My daughter and I travelled with my husband for his work this week. I wasn’t sure it would be possible after the house contamination last week, but it worked out. We spent three days in a hotel that is willing to cater to my chemical contact allergy needs. It turned out we were in a single king bed room, so the sleeping bag and pillow we had brought came in handy for our daughter. We laid out a few towels on the carpet, then set her up there. We considered asking for a cot the next day, but she was happy and comfortable, so we let her have the floor. For my part, even though the sheets and towels had been washed several times in only hot water, I brought a sheet and pillow, and folded myself nicely into the sheet. I wore socks whenever I walked on the carpet. I learned after the first night that wearing a cotton shirt sewn with polyester thread was not a good idea for bedtime, so I ditched the shirt after the first night.
With the cold weather (and my current lack of a winter coat), I couldn’t plan outdoor activities as easily, but we came up with some interesting things to do. Day one, I hadn’t found any great children’s activities, so we did some shopping. I picked up some African black soap to try, and a new shampoo for my daughter, that’s a bit safer for me than the one she has been using. We also picked up a tray of vegan muffins for breakfasts. Yum. To me, vegan equals egg and dairy free, which is perfect for my egg and dairy intolerances. We stopped at a raw vegan restaurant for supper – not my finest choice. Although I have had good luck with some raw vegan places in the past, ravioli really needs at least one of cheese, pasta, or meat, or even cooked tomato sauce.
The next day, we visited a butterfly conservatory and a rock shop. The butterfly conservatory was magic for my daughter. For four hours, she inspected butterflies, asked a million questions of the naturalist and other staff, tried to convince butterflies to land on her, fed a parrot, watched new butterflies emerge, and tried to control a bit of her enthusiasm. She learned so much. Meanwhile, I was pretty happy myself. Although some chemicals are used in the building, the huge number of plants helped to clean the air and make it safer for me to be in there, and the air was toasty warm, a stark contrast to the outside air. The rock shop was a hit not because of the rocks she loves, but because there was a dog. Go figure.
The last day, we visited a fibre shop where I picked up a number of natural fibres for spinning. Knowing that my allergies cause me to react to synthetic fibres has filled in a huge piece of the allergy puzzle, and playing with natural fibres has been not only cathartic but also practical, as I can make myself a nice knit hat and scarf, and maybe even socks (once I figure out how to do that one). Again, my daughter found a dog, and was thrilled. After the fibre shop, we went to a homeschool gym class run by a community recreational complex. My daughter played British bull dog and dodgeball to her heart’s content, and I got to spend the time wherever I felt most comfortable. Then we made a short stop at the library in the next town for some robot-building time.
I may not have avoided allergens, but our short vacation was a huge win on both the homeschooling and allergy fronts. What are your favourite indoor kids’ winter activities? Comment below.