Our week started with Jack coughing. Yes, always a fun thing. He was coughing and coughing, but there were no other symptoms. He very willingly told me about his friend, Dylan, who had a cough last week and had a little box of cough drops in his pocket. So, I sent him off to school with a pocketful of cough drops, and he was glad to go! Tuesday and Wednesday were the same story, more coughs and more cough drops. By Wednesday night, he actually said in his prayers, “please bless me that my coughs won't go away... I like cough drops”.
It seems like whenever my kids have a little sniffle or cough, people here always assume I've taken them to the doctor already, but I wasn't raised in a home where we went to the doctor for every little thing. I remember my mom letting me make the decision, which now I realize was a smart thing for her to do. I felt like a wimp if I chose to go, especially if there wasn't really anything wrong, so I rarely chose to go unless it was something big. Of course, this is how I remember it, my mother may have a completely different story. My mom was a woman of action though, so it took a lot to slow her (or her kids) down. I remember a day in elementary school (3rd grade) where I threw up all over my math book. It was near the end of school, so I finished out the day. But, my mom did pick me up. She picked me up, changed my shirt, and drove me right to my violin lesson on the other side of town. Very little got in the way of lessons or practicing, a fact I am now very grateful for. So, why am I writing about this? It's because it is instances like these that always make it painfully hard for me to make the decision about if doctor's visit is necessary, or if school is out of the question. Wednesday night, I prayed that I would have a clear cut answer in the morning. School? Doctor? More cough drops?
Jack woke up early Thursday morning with a very high fever, so there was my answer. I kept him home from school, but once the fever was under control, I didn't feel it was necessary to take him to the Doctor. Then, the dilemma comes, how do I make staying home sick endurable, but not so much fun that he doesn't want to go back to school? I rarely wanted to stay home sick, as a kid, because I knew after school my friends would be over wanting to play and in the Rich family, when you stayed home sick, you stayed home. Jack doesn't have friends beating down our door here, we have to go out and find our fun, so there goes that incentive to be healthy. Jeff took the day off so I could still get my stuff done with Jane and he and Jack could spend some time doing “not fun” stuff together (although, that doesn't really happen when Jeff and Jack are together). I enjoyed the extra time with Jeff, Janie loved having more time with Jack, and Jack had a nice, long nap. Jack felt somewhat better on Friday, so he convinced me he could go to school (I was happy it wasn't the other way around). I sent him off, and he had a great day, returning completely exhausted! Janie was also exhausted from our playgroup experience we had Friday morning, which is a story in and of itself (lots of toys, songs, snacks, stories, but a little overwhelming; I thought the “baby yoga” bit was a little over the top!). So, Jack slept, played, watched movies, etc. Saturday, we at least got him out of the house for a couple of hours, but he slept and listened to his Curious George books over and over again (those are the best!). We were sure he was getting better, but Sunday morning rolls around, and Jeff comes in and says “I think Jack has chickenpox”. So fun. Jack didn't have chickenpox, but he certainly had a rash all over his body, and knowing that there was a case of Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease going around, we decided he needed to go to the doctor, finally. We sent Jeff and Janie off to Stake Conference, and Jack and I headed to Samitivej Hospital (just 1 km from home), hoping to meet them at church later. The hospitals here are wonderful. Of course, I am partial to this one because of how they helped me during my Thanksgiving day drama (it's all in the blog, if you are interested). We had a nice, quick visit with a wonderful doctor only to find out that his rash is just a rash, but she thinks it's probably still contagious. Yuck. I laughed as the doctor recommended keeping Janie away from him (how do you do that?), but followed her recommendation that we not go to church. So, Jack and I killed a little more time at the hospital, knowing it was our only outing of the day. I even tried to talk Jack into walking back, telling him it was just as close as the train station is to our home (which he walks every day). I said, “It's so nice out, it will be fun to walk and see everything outside”. He said, “I want to SEE the inside of the taxi, Mom!”. So, that was that.
