There’s nothing like a diet of pretzels and Pedialyte to get you back down to your fighting weight. Or, at least that’s what I keep telling myself. Ever since school started up again, I have been hit by a nasty bug, virus or other airborne enemy about once every 10 days. Sometimes it’s worse than others but it always seems to come from my kids – or should I say –daycare.
As a child growing up, my mother rarely let us stay home from school for being sick. I can recall waking on days when I was not feeling well and her taking my temperature. Unless my fever was 101 F degrees, I’d be packed up and shipped off on the school bus. In the unusual instances when I did stay home, I was not going to be seen by a doctor. She didn’t believe the doctor was going to be able to do anything that he couldn’t resolve with some good home care and maybe some over-the-counter medicine. I would take my pillow, blanket and TV remote to the sofa to heal. My sick diet was typically Mrs. Grass’ Chicken Noodle Soup (because it has that fun little oil ball that dissolves in the boiling water), Saltines and ice chips with 7-Up to sip.
Luckily, I didn’t have many sick days in my life. Until college, I didn’t visit the doctor or even feel bad enough to seek a prescription more than once a year. That was until I took a part-time job working in a daycare.
I was an Education major at the time and was a Pre-K teacher in the afternoons in a suburb not far from my university. In the morning, I was student teaching wild, hormone-driven mouthy eighth graders English and in the afternoon I had four-year-olds. I think that semester aged me by five years, but that’s another story altogether.
Within a month of working with those little snot-nosed kiddies I loved so much, I came down with Pink Eye and Strep. As time went on, I had various other cold and flu viruses. I even got ringworm! That was disgusting. How could all these adorable little people be so gross? My immune system was begging for mercy. After about nine months, my body’s defenses were unstoppable. My boyfriend at the time even got the highly contagious “kissing disease” a.k.a. Mono and I didn’t get it. My healthy force field was all thanks to those little four-year-olds.
I eventually graduated from college and entered the workforce a young, healthy professional who never called in sick. I was strong, dependable and reliable. However, sometime between leaving the daycare profession and having kids of my own, my body became weak and susceptible again. I have been rendered defenseless to the super strains of virus that my kids bring home.
My oldest child is three and my youngest is 20 months. They have been in daycare for about one year and since that time; I have wiped their nose snots, butts and barfs along with mine and my husband’s more times than I can count. From 24-hour bugs, to stomach flu, to sinus infections, to Strep to skin rashes, we pass that stuff around our house like it’s Halloween candy. And it sucks.
My parent-self misses the days of taking my pillow and blanket to the couch to sleep the day away. I want someone to make me Mrs. Grass’ Chicken Noodle Soup while I chew on ice and drink 7-Up.
At best, I have a couple of uninterrupted hours between answering work emails and before the kids get home to get myself back in shape. Then it’s back to wiping other people’s snot.
- Prevent Flu: Go to Work or Stay in Bed? (webmd.com)
- Daycare May Pose Risks for Kids with Tiny Lungs (livescience.com)
- Strep throat – All Information (umm.edu)
- Que. daycare strikes reach Montreal (cbc.ca)
- Daycare Themes (brighthub.com)
- Daycare Classroom Floor Plans (brighthub.com)
- Starting A Home Daycare Business (teabreak.pk)