Controversy Wednesday: GERMS

9 Feb

So, like I said before, I now work a three-hour shift at my gym’s childcare in exchange for a membership.  It’s especially great because I get to bring my precious Seabass along with me, and he loves it.  Eats it up. 

No, literally.  He puts everything – EVERYTHING – in his mouth.  And God only knows how many other kids have done the same.  I don’t care if someone walks behind each kid scrubbing the individual toys they leave in their wake with a combination of soap, bleach, Purell and vinegar.  Someone is bound to get sick.  Last week, that someone just happened to be Seabass. 

A parent came in with her 18-month-old boy and mentioned as she walked out to a weight-lifting class that her little dude was getting over a sniffle.  Did I say she walked out?  Make that ran out like the room was a meth lab on fire, leaving us childcare folks to regard her son with more than a little mistrust.

Seabass and I gave that kid a wide berth, I swear we did.  But to no avail.  The next day, my sweet fishy was a sniffling, bubbling, moaning, unsatisfiable, snot-encrusted little wreck.

Now, I need to be clear that I completely sympathize with the mother who left her child at the gym.  When baby is sick, mommy can’t bring him/her anywhere or do anything besides hold him/her and clock time.  It is like a whole new, stronger strain of horrible. 

And let me also be fair to the gym.  While I love the idea of dropping each of the five billion toys at the gym into a vat of scalding hot water every 30 seconds, it’s just not possible.  So I just let Seabass gum up whatever he wants.  For some parents, I know this is the most repulsive thing ever.  Maybe they even think I deserve a sick infant for such negligence. 

But I know other parents who consider germs par for the course and encourage their kids to acquaint themselves with as many nasties as possible just to build up the immune system.  My husband is one such parent, by the by.

And all of this would be fine – I would take care of my wee sicko without completely losing my cool – if it weren’t for the fact that my own immune system is crap.  That’s right: Despite OCD-like attention to washing my hands, keeping them away from my face, getting plenty of rest, drinking OJ and avoiding direct fluid-exchanges with my son, I got his bug.  And it’s been a DOOZY, let me tell ya. 

Sick me + Sick Seabass = Very tough. However, he nuzzled into my arms, which was a first! Loved that.

And then he even laid his little (giant) head on my chest while he coughed. Ohmygoodness! Call Guiness!

But the moment he saw the camera, he wanted THAT in his mouth, too. Hey kid, that's how this whole illness thing got started, dontchaknow.

So anyway, now he’s all better and I’m a mess.  I’ve never been so sick that I can’t even hear, but for the past 24 hours I feel like I’ve had earplugs in.  (If we’ve had a conversation in the past couple days, yes, I really was just nodding and smiling because, no, I didn’t hear you.)

Enough outta me.  What do you think?  Is it okay to bring a sick kiddo to a public place if you’re desperate to get out?  Or is that strictly verboten?

17 Responses to “Controversy Wednesday: GERMS”

  1. Megan February 9, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

    No, it’s not OK…but that little bunchkin didn’t make yours sick, nor was he probably even contagious. It takes at least a couple of weeks between the time of exposure for symptoms to show up, and ‘getting over’ usually means those particular germs have moved on–but have no fear, new ones have taken their place, and so the cycle goes. The time of year is your biggest culprit. 😦 Sorry.

    • EntrepreMother February 9, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

      Yep, not okay. Keep your diseased kid away from other kids, if you can help it.

      But as for the little Seabass? These are probably the most darling pictures I’ve seen of the two of you.

  2. AKeo February 10, 2011 at 5:06 am #

    I’d have to say NO on that one. Getting over a cold is one thing – not a huge deal in my book. But I’ve known people that took kids with Hoof and Mouth to the gym. That is horrible! There are plenty of places you can go to “get out” that won’t require passing along other germs. Although they may not be that fun for the little ones.
    However, it’s almost inevitable that our children will pick up some sort of germ no matter where they are – mostly because adults aren’t very good at their own germ control. And as horrible as it is to see them sick, it is important to get those germs.

  3. shotwellwallace February 10, 2011 at 5:20 am #

    I completely sympathize with you–we recently moved, and during moving weekend I was sick with something similar to what you had (something sinus-y that caused my ears to be plugged for about a week straight), and our little dude had an ear infection + RSV. Ick. I also agree with others re: not taking your sick kid to the gym or other avoidable public places. Things get tricky when it comes to less-avoidable public places though…like daycare. My daycare has a policy that certain illnesses definitely merit keeping your kid at home, but if your kid has a cold or is at the stage of an illness where they’re not deemed terribly contagious, you can bring them in. While I’m sure most parents (such as myself) would do all they could to avoid bringing their baby into daycare when ill, during cold season when they seem to have the sniffles for, oh, about 3 months straight, it’s just not always possible to take that much time off from work. So the illnesses perpetuate themselves, since they continuously make the rounds at daycare. Fun stuff. [All that being said, I would also like to say that I absolutely love my daycare–which our man goes to part-time–and they’re amazing at taking care of all kids, especially those who may be at less-than-100%…for what it’s worth]

  4. Kelly February 10, 2011 at 6:31 am #

    I think parents should educate themselves better on incubation of viruses/germs and learn when a child is and is not contagious. Like a previous comment already said, that child that was dropped off that was getting over a cold is most-likely not the culprit. The common cold is most contagious around days 2-4 of symptoms, and then you become less and less contagious as it progresses – so if that little guy was truly getting over the sniffles, then he probably didn’t get you or Seabass sick.

