June.. the last month of school. With only a few weeks left, and nothing but endless class parties and beach trips to look forward to, I was gearing up for the final stretch. Unfortunately, the universe was not on board with my plan, as I soon discovered.
"Mrs Trimarchi, can you please call me back as soon as possible? We need to discuss something urgently. There's been a confirmed case of chicken pox in your daughter's class this week," said the chirpy voice on my phone message.
Most kids these days get the chicken pox, i.e Varicella/varivax vaccine early on, and a booster at roughly 5 or 6. Mina had both of them before we moved to Bermuda. So I wasn't too worried about her.
Unfortunately, there's this guy to worry about. He can't have a live virus vaccine like this one. As a transplant patient, chicken pox is considered "life threatening" according to his cardiac transplant team, whom I immediately consulted.
"You'll have to pull him out of school, to be completely safe. If he is exposed, he will have to be hospitalized and given antibodies to fight it off. It's preferable to keep him home."
And so we did. In an abundance of caution, we kept Mina home too. Just for a week, to see how severe the virus was spreading in the school. The lower primary school had 16 confirmed cases, which then made it up to the upper primary through siblings. Jordan and Mina are at the upper primary, so I was hoping their exposure during the incubation phase was minimal.
Of course, I was also worried about this guy, who is too young to get the shot.
So, with all three kids at home, and unfortunately no sitter that week, I created a school plan:
Science/I.T. (computer work)
Each day, we got to it. It wasn't easy, but the kids rallied and actually did the work. They read daily, practiced their instruments, worked on art projects, including one Mina had due in school the next week. We studied a history lesson (Bermuda Heroes Day) and learned how to research a topic online using multiple sources. The kids learned about the history of vaccines, and as part of their computer work, created a narrated power point presentation which we sent to their teachers. We got a field trip in as well to the local aquarium (a first for Theo). For practical skills, they learned how to do their own laundry and read a recipe and make it from scratch. And to celebrate, had a beach day on Friday.
No rush out the door in the mornings, so Mina could sleep in. No lunch packing or yelling to "Don't forget your water bottle!" We got to decide when we wanted to do what lesson, and the kids could choose what they felt like working on. If they wanted more time on something (Mina's 3D chair construction) then they could do it, as long as they worked on the rest of the items later.
Having no real clue what I was doing and winging it.
Nagging, as usual.
Juggling baby through various tasks while supervising big kids working. Still finding time for the daily grind of grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc.
But, we survived. Kids are back in school now for the final days. A couple more cases of chicken pox, but I think they made it through the worst of it (fingers crossed.)
God bless the teachers, and especially those who manage to do it at home with their kids.
You are amazingly patient human beings. One week was fun, but I can see the novelty wearing off very quickly.