Comin’ Strepped

This has been a challenging few days…

Daphne has been a very sick little girl. 

She developed a wet cough out of nowhere on Saturday afternoon which, while unlike her, wasn’t in itself a huge deal.

Then by Saturday evening, a fever had begun to creep up.

And by Sunday morning, she was hot to the touch and our failmometer was vacillating between 99.2 and 101.5.

Regardless, that meant “fever,” and so we propped Daph up with some pillows and a blanket, gave her Little Baby Bum on the iPad, and tried to keep her stationary, insomuch as such a thing can be accomplished with a 3 1/2-year-old.

The lighting from that screen isn’t doing any favors to your pallor, kid.

Unfortunately, her fever got worse as the day progressed and the failmometer read 102.1 on the high end of the samples (seriously, I hate that thing) by Sunday evening. 

So on Monday morning we cancelled swim class, called her school, and settled in for another day of rest here at home.

But, despite being completely soaked in sweat after two naps, her fever never broke.

Grandma picked up some toddler ‘tussin from the local CVS and we gave her a shot of it just before bedtime on Monday night. (Fun aside: this would be just after she threw up all of her rice and chicken nuggets while we were still sitting at the dinner table.)

And man, that stuff knocked her out like I’d spiked her Martinelli’s with Vicodin. 

Capri Sizzurp

She crashed out at 8pm and didn’t even move until 7am the following morning.

Awesome…” I thought as I awoke on Tuesday. “That had to have knocked out whatever that bug was. We’ll have a chill day at home again and she’ll be ready for school tomorrow

I stomped triumphantly upstairs to congratulate her on a great sleep and talk about what a fun day of videos we had ahead of us. But when I opened the door I found her sitting up in bed, flushed, and still burning hot to the touch. 

The Failmometer beeped back 99.5 and 101.9, unhelpfully.

This isn’t fun anymore…

Okay. This one is officially beyond dad’s over-the-counter skill to heal… We’re going to need a cleric doctor.

So I called the local clinic and, after some preparatory discussion about how Daphne would be unable to describe her symptoms, they found an opening for her at 11:30.

Now, getting Daph to cooperate with a doctor’s poking and prodding when she feels great is an Olympic sport. When she’s already sick, it’s a wrenching, muscling, screaming battle of wills and endurance, and one that’s entirely unpleasant for everyone involved.

Suffice to say, we did get her checked out.

And suffice to say, as you might’ve guessed by the title, Daphne does indeed have strep throat.

So today began the first of 10 days of amoxicillin shots, administered via one of those weird oral syringe thingies.

And I’d love to say the stuff was a fast-acting miracle drug like they described…but that would be a total lie.

No, now she has the exact same fever, but has added a gurgling cough to it. (One with a tendency to spackle throat yuck on everything within a 10′ cone area of effect.) Couple these with a mucus spigot where her adorable little nose used to be, and you can probably guess how entertaining our homelife has become.

This, of course, leaves out the bit about strep throat being ridiculously contagious. And Daph has, on more than one occasion, coughed directly up my nose.

At this point I have zero hope of escaping the streppy fate that’s ahead of me.

Anyway, Jen has taken the day off today to help take care of Daphne while I finish up the writing that I have due at the end of the week.

Oh, I haven’t mentioned that have I?

Yeah, I’ve been hired to do some creative writing for an role-playing game. It’s not a huge deal, as I’m just one of several writers working on it. And it certainly isn’t going to pay the mortgage…
But, full disclosure, this is one of those things that I’ve dreamt of doing ever since I was a kid, and I’ve been given a chance earned my shot right now.

I’m sure I’ll have more to say about it if/when it’s published. (Pending, of course, my stuff ends up being good enough to make the cut.)

I can’t say a whole lot more about it right now, NDAs being what they are, but I am a little excited. And, whatever happens, it’s been fun to work on.

Okay, I’ve got to run. I need to take some more vitamins…

j.s.

“Yule Love It!”

You know, I haven’t had my annual “Scrooged” viewing yet…

Let’s remedy that right now, shall we?

“TOWEL!”

There, that’s better.

Okay, so let’s talk about the pivot from Thanksgiving to Christmas. This transition is always accomplished by two events.

The first is watching Scrooged and Die Hard, my favorite holiday movies. And, as we’ve established, we’re halfway there on that front.

The second is our annual Dickens on the Strand trip to Galveston, which is always the first weekend in December.  

