Thursday, February 08, 2024

Just around the river bend...

I feel like I have turned the corner on this illness, which is a good feeling. I mean, I'm just on the other side of feeling really awful, so I still feel really awful, but I feel on the downward slope of feeling awful rather than on the upward climb. So that's good news.


We've been going through popsicles like water over here.

Here's a picture of Zoë so graciously sharing the last of her popsicle with Phoebe...after she dropped it on the ground:

The bigger kids have more or less been helping themselves to popsicles whenever they wish (as have I, I'm not going to lie). Phoebe is at the mercy of who ever wants to help her (and whoever wants to be in charge of clean up afterwards, since she is not a tidy popsicle eater). 

The other day all the big kids (save Rachel and Miriam who I've hardly seen all week) were on the porch eating popsicles and Phoebe was wailing about the injustice of the situation. I asked her if she could, perhaps, use some words to tell me what was wrong because at this point (a) I didn't know all the kids were eating popsicles on the porch, and (b) she hadn't said anything intelligible. 

She calmed down a bit and whined, "I want...I want...I lollipop!"

She hasn't been exposed to popsicles enough to have that word in her vocabulary, I guess, and so she described it as accurately as she could. She'd fit in rather well in the UK (where "ice lolly" is the word for popsicle)!

(I wondered if it was perhaps something she'd picked up from a Bluey episode, but in the episode where they eat popsicles they actually call them "ice blocks" so this came straight out of Phoebe's little mind). 

Why does she know the word lollipop? I'm not really sure, since I feel like my default word is "sucker." But literarily speaking, I think lollipop is favoured. Consider Baum's Lollipop Guild, Seuss's "lazy lion licked a lollipop," Khan's Big Red Lollipop. I honestly can't think of any stories that refer to "suckers," though I'm sure there are some. 

I think my kids tend to say lollipop instead of sucker, which is as strange to me as them saying soda rather than pop. 

Anyway, I thought her "ice lollipop" was a pretty clever way to communicate her desire for popsicles.


Last night I made pumpkin soup for dinner. We haven't had dinner all together since January, but I felt like enough of us were sick that we could safely gather around the table to eat, rather than retreating to our isolation chambers to eat (since we evidently did a rather poor job at not spreading this sickness and there's really no one left to spread it to). 

Rachel had come upstairs to grab some leftover pizza for herself before heading to the basement to eat alone. Andrew was driving the girls back from their music lessons (Zoë is testing negative and Miriam has no symptoms, but is masking and her teacher knows we have COVID at our house and she still wanted her to come (her teacher was also masking)). So I gathered my sick little kiddos at the table to have some warm, yummy, homemade pumpkin soup.

When Andrew and Zoë arrived home (Miriam is currently staying at Grandpa's house, hoping to stay healthy), Andrew said, "Mmmm...that smells good! What is it?"

"It's pumpkin soup," I said.

"Oh, yum!" Zoë said.

"Oh, yum!" Andrew said.

I was surprised because "oh, yum" was not what I expected to hear from either of them after announcing that I'd made pumpkin soup.

But then I remembered that pumpkin soup is one of Zoë's preferred soups. She doesn't really care for tomato soup or...a lot of soups. But pumpkin soup is one she'll eat. 

Andrew also will eat pumpkin soup, but usually under duress. 

"You're sure you didn't sneak anything gross in here?" he asked. 

"I didn't sneak anything in," I said.

The kids joked about me sneaking in a pound of spinach, but Andrew knew I didn't because, well, the soup was orange (we usually make homemade tomato soup, with fresh tomatoes, and it ends up being oranger than canned tomato soup), not green, and he knew full well we didn't have any spinach in the house.

"There's nothing in here that you don't like," I assured him, using the line he uses to assure the children about his recipes. And that was a true statement, assuming (as I was) that he was unbothered by the pumpkin part (however surprising that was to me).

"How'd you get it so thick?"

"Oh, I added some instant mashed potatoes," I said. "It's a lazy soup."

"That's okay. You're sick."

He ate the soup and survived just fine. Then he put me to bed and did the dishes.


This morning I was warming some soup up for breakfast (I prefer savoury breakfasts) and Andrew came and pouted to me, "You snuck pumpkin into that soup."

"I did no such thing!" I laughed. 

"Did so! I found the freezer bag while I was doing dishes!"

"Oh, there is pumpkin in this soup, but I did not sneak it in," I said. "Because this is pumpkin soup. When you asked what I made for dinner, I said, 'Pumpkin soup,' and you said, 'Oh, yum!' So there was no sneaking. Pumpkin was 100% the base of this soup and I made no effort to conceal that fact."

"Oh," he said sheepishly. "I thought you said tomato."

"I...definitely said pumpkin. Kids? Did you all know we had pumpkin soup for dinner last night?"


"So I definitely said that I had made pumpkin soup for dinner?"


I smirked at Andrew (true, my mask was concealing my lips, but I have very expressive eyes and he knew I was smirking). 

"Huh..." he said. "I thought you said tomato."

"Nope. It's always been pumpkin..."


Vindication is the theme of the day, I guess, because co-op was cancelled today.

I was beginning to wonder if Zoë had really picked up this bug at co-op since no one else seemed to be getting sick. At any rate, no one else had publicly made mention of being sick. It seemed strange that only Zoë would have been infected if it's true that she got it at co-op. 

But, since we're still sick and I knew we wouldn't be attending co-op, I sent a message to our co-op group to let them know that we wouldn't be there, and that Rachel thus wouldn't be teaching the nursery class, and I wouldn't be able to help out in my assigned classes either. 

This unleashed an onslaught of messages from other families who had been sick and were still sick and...after about 75% of the co-op "called in" sick, we decided just to cancel for the week. 

So now I'm even more confident than before that my theory was correct. I mean, COVID is rampant right now, so it's possible others contracted it other places, but with so many families out sick...I'm willing to bet that they also picked up COVID at co-op and have been passing it through their families the past couple of weeks. 

Which has been, like, super fun. 

I know that I'll never convince society that masking is beneficial (though I am not sure how that's even and I know that I can never expect people to go about just wearing face masks all the time (because clearly that's not going to happen). But I do wish that people would at least wear a mask when they're feeling ill...or when they suspect their child might be ill.

Like, this mother whose son was lethargic in the nursery a couple of weeks ago. He's three or four, so perfectly capable of wearing a mask. What if instead of merely expressing concern about his behaviour ("Oh, I hope he's not sick. He's kind of acting a little sick. I dunno. He's not warm...") she had proactively avoided the spread of illness ("Gee, he's acting funny. I don't think he's sick but he's sure not acting like himself. I'm going to run to my car and grab masks for my family just in case")? 

I just...I know I can't ask everyone to wear masks all the time. But shouldn't we all be accepting some level of mask usage? Isn't that what "living with" COVID should look like?

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