The day started out as any other day on our vacation. The kiddos woke up, ate breakfast, did morning work, etc. We watched ships pass each other in the channel. The family of geese that visited us each day said hello. After lunch our plan was to go for a nature walk.
Last year on vacation, Princess ended up with a HORRIBLE double ear infection. Of course she didn't tell me her ears were hurting, so I didn't realize it until she had a fever of 105 degrees F and was vomiting all over the place. (Not a fun way to end a vacation.)
This year, I asked her every morning how her ears were doing. Each morning she replied that they were great until day 4. That's when she told me they were feeling better, that they didn't hurt as badly as they did yesterday. Sigh. Princess had no fever, but I gave her some medicine to help with the pain, and then looked at Jason knowing we were most likely going to need to make a trip to the mainland, Which is not as easy as it sounds. Let me explain.
Grindstone is an island in the middle of the St. Lawrence River. It is not accessible by car, bus or train. One can only access it by boat. Once on the island, there are no stores. There are no doctors offices, hospitals, or emergency personnel. No police are there. The island has dirt roads, old cars, four wheelers, and that's about it. There is a church, where everyone attends in the summer, no matter what denomination you are, but the rest is just you and nature. My paternal grandparents were born and raised on the island. Back then there were mines, a cheese factory (where my grandfather worked), a general store (where my grandmother was raised), and two-one room school houses, where children on the island attended school. There are a few farms left on the island from those days too. Very few people live there year round anymore, but the place is my heritage. As a child and adolescent, I was over there every chance I got, even if it meant I was cleaning. It's my home. There is no place on earth where I feel more at peace and connected with myself. When I brought my husband to the island for the first time, when we dated, he said that was the day he learned and understood who I was. If given the opportunity, I would move my family over there year round in a heartbeat. There's no place on earth quite like it. As my grandmother always used to say, Grindstone is about 50 years behind the times. When I look at how the world is today, compared to what it was like 50 years ago, especially when it comes to crime and the safety of my children, I can't think of a better place to be. My children can roam free and I don't have to worry about who might live next door. Neighbors are family. Everyone says hello. Doors are always open. People live off the land. It's truly an amazing place.
However if you need to seek medical care, get groceries, or go to any store, you must cross the river to get there. I knew I'd need to watch Princess closely to see if she di have another ear infection, so that transportation over the river could be arranged quickly.
The kiddos had been in the water every day, but day four of our trip was definitely time for all of them to have a bath. Due to sensory issues related to bathing, and kiddos with eczema, I usually bathe my kiddos two to three times per week. Baths were definitely past due. Jason bathed each of the kiddos and helped them brush their teeth. I helped them get dressed and combed their hair. Bulldozer is prone to cradle cap, even at age 6, so I decided I should probably check his scalp to see how it was looking. As I combed through his hair, looking at his scalp, I noticed something tiny sticking out of his head, in the same area he had mentioned his head hurt the night before. Not sure of what it was, and realizing that I just couldn't comb it out, I asked Jason to get me some tweezers. (We bring our first aid kit everywhere with us.) Even with tweezers, I couldn't pull out the tiny object. However, after three tries, I realized that what I was seeing had legs. Bulldozer had a tick in his scalp!
I immediately called my pediatrician and asked what we needed to do. Since I couldn't remove the tick with tweezers, and it wasn't completely intact, we were advised to take Bulldozer to the nearest Urgent Care or Hospital. In our case, it was the same place.
I've driven boats all my life, but when it comes to driving boats with four special needs kiddos on board, and a non experienced boater husband, I ask for the help of my Dad, when transporting back and forth across to the island. He brought the boat over as as soon as I called, and we all headed back to the mainland.
Since we were already taking Bulldozer to the hospital/urgent care facility, I decided I'd bring Princess too. That way, if she did have an ear infection, I could get medicine started quickly.
Jason, Dinomite, and Sunshine stayed at my parents' house while Bulldozer, Princess, and I headed to the closest hospital/urgent care facility around. Everyone remained quite calm during the whole ordeal. I worried that Bulldozer would freak out when he realized a bug was stuck in his head, but he didn't. In fact, he tried to make friends with it. LOL. He was not shy at all about it, and was quick to tell anyone he saw that he had a bug stuck in his head. Thankfully he knew to call it a tick. I'm also thankful that most everyone he talked to had their own tick story to tell, so the experience was mostly positive.
