Well, this one was really a doozy. As I mentioned before I left, I was feeling mixed about this trip before it even started. Warm weather sounds great, but I was not looking forward to the travel or being in someone else’s space.
[Forgive the outrageous number of photo mosaics to follow... I had an awful lot of pictures to share! If you want to see full size versions, click on the mosaic and it will take you to Flickr, where it will link to the individual photos.]
We were there less than 24 hours before Daniel was clearly sick. Poor kiddo, not a fun way to spend vacation. But he’s a really sweet kid even when sick, and he was clearly trying to power through and put on a good face. We went to the park, we went to the zoo.
My mother-in-law, who has completely forgotten that she spent her entire child and adult life in New Jersey and Connecticut, is now one of those crazy Florida people who keep the thermostat set at 80 and apologize that the kids won’t be able to play outside because it’s so cool. It was 73. I insisted that they change out of the sweatpants and long-sleeved shirt that she had chosen, into shorts like normal human beings. (Especially ones who had just left New England, with it’s weather in the teens and over a foot of snow on the ground.)
Unfortunately, on Monday, Daniel was not sounding any better. The cough and wheezing was sticking around. Finally, after he clearly wasn’t sleeping (very unlike him), M took him back to the doctor. Diagnosis: one rather nasty ear infection. Tuesday was rough. Bad sleep, and my poor happy guy had run out of happy juice. Cranky, tired, running a fever. And just to make it feel a little crazier, Tuesday was the day M was scheduled to fly home, and I would move over to my mom’s house. I felt like I was dragging the Typhoid Twins all over South Florida! “So good to see you! Have some geeeerrrrmmms!”
The next few days, Daniel slowly improved while Rebecca went downhill. It was unpleasant, to say the least. The kids weren’t sleeping at all well, between the congestion, fevers, and new places. I wasn’t sleeping well, because they were awake a lot, and because my back had gone to a very bad place after several nights on an air mattress at my in-laws’. They woke up too early and were cranky all morning. The afternoon nap was too short and they’d wake up already in a temper tantrum. I was exhausted. It felt like reliving the newborn days, except with the loud insanity of toddlers. On Thursday, Rebecca threw such a spectacular tantrum that I took her to the doctor to see if she had developed an ear infection. In fact, no. Just a tantrum. But the woman I saw asked me to please bring her back in before our flight on Saturday, just so she could make sure her ears were clear to fly. Ha.
There were some bright spots in between all the crying. Daniel especially had fun in the pool, Rebecca was much more wary. We went to a great nature center called Gumbo Limbo and met a turtle named Polly who is the same age as the kids. Rebecca even saw a starfish, pointed, and said “star!” The weather, blessedly, was perfection. High 70s to low 80s and sunny, every day. If it had been 50 and raining, I swear I would have rented a car and started driving north on I-95 until I hit Massachusetts.
Saturday morning, I was clearly in denial. Rebecca barely slept and woke up extra cranky with a high fever, but I was oh-so-sure her ears would be fine when we went to get them checked. Yeah, not so much. When they said her ear was bad, I burst into tears. I cried in the office. I cried in the car on the way to the pharmacy. I cried when I called M to tell him we weren’t coming home. I cried when the goddamn streets were blocked because of a parade and I had to drive 30 minutes out of my way just to get back to my mom’s place.
I was completely fried. I know I have a tendency to put on a brave face and maybe not complain too much. But this trip had completely kicked my ass. The kids hadn’t woken up happy in a week. There was so much screaming and so little sleeping. It felt like a nightmare. And I felt like the trip had been wasted. I was coming down so the grandparents could get their fix, but felt like everyone got short-changed on time and energy. There was all of this great weather and fun activities, and the kids were having none of it. I just wanted it to be over. And did I mention that JetBlue does not do medical fee waivers, so changing our tickets cost me upwards of $600? Nothing could go right.
Thankfully, by Sunday, Rebecca’s antibiotics had kicked in and she was much happier, and Daniel was completely back to his old self. They actually woke up from a nap without screaming. Thank god. We went for walks, we went back to the pool. I did what I could to redeem the trip, and started to feel a little bit less homicidal.
Monday was unfortunately somewhat cranky again, and the least pleasant weather day of the whole trip, but Rebecca’s ears checked out well enough and we got the green light to come home on Tuesday. The best we could do with flights was one at 6:30 in the morning, so my mom and I plucked the kids from bed at 4:30AM. Thankfully, they did really well on the flight. My mom had to scrap her plans to stay in MA for a few days, and didn’t even leave the airport in Boston. She got the next flight back to Fort Lauderdale and was home by mid-afternoon.
Anyways, there you have it. The saga that was our extended trip to south Florida. I’m certainly in no rush to do it again…