This one was Christmas 2015. Daphne’s first DotS.
And here’s this weekend.

This was the first year that we didn’t bring some kind of Daphne Transportation Device (a stroller, Daphwagon, or the Kelty backpack) and, naturally, her little legs got tired after a while.
And there’s only one answer to that problem…

“Yah, mule!”

This would have been fine, however she took it upon herself to use my beard as a steering device, yanking it in whichever direction she wanted to go. And while this was oodles of fun for Miss Daphne, it was a bit rough on Dad.
By the end of the day, my beard had gotten so wild I looked like Hagrid the Grey. 

We also picked up our Christmas tree last week, and as it turns out Daphne is a big fan of it this year.

Pine needles on feet is apparently a strange and amazing sensation, so she’s been hanging out in that chair rubbing her feet on the branches.

Okay, so I started playing with Photoshop a bit… Don’t judge.

Yes, she’s that adorable all the time. 

Okay, I’ve really gotta run. Lots to do and less time to do it in.

Talk to you soon, and happy holidays everyone.

j.s.

Turk 187!

Yes, that’s an 80’s movie joke, mixed liberally with a 90’s gangsta rap reference, and delicately sprinkled with holiday trimmings.

And I’m afraid it will have to stand on its own, because this…

is the only picture I got of the turkey this year.

And honestly, it wasn’t all that great this year anyway (it was a bit on the dry side), so it’s fine to let this one go by unrecorded.

That said, we did get a family picture this year, which is infinitely better than shots of a smoldering bird carcass.

Overall it was a good, if slightly low-key, event this year. However my baking game was decidedly off point. I tried twice and still couldn’t get my homemade dough to rise properly. So instead of light, fluffy dinner rolls, we got thick slabs o’ carbs. 
To be honest I still don’t know what the issue was, which is frustrating.

Still, it’s always nice to have family over. And Daphne seemed to have a great time too.

So who cares about the rolls.

Today saw us driving over to Enchanted Gardens to pick out our tree (a holiday tradition), which should be delivered to our house tomorrow morning.  I’ll have some pictures of that very soon.

Speaking of pictures, next weekend, weather permitting, is our annual Dickens on the Strand trip.

So there’s plenty going on. I’ll update you all again soon.

Until then, happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

j.s.

Hallowhen?

Yeah, it’s been a few. We’ve had a lot going on though. Let’s set the Wayback Machine for Halloween and just go from there.

So, Halloween. 

Daphne’s school put out a request for kids to dress up as a character from their favorite book for a little parade. But since we weren’t sure how well-known the tap-dancing pigs from “Moo, Baa, LA-LA-LA” were, we opted to revisit her Alice costume from last year and halve our cost-per-wear on that little investment.

“I would’ve preferred the pigs, Daddy.”
That white bunny is fast

Thing is, I wasn’t entirely sure if the ECAP kids were going to be allowed to walk in the school’s parade. There were quite a few parents with cameras lined up on both sides of the parade “route” (which was really just the sidewalk in front of the school) which might very well have constituted a sensory issue for some of the more sensitive kids. So, I didn’t stick around for any pictures.

Later that evening, we dressed Daphne in this year’s Halloween costume, which seemed perfectly appropriate.

“Oh mighty Neptune, ruler of the seas, sometimes a mermaid’s just gotta stim a little!”
“And drink apple juice.”

Jen walked with her around the block and did the trick-or-treat thing, and Daphne did fantastically well. Obviously she didn’t say “trick or treat,” but she did pick up candy from bowls and drop it into her bag.

I stayed home and manned the door for the rest of the trick or treaters. 

The little mermaid did drop in occasionally to check in on Dad, though.

Unfortunately the entire business was cut very short by inclement weather, but I think Daphne was done after about an hour, so it worked out well. Another successful Halloween.

The weekend that followed, however, was not so great.

A cool front came through on Friday night, and so the weather on Saturday was 72° and sunny, perfect weather for a trip to the Renaissance Festival. So we packed a day bag and headed out toward Todd Mission, Texas.

We’d been in the car for about an hour before traffic began to slow, and Siri informed us that, instead of it being 15 minutes to the Ren Fest, it was now going to be an additional 45 minutes.

So we sighed, accepted that as the cost of being out on such a beautiful day, and plodded our way along Route 1774 at 3 mph. 

Unfortunately, Siri was incorrect in her calculations, as she was assuming the side roads to the Ren Fest weren’t closed down to festival traffic. So after each intersection where we were unable to turn, she would recalculate the route and subsequently add 15 minutes to the total drive time. 

