Corona #2

Claire is dealing with the *@&#*#&! coronavirus now too.

Here’s a quick photo to capture this historical moment (Claire’s doing fine). She’s been hanging out on the couch for about 48 hours. A milkshake and some chicken soup are helping with the recovery.

The frog hat (from her sister for her birthday) isn’t just glamorous but is also is reported to “actually” make Claire feel better. ☺️

Molly, who tested positive a couple of days ago, is currently doing cartwheels around the living room. I guess she’s feeling better. 🤸🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♂️

As a side note, Claire thought it was funny that while we were watching Demon Slayer, there was a “COVID-19 Testing” broswer tab open in the background. 😂

Quarantine Bedroom Prep (Time Lapse)

Molly was exposed to the virus at school and tested positive, so we needed to separate her from her sister. Molly immediately volunteered to set up a temporary bedroom in my office. So I pulled out my little office futon and threw some sheets on it. I told Molly to let me know if she needed anything else and went downstairs.

Half an hour later, Molly came down and showed me this video, which she recorded and edited on her iPhone. ☺️.

Notice how Molly calls the futon a “slidable couch.” 😆

Molly plans to do her remote schooling in here too, so she got herself all set up for that as well. All indications are that she’s fully camped in my office and not planning to move out any time soon. 🤦🏻‍♂️

More Medicine, Please

Molly woke up the other night at 2:00 am with an ear infection.  (Why are these always at 2:00 am?)  It actually took us a while to figure out what was bothering her because she did not tell us anything except she felt bad.  After a couple of hours, Molly said her ears hurt.  In retrospect, yes of course, it was an ear infection!  We gave her a couple of age 2-6 Tylenol chewables, which she said were yummy, and she finally got to sleep around 5:30.  She really thought the Tylenol was a treat, which was scary considering this.

The next day, at the doctor, Molly was prescribed an antibiotic called Cefdinir.  Molly loved the Cefdinir even more than the Tylenol.  She asked for more, sort of as a treat.  Hmm.  I said no, we only have this medicine once a day, and we only ever have medicine when the doctor or parents say it is time for it.  Molly listened politely and then  asked for some more medicine, as if I just didn’t quite hear her question right the first time.

Molly asks for her Cefdinir first thing every morning.  She also asks for Tylenol (“the other one”), but to no avail.  On the way home from school today, still a little confused about the times of day, she asked for her medicine “Tonight, right before breakfast.”

What do they put in medicine these days?  Sugar?  I remember hating to take medicine, like that cough medicine syrup.  It was just awful.  I can still taste it now, and it makes my stomach queazy.  I guess Molly will fondly remember her medicine as a yummy treat.  Medicine is supposed to taste bad, right?  Like that smell they add to propane so you know it’s not supposed to be there?  Actually, smelling the medicine, it does smell a little bad and medicinal to me.  But Molly says it tastes like cake.

Anyways, both medicines did their trick quite nicely.  Molly was happy and healthy as a clam the very next day.

Big Fun: Lice and Flu

As the title suggests, things have been kind of, uh, gross around here lately.  While the girls were down in Corpus Christi for a few days over the holiday break, I came down with the flu.  I had the flu shot a month or two ago, so I guess that limited the “severity and duration” of the infection but still, ouch!  I had three terrible days where I could barely sit up, etc. and watched enough TV for a year.  It was either great timing (since I didn’t have to take care of the kids) or terrible timing (I was planning to get a lot done while the kids were away).  Then a few more days gradually recovering.  A few days on the bench was a big kick in the pants.  Damn you, flu!  Kit never got the flu, but she did spend night after night awake coughing with allergies or a cold or something.  We were a barrel of laughs for New Year’s Eve!

Molly enjoys waiting for Claire at Mad Caps
Molly enjoys waiting for Claire at Mad Caps

When the kids got back from Corpus, Claire was complaining that her head itched.  We decided to take her to a “lice salon” called Madcaps Salon to literally have her head checked.  Claire did, to our surprise, have lice.  On a positive note, Claire loved the lice salon.  She got to watch Netflix on an iPad and eat Doritos while they massaged her hair.  She said she loved it and wanted to go back.  Luck for Claire, I took her back the next afternoon for the full treatment, and also took Molly in to see if she had lice.  Molly did not have the lice.  Neither did I.  So that was a relief, and sort of a miracle.  Claire’s treatment took 2+ hours.  They have to do it by hand, strand by strand, since the lice are resistant to all the easy treatments.  Molly sat with me and watched The Rescuers on an iPad provided by the salon while I tried to work on my laptop.  Molly loved it too and asked many times to go back in the succeeding days.

So we’re doing lots of extra laundry and disinfecting around home and trying to avoid sharing our various bugs with each other.  Plus a comb-out routine for Claire and some other lice prevention.  No more gross things shall infect us going forward!  I can’t wait to get back to just simply hugging the girls without worrying about transmitting something awful.