The nurse and doctor were great with the two kiddos. They explained that I had already removed most of the tick from Bulldozer's head. Only a little bit was left that NEEDED to be pulled out. Due to Bulldozer's autism and sensory sensitivities, they felt there was no need to dig into his head to pull out a leg, etc. that might be left. The experience would be too traumatic for him. Though I didn't know exactly how long the tick had been in his scalp, I knew the longest it could have been there was four days. Bulldozer was showing no symptoms. The doctor said it hadn't been there long at all, and that most likely the day he first felt the pain was the day he got it. (Bulldozer was sure to make the doctor very aware of his sensory sensitivities, especially when it came to his head and scalp.) We were made aware of further symptoms to watch for, but the doctor felt very confident that Bulldozer would be fine.
Princess, on the other hand, definitely had the start of an ear infection in her left ear and was prescribed an antibiotic. I was so thankful we had thought to ask her each morning about her ear, and that we caught the infection early enough to prevent super high fevers and vomiting, which she's notorious for when it comes to ear infections.
The appointments went well. No tears were shed. Kiddos were happy. The only other memorable moment was when we stepped into the elevator, and I realized Bulldozer had never put on his sneakers after being weighed. LOL.
Once Princess' prescription was filled, we headed back to my parents' place. It was getting close to dinner and I had brought nothing with me for the kiddos to eat. The best option was to eat out. I was so excited to take the kiddos to my favorite restaurant in town for the first time. I was also excited to order fries with gravy too! My parents joined us and we had a wonderful time. We've been practicing restaurant manners for the past few months in preparation for our trip to Disney World and it definitely showed. The kiddos were amazing! The kiddos ordered their own food. They remembered to say please and thank you and were social during the meal, using their quiet voices. Our waitress complimented us, telling us that we had the best behaved kiddos they'd had in the restaurant all day. I love it when practice pays off!
After dinner, we headed to the ice cream stand for a final treat before returning to the island. By then the kiddos medications had worn off and they were pretty crazy, but the treat was still good. When we returned home, everyone crashed. But not before Princess gave me a huge hug and kiss goodnight. (This is a very rare thing.) I do believe the experience of me catching her ear infection BEFORE it was too bad, helped her feel a little safer that day.
What an eventful day! I only wish I would have brought my camera to capture all the fun moments!
Monday, May 25, 2015
By day three of our vacation the kiddos had settled into a pretty good routine. I had checked out a bunch of books from the library before we left to keep kiddos busy during transitions etc with no media. The kiddos loved the books!
When Jason and I were planning our vacation together, we tried to choose a theme for each day to help organize our time. This helped us know what to bring as far as the kiddos were concerned. Themes included camping, the beach, insects, birds, fishing, etc. The books I checked out from the library went along with these themes. It was my goal to plan some fun busy bag activities for each theme too, but I never ended up getting that far. Perhaps later this summer I'll get to it. Lol. I've wanted to do a unit on camping for quite some time.
Our third day was pretty typical in regards to what we did. Breakfast followed by learning time and then morning routines. The kiddos did end up going outside to play a little bit while I was cleaning up things from breakfast. Princess picked a beautiful bouquet of dandelions. She was quite proud.
To be continued.
Saturday, May 23, 2015
Our second day started out absolutely beautiful! The sun was shining. It was warm. We couldn't have asked for better beach weather.
Each morning, after breakfast, we did our morning routines and then morning work. I knew if Bulldozer didn't write for a week, we'd be set back about three weeks. If Dinomite was out of some type of learning routine for an entire week, the meltdowns would be horrible when we returned home as life went back to normal. Each day the kiddos did two workbook pages, practiced their cursive letters, and answered a question in their journal. Depending on how motivated they were, depended on how long it took them each morning. Dinomite finished his work sometimes in less than 30 minutes. Bulldozer took over two hours at least one morning as he took a while to get motivated and then was very distracted by ships going by, geese in the water, etc.
It was quite noticeable that everyone was a bit over tired. We had stayed up until almost midnight the night before. Those who slept outside didn't seem to sleep as well as they would have inside. Dinomite finished his morning work and went to rest in his bed. He quickly fell asleep. I sent Princess upstairs to her bed when she was finished. It didn't take her five minutes, and she was out. Sunshine even fell asleep while resting on the couch waiting for Bulldozer to play. And then when Bulldozer finally finished his work, I sent him in his room for a quick nap. No lie, every kiddo took a morning nap for at least an hour, which meant Jason and I were able to nap too. It was BLISS!
At noon, Sunshine started to stir. Jason and I fixed lunch, woke up those who weren't awake yet and ate a yummy lunch of leftovers. After lunch and clean up, we headed to the beach. The sandy beach is located on the other side of the island, so it's quite special when we go.
Once back to our camp, everyone changed and played outside while I made dinner. Then, like the night before, we built a campfire and enjoyed S'mores. We started much earlier, which seemed to help those that were afraid of the dark and nature noises. I captured this shot while the kiddos were waiting for me to bring out the makings for S'mores. It's one of my favorite pictures from vacation.