    I am on the side of “let my kid get the germs, so her immune system can be stronger later in life” fence. “Protecting” our children from things like this does not help them in the long run.

  5. N'sMomma February 10, 2011 at 8:21 am #

    I have to say no, not cool to take sick baby to where other babies are. BUT I was recently told that cold virus’s last on surfaces only for mere seconds. So if there is a sick kid on campus your best defense would be to keep away from direct contact. If your willing to take your babes to a public play place like that it’s inevitable your going to contract more germs than maybe some other more “cautious” (i.e. germaphobe) parents. But it sounds like its totally worth it for you and seabass as he just loves that time.

  6. Jim February 10, 2011 at 8:56 am #

    For the most part I am with Jake. However there are limits. Kid have a 102 degree fever and vomiting blood? Stay home. Kid has a dry cough related to childhood asthma? gym ok, but don’t be surprised if caregivers are completely insane when you return to pick him/her up. Getting over the sniffles? gym okay. Starting sniffles? no gym.

    Things in mouth? mostly ok. Public things in mouth? Probably not such a good idea…

    Bottom line? Everyone needs an immune system and you don’t create or strengthen one sitting home in a bubble.

  7. Another Jim February 10, 2011 at 9:23 am #

    Interesting and obviously pertinent post. The first Jim probably covered it, but since I have time to kill, I’ll add my two cents…

    In my opinion, an obviously sick and contagious child (coughing, feverish, etc.) should stay home as much as possible. If you must go out and have no other recourse but to take the sick child with you, by all means, go, but do what you can to limit the child’s exposure to others. I would not knowingly take a sick child to a daycare or other place where he/she would be playing with other children.

    If the child just has some sniffles or other such minor thing, I wouldn’t let that stop you from your normal activities.

  8. Elfrieda February 10, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    As bad as it sounds, I like how cuddly my son gets when he’s under the weather!
    And I’d have to go with sniffles = okay to be in public, really sick = no.

  9. Kristin February 10, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    If it’s the first few days of an illness, absolutely not, but sometimes full recovery takes weeks. Benny just got his first bug and we’ve done a few things and cancelled a few things. I always check with the other mommies first. I am really bad about germs. Being an elementary teacher I bring EVERY strain into the house and Benny, being a 9 month old boy, puts EVERYTHING in his mouth. I don’t worry about it. “Builds the immune system,” I tell myself. So far he’s been very healthy… if it becomes a problem, I’ll have to change my ways.

  10. g February 10, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

    Great topic. I follow the ASI Children’s Center rule. If there is an elevated temperature, vomiting or diarrhea in the past 24 hours DO NOT expose your child to other people. A)because that sucks for them and B) as not to infect others. But, as mentioned above, illness is a fact of life and Dom’s doctor practically stated that the purpose of the first 5 years of life is to get as many virus’ as possible then they are good from then on out. Sounds like you didn’t get ENOUGH germs as a child Jaime! 🙂 Start licking windows!

  11. momofsteel February 10, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    So I’ve seen your blog a few times and I think you are a great writer. Thought I’d chime in on your Controversy Wednesday. Everyone pretty much said it but I would like to point out if kiddos go out while sick they take the risk of picking up something else. If their body is at war with one virus then they are too tired to prevent an attack from another virus.
    I’d also like to add by now you are probably realizing that Mama doesn’t get to take a sick day. So now that your little man is feeling better and you still aren’t, tough ‘s.’ The show must go on, right?
    Hope you feel better SOON!!!

  12. Sheri (Mommy Stuff Blogger) February 10, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

    If you’re always disinfecting, sterilising, washing, etc. then you’re not exposed to as many germs and when you do come into contact with them somehow (like working in a creche), you’ll get it bad, like you did. I let Hannah share toys and put other kids toys in her mouth and she rarely gets sick. I used to drink out of the hose, share sandwiches with my pony, and only wash my hands after going to the bathroom when I was a kid, and I hardly ever get sick. There was 10 year stretch when I didn’t vomit once.

  13. Debbie February 10, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    Sorry YOUR sick, but those picture are the sweetest. Fever – stay home. A little puny, get out in the sunshine. Germs happen.

  14. Oma February 11, 2011 at 8:09 am #

    I agree with Debbie – fever = stay home. And those are the CUTEST photos. That child should be on a magazine cover.

  15. Marie February 14, 2011 at 7:09 pm #

    I think it’s fine when it’s a public outdoor area. we all need fresh air


  1. Completely Encrusted - February 9, 2011

    […] Controversy Wednesday: GERMS « Higher Highs, Lower Lows But to no avail. The next day, my sweet fishy was a sniffling, bubbling, moaning, unsatisfiable, snot-encrusted little wreck. Now, I need to be clear that I completely sympathize with the mother who left her child at the gym. […]

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