I was still pretty sick for most of last month and Ari was sick off and on. Almost three weeks in, I was just congested and coughing a little and I thought he had a bit of a cold but was otherwise healthy, but it turned out he was getting Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease! I didn’t know and we had a get-together with all my family in Olympia. However, the disease is caused by a virus that most people get as kids and are then immune to, so adults don’t usually get it. I knew Ari might get it because there had been a case in his class and it’s highly contagious, and sure enough at the beginning of the next week he was cranky and feverish, and within a couple of days I found a small white sore in his mouth. But he didn’t get any other sores, like a lot of kids do on their face, hands, and feet. If I hadn’t looked in his mouth, I would have just thought he had a cold.
I was so disappointed because that week I had taken two vacation days, which meant I was off all week, and looking forward to the two extra days I’d have off with him in school had gotten me through the past two months of sickness and stress! I was really feeling at the end of my rope and had big plans for all the things I was going to catch up on and start getting ready for the baby. I was crushed! And so frustrated and angry! But really, it’s a good thing I had those vacation days because otherwise I would’ve had to take FMLA to stay home with Ari. And that would reduce my time off for maternity leave with the baby…
It’s a lot to balance, and sometimes I really wish I weren’t working so that all these sicknesses weren’t so stressful, but of course then we wouldn’t all be sick so much because he wouldn’t be in daycare. And I feel like he gets so much out of his daycare/school that I need to keep working so we can afford it! But if we were in Europe or Canada or Scandinavia or pretty much any other “developed” country, we wouldn’t have any of these problems. He’d have preschool for free (at least in France; I’m not sure about everywhere else) and I’d have several months to a year or more off (depending on which country) – PAID, at least partially – with the next baby, regardless of whether I’d had time off before going into labor. And A. would have some time off, usually paid as well. And we would still get to take vacations! Right now he can’t take any because has to save up to take a few days off after the baby is born. I have so many coworkers, too, who never take vacations with their families because they need to save those paid days off for maternity leave. I really think we could do better here!
Well, that was quite a tangent. Anyway, it was another rough month. But at the end of it – speaking of Canada – we flew to visit A.’s brother and his wife in Vancouver, B.C.! Ari was still recovering from being sick but it would have been so expensive to change our flights. However, I did learn a lesson about traveling with a toddler, especially a sick one, and with late night and early morning flights – it’s really hard! We had a lot of fun and went to the aquarium and science museum there, but it was exhausting too, trying to get him to eat, keeping him quiet when we ate out, and dealing with naps and early bedtimes with a hotel room. It was worth it for our visit, but I think we’ll keep the traveling to a minimum for the next few years, especially with the baby. I used to think it was sad when people stopped traveling after having kids, or wouldn’t fly with their kids to visit people, but I can see now how important it is to stay home and maintain routines as much as possible just to keep your daily life sane and keep everyone healthy, especially with the precarious balance with work schedules!
We did buy a new toy for Ari that was EXTREMELY helpful on the plane and eating out. I highly recommend these! The Melissa & Doug “Water Wow” coloring books – we bought two of them, Animals and Alphabet. They’re amazing! Like those magic ink books except you use a paintbrush you fill with water and you can let the pages dry and do it again and again. No mess, no noise, and no running out of ink. Here’s a picture of one from their website:
On to my pictures! Sickness, medicine, and getting better have been major topics of play and discussion. Here is Ari giving medicine to one of his dinosaurs:
On Valentine’s Day we were all doing reasonably well and I decided we need to start doing some hiking soon, so we went for a little trail walk. After a short paved path, Ari wouldn’t move past this fence, where he was pretending to feed some cows. So Andrew and I took a short walk while A. and Ari stayed behind “feeding the cows” and tossing rocks into the water. Then we slowly made our way back up the paved path and went back home!
That night, A. and I had a babysitter for Valentine’s and went out to a “pop-up” dinner at a place that uses ingredients from local farms. They had some delicious, creative dishes such as “ravioli” made from nut cream pressed between beet slices.
Another day when Ari and I were both cranky and tired but just couldn’t stay home any more, we went to the Children’s Museum. Ari had fun playing with puppets, and at the pretend vet’s office he finally noticed there was something there besides the bookshelf! After putting his books back, he started to walk out then turned around and said something about the animals there. He took a stuffed animal out of one of the kennels and started playing vet!
Then the digging, of course:
Ari drew this picture at school when I was picking him up. First he drew the round part and said it was my big tummy, then he started drawing the lines. The teacher asked him if my tummy has hair on it, and he said, “Yeah!”
Here he is coloring at home:
Good thing those markers are washable!
Here’s that big (not hairy!) tummy of mine:
By the end of the month, maybe a week or two after that picture, I was feeling a lot more movement from the little guy in there. Finally! 🙂
Ari cuddling with his big elephant:
When he was really sick, dog walks were our only time out of the house, and often he wanted to walk and push the stroller. With nowhere else to be, I didn’t mind going slow, and he got some exercise!
He always wants to smell the flowers:
Here are some pictures from the Vancouver Aquarium:
And from the science museum – which was amazing! Way bigger than OMSI. Our OMSI membership got us in free, though!
This was taken around 5:30am at the airport on our way home. It was very nice that he was asleep.
And that’s it for February! So far March has been healthier, but still not too many fun things happening because I’m finishing up my programming class. The final is due in a couple of days and then I should be feeling better!