds good, and we look forward to spending some time with you."
We hadn't seen much of the campus when we took him for his visit, because it was at the end of winter and a storm hit while we were there. Seeing it was cold and snowy that day, we didn't do a lot of walking around outside.
When we got off the phone, Brandon and I talked a little while longer until we heard screaming coming from the family room. Since we didn't know what was going on, we went running to see what had caused the commotion.
"What's all the screaming about?" I asked as we entered the room.
"We let Noah have a turn, but now he's hogging it," Joshie explained, looking very annoyed.
"It's just that I'm better than they are and I'm getting through more levels, so my turn lasts longer," Noah explained. "I let them each have two turns before I took mine to try to even it out, but I've just been really lucky this time so my turn is lasting even longer."
Noah continued playing while he was telling us this, so we told Joshie and Benny to let Noah keep going until he finished this turn and then he wouldn't play any more today. That seemed to placate them, so another crisis had been averted.
The rest of the day went without incident as I attacked the laundry and Brandon cleaned the downstairs. When it was time to get ready for bed, I offered to take the boys up for their shower again, since Brandon was involved with something else. It wasn't a big deal and I didn't mind, and obviously the boys didn't care either, so I merely sat on the toilet lid and kept an eye on them until they'd finished. Then, I helped them dry off, made sure they put on clean underwear, and tucked them into their own beds.
After that had been taken care of, Brandon and I sat down with Noah for a few minutes. "Ok, since you won't be going with us to visit Elliot, this will be a trial run of sorts."
"What does that mean?"
"It means that if this works out and you don't give Dion and Trey any trouble, then we might let you do this again. If not, next time you'll have to miss whatever you have scheduled and go with the family."
"That's not gonna happen, because this is going to work out."
"I'm glad to hear that."
Once we finished our conversation, Brandon and I relaxed for a while before we went to bed. Although this hadn't worked out quite the way we'd planned, it was acceptable and Elliot would still get to meet his new brother.
The following week proved to be fairly uneventful for us and passed by quite quickly. Brandon and I talked to Benny each night before he went to bed so we could ask if any of the other kids had hassled him that day. Each time he told us they hadn't, so I began to think the problem must have been taken care of. By the end of the week we received another call from Mrs. Argentine, but this time it was so she could give us some good news.
"I don't know if you've been checking with Benny about the problem he'd been having, but as far as we can tell there has been no reoccurrences."
"Yes, Brandon and I have talked to Benny about it each night and he's assured us that nothing more has happened."
"We contacted the parents of each child involved and informed them of our concerns and they promised they would speak with their sons about the problem. By the way, I heard you also had a brief conversation with a couple of the boys."
"Yes, when they came to Joshie's party I took them aside and explained what Benny had been through and that he had no choice in the matter. I also asked if they'd have been able to refuse if their parents made them to do it, and that's when I think they began to understand how Benny felt."
"That must have worked, because I overheard that pair talking to the boy who hadn't attended the party. They had stayed behind when I took the class to lunch, and when I realized they were missing I went back to the room to see what they were up to. I overheard some of their conversation when I first arrived, but I didn't say anything to them about it. From what they were saying, you seemed to have made an indelible impression on them and most definitely got your point across."
"Growing up with so many brothers, Brandon and I kind of became aware of the best way to get our messages heard. That skill helps us now when we're dealing with other youngsters, and I believe it had a lot to do with our choice of professions too. I know it was part of the reason I became a pediatrician and I'm sure Brandon would agree that it had something to do with him specializing in pediatric dentistry."
"You've certainly scored points in my book and Benny should be glad he has you two in his corner."
We thanked her for her kind words and help, while also agreeing that we hoped this would be the last we'd have to discuss this issue.
Seeing Brandon and I both worked a half-day on Saturday, he thought it would be a great time to take care of Benny's teeth. Brandon is set up for typical dental procedures and has the usual drills and other apparatus he would need to do that, but unlike many other dentists he also offered a laser option. When he was in college he was taught about laser dentistry and learned the use of lasers had some definite benefits. It also came with one major caveat: that the patient couldn't have anything in his mouth that might reflect the laser beam, such as metal fillings or braces, or the laser couldn't be used.
The advantages of lasers, however, were that there was no need to use anesthesia for many of the minor procedures. Lasers also minimize bleeding seeing the high-intensity beam aided the clotting process, but lasers also reduced the chance of infection because it simultaneously sterilized the area. Those were precisely the reasons why Brandon planned to use this method on Benny, seeing there were several different areas that needed attention.
Understanding that we'd be at work, Trey agreed to drop Benny off at the health center when Brandon was ready for him, and they arrived just before Brandon's last patient left. His dental assistant had agreed to stay behind and assist him after he'd assured her the procedure shouldn't take very long. Almost as soon as Benny arrived, Brandon got started and he was completely done about twenty minutes later.
