Day 5: Ready to throw in the towel, and then…I counted my blessings

The day started off like any ordinary day with breakfast, feeding the cat and dog, doing laundry, tidying, the kiddos played a game of basketball, made a fort, watched a movie (did you know there is a  Leave it to Beaver movie?) etc. 

Then the kiddos inquired, “What else can we do today”? I stood there for a few minutes thinking to myself……Crap!! What can they do? What do we have left to do? We have done it all!! I am burned out!! I wish the children came with pause buttons.  Maybe I could somehow convince them that staring at the wall quietly for an hour was a game?  My brain has no more ideas, I am out! Please, can I tag someone else in, please? Please God, please help!

Ring…Ring…Ring……

Me: Hello

Alison: Go look outside your door.

Me: What?

Alison: We dropped something off to get you guys through these last few days.

Me: No!! You are so kind. Thank you!!

So I opened the door and this is what I was greeted with……

She had left me a huge iced coffee and magazine, the kiddos a fun game, our toddler an Elmo book, our first grader a book she has read five times over because she likes it so much, and a Spiderman activity set for our little man. She left us a bucket full of what I call “sanity”. I don’t think there are enough words in the English language for me to express my gratitude. And the timing, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I felt like I was mere seconds from officially losing my mind.

But that’s not all….for dinner, I was off the hook. I didn’t cook because my parents had arrived back in town and showed up with this…..

That’s right!! Bob Evans down on the farm. It was like a mini Thanksgiving feast, precisely what we needed, what we craved, comfort foods! It was so nice to have a hot delicious meal that I did not have to cook. And for dessert…that’s right, they brought dessert too! Baskin Robbins!! I almost cried, tears of joy of course…the love was so intense.

But wait there is more….

While eating our neighbor stopped by to kindly inform me that our tire was low on our SUV parked out front and he was concerned about me driving the children around town with a low tire. He also brought over treats for our dog that was in need of a little TLC. His bad leg and healing process kind of got pushed to the back burner when the kiddos came down with HFMD. Don’t get me wrong, I still gave him his meds but we were not as attentive after the kiddos got ill.

…and more….

In the evening we put our toddler down to sleep and let the older two kiddos stay up and play Fruit Ninja, the game that was in the “sanity bucket” that Alison had dropped off.  It was so much fun, just the four of us playing a game together; we had never done that before. It is amazing how an act of kindness can evolve into a memory to cherish.

Then, once the children where in bed I checked my email, blog replies, and facebook while cleaning up the day’s mess.  The first comment I read was this one in response to the Day 4 post, from a good friend Tammy…..

You had no idea your kids were sick, please don’t be too hard on yourself! I’m sure the other family understands that if you knew you wouldn’t have been there. You have done a great job entertaining the kids this past week and keeping as much sanity as humanly possible. After the kids go to bed, pour a glass of wine, take a warm bath, play some relaxing music…you deserve it! Nothing needs cleaned or washed that is more important than taking time for yourself.

Precisely what I needed to hear, today my prayers were answered.  I needed someone else to tag in and boy did God listen!! He tagged in my amazing parents who are also amazing grandparents; they have given me the skills, faith, and fortitude necessary for life and that is a gift that is truly priceless. God tagged in and has blessed me with an amazing group of friends who have been so supportive throughout this entire ordeal. Friends who have their own lives, issues, family, children, wedding to plan, family trips/vacations, etc. but yet have taken a moment to think about my family…thank you Alison, Lilly, Tammy, Allie, Jill, Cheryl, Mary, and ALL my dear friends for your replies, texts, emails, and  words of encouragement and support.

I think I know precisely what we can do for the family I spoke of yesterday. The family who contracted HFMD from us, I would like to pay it forward and drop off a “sanity bucket “and dinner for them on day 5, when it is needed most.

