A Rough Year's End

Mon 12/30/2019

Every year I draw an image for the archive of this blog. It is often challenging to select a single image that sums up the entire year, but this year the choice was obvious.

In September we sent Suzanne off to preschool, which was her first time routinely hanging out with other kids in a group setting outside of the house. She quickly began bringing home a variety of colds, which then spread through the house. Usually to Wendy, then Claire, then me. Sometimes they mutated along the way, so that Suzanne caught them again (or maybe she just brought something else home?). This fall my family has been through countless fevers, runny noses and sore throats, bouts of vomiting, multiple ear infections, a herpes outbreak, and two rounds of strep throat for me, which was especially unpleasant.

Every parent of older kids who is reading this is nodding sagely and thinking, "Yes, yes, we went through the same thing," which is what we've heard from everyone in our community. Somehow though, I never got an advanced warning about this as we prepared to send Suzanne off to school.

I remember incorrectly assuming that Suzanne going to school was going to free up a lot of time. "Nine hours a week! That's like a whole extra work day!" I actually took on extra freelance work, and planned to begin all of my Isle of Elsi Kickstarter fulfillment in the fall to utilize the new time that would be freed up by sending her off to school.

Instead, we were sick continuously for almost two months, and I fell woefully behind on everything. I never realized how much of my freelance work schedule is dependent on the girls going to sleep around 7pm so that I can get another four hours of work in before going to sleep myself. That is all thrown out the window when the girls never go to sleep because they are up sick, or I do finally get them to sleep at 10pm but then I have a fever of 102 and so can't power through to get any additional work done.

Supposedly this is a process every kid has to go through (if not in preschool, then in kindergarten), to build up a "super immunity" to common colds. Our pediatrician told us to expect to catch 8-10 colds a year (i.e. once a month during the school year) for the next few years. If you've got young kids, here is my head's up for you: when you send them off to school, clear your schedule and expect your entire family to be very sick for at least the first 2-3 months!

Needless to say, it has been a rough fall and beginning of winter. I'm still not 100% healthy, and trying desperately to catch up on multiple projects that I'm very behind on. I thought I'd have a lot of stuff wrapped up by the end of this year, but now it's looking as though it will take me the first two months of 2020 to be fully caught up on everything. And that's assuming we can stay healthy! I am fully prepared for the cycle of sickness to begin again when we send Suzanne back to school after winter break. Hopefully we'll beat it all by the time Spring arrives!

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