"That wasn't bad," Benny said as we were heading home. "When I told other kids that you were going to fix my teeth they told me I'd have to get a shot in my mouth and it would hurt."
"That's the old way of doing things, and I sometimes still have to do that, but there are ways to make it less painful," Brandon told him. "When the problem isn't too bad and the patient doesn't have any metallic fillings or braces, I can get away with doing it like I did for you."
"I'm glad, cuz that didn't hurt at all."
When we got to the house, Benny told everyone else about his appointment and then he had them look in his mouth to see if they could tell what had been done. Brandon and I got a big kick out of how he was reacting to his first dental visit.
Since the weather had definitely turned cooler, Brandon and I went out to drain the pool and then put the tarp over it for the winter. It was a lengthy process and kept both of us quite busy, as well as using up the remaining daylight. When we finished, we were slightly depressed, because this meant the summer and warm weather had officially come to an end.
When we went into the house after we finished, we looked around for Benny and couldn't find him, so we asked Trey and Dion if they knew where he was.
"Yes, he's with Joshie and they're shooting hoops out in the driveway," Dion informed us. That's when we realized it might be too cool to swim, but it definitely wasn't too cold to shoot hoops.
After hearing this, Brandon and I went to the family room and looked out the picture window so we could watch the boys. It was obvious that Joshie was giving Benny tips on how to shoot baskets, as well as on how to dribble, and we stayed there to watch them for a few minutes. Joshie was a very patient coach as he tried to help Benny learn the basics of another activity that he adored.
They both had rosy cheeks when they came inside later, but that was due to the exertion, rather than from the temperature. When he spotted us, Benny had to explain what he and Joshie had just done, since he hadn't noticed we'd been watching them. He was so excited about this that I knew he would be as hooked on the sport as Joshie already was.
After dinner, Dion, Trey, Brandon, and I all spent time watching TV with the boys until it was time to get them ready for bed. The boys liked when we watched TV with them, because they got to sit beside us or on our laps, which seemed to be very important to them. It was special for the rest of us too, since we liked having this chance to spend a little quality quiet time with our sons.
On Sunday, Brandon and I worked on our chores and finished up early, because we planned on using part of the day packing our bags for the following weekend. We didn't want to leave it until the last minute and then possibly forget to pack something. We were usually too tired to do things like this after we got home from work, and the weekdays were often too hectic with Noah's sports, the kids' homework, and other things going on. We packed one bag for ourselves, and another for Benny, and then Dion brought Joshie's things so we could put them in Benny's bag too. The only items we had to remember at the last moment was to pack up our toiletries, but that wasn't a big deal. If we forgot some of those things then we could easily pick them up when we reached our destination without it costing us an arm and a leg.
As soon as those things had been taken care of, Brandon and I went in to watch Joshie and Benny play video games for two reasons. First, we wanted to see how Benny was doing and if he was catching on, but we also wanted to find out if Joshie liked the games we'd given him for his birthday.
"Who's winning?" Brandon asked as we sat down near them.
"Joshie is, but I'm getting better," Benny answered.
"He is too," Joshie confirmed. "When he started, his turns didn't last very long, but now they last almost as long as mine."
"Nah, not that long, but I'm doin' better," Benny countered.
"So do you like these games?" I followed, to see what Joshie said.
"Yeah, they're a lot of fun. Some of the boys in my class have them too, so they told me a few of the things I needed to watch for."
"Those other guys said these were some of the best games," Benny added. I guess that answered our question.
After dinner, Brandon and I pulled Dion and Trey aside because we had something to ask them. "Wyatt's birthday is in a couple of weeks and we wanted to know if you're planning on having a party for him?"
"Yes, but just a family party on the weekend," Dion answered.
"There aren't a lot of kids that we could ask to come, so we thought we'd just send a treat with him to daycare on his birthday so he could celebrate there too," Trey added. "We've already checked with the staff and they said that would be fine, even though some of the kids are probably too young to know what's going on."
"So what kind of party will you have here?" I followed.
"It won't be very elaborate. Primarily just cake and ice cream, but we'll probably have party hats and noise makers too, as well as letting him open his presents."
"That's fine. We just wanted to know," Brandon explained.
"And which day will you be having it?" I added.
"His birthday is on a Tuesday, so we'll probably have his party the Sunday before, since it will just be us," Trey answered. "We'll send the treats to daycare on his actual birthday, so he'll get to celebrate both times."
"Ok, then we'll plan accordingly."
At dinner, Noah made an announcement while we were eating. "I have a soccer match on Tuesday, so will you come watch me play, since you won't be able to be at my game on Saturday?"
"Of course we will, and we'll get there just as soon as our last appointments are done," I replied. "We may not see all of the match, but we'll get there for as much of it as we can. I hope that's all right."