As I lay in bed last night I thought about how I almost lost my cool today. How I had prayed to God to please help me get through the day and boy was my prayer answered.  I also thought about all those moms out there who have children with compromised immune systems. Moms like Piper and the Kids,  and a dear friend Allysa whose daughter is undergoing surgery today, who have to endure weeks, even months of staying indoors so that their children’s lives will not be compromised. I don’t know how they do it!  I pray for all those moms today who are quarantined to a home, hospital room, etc. with a child. I pray that they have a strong support system of friends and family.

 

Day 4: Mommy Olympics (It Happened! Please pass the tissues)

I was so emotionally, mentally, and physically tired last night I didn’t get a chance to post. While lying in bed I was watching the Olympic gymnastics qualifying trials and it got me thinking, I feel like I am training for the Olympic qualifying trials for moms? And this is why…..

Mental challenges….

All this time at home has turned our soon-to-be first grader into quite the artist and novelist. And her younger sister is trying so hard to keep up!

 

She has been painting and writing non-stop. Wait, strike that, I have been technically writing, or should I say spelling non-stop.  There has been a lot of, “mommy, how do you spell….” going on in our home.  Meanwhile our little inquisitive son has been asking how EVERYTHING works. I caught him doing the classic open the refrigerator door, close the refrigerator door, repeat, routine the other day trying to determine if that light actually stays on or not.  This is a good thing, don’t get me wrong, but, I feel like I need a refresher course and maybe even an all-nighters, on the various mechanisms around our home.  I am contemplating studying up on the carburetor and transmission today, just in case he pulls a question like…”Mommy, what is under the hood of the car?”.   Thankfully I noticed that the show, “How it’s Made” is on Netflix now, that will at least give me a little breather from my studies. I would also like to give a shout out to another screen, the computer screen and the EWTN kids. We obviously didn’t go to church but we did read the Sunday readings and the kiddos got a chance to play on the EWTN kids site.

Physical Challenges….

Do you have an energetic toddler? I mean the type that will just climb up on anything (within reason) and leap, assuming someone will be there to grab her?  We do. I suppose the best way to describe her is to say she is similar to a monkey.  I hate describing any of my children as a type of animal but when it comes to an animal that best mimics her actions, or vice versa, the climbing, jumping, and I am sure she would swing from things hanging off the ceiling if we had them (and she really likes bananas but that is beside the point) mimics that of a monkey.  So, watching her includes being able to make a mad dash from one room to the next with arms extended ready to catch.  She is also currently infatuated with belly buttons and has been doing belly button checks on all family members practically every hour around the clock.  I have decided that making dinner while simultaneously emptying the dishwasher, spelling  random words, teaching how the oven works, and having a belly button check done to you should totally be an Olympic event….any mommy up for the challenge? Can you relate?

It got to a point yesterday that the kids just had to go outside and play off some of their energy. Thankfully they are, for lack of a better term, molting.  The rashes scabbed over and the scabs/skin are slowly peeling off naturally (the kiddos did a great job of not pulling off the scabs/skin).  You can still see where the rash was, I am hoping that it is not scaring but rather the final healing process. So we let them have some fun in the water.

And they had a cold treat… 

As a precaution I did add a dash of oatmeal to their baths, just in case.

 

Emotionally……..

As if being a mommy isn’t emotional enough, as I am sure ALL moms can relate. One minute the kiddos will have me in stitches over something they said (Like last week we were in the car and our toddler got a little ornery. I said I think she might be getting her eye-teeth. Our little man was quick to correct me, you mean mouth teeth mom, not eye-teeth, Haha!) Then the next minute they will almost have me in tears witnessing them do a selfless act for one another. Then as fast as a bolt of lightning the mood can change and they can be irritating each other which can lead me to a sense of being overwhelmed.

It Happened…….

But our emotions extend beyond motherhood, in fact sometimes they are in no way related, while other times they can be in a consequential way, which is where my feelings of guilt, sorrow, empathy, and compassion accompanied by a need to rectify have evolved. Remember how we were around other children last Sunday? Well, my hubby received a call….and guess what? Yep!! Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease! Their child contracted HFMD from our children whom they were in contact with a week before. Looks like our children shared more than just popcorn!

Please pass the tissues…..