After an hour of waiting in traffic, and having our time to destination remain unchanged at 45 minutes like some kind of GPSisyphean torture, we decided to call it and head back home.

I did manage to get a bit of the traffic on video on our trip back:

As it turned out, however, going home would be a good thing.

We had just about gotten to our house before Daphne became really, really, really fussy. And she remained so for the rest of the day, despite a very long nap.

The following morning Jen checked her temperature, and found that Daph was running a fever of about 102. And no sooner had she settled her back into bed for a day of rest, when Daphne promptly threw up all over herself, Jen, and the bed.

Jen took a shower while I stripped the bed down and wrapped Daph in some blankets, and she basically slept the entirety of Sunday away. I don’t know how it is for everyone else’s kid, but for our 3-year-old to sleep through an entire day, she must be really sick.

Later in the afternoon her temperature began to creep up to the 102.7 range, and so we battered it back down with some Tylenol, which took it to a respectable 99.9.

Although that was not without drama either. Because Daphne hates Tylenol.

We have to hold her down and force it into her mouth with that little Tylenol Super-Soaker syringe thing, all while she turns her head, clenches her teeth shut, and fights us the entire time. Normally it takes 3 shots to get a proper dose of medicine in her; the rest of it ends up on her face, her pillow and in her hair.

It is unpleasant. But it worked.

On Monday morning when I checked on her she was back down to 99.3 and seemed to be feeling more like herself again.

“Man, do you guys ever have to take that ‘medicine’stuff?”
“I’m not sure which is worse. The feeling bad, or having to take the medicine…”

 We stayed home from school anyway, just to be on the safe side, and spent a lot of the day snuggling and watching StoryBots.

And, as you can see, it was torturous for everyone involved.

That pretty much catches you all up to speed. Daph’s in school today and I’ve just finished working on my submissions for a potential writing gig. (Fingers crossed there.) I also have a lunch n’ learn this afternoon for my VR thing.

Speaking of which, I need to get working on some changes to the PowerPoint…

In my next post I’ll talk a bit about this past weekend, and our trip to see Grammy for her birthday.

Talk to you then.

j.s.

Red Five

Yes, my beloved Red Sox won the World Series in just five games last night.

And yes, I was so amped up afterward that I didn’t go to bed until around 2am, after I’d watched the post-game celebration about 9 times.

They certainly didn’t waste any time putting that one up…

And yes, I did wake Daphne up with my barbaric yawps after Chris Sale struck out Machado to end the game.

Bend the knee, Manny.

With so much weighing on me right now, a Red Sox World Series was a welcome respite from my day-to-day worries, even for just a little while.

Speaking of the day-to-day, Daphne and I went out for a walk around our neighborhood this weekend, and I got a few pictures of her in the flowers.

Good times.

Afterward, we were both a bit worn out…

Man, that beard is getting grey.

We also broke the seal on the Halloween candy this Sunday, and so we have a bucket o’ goodness just sitting on the counter.

“There’s plenty. I’ll have just one. Just a nibble. Maybe two…”

I am slightly ashamed to admit that this cauldron of calories called to me like a chocolatey siren after the Sox won last night.
And I went to it.
A few times.
(Which might also be why I was up half the night.)

Okay I’m off. Talk to you all soon.

j.s.

Hi **cough** There…

Yeah. The crud that’s been going around has crash landed on our house. I came down with it last week (shortly after I wrote that post, actually) and Jen is suffering through it right now.

So far, Daphne has somehow managed to avoid contracting it from us. Hopefully that continues to be the case.

Unfortunately, it did cause us to miss out on a familial baby shower last weekend, which was a disappointment.

 I started feeling better on Tuesday, though, and things are going along like they do.

Daphne’s school pictures came back this week.

These are serious business.

I realize I’m a bit of a geek about these things, but with that white halo around her head and the very intense look she’s giving the camera, she’s kinda got an Edgar Cayce thing going on. 

But hey. First school pics. Still adorable.

And speaking of school, she’s still doing very well. There are very few “-” marks on her daily report cards, and she seems happy every day when I pick her up.

That said, mornings are still a bit admittedly rough some days…

*zzzzzzz…*
“No Dad. Go away.”
“Seriously. The morning pictures are a special torture. Please stop.”
“Didn’t we just do this yesterday?”

But despite her aversion to the a.m. (or perhaps mine) we’re getting through it just fine.