This Week in Laundry

laundryThis week’s laundry tells the story of a tough few days.

  • 1 load for Molly vomiting on clothes, blanket, and lovie
  • 1 load for Molly  post-recovery sanitation
  • 2 loads for Claire vomiting
  • 2 loads for Claire  post-recovery sanitation
  • 1 load to clean the giant dog towel after taking Muffin to the groomer
  • 3 loads for Molly urine accidents on car seat
  • 1 load for Muffin urine “accident” on Claire’s bed
  • 1 load of guest sheets
  • 1 load for Claire spilling fruit punch all over the front of her dress at summer camp
  • 1 load of wet swimming gear from Friday evening swimming
  • 1 load for Molly BM accident on swim suit and on a dress at school
  • Plus 3 loads of normal laundry aside from that mixed in with the above

I will refrain from enumerating all the babysitting checks this week from half-day camps and sick days.


Molly woke up up vomiting the other night.  She vomited all over herself, her blankets, her mom, me, and her stuffed animals.  Molly had caught a stomach bug going around that would eventually get 14 of the 16 kids in her class, and 2 of the 3 teachers.   Molly would spend a couple of days at home recovering, and it was her first time to use the “sick bed”, an inflatable bed that we get out when people are vomiting and cannot be trusted to keep their real beds vomit-free.  Claire had used this several times before, but this was Molly’s first shot.  As bad as she felt, Molly was thrilled with the sick bed and all the attention and fussing over her.  Claire, too, was pretty excited to be up in the middle of the night helping out.  For the next few days, Claire and Molly would tell anyone who would listen about the night of vomiting, and Molly in particular would have a big grin on her face when telling the tale.  Claire would say, “Oh, Molly’s just bragging.”

We did not take any pictures of the action on the night of vomiting, but we did get this sweet moment the net day when Claire took it upon herself to entertain Molly with a book in her sick bed.

Santa Fe

Kit, Claire, and I all took a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico this week.  Kit went for a three-day liver biopsy conference, and Claire and I just went along for fun.  We decided that Molly was still not up for an extended trip like this; with her still somewhat baby-like sleeping and eating requirements, we would be pretty well tethered to the hotel and would not have a chance to explore.  Maybe next year, Molly will “pull herself together” enough for this kind of trip, as Kit and I like to say. But this time, Molly stayed at home with Grammy and Grandaddy, who offered to come up and lavish her with attention while we were out of town.
Describing a big trip like this can quickly get out of hand for a single blog post. And hey, this is a kid blog, not a travel log.  So this post will focus on Claire’s experience of the trip rather than our tourist impressions of New Mexico as such.  Suffice it to say that New Mexico was beautiful, and Kit learned a lot about livers (I suppose). Now let me just paint a sketch of how the trip went for Claire, and I’ll try not to let it get too long…
Claire was very excited about the airplane flight in particular. She got to pack her carry-on Mickey Mouse suitcase with more or less whatever she wanted to entertain herself on the trip. She piled it full of books, notepads, and stickerbooks. In the interest of keeping things running smoothly in case Claire got bored over the next few days in airplanes, cars, and the hotel room, I packed some extra electronic entertainment such as her Leapster game system, some movies and games on the iPad, and even some audiobooks to listen to. As it would turn out, Claire did not need any of this stuff. She spent most of her travel time drawing in her special travel notebook from Noni, talking and joking around with me and Kit, and reading books with me and Kit.
Claire spent most of her flying time drawing with her fuzzy green pen.
On the plane, we also talked a lot about our route to Santa Fe: fly from Austin to Houston, then fly to Albuquerque by another plane, then take a bus to pick up a rental care, then drive to Santa Fe. Claire jokingly called Albuquerque “Albu-cookie”. In the Houston airport, Claire got to choose pretty much whatever she wanted for lunch, and she ended up with a collection of curiously retro food: Fritos, Orange Crush, and a turkey sandwich. What is this, 1979? By the way, that Orange Crush made it all the way to Santa Fe, where Claire continued to sip on it daily throughout the rest of the trip, and not for lack of other (fresher) options.

Claire travels back to a 1979 TV commercial for lunch.
Once in New Mexico, we drove the Turquoise Trail to Santa Fe. Claire had been interested in seeing the desert, but had also been worried about being poked by a cactus.  Fortunately, we steered clear of cactuses (alright, “cacti”). Claire had expected New Mexico to look like the desert planet Tatooine from Star Wars. It was not quite as sandy as that, but in Madrid, NM, we did come across something that looked kind of like the feared Sand People of Tatooine.

