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The Germ Factory February 3, 2008

Posted by emsgeiss in Humor & Satire, parenting & family, toddlers.
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The last week and change has been spent fighting the War on Germs. Mama lost the battle, and for the last three days, she has found herself trying to reclaim her former good health.

I should not be surprised. I always get a cold this time of year. Even the year that my son was born, I was not exempt. And apparently, I seem to have shared this annual tradition with the little guy. I should have seen it coming.

He was unusually cuddly about two weeks ago, wanting to be nowhere else but in my lap. He’d been a little sniffly, but nothing out of the ordinary. Then, one evening, my husband suggests that the little guy has a fever. The thing is, he’d been just running around, engaging Mama in a game of Toddler Tag, so to me, his warmth made sense, no cause for alarm. He’s also not one to be at ease with having his temperature checked (regardless of method), so putting him through what seemed to be unnecessary torture was a battle I preferred not to create.

Dare I say it? Papa was right. The next morning, the boy was sick. The runny nose that had sported clear snot just 24 hours before, was now a delicious thick gray muck. The cough developed along with the sneezes. He was tired, not himself and oh yes, the fever had sprung, confirmed by the beep, beep, beep of the ancillary thermometer and the fact that the boy actually let me check his temp. Out came the children’s Motrin, and the forcing of fluids, lots of chicken soup and rest and quiet play. And of course, the snuggling, which according to the Toddler Land Handbook, is the best medicine. (Only toddlers get this handbook, by the way, and it is thoroughly indecipherable to grown-ups.)

Forty-eight hours later, health was restored to Sick Boy, but not without leaving his nurse a parting gift. He had shared his cold with Mama, in heaping spoonfuls. But, Mama doesn’t get the same luxury as Sick Boy did, for she still must educate and entertain the boy, get food on the table, get her work done and still try to maintain some semblance of household order (whatever that means). Yes, Mama should have seen it coming, knowing full well that it’s the period before the symptoms appear that one is the most contagious, which of course is the exact period of time that my darling offspring wanted to be the most giving with his love and affection. (All the experienced mamas reading this are smiling knowingly, of course.)

I had the full blown fever, coughs, sneezes, body aches and chills. A full week of this delight, compared to my son’s 48 hours. I was so tired, that had it not been for the symptoms that clearly indicated illness, I’d have been tempted to take a pregnancy test. (I’m not one to take naps.) So sneezing and coughing into my elbow, washing my hands with the vigor and frequency of having OCD and wiping down any communal surfaces I may have used, I did my best to maintain our routine and not return the gift to the boy or share the ick with my husband—the last bastion of health standing in our house.

I should have known I was sick. Papa voluntarily did things like clean up the kitchen, not once, but several days in a row. My husband may just get the “husband of the year” award. I’ve never had a reason to be thrilled about being sick before. Now that, I definitely didn’t see coming.



1. Virginia Lee - February 4, 2008

Glad you’re feeling better. I’m obsessed with ingesting lots of garlic and vitamin C after going out and about into germy places. And I wash my hands obsessively after leaving my safe haven.

I’ve heard other mothers talk about that handbook, btw. You know, if you could get hold of a copy and translate it you’d make a fortune!

Stay well, hon. You’re too busy not to be otherwise!

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