I feel so guilty for passing this onto another family, if there was any way I knew our children were contagious there is no way I would have allowed them to share popcorn, let alone be in contact, or out in public with children or anyone else.  (I am learning so much about HFMD and it seems as though you really have no idea that your child/children have been exposed and are contagious until the rash shows up and it seems to take roughly 7-8 days for the rash to appear after the initial encounter. Once you have received confirmation that your child indeed does have HFMD in order to minimize the spread to others, or out of respect for others, you need to quarantine them until the fluid in the blisters are totally gone, and any sores in the nose and throat have healed and it is difficult to determine when they have healed, especially with small children and toddlers who can’t express their symptoms. Our doctor advised 6 days). I am so sorry. Their family, like ours, has 3 children and as of right now one is showing symptoms, including the rash, but I am sure it will only be a matter of time before all have visible symptoms.  I feel so horrible; they were probably looking forward to 4th of July festivities this week.  I can empathize with their mom.  I know how the next week will be playing out in their household and I just wish there was something I could do to make things better. I know I can’t make it go away or fully rectify the situation but maybe there is something I can do, our family can do? Do you have any suggestions?

Day 2: African Safari Wildlife Park

Well, I have had some time to process the fact that the kiddos have HFMD.  I have contacted all the kiddos parents who planned on attending the b-day party on Sunday and explained the situation. I changed our “yes attending” R.S.V.Ps for all immediate playgroup meetups to “not attending”. And my hubby has contacted the parents of children our children have been in contact with this past weekend.  Minus the entire water park of course, to bad there isn’t an app for that. I do feel horrible about the fact that we might have exposed more children.  Although, it does seem like HFMD is going around, and as a close confidant of mine stated, HFMD is the new chickenpox, and maybe she is right?  Maybe 20 years from now my grandchildren will be receiving the HFMD vaccine and I will be sharing the story of when my children had HFMD.  I would tell them about today and how their grandfather called off work to stay with me and the kiddos. How he had a great plan for having a fun-filled family day with the children that did not involve them being around others but was sure to guarantee a memorable experience, one we would cherish……..

We told the children we had a fun afternoon planned but that it would remain a surprise until we arrived at our destination. Sure enough, a tough game of 20 questions followed, they were so eager to know where they were going. Thankfully lunch via drive-thru lead them off the trail for a few minutes and they got to eat their food in the car since they were contagious, which just added to the entire experience. What is it about a drive-thru and eating in the car that is such a treat to a child? Forty minutes later and we were there….

African Safari Wildlife Park in Port Clinton Ohio

It was the perfect park for our little ones.  They could stay in the car the entire time so we didn’t have to worry about them coming in contact with others.  It was so much fun! I have to say I was honesty surprised at how much I truly enjoyed this experience with my family.  We purchased 4 cups of grains and 2 bags of carrots to feed the animals and let me tell you there is nothing cuter than those animals’ big brown eyes peering into the car; of course, they only come a close second to the big blue eyes of my babes gazing back at them.  Having the animals come up to your car and feed them was so cool……

 

Of course it was a little difficult to capture the entire giraffe. His head was so large that his nose took up the entire window cavity. Then my hubby decided to open up the sun roof for easier access. Being able to feed a giraffe while in the car with my family was by far my favorite.

 

After we, and by we, I mean my hubby, son, and I fed the animals I grabbed the hand sanitizer. Squirting hand sanitizer that contains alcohol onto a child’s hand that has HFMD is not recommended. What follows is screaming, then panting, and a sincere question of “why would you do that?”. What’s even worse is when your mom quickly grabs her water to pour on the burning hand in hopes of cooling them off only to realize she has a lemon in the water.

I felt so horrible, poor kiddo. But besides the hand sanitizing and lemon water incident the day was wonderful. If it wasn’t for HFMD we probably would have experienced this outing with friends and we might have missed out on this amazing family bonding experience. Should I be thanking whoever my kiddos contracted HFMD from?  Since it was the HFMD that made us not include others in on this experience? Maybe….just maybe there is a blessing in disguised?