Claire runs from a Sand Person
A “real” Sand Person, as a matter of comparison
By the time we actually got to Santa Fe, we were all exhausted, and we dined in our hotel room on Lunchables from the local convenience store, and then went right to bed. 
The next morning, Kit headed downstairs for her conference, and Claire and I headed out to explore Santa Fe on foot.  We ended up in the literally freezing wind at the beautiful central plaza.  The cold weather was sort of a shock coming from the balmy weather back home. We ducked into a mall across the street from where there was supposed to be a great breakfast restaurant where we were supposed to be having a nice warm breakfast right now.  But alas, the restaurant was closed for remodeling.  The mall, and actually the whole city, was empty, I guess because it was Sunday morning and everything was closed.  We slowly trudged our way back two or three blocks to the hotel, ducking in for cover from the wind as the situation allowed.  Claire complained bitterly about the cold, which was not like her. She did not even want to walk and asked me to carry her the whole way. We made it to the hotel and eventually took the car to an open restaurant (which we ended up going to three different times) where we warmed up over some breakfast and a gigantic hot chocolate, which Claire barely touched.  
Then we tried heading out again, this time to a park overlooking the city. Claire was miserable the very minute we got out of the car, and she begged to go back to the car as soon as I took this one picture of her being miserable.

Claire continue to complain and was not acting like herself the rest of the day. She eventually settled into an unusually quiet mood and seemed somehow uncomfortable.  Only later did we put it together that she was probably sick and exhausted and just gathering enough strength for me to drag her around town. Poor thing.  Anyways, we did manage to meet up with Kit for lunch.

We did manage to see some of Kit. 

Still not realizing Claire was probably sick, I took her to the local children’s museum in hopes of lifting her spirits.  It kind of worked.

Claire loved the museum’s kid-sized door.
The museum had yet another Star Wars reference to enjoy.

The next day, we took the 90-minute drive to Taos to see the 1000-year-old pueblo.  I explained to Claire that when pilgrims landed in American, this village was already here, and it was already hundreds of years old.  That actually did impress Claire, who responded with a genuine, “Wow!  Really?”  The drive to Taos was scenic, and it was a good chance for Claire to sit and rest up.  At Claire’s behest, we played “Max and Emma” for almost the whole drive up and back.  This is a game where Claire is a girl once year older than Claire named Emma, and I am her little toddler brother named Max.  Occasionally Emma reverts to a baby, but usually she’s older.  The game is mostly about talking funny, and she especially like when little Max badly slurs his “S” sounds because he’s a toddler.  She’ll also give me ideas to riff on, such as, “Pretend you think those rocks are giant meatballs and you want to eat them, and you get really upset because you can’t…” Anyways, that got us to Taos.

At the Taos Pueblo, Claire was asked where all the Indians were.  I pointed out a few locals, and she seemed surprised, I think because they were not wearing native clothing.  We were told not to take pictures of the natives without asking their permission.  Claire, who also had a disposable camera from Noni for her travels, took this rule very seriously and went to great trouble to not take anyone’s picture.  She thought she might have accidentally taken a local’s picture, but the panic was over when I told her it was just another tourist like us.

Claire at her favorite spot at Taos Pueblo.
Claire wanted to take a picture of her camera.
But she first made sure it was okay, with the picture rules and all.

We made friends with a couple of village dogs and chatted with some storekeepers before buying some small pottery for Kit.  Claire loved to hang out at the river and was fascinated by all the insects, mostly ants, crawling around the common dirt area.  There was even a gigantic ant carrying a whole dead caterpillar back to it’s clam-sized hole all by itself.  Right around that point, the fascination turned to fear, and we carefully hopped around the insects all the way back to the car.  Then it was a stop by the modern town of Toas for some souvenir shopping and lunch.

Claire was pretty droopy by this point.
But she did her best to put a good face on it. 

Then it was back to Santa Fe.  On the drive back, you guessed it, more Max and Emma.

Let me just wrap this thing up with a few final highlights…

We were able to sneak Kit out of town during an extended lunch break for a quick trip to the closer-by pueblo of Tesuque.  It was good to show Kit some of the countryside north of Santa Fe and some pueblo goodness.

At Tesuque, we found a real-live tumble weed,
which looked better tumbling around on the ground.
On the way back, we also got to see this cool rock thingy by the highway.

