I just got back from a toddlers action class with my 2-year-old. After promptly going into damage control and hosing myself and my kid down with antibacterial liquid soap (Dettoll sometimes gets me a bit high -mmm, hospital smell…) I decided I desperately needed to get something off my chest, and it wasn’t just phlegm!
Today’s class was actually mild in terms of virus levels. We only had to wipe up 1 small pile of baby puke (gross) near where we were sitting. As an added bonus, there were also very few cases of chronic coughing (whooping-cough?) and outright infection. Probably the worst thing I saw was a little boy who had become an expert in blowing green snot bubbles out 1 nostril in tune to the music – much to his mother’s delight and amusement! (EWWWW)
Mind you – last week and the week before there was a little guy in our class who had yellow ‘stuff’ oozing out of his right ear and I didn’t know if I should take my kid and run, or if the little boy just had a bit of wax in his ear. Needless to say, the guy in question wasn’t present at today’s class – someone had the sense to either get that ear seen to, or cleaned, or something!
Every time I attend these classes with my son, I cringe and have to physically restrain myself from bolting out the door, just so my little boy can have a bit of fun. I don’t want to be complete joy-kill of course so I’ve tried to relax (for the sake of my kids) and now I think I’ve reached a point where I am trying really hard not to shelter my boys by avoiding communal playgrounds and activities.
But I know that each time I visit these places, there’s a high risk that we will be filling those antibiotic prescriptions yet again because other mothers didn’t have the courtesy to LEAVE THEIR SICK KIDS AT HOME that day!
In a nutshell, I’m sick, sick, sick of people dragging their sick kids out to communal kids activities. I’ve actually calmed down a lot in the past 2 years – I used to freak out by a little bit of a runny nose or slight cough. If someone sneezed near me and my kids I would fly off in a huff cursing the offending disease-spreader as I made a dash for it and scrubbed myself and kids in antibacterial hand lotion! Now, I’ve really mellowed, well as best as I can, and I try to look past the more minor illnesses that are unavoidable. But what still gets me is the really, really infectious kids being dragged out to a kids activity.
It’s just not fair to the other kids, and it’s not fair to the sick kid – who would, I am sure benefit more from tender mummy cuddles and restful play at home, indoors, as opposed to hyper jumping and communal play with other unsuspecting kids.
Don’t get me wrong, I too have been guilty of taking a sick kid out, but only on the very rare occasion – and only when absolutely crucial – like a visit to the doctor (unavoidable) or a school pick up (where I dash in and out and avoid exposure to other kids).
I just get fed up with being one of the few mothers who, at the first sign of illness will nip it in the bud, get the requisite drugs for my kid, and limit any unnecessary exposure to others as best as possible.
When my eldest son is not well, I keep him home with me (even though it’s the harder option). I truly get that some mothers sometimes just don’t have any options. Like mothers who cannot take off from work because of a slack boss or pressure in the workplace, or other mothers who just have too many other kids to keep track of, so that their ‘mildly’ sick kid/s must be sent to school just to ease the burden.
Still, it’s incredibly selfish to make the other kids suffer and I know my son will be better off at home where he can rest in his own bed and chill to get better. When it comes to school, I think deal breakers are temperatures, coughing, any colour snot that goes beyond transparent (my worst!), inexplicable rashes, ear infections and anything at all to do with lice (gross gross gross).
I’ve often considered commissioning some glaringly graphic, in-your-face posters (like the ones you see at the hospitals or doctors waiting rooms) which I could affix to the entrance of all schools, playgroups, kids activities and yes, even at the front door to private home before playdates that reads:
If you can read this sign then you are too close to the entrance of this facility and your kid is too close to the other HEALTHY kids!
What’s more if you are that selfish, or just plain ignorant or nonchalant about the whole thing a’sick kid thing’ and you’re blatantly attempting to smuggle your sick kid/s in here, please, for the love of Gd, back the hell up, step away from the door and push your pram out of here quick-smart before you make anyone else sick and they have to get onto antibiotics because you’re too selfish to get your sick kid seen to.
Then, please get your kid/s sorted, and come back when you know that they’re better and/or have been immunised up to date!
So there, by employing a simple protocol of full disclosure and abolishing the denial, we can heal the world, so to speak, for the sake of our fellow mothers and comrades in arms to make life easier for each other in the long run.
Yes, I know I’m preaching now, (ho-hum) but if we all took responsibility properly when our kids were sick, it would no doubt, drastically reduce the unnecessary spread of virus and disease.
I’m getting all nasally and fluey and itchy just thinking about all this now – prescription drugs here I come (hope the cough syrup’s tooty fruity flavour – yum!