In the past 5 years we have been very, very blessed with healthy children. Landon has been sick once, in March of 2011, in the days before JP and I were scheduled to go on the one and only vacation we've ever taken away from the kids. The vacation that precipitated the complete schism between our little family and JP's. The last nights we ever spent child-free. I remember it all so well. Landon threw up everything he ingested for five days, giving him nightmares about throwing up for months afterward. He would appear in our room around 3 a.m., sobbing because he'd thrown up, and tuck him back in his perfectly clean bed and try to explain that the bug that made him sick was gone now and all his food is staying in his tummy. He recovered, both from the actual virus and his PTSD and I've never again had a call from school to tell me to pick him up. I'd started to think of him as invincible to illness and never worried about him getting sick when Claire came down with something or a friend would apologetically tell us that her kid was sick and she hoped Landon hadn't caught it.
Until today at 2:00 when I got a call from school telling me my child had thrown up. "Claire again?" I asked. "She was fine all weekend." "No, it's Landon." What?!
The good news is, puking nearly-6-year-olds are pretty on top of the whole situation. Moments ago he just sat up on the couch, leaned over his little trash-bag lined plastic bin, threw up several times, wiped his mouth with my proffered damp paper towel, swished his mouth out with water, and lay back down, asking if I could please rewind the Wild Kratts scene he missed. Claire, who I picked up at the same time to avoid another trip later, was far, FAR more alarmed over the situation. She popped off the couch, crouched near poor Landon and asked him 170,000 questions about what precisely just happened.
We've watched three episodes of Wild Kratts and are now on to A Bug's Life, to be followed by How to Train Your Dragon. All TV limits are off when a kid is sick, though if they are going to insist on getting sick every day for days on end, I might have to revise that policy. (No, no I won't.)
The weekend was good though! Claire was healthy, we didn't know Landon would be sick yet, and there was lots of baking and meeting up with friends. We didn't see much of JP- the pool he is pool directing (he had to agree to be pool director of a local pool in order to run his swim school out of it this summer; the pool he's been using for the school year is closed for camp use all summer) opened on Saturday, so he's gone from sun-up to sun-down monitoring chemicals, adding chemicals, getting burned by chemicals, managing a gaggle of teenage lifeguards, and otherwise directing all operations at a large pool complex. We're all hopeful things will settle down and he won't have to be at the pool 18 hours a day 7 days a week until September, but who knows. We did get to go with him to check out the chemicals on Monday morning:
The water was FREEZING and the outside temps weren't much warmer. I was covered in goose-bumps in my dry clothes, but JP and the kiddos had a good time. Claire in particular loved the "Hello Kitty pool" (I guess she overheard JP call it the kiddie pool and made her own variation; sort of like how she calls the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens the "Kinder Gardens"- there really aren't any words she says adorably wrong anymore, so we're left with wrong titles of things we don't correct).
We also went in our pool for the first time yesterday afternoon when some friends came over (and by "we" I mean the kids, it looked very cold). I successfully removed the pool cover for the first time since it was installed and the kids had a blast shivering and splashing for two hours with our friends.
I also spent a lot of time internet window shopping for various things for the house. I can't buy any of them because you know, money, and also a 4-figure tree trimming bill for all those giant, beautiful trees I loved so much when we bought the house. But someday, when (if) we have a surplus again, probably moments before kid #3 enters daycare and sucks it all up, I have a dining room table and chairs, sideboard, hutch, three area rugs, end tables, desk chair, filing cabinet, front yard bench, and kitchen hutch all picked out!
The one thing I was really hoping to buy this summer is a playground type thing for the backyard. Now that we have the pool covered, I can just send the kids out there to play for hours, something we all love, and I was really hoping to get some sort of play structure as a combined birthday gift for them this summer. Unfortunately, those suckers are freaking expensive. Craigslist hasn't been much help. I've noticed its utility varies among cities and it is definitely not big in Fort Worth, and even if I was willing to drive 60 miles to some of the Dallas suburbs, the stuff I've found is not really worth the round-trip hassle (particularly given that we'd have to borrow or rent a truck for transport, and I won't really have a husband until September). So, as long as this post is bouncing from vomit to pools to playgrounds, I'm soliciting input.
I had originally picked out this playscape from Costco. I still love it. I still think that if we were going to spend a significant amount of money, this would be the best item to get and that it would last and entertain the kids forever. But at $1400, there's just no way right now. Which brings me to my quandary- I still need and want to get something for their birthdays, but I'm torn between finding a cheaper playscape (which are still $500-600) v. going another route altogether, like spending $160 on this playhouse, knowing it might quickly be too small for Landon, but they'd enjoy it in the meantime and maybe we could buy a real piece of backyard equipment next year v. spending $300ish on a piece of Little Tikes-like play equipment (like this) that is something in between.
I'm kind of leaning playhouse, because if we aren't going to invest in something I think they'll use for a really long time, then I'd like to just wait on the plaything and spend less on something different (but still fun). Keeping in mind that Landon wouldn't be able to stand up inside, but he likes everything and is genuinely excited to play in the tiny playhouse that belongs to our 14-month-old neighbor, do you think the playhouse is a good idea? I certainly don't want to waste money, and I do want something they'll both enjoy, outside, for a long while.
While I wait for you to tell me what to do with the 18 play-equipment-related browser pages I have open, I'll be passing paper towels to the Lanman and wondering what I should make for dinner. After watching him throw up for the last few hours, I can't say there's a whole lot that sounds good.