We also did our annual trip to the Katy Rice Harvest Festival, a little while back and dropped by our favorite pumpkin patch while we were there.

A very far cry from this one, taken just 2 years ago…

Yeesh.

And finally, a BumbleDad post would be incomplete these days without a swim class video or two…

She’s really doing awesome there.

Okay, I think all this tapping might be threatening to wake her up from her nap…

[whispers] See you soon.

j.s.

Driving for Miss Daphne

I will, more than likely, have another post later this week. However I didn’t want today to go by without sending a huge shout out to the wonderful people taking part in Hope for Three’s “Golf ‘Fore’ Autism” tournament at Sweetwater Country Club today.

Hope for Three are the fine people who first alerted us to the scholarship opportunity (provided by KNOWAutism) that Daphne received for her swim classes.

Today is their biggest fundraiser of the year, and I’m thrilled to say that Daphne has not one but TWO teams playing on her behalf, both of which are filled with grandparents, granduncles, grandneighbors, and generally grand people. Not to mention a grandma (who doesn’t golf) who’s doing volunteer work for the tournament.

The weather has become a bit unpredictable, as the first cool front of the season came through this morning. (Yesssss…) But hopefully the rain holds off so everyone can enjoy a fine, if overcast, fall afternoon in the park.

Most importantly, Jen and I wanted all of you to know how much it means to us that you’re doing this. It’s a huge help, and a reassurance, that so many of you are in Daphne’s corner, pulling for her.  You’ll never know how thankful we are for all of you, and for everything that you do for our little girl.

So thank you. All of you.

j.s.

Offbeat Dad

This should come as a shock to none of you at this point, but I’m not exactly a “color inside the lines” kinda guy. 

I’m eccentric. And that’s likely putting it mildly.

But hopefully these idiosyncrasies are part of what make me a decent daddy… Or, failing that, at least an entertaining one.

Take, for example, my time spent as a nightclub DJ. (Yes, really.)  While late nights spinning Underworld, Chemical Brothers, and Roni Size did a number on my hearing, it also made me very comfortable paying attention to two separate sources of sound, entering two different ears.

*Man, this new Mudhoney album is pretty fire. I wonder– Wait, that was the curtain string being pulled.*

Or perhaps consider the many years I spent as a Dungeon Master for my friends, back when we played D&D. While I’ll grant you that’s unassailably geeky, it did work my chops as a storyteller, and forced me to come up with a wide range of distinct voices for my characters. Both of these practices have translated pretty well into the hours and hours (and hours) of reading that I’ve done with Daphne.

Like, for example, this BumbleDad rendition of Eek, Halloween! by Sandra Boynton.

(Yes, the fall books have officially moved into rotation.)

Now I’m not saying I’m Superdad (hell, I don’t think I rank as a competent one most days), but every so often the weird things I’ve done in my past bubble up. And they become peccadillos that make my daughter furrow her brow at me and giggle.

And when that happens, just for a moment, the world lines up and it feels like the parts of my life gone by are still somehow relevant today. Like, the things in my past that make me, me, are things that my daughter happens to like too.

I don’t know if I’m doing a very good job describing this. But I truly hope you other parents out there know what this feels like.

Because it’s pretty awesome.

Okay, enough of this nebulous sentimental stuff. I promised you some new swimming videos of Daphne in the big pool, didn’t I?

And there you go. 

Okay folks, see you next week! Thanks for coming by.

j.s.

Little Fish, Big Pool

Hi there.

Yep, it’s been a few. But honestly there hasn’t been a whole lot to report. We’re into a solid groove with our daily schedule, insomuch as there’s ever a “groove” involved when getting kids up and ready for school.

“I could ‘groove’ right back to bed and catch a few more hours of sleep, Dad.”

Jen’s school year is going along like they do, and it sounds like it’s going pretty well for the most part. She actually took last Friday off so we could go to the Lord Huron concert downtown without the need for a 4am wake-up call the following morning.

That’s they.

And the concert was great. Although it did become apparent, after standing on a concrete floor for 4 hours, that we’re getting a bit old to be among the “early arrival” crowd.  By the time Lord Huron came on it felt like I’d need to Uber a Hoveround just to get back to the car.

It was a good time. And Daphne was well-behaved for my mom, who came into town to watch her while Jen and I had our date night.

We did learn, however, that Daph is NOT a fan of that “Under the Sea” song in The Little Mermaid though.