"Yeah, cuz I know how hard it is for you to get away. Some of my friends' parents either can't get to the matches or only one of them can, so I understand."
"It's not easy when you have a job, but we'll do the best we can," Brandon added.
"I'm going to take Joshie and Benny to watch it too," Dion added. "Trey's not into sports, so he's going to stay here so you can drop off Wyatt first, if you want."
"Thanks, Uncle Dion. I appreciate that you're coming too and bringing Joshie and my brother." Noah's acknowledgement made Benny smile and his chest swelled out slightly when Noah referred to him as his brother, but Noah also seemed pleased that so many of us would be there.
Sunday night, one of the Harry Potter movies was showing on TV, so the boys wanted to watch it. We sat down with them and spent some quiet time as a family, and we got a kick out of how the younger ones we're getting into the movie.
"I wish I could go to Hogwarts," Benny announced during a commercial. "It would be a lot more fun than our school and I could learn to do neat magic stuff."
"And we could ride on brooms and fly around in the sky," Joshie chimed in. "We could learn to play Quidditch too."
"And our daddies could have flying cars so they could take us to catch the Hogwarts train in London," Benny added.
"Is there a spell to keep them from talking so much?" Noah teased as he grinned at the other pair evilly.
"Maybe we'll turn you into a rat, like Peter Pettigrew, but you wouldn't be able to change back like he does," Joshie challenged defiantly.
"Ok, let's just watch the movie," Brandon suggested before the boys got carried away.
When the movie ended, Brandon took Benny and Joshie up for their shower, so I pulled Noah aside. "I'm going to leave some money with your uncles before we go away this weekend, and you can ask them if you need money for anything. It better be a good reason, though, because I'm sure they're not going to part with it easily."
"Ok, but it's nice to know they'll have it in case something comes up," he agreed. "If we win on Saturday the team may go out to celebrate and maybe get pizza, so this way I know there's money for me to use so I can join them."
When Brandon finished up with Joshie and Benny, Noah went to take his shower. I went up to help tuck the boys in bed and kissed them goodnight, and then Brandon and I turned in too. It had been a long weekend and we were exhausted, so we wanted to get enough sleep so we'd be ready to start the workday.
On Monday, Brandon and I checked with our staffs to see if they would close up for us the following day, so we could leave as early as possible to watch Noah play. They agreed that they'd be happy to do it for us, so Brandon and I planned to find a way to thank them for doing this later. Maybe we could throw a special party for them over the holidays, or we could put a little something extra in their Christmas bonuses. Whatever we do, they'll have earned it.
As it turned out, we were able to get to the school before the half ended, so Noah got to see us before he went off with the coach for the halftime strategy session. We found Dion and the boys in the stands, so they filled us in on what we'd missed, which wasn't much since neither team had scored yet.
A couple of minutes into the second half, Noah intercepted a pass, dribbled a short distance, and then made a pass to one of his teammates. The boy was able to take the ball without breaking stride and sidestepped one defender before taking a shot on goal. He drilled the ball and the keeper had trouble handling it, as the ball ricocheted off his hands. Another of Noah's teammates was able to get to the ball before any of the other defenders and directed it into the goal before the keeper was able to recover. It was the first score of the game.
Noah and his teammates celebrated, while the parents and other fans cheered to show their appreciation. It seemed to give the team a new sense of confidence and they started playing even better than they had before. Noah had been marking his man very closely, which was frustrating the other boy, so when Noah stole the ball from him the kid took him down hard from behind. It got the boy a red card, so he had to leave the pitch, and Noah came up limping. He was attempting to walk the injury off, but it was apparent his leg was hurting.
When I saw this, I stood up and started walking toward the bench to see if they needed assistance, since I'm a doctor. When Noah saw me, he signaled that he was ok and indicated I should go back to my seat, but he was still limping so I doubted he was being honest. Even if he didn't want me to check on him here, I would definitely do it at home to make certain he hadn't suffered a serious injury.
Noah didn't come off the field until near the end of regular time, so he only missed the last couple of minutes, as well as the two minutes of added time, but he hadn't been as effective after the tackle. There was no further scoring either, so Noah's team won 1 - 0.
As he was coming off the pitch, I went to see how he was doing and to ask if he needed help, but he had something to ask me first. "Some of the guys on the team want to know if we're going to have the Haunted House again this year. Since Elliot isn't here, they said they wanted to help."
"I'm sure we can do something, but at this moment I'm more concerned about how you are doing. That was a nasty and illegal tackle that the opposing player made on you earlier, so how's your leg?"
"Eh, I'm ok, but the coach said I should ice it when I get home."
"I'll check it over too, because I want to be sure that ice is all you need." Noah merely nodded and then came with us so we could head home.