Dubai Butterfly Garden

The Dubai Butterfly Garden opened in March. It was a hugely anticipated event, mostly because it's a great combination of nature and air-conditioning. Last week, the kids and I visited along with some friends. Entrance is 50AED for anyone over 3 years of age (which in my opinion is on the high side for the amount of time you spend inside the garden).

The main problem, however, was that Adam was terrified of the butterflies. And after initially finding it all very beautiful, a butterfly brushed against Emily's face and scared the hell out of her, so I ended up with two terrified children in a garden full of what are essentially creepy crawlies.

We weren't in there very long.

However, it's a beautiful place, and very restful (if you ignore certain crying children). There are so many stunning butterflies in amazing colours. If you love butterflies and don't mind the fact that they are everywhere, and they are pretty huge, it's a good place to visit. There are also enclosed pagodas where you can sit and have butterflies rest on you. Staff is very helpful with this. One friend's daughter loved the butterflies so it was a completely different experience for her.

There is also a (rather morbid) gallery at the entrance, displaying framed patterns made out of preserved butterflies. The contrast with the live butterflies was somewhat shocking, and I can't say that room was my favourite of the lot.

A small cafe serves drinks, some snacks, ice cream and cake.





Get me out of here!

SIGH.

Bubbles... Big Ones!


David has changed the fun of bubbles forever for our kids.

At bath time, we sometimes add to the fun by blowing bubbles. David knows how to blow really big bubbles out of regular bubble bottles. Me, not so much.

So now, when David isn't around, my bubbles aren't quite good enough. I am met with unimpressed faces, and Adam demanding "BIG ones!" while I try to explain that he will need to wait until his Daddy is around for those to happen. In one ear, out the other...

Now there's a playgroup I've started taking him to. It's brilliant fun and he loves it. We do singing, sensory play, messy play, and story time. And towards the end, the leader brings out her bubble bottle.

The first time we were there, I could see that Adam wasn't impressed with the regular sized bubbles. The other children were all thrilled to be chasing and popping bubbles, but my son stood back and watched, with a somewhat horrified look on his face.

Imagine my embarrassment when he then strutted up to leader and shouted "BIG ONES PLEASE!"

She looked my way with a puzzled look on her face, probably hoping for an explanation of sorts. But it's hard to explain over the music and excited laughter of half a dozen children, so she is unfortunately none the wiser and he asks again every week.

Sometime I'll send David in to demonstrate...

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Dear Adam (As you recover)

Dear Adam

Close to two months have passed since your second birthday and here I am finally writing you this letter. Two months ago, this letter may have sounded different. You were my baby, just turned two, I would have told you how much I love you and how happy you make me and how much you love cars. Now, with everything that's happened since your birthday, I'll be telling you the same things, but with a lump in my throat. The same things, with extra appreciation. The same things, with an extra large topping of "I love you."And yes, of course, you still love cars.

We've gotten closer, you and me. We spent an intense five days living together, cooped up in a tiny room. I was everything to you, I was your protector from the White Coats. You were my every thought. I watched you sleep for hours. I willed you to get better. I begged God to make me sick instead of you.

And then you got better and you couldn't go to nursery because we couldn't risk you getting sick until your treatment ended, so we got to spend more time together. And that's when you discovered Mother Goose Club. And you learnt all the nursery rhymes by heart, and you learnt the alphabet and your speech became so much clearer, and you call yourself Superman (which of course, you are) and you walk the way you think Superman should walk. And you got tall. Taller than you already were.

And you call things "cute" in the sweetest of ways. And you love animals passionately. And your sister too. And yet you fight like cats and dogs. And you climb all over her, and you hit her, not recognizing your own strength. But you are good at apologizing, and you give the best hugs. And the best head ruffles. But only on your own terms.

You're a cheeky monkey, and you know it. You have a wicked sense of humour and you love making people laugh. You're very much like your uncle in that way. And you're strong willed and hard headed and you can throw a tantrum like no other.

Right now, you're frustrated, you're even angry sometimes and you say so. We know you need more, you were so ready for nursery, and yet we have had to hold you back. The summer heat is crippling and you only have the house to run around in. I suspect these four walls are closing in on you. It will get better soon, I promise. I'm not sorry - I can't be sorry when the risks feel so high. I'd rather have you frustrated for a few months than risk losing you. You are my cheeky sunshine, I can't imagine life without you.

So bear with us, please. We love you and we are trying to keep you safe. We are so terrified of ever having to see you (or your sister) go through what you went through again. But we'll come out the other side and one day soon, all this will be a distant memory.

But for now, hold on to your cars, and your Mother Goose Club, and your Superman act. Keep asking me to chase you around the house. Keep asking me to take you to the pool. Keep twirling your feet the way you did as a little baby. Keep asking me to find your Clothy's "corners." Keep coming to me for snuggles, laying your head on my shoulder, and keep smiling that beautiful, dimpled smile at me.