So, Jack and I spent all morning having our own Sunday school at home, and had a great time together. As much as I hate for everyday life to be interrupted by sickness, I have to admit, there are so many things I love about my kids being sick. I love that Jack is so grateful for every little thing. He is usually really good to say, “thank you” and “I love you”. But, when he's sick he says things like, “Mom, thank you for taking care of me”, “Mom, you are the best mom ever”, or “Mom, I like being with you”. He is even more cuddly, which occasionally leads to some wrestling between my two turbo-cuddlers, but of course, I'm not complaining. As I was taking care of him during his roughest night, Thursday, I was remembering some tender moments I have of my mom caring for me when I was sick. I remember her rubbing my feet with lotion and putting socks on to warm me up. I remember her drawing me a bath, tucking me in with extra blankets, washing my hair, putting a cool rag on my neck or forehead. Being the third of four children, she couldn't sit with me constantly, but I always knew she was there, and she always knew what I needed before I did. I love doing these kinds of things for my sick boy. These kinds of moments remind me that no job is more important than being a mother. How would things be if everyone had a mother to care for them? Sickness interrupts life, no doubt, but I think the change of routine is sometimes what it takes to make me sit down and really enjoy. So, now I've gotten all sentimental, but since becoming a mother, so much more is sentimental! I'm sure every mother can relate, and those who aren't mothers yet, you have so many wonderful things that lay ahead!
Besides the “sick” part of my week, I have a few other highlights. Here are my top five:
5. Eating lots and lots of mangoes, pineapple, and pomelo, as always.
4. Jeff having a really productive week at work, even when taking a sick day on Thursday. Nice!
3. At Janie's swim lesson this week, I met a really nice Indian woman who grew up here who was making up a lesson with her daughter. She was as shocked as I was to discover that we were the same age (which doesn't usually happen here for either of us. Most moms we meet with kids the same ages as ours are usually at least 10 years older). People are always shocked when they find out I have TWO children, have been married for 6 years, and am only 27. It's pretty unusual over here, and looking back, it sounds pretty crazy to me too, but it is definitely how it was supposed to happen! She was darling and we are hoping we can get together sometime soon.
2. Getting the email that my parents and Vanessa bought their tickets to visit us in Bangkok in November! Yay! I can't believe it's really going to happen, so now we've just got to narrow down the million things there are to do here and figure out what will fit the agenda best! How do you cram Thailand into just 2 short weeks? Not possible, but we will definitely give it a try!
And the #1 thing about my week happened last night. As I mentioned earlier, it is our Stake conference this weekend, where all the wards/branches in the Bangkok area come together and hear from our local leaders in different meetings throughout the weekend. Jeff attended the Priesthood meeting Saturday afternoon and got home in time for me to head out to the adult session at 6:30. I slipped in a few minutes late, grabbed a headset, and sat as close to the front as possible. It is new for me to go to a church meeting and not be able to talk to many people, or even understand most of what is being said, and as much as all that is true, it was still one of my favorite meetings ever. I walked in as a small choir was singing a simple hymn and I was so touched by the enthusiasm of the sweet conductor. She was smiling and energetic, and as she led the opening hymn, I couldn't take my eyes off of her. I sat there, the only one nearby singing in English, and was so touched by these sweet people. What a diverse bunch we were. From my seat, I could see people from Thailand, USA, Canada, Philippines, India, and Vietnam. I loved looking around and noting the many differences, yet knowing that we were all united in our beliefs. As the speakers began, I put on my headset to listen to the translator only to hear a familiar voice, my cousin Rikker. It was so fun to see him up there translating a good portion of the meeting into English for several of us. What a blessing to simply see a familiar face. It was a wonderful meeting focused on education, getting out of debt, and starting food storage, something that's almost unheard of here. As crummy and tired as I felt, it was energizing to be around these wonderful people and feel of their sweet spirit. I know there are exceptional congregations all over the world, but I realized at this point that it is moments like that that I will miss the most. I can only hope that I am getting everything I can out of this experience in Thailand. Every day feels like a blessing, even the hard ones!