Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Vaccines and other stories

On Tuesday the big girls made it to the pool with us. They don't have their class on Tuesday evenings, so even though they were working away most of the day, they didn't feel like they had a hard and fast deadline so they could take some time out to play a little. Which is probably good.

It was so nice to have Rachel watch Phoebe in the pool while I worked with Alexander on his swimming skills. I was hoping to have him out of his Puddle Jumper this summer...but then we ended up being home sick all summer instead of spending every day by the didn't really happen. But he was doing really well yesterday. He swam two lengths of the pool "chasing" me (so I was walking backwards in front of him and he was swimming towards me). He does really well swimming in the shallow end and can remember all the working parts that come together to mean "swimming." His flutter kick is fantastic, his arms make big, wide arcs in the sky, he will lift up his head to breathe and then just keep swimming...

But when we're in what he feels is "deep" water, all he can think about is how deep the water is. So he stops kicking his legs, starts doggy paddling with his arms, and essentially starts drowning. 

Once he gains a little confidence I think he'll be good to go, but he's kind of an anxious kid. Always has been! He was never one to wander away from Mommy and get into mischief. He always had to know right where I was. At all times. Even now he likes his lists, and makes up checklists for thunderstorms and zombie apocalypses and so forth. He's got to know what to do!! And he likes things to be just so!!

The other kids also had fun at the pool (they usually do). Here's a few pictures of Miriam and Phoebe making eyes at each other while I was getting Phoebe changed to go home (I remembered diapers this time):

Today I took Alexander and Phoebe to the doctor's office to get their second COVID vaccination. Their appointment was at 8:30 this morning, which meant we had to leave the house around 8:10, which would be fine except that my kids are the slowest eaters on the face of the planet. It takes them forever to eat breakfast (and lunch and dinner). Alexander had made himself one tiny bowl of oatmeal and he sat there eating it and eating it and eating it and the whole time I was urging him along.

"You've got to finish!" I said finally. "We've got to leave! We're going to be late!"

"Late?!" Alexander gasped and gulped down the last of his oatmeal. "We can't be late! What if they give our vaccines to someone else? I'll get my shoes! Let's go!"

So we finally got out the door and I buckled both kids into their car seats and we were on our way! I had almost made it to the corner when I remembered that I had forgotten their vaccine cards, so I turned around and ran inside to grab them and then we were off. 

The whole drive, Alexander was muttering, "We're going to be late! We're going to be late! I hope we're not late! Oh, I hope we're not! What if we're late and they give our vaccines away!"

And then he saw a bridge.

"Ooh! A bridge! I like that bridge! Can people go on that bridge?"

"They can," I told him. "It's a pedestrian walkway, so that's what it's for—for people to walk across this busy road safely."

"Can we walk on that bridge?"

"I'm sure we can."


"Probably someday."

I've found giving vague answers to be a very effective parenting strategy. If you leave things ambiguous, there's less room for disappointment. So very often I will answer the children with "We'll see," which placates them and they will let the matter simmer for a while—usually long enough for them to forget about it or to delay having a public temper tantrum over a "no" answer" (though I'm of the persuasion that "yes" should be said whenever reasonable/possible). Anyway...I told Alexander that walking across that bridge was a "probably someday" and he thought that vague affirmative was an acceptable answer.

He then remembered he was worried about the time. 

"Are we going to make it in time to get our vaccines?"

"I think we're going to make it just in time, little buddy."

"Are you sure? I don't want to be late. Are we going to be late?"

"We're going to park the car and walk in just on time. So we won't be early, but we won't be late."

"Okay. Okay. What day is today? Is it a school day? Is today Monday?"

"Today is Wednesday; it's a school day."

"Oh. What day is tomorrow?"

"Tomorrow is Thursday. You can figure this out. You know the days of the week."

I launched into song and he joined in (it's his favourite song (sung to the tune of the Addams Family)).

"Days of the week! Days of the week! Days of the week! Days of the week! Days of the week! There's Sunday and there's Monday! There's Tuesday and there's Wednesday! There's Thursday and there's Friday! And even Saturday! Days of the week..." 

We parked the car. We walked inside. I filled out a couple of forms. We were taken back into a room. The nurse gave us our shots. We sat for fifteen minutes. And we were on our way. It was so fast!

We were home by 9:00!

Here are Alexander and Phoebe sitting around waiting for our 15 minute timer to go off. They were both very brave, though Alexander would like it to be noted that while Phoebe cried, he did not!

He's very excited to be "fully vaccine," as he kept telling everyone today, though both he and Phoebe are having stronger side effects this time around (a fever, at least, for Phoebe, and a sore leg for Alexander).

We left the clinic and made our way back to the car. I buckled in the kids. We were on our way. 

"When is it going to be Sunday, again?"

"Well, today is Wednesday, remember? And then it's Thursday, Friday, Saturday. So four sleeps until Sunday."

"Oh, good! I'm so excited for Sunday!"

"Why are you so excited about Sunday?" I asked.

I mean, Sunday is a good day. I'm not going to argue that it's not. But he's never been so excited for Sunday before. Now, free day, on the other hand. Those he gets excited for. We do Free Day Friday around here, which means Zoë and Benjamin and available for a lot more playing than they are Monday through Thursday, and Alexander really appreciates this. But...Sunday...isn't something Alexander has been excited about before.

"Because!" he answered. "You said that we could walk across that bridge on Sunday!!"

"Oh, not Sunday!" I said. "Someday. the future. We can walk across that bridge someday. Probably not Sunday. Let's wait until it's a little cooler outside and then one day we will walk across that bridge, okay?" 

He was fine with that answer, too, because he doesn't like to get too hot while he's out walking. And it's been a little bit hot (and humid) lately.


The other day while he and I were puttering around the kitchen, putting dishes away, I muttered, "I'm thirsty!"

"Wha-ha-ha-ha-hat?" Alexander laughed. 

"I'm thirsty," I repeated, walking over to the fridge to fill up a glass with water.

"Oh!" he giggled. "I misunderstanded you. I thought you said, 'I'm fifty!' You're not fifty!"

At least he knows that! But we might need to get his ears checked!

(Or perhaps his mother needs to stop mumbling).


Last little thing...

Zoë drew this picture—a little commentary about the pandemic—and I thought it should be preserved for her (or her children or grandchildren) to look back on:

My grandma drew a little political cartoon during WWII for school and it's hilarious. So...someone from the future might enjoy this from the pandemic. 


  1. I totally thought that was Rachel in those pictures with Phoebe when I saw them earlier in the week! That means that Miriam and Rachel look more alike than I thought, and that Miriam's hair is getting darker!

    1. And that I am apparently easily confused. That too.

    2. Well, then I'm confused, too! When I saw those pics on FB, I first saw Rachel before I realized it was Miriam!