I think this was called “Devil’s Rock”,
or something like that.
On the final day, once we realized just how worn-out Claire was, we took it super easy and went to see a movie in the afternoon.  We chose the only kid’s movie, Gnoneo and Juliet, which was pretty enjoyable, actually.  Being a kid’s movie at 2:40 on a Tuesday afternoon, Claire and I were the only ones in the theater.  It was a little weird with nobody else around, but we did not have to whisper when we wanted to talk to each other.
The plane flight home was dominated by jokes from a book of 2000 kid’s jokes, supplied by Grammy for the trip.  The book did have roughly 2000 jokes.  At least.  I guess what lacked in quality it made up for in quantity. 🙂  Claire absolutely loved this book, although she did not really understand most of the jokes.  She just liked the tone and delivery of the jokes. She did pick out a doctor joke for Kit, “What do you call a children’s knees? Kidneys.”  Claire spent most of the flight home making up her own jokes, including a “New Mexico joke” what went like this, “Why did the hill go to the hospital?  Because it got poked by a cactus.”  This went on for hours, until we stopped to literally run across the Houston airport to catch our connection to Austin.  We made it to the gate after everyone had been seated, with about five minutes until take off.
By the way, New Mexico was a new state for Claire.
Okay, that should do it.  I am worn out, and it’s time to move on.  I think that should paint a more than ample picture of the trip.  (Jeez, next time I really need to keep these trip blogs to a minimum!)

Breathe, Molly, breathe!

Molly had a bad scare this Saturday at the doctor’s office. It really started a few days earlier…
On Tuesday, just before noon, I got a call from school that Molly had a 103.5 F fever and was inconsolable. They thought she might also have an ear infection. I set up a doctor’s appointment for 1:30 and went to pick her up. When I got to school, the assistant director was walking Molly around outside to calm her down.
Molly spent the next two days at home with a temporary nanny. Her fever went down pretty quickly, but here energy, mood, and appetite were also way down. She went to school on Friday and had a decent day, but her daily note mentioned she had developed a small rash. On Friday night, Molly woke up around midnight crying, which is not terribly unusual. The unusual part was that she did not stop crying until after 4:30 am. Kit and I took hour-long shifts holding, but not really helping, poor Molly. Claire cleared out of the shared bedroom around 2:30 and slept the rest of the night in the guest bedroom. She was the only one who got anything remotely resembling her normal sleep that night.
On Saturday, while I took Claire to her ballet recital, Kit took Molly to the doctor again. Molly was exhausted and cranky from her lost sleep and fighting whatever was ailing her. During the recital, I got this text from Kit:

Molly just gave me a heart attack. She passed out when she got her shot. Seems ok now.

Yes, Molly actually passed out while receiving an antibiotic injection. Kit says that Molly had opened her mouth to let out a big bellowing wail, as she often does. But instead of actually letting out the big shriek, she stayed tensed up with her mouth open. After about 20 seconds of this, her eyes rolled back and she went limp. There was some panic, but the nurse and the doctor helped get Molly back to normal pretty quickly.

I am happy to report that Molly was in better health even by Saturday afternoon. The rash may have been a reaction to another antibiotic she had been on. Grammy and Grandaddy happened to be passing through town on Saturday and added some extra support as well. Molly slept well on Saturday night and was pretty much her normal self on Sunday. We even had lunch outside on the patio, where Molly put down some smoked turkey, beans, and papaya with a smile. Whew!

Toss Up Talk

Molly woke up last night at 4 am to discover, to her astonishment, that she was vomiting. Of course, she probably had no idea what was going on, but her cries made it clear she did not like it one bit.

Pretty soon, the whole family was awake and gathered around poor Molly. While Kit held and comforted Molly, I got some paper towels to clean up Molly, Kit, and myself. Claire, who was suffering from “walking pneumonia” and had missed the prior day of school, was very interested in what was happening and asked how she could help. Claire and I quickly removed Molly’s stained sheets, wiped down her plastic-covered mattress, and put on a fresh clean sheet. We sent Claire to the guest bedroom to sleep while Kit and then I held Molly until morning.

We kept Molly home from school the next day. Molly’s teacher called me in the morning to ask if Molly was okay. She said she had visited Claire’s classroom and saw Claire was in school, so she figured Molly was sick (oops, I should have called). She said Claire told her excitedly that Molly threw up in the middle of the night.

Molly spent the day at home with me mostly sleeping, drinking Pedialyte, not eating, and acting groggy. Her fever spiked to 102.

When I picked up Claire, with Molly in tow, Claire’s friends on the playground were excited to hear about Molly’s misadventure. After I explained to them what had happened, each of the cute little girls, each dressed in a cute little dress, proudly shared their own unique story of vomiting. One had vomited all over the carpet at night as a baby. One had vomited on the kitchen floor and got to watch a movie while her mom cleaned it up (it took quite a while, I am told). Claire got to tell everyone how she had vomited on the stairs while racing up to our bedroom. There was a debate about the best place to vomit, with “outside” being the consensus. Molly, who I was holding during all of this, enjoyed the animated conversation and, for the first time that day, smiled a great deal.

We headed home to try to get a little solid food down Molly and wait for Grammy to drive up and help with the crisis. Trusty ol’ Grammy would save Molly from being taken care of by a random temporary nanny and/or me from taking a third day in a row off from work.

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