Saturday, September 14, 2013

Gimme a Break

Didn't Nell Carter have a way with words? I think that I've mentioned before that our school district is on a balanced schedule, which is a fancy way of saying that the kids have two months off during the summer and four one-week breaks during the year. Although,"break" is kind of a misnomer, if you ask me. First of all, it's not a break for me to have to entertain the children for an additional eight hours a day, and it's not a break to plan a vacation and play cruise director, so I'm not calling them breaks anymore. I'm calling them continuations.

So, for our Fall Continuation, we planned to visit Sister who lives in Washington, D.C. We all know what happened last time our family traveled to the Nation's Capital. That's right, lice-a-palooza 2011. I had high hopes for this trip, because how can you really top discovering a head lice infestation at 9:00 pm, the night before you are scheduled to tour the White House? Admittedly, it would be tough, especially because we couldn't go for the whole week because the K had to work. But, we had a full compliment of activities scheduled for our Wednesday through Saturday trip including museums, meeting the president and vice president, and getting a puppy. Do you think I'm joking? I am not. We are just that bad ass.

Our saga began on Saturday, the first day of "continuation" when the Baby came down with a fever of 103. I dosed her up with Motrin and resigned us all to waiting out the illness. How long could it last? Surely she would be better by the time we left on Wednesday. On Saturday night, while I was checking on the Baby's fever, I heard a crash from the Girl's room. She had woken up from a deep sleep and found that she had pins and needles in her foot (I would say that her foot fell asleep, but then, she was asleep, so that would be confusing.) She jumped out of bed and tried to shake her foot awake and inadvertently banged it on the bed frame. She seemed okay at the time and went back to sleep.

The next morning there was no change to the Baby's fever and I was so consumed with keeping track of her temperature and giving her Motrin and Tylenol that I completely ignored the Girl who complained that her foot was bothering her from where she kicked the bed frame. I think it's an unwritten rule of parenting that the kid with the fever gets more attention than the kid with unspecified orthopedic complaints, unless a bone is sticking through the skin. Speaking of breaks...


By Tuesday, I was making minor preparations for the trip, but mostly just living in denial that we were actually leaving. I do this often because you never know when a disaster might prevent you from traveling and then you've done all this work to get ready for no reason. Some call that anxiety, I call it good time management. Anyhow, the Baby's fever had finally broken and she was back to her usual tricks, which included packing (no exaggeration) seven stuffed animals for the trip, including a Pillow Pet and a Dream Lites Pillow Pet. Meanwhile, I finally looked at the Girl's foot which she continued to make vague complaints about and noticed that it was visibly swollen and bruised. Awesome! I called the doctor and we set about doing nothing all day Tuesday, but icing her foot and dosing her with Motrin, and, oh yeah, packing.

Meanwhile, the Boy who had been flying under the radar started complaining about his head hurting. He never complains about his head because he always complains about his stomach (he loves him some Tums). So, I did a quick forehead kiss and could tell that he was now running a fever. Are you exhausted yet? I was and we hadn't even left home! I felt confident that the Boy would kick the fever more quickly than the Baby because he's older and he's always been my workhorse. Ever since he got over the pulmonary problems that he had when he was a baby, he's been the healthiest of the kids and the one I never have to worry about getting sick right before a trip.

I always promised myself that I wouldn't make my kids travel when they were sick. I took a particularly unpleasant trip to Chicago when I was running a fever as a child and have never forgotten it. You think it's fun to visit a hydroponic lettuce plant when you are twelve years old and running a fever of 103? (Actually, do you think it's fun to tour a hydroponic lettuce plant, period?) Now that I'm a parent, I realize that you can't just ditch on your plans because someone is sick. If it's just a cold and a fever, the kid just has to soldier on.

Thus, Wednesday morning dawned and we headed to the airport with one feverish child, one limping child, one complaining child, and two beleaguered parents. Thank goodness it's a quick flight to D.C. because the Girl, the Baby, and I were seated in front of a loud, talkative, opinionated trio of female lawyers. They started out talking about work huggers, who are, "totally not okay." Even if you are a "hugger" in your "real life." Then, they discussed the meaning of "off the record." The most opinionated of the three explained that it, "doesn't mean, like, that you can't, like, you know, tell your parents, or something," just that you don't want it, "out there." Just so you all know, this is not the meaning of "off the record." It has an actual meaning, it's not just a bunch of words you say to sound cool and lawyerly.   Then we heard about the girl who got kicked out of a law school class because she was checking email during a particularly sensitive discussion. "We were talking about, like, torture, and she was like, smiling. And the professor was, like, 'why are you smiling when we're like, talking about, like, torture?' And she was like, 'sorry, I was just checking email.' And, he was like, 'well, get out, because you are being, like, soooo disrespectful.'" I went to law school, and I will tell you that exactly none of my professors used the word, "like" with such abandon.

Okay, this would be worse.
You know it's bad when the lady with three kids is complaining about airplane manners.

We finally landed and made our way to the hotel. I want to give a shout out to the K for finding our accommodations. We stayed at the Marriott Residence Inn in Dupont Circle and I highly recommend it for a group. We had two bedrooms, each with a double bed, two bathrooms, a living room with a pull-out couch, and a full kitchen. It was fabulous to have so much space to spread out with the children. The hotel also served a complimentary breakfast every morning. I won't say that the fare was gourmet, but it was totally serviceable, and the kids got to eat Froot Loops, which thrilled them to pieces.

In case you are wondering, the Boy was still running a fever and the Girl was hobbling, but we were going to see some sites and have some fun. I was determined!

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