Becky Spagnuolo and her husband, Nick, had decided to take their son to Chicago‘s Shedd Aquarium for his second birthday on April 13.
Since Clark was born, he’s always been fascinated by sea creatures. For nearly his entire life, he’s tagged along to older brother Mikey’s speech therapy sessions. There, the walls are full of painted fish.
“Each time we were there, I would walk him up and down the halls telling him about the fish,” she told Global News. “Some of his first words were fish … We just knew that a trip to the Shedd Aquarium would blow him away.”
So in January, they decided to book a train trip to Chicago to do just that — visit the city’s famous aquarium, home to animals from sea otters to tropical fish.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 outbreak threw a wrench in their plans, forcing them to cancel the trip.
“Cancelling the trip broke my heart,” Spagnuolo said. “This was going to be our chance to really give Clark a day about him and what he loves.”
A day or two after they cancelled their trip, hotel room and all, they came up with the idea to turn their own living room into an aquarium of sorts.
“I was just looking for a way to make everyone smile,” she said.
Looking back to her days when she volunteered at a preschool, she remembered decorations put up on the walls for their ocean unit with the kids.
With craft supplies she already had at home, as well as some ordered from Amazon, Spagnuolo got to work.
She and her husband covered their windows with blue tissue paper, giving the illusion of fish tanks. Blue balloons and blow-up fish decorated the space, along with cut-out sharks and turtles and even a mini penguin family.
“Clark’s reaction to the aquarium was exactly what I would have expected had we been at the real thing,” she recalled.
“He soaked everything up in a state of silent wonder.”
One of Clark’s favourite Disney characters is Dory, a blue tang fish. Even she made an appearance that day.
“Then he noticed a blue tang I had made on the back window. He shouted, ‘Dory! I found Dory, look!’ as he ran over to it,” she shared.
For the Spagnuolo family, a bit of imagination and creativity helped bring everyone together.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.
Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate. Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease.
If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities. To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.
— With files from ReutersView link »