I still have a lot of your delicious orange juice to drink.

Forever,
Your Mummy x


Easter in Vienna, from Emily's Travel Diary

Remember when we tried the kids out in the cold? We did go to Vienna, for five days over the Easter holidays. Here is Emily's report of the trip.

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When Adam Had Kawasaki Disease

Have you heard of Kawasaki Disease? If you're a Grey's Anatomy fan you may have. There was an episode in Series 9 where Sarah Chalke (Elliot Reid from Scrubs) plays the part of a mum who's son is sick with a mystery illness which eventually turns out to be Kawasaki. I had watched the episode, but I don't watch Grey's Anatomy for educational purposes.

Then a couple of weeks ago, on the plane on our way back from Vienna to be precise, Adam's temperature spiked. He was on fire and very uncomfortable. He had been cranky throughout the entire holiday but we thought it was just down to the cold weather.

I'm not one to rush my kids to the doctor when they have a fever. It's usually a virus which passes within a couple of days and it's not worth the panic. So I gave him Paracetamol and kept an eye on him. Two days later, fever still high (sometimes as high as 41 degrees) we took him to the pediatrician. She checked the usual suspects... ears, chest, throat were OK. It probably was just a virus.

So we went home and started alternating Paracetamol and Ibuprofen to try and control the fever. It sometimes worked, but the fever wouldn't go away. Four days later, Adam woke up with red eyes. (Enlarge image to the left to see clearly.) He was in a much better mood so I put it down to him still being tired, still trying to make up for lost sleep from our holiday and the plane rides, and the first few days of him being unwell. (There's always a reason isn't there?)

His lips were chapped and quite red - but then again, mine were still chapped from the cold weather in Vienna too.

Then in the afternoon, his fingers and feet turned a dark pink and looked a little bit swollen, as if they were hot. I thought this strange so turned to Dr Google and Kawasaki Disease popped up. When I looked at the pictures, however, it all looked SO much worse than Adam's symptoms, and let's face it - Dr Google is usually the last thing you should trust, so I closed the page and carried on. Hours later, his hands and feet were back to normal and the next day even his eyes weren't as red. Obviously Dr Google was making a big fuss of everything yet again.

But by the afternoon he was so not himself, the moaning hadn't stopped all day. Nothing interested him, he didn't want to eat or even drink. I was exhausted and in tears and called on a friend for a hug, and she convinced me to take Adam back to the doctor. By that point, I wasn't quite thinking straight. It had been a long week, and everything seemed to be blurring into a big irritable mess.

The doctor took one look at Adam's eyes and began to check for other Kawasaki symptoms. Having read up on it the day before, I realised what she was looking for. I turned cold. How could I have ignored it?

Kawasaki needs to be treated within ten days or risk of permanent heart damage increases significantly. We were on day seven. She wrote up a report saying that she suspected it was Kawasaki and sent us off to Latifa Hospital. We possibly owe her Adam's life, and she has been thanked. Repeatedly.

Long story short, Adam's wasn't a classic case of Kawasaki in that his symptoms didn't scream Kawasaki, but by the time he was admitted to hospital he had also developed a rash. He was treated with one dose of IVIG by day eight and his recovery after that was fast. I knew he was going to be ok when he woke up the next morning and asked for his cars. My boy was back.

He has had a follow-up ECHO (heart ultrasound) in the meantime which shows that there has been no damage to his heart and his blood results look the way they should for the second week of Kawasaki Disease. He is on a low dose of Aspirin for two months (during which we need to try and keep him as healthy as possible because any virus could cause further problems) to avoid an aneurysm, and he will be monitored throughout. But he is very much himself again, my cheeky car-crazed monkey.

It's been a hard few weeks and I'm not writing this to drag it out any further. I do want to remember the way it unfolded, but I also want to put this story out there for anyone in a similar situation who might one day read it.

These are the signs of Kawasaki Disease:


HOWEVER. Adam's lips looked nothing like that. His lymph nodes were nowhere near that swollen. His hands and feet were nowhere near that red. His eyes were redder, his rash looked like it's pictured above. But symptoms don't always happen at the same time and they are usually gone by day ten.

So just know that these symptoms showing up within a certain time period may mean danger and ask your doctor. It's rare, but it does happen.

No one knows how anyone gets KD, it's not contagious and it usually affects children below the age of 5, but there have been exceptions.



We are fine. We are surrounded by some awesome friends, and I am so grateful to everyone who helped in whatever way they could... be it babysitting Emily, visiting me in hospital with goodies, talking on the phone, hugs, hugs, hugs, and also putting up with the way my brain has become a sieve since this happened. Thank you. Love you all.

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