That pinchy little devil has a plan…

She apparently became inconsolable for quite some time after that song came on. And I tried it the following day with her and got the same result.

“Wait…is that the crab song?”
“No, no! Not the crab song!”

Message received.
Zero distortion.
That song is a loser.
Got it.

Fortunately, it just so happens that I have the cure for the evil hymns of Jamaican crustaceans…

Beard snuggles to the rescue!

That crab’s got nothing on me.

Finally, as of Monday, Daphne graduated from her lessons in the baby pool, and is now taking swim class in the “big pool.”

I will attempt to get some pictures of this, however she’s much farther away than before so I’m not sure how well they’ll come out. Also, she shares the pool with other kids who are taking their lessons, and I’m naturally hesitant to start snapping pictures of other people’s kids in a pool. (The facility actually expressly forbids this, but her teacher allowed me to take the few pics/videos you’ve seen here, as long as I didn’t get any other kids in the background.)

I’ll do what I can though.

Okay, I’m off. See you soon.

Malaria Lair

 The mosquitoes…are everywhere.

For those who don’t live in Dagobah the greater Houston area, you might be unaware of how steady the rain has been over the past 3 weeks.  

The normal, “turned up to 11” humidity has doubled down this month, and  the almost daily thunderstorms have created an oppressive blanket of airborne muck that has swaddled our fair city.

And all this water has, in turn, brought the mosquitoes.

They’ve gotten so bad that instead of holding hands and leisurely walking to the car in the morning, I now pick Daphne up before opening the door and we run to the car amidst a whirling, whining cloud of winged bloodsuckers.

I actually just went out to see if I could get a picture of all of them, but obviously they’re too small to photograph and I ended up with a rather unexciting picture of my front door.

Just imagine this, but covered in little black specks that want to kill you.

The only thing this accomplished was to rile up the dogs Alex, since he thought someone was creeping around the front door.

“There’s someone out there, fool! I heard them! Call the police!”

Jib, however, has remained unfazed.

“Eh, you go check. Come get me if they make it inside.”

I also couldn’t help but notice that there haven’t been any mosquito trucks out spraying recently. After a quick perusal of their website, it seems that Fort Bend County doesn’t spray for mosquitoes unless there’s a “public health hazard.”

Those pins are spray trucks, sitting idly in the parking lot of the place where all our taxes go.

Well what do you call this?

Look at the size of that thing.

That’s not a bug, it’s exsanguination with wings.

Okay, I think I’ve ranted about the mosquitoes enough. Suffice to say, they’re bad right now and I’m very ready for the first cold snap to come and wipe them all out. Moving on.

Daphne is doing well. She’s settled down into a pretty good school routine. And we know this, because we get these little sheets from her teachers every day:

Those numbers are how many times it takes to convince Daphne to do a thing. So if she had to be asked twice, they’d circle the 2 before putting the “+” sign for successful completion of the task. 

If she completely refuses to do an activity, she gets the dreaded “” mark, which is actually what we’ve been getting for “puzzle time” all week. (Apparently she doesn’t want to sit down to do them…)

Honestly, I’ll take the negative marks there rather than during lunch though, which is where she had been refusing to sit down the past couple weeks.

Overall though, she’s doing very well. 

I, however, completely screwed up swim classes yesterday.

I’d had a moderately busy morning, doing the dishes and laundry, making the bed, scheduling the A/C check-up, and replying to a couple potential new clients for my nascent business...

And in doing so I became distracted and forgot the damn swim bag on the bar stool at home, which held Daphne’s bathing suit, towel, hydro-diaper, etc.

Don’t leave home without it, dummy.

Naturally I didn’t realize this until after I’d picked her up and we’d just started to pull away from school.

“Oh no…”

Oh yes.
Totally spaced it.
Duh.

Unfortunately that meant we had less than 20 minutes to make it home, run inside to grab the swim bag, and then zip back over to the swim academy.

Now I didn’t break any speed laws attempting to do this…but I might have bent them to a point of being slightly misshapen. 

Still, we were still 5 minutes late for a 15-minute class (by the time I got her changed we probably would’ve only had 6 or 7 minutes left); fortunately, her wonderful instructor rescheduled her for 1:30, so she was still able to get a full class.

I, however, was fuming by that point. Given that my absentmindedness might have contributed to Daphne being unable to take her swim class, which she loves…  Ugh.

I’m still a little aggravated with myself over it, to be honest.

Okay, see you guys next week.

j.s.