My 12 year old is on day three of a nasty cold.
It started on Monday morning when she woke up complaining of a “tight throat.”
“Drink some water,” I said. “Eat some pancakes. Mornings are always rough.”
I made her pancakes and gave her two vitamin C chewies and 2 Advil — my cure for just about everything (because she’s 12 and too young for an Appletini, obviously).
Monday night, after a full day of school and back-to-back rehearsals that ended at 9:00 p.m. she was still complaining of the “tight throat.”
Tuesday she added “scratchy” to the mix which earned her a one way ticket to the couch and a front row seat to an eight hour marathon of The Office, but since there was still no cough or visible snot I chalked it up to the sudden change in weather.
Early Wednesday morning the coughing started. Ugly, barky, painful coughing. More bingeing of The Office, this time from bed. Two jumbo boxes of Kleenex later it became clear that this cold wasn’t going anywhere…and neither was she.
This morning the nasty coughing continues as things are breaking up so she’s once again spending the day with Jim, Pam and Dwight. It’s a tough time to be missing so much school; the end of the quarter is next week (which means this week is critical for tests, etc.) and tonight she’ll have to miss performing in her special vocal concert with her touring choir.
Next week is spring break, and like most everyone else who doesn’t live in Tucson or small villages close to the Mexican border, we’ve suffered through an interminable winter. We’re looking forward to going somewhere (hopefully) warm where our souls will start to thaw out a bit, and I know a lot of other people around here are, too. So I’m keeping my feverless, coughing child home…again. You are welcome, local friends.
But last night, as I was running around the house wiping everything I even suspect the sick one has touched with alcohol (the rubbing kind, not the drinking kind…although I was drinking while rubbing) I got to thinking about how over the past 18 years it’s infuriated me when parents send their sick kids to school or other events where there will be other kids…hell, other people.
And as you know, when I get mad at other parents I do one thing.
I write a letter.
Dear asshat parents who send your sick kids to school,
When your kid has a snotty-assed nose that’s made it past his upper lip, it means he’s sick. S-I-C-K.
If he’s coughing up a lung every 10 minutes, it means he’s sick.
No fever? I DON’T GIVE A SHIT. He’s still sick and guaranteed to wipe the slime seeping from his nose with his hand and then grab my kid’s pencil or cough without using his ELBOW and blow germ-infested spituals all over my kid’s desk, lunch and face.
Listen, I know that sometimes kids get sick from other kids who don’t seem sick, but that’s not the point. The point is that when you send your snot machine to school because you don’t want them screwing up your day you are basically spoon-feeding the rest of his class a hearty dose of rhinovirus. I know you have to go to work. But guess what? YOU HAD A KID and KIDS GET SICK. Figure it out.
And for the love of everything holy, if you did keep your kid home do not take him to Target. I get it. It’s tough to go a day without your crack (believe me, I get it) but I’ve seen you there with your hacking and mucas spewing children so I know you do it. And don’t tell me to use those flimsy cart wipes. They can’t erase all the germs your slime-ridden kid has spread. I know because I regularly use about 10 of them and wipe not only the cart handles but the entire freakin’ cart.
And let’s talk about fever. And vomiting.
THERE IS A 24 HOUR RULE…as in, DO NOT SEND YOUR CHILD OUT INTO THE WORLD FOR 24 HOURS AFTER HIS FEVER BREAKS OR SINCE HIS LAST ORAL EXPLOSION.
It’s not a difficult rule to follow, but you break it all the friggin’ time, don’t you?
I do not care that your kid has been home — driving you crazy — for three days. Once his fever breaks you’re still stuck with him for another entire day. You know as well as I do that fevers come and go. So does vomiting. And sending your kid to school before the 24 hour all clear is pretty much guaranteeing that about 30 other parents will be stuck at home cleaning liquid mac-n-cheese out of the sheets in about three days.
It bears repeating: Kids get sick.
But maybe, just maybe, if ass clowns like you actually took some parenting responsibility and kept your kid home when:
his snot is visibly green and running down his face faster than he can wipe it up with his dirty fingers (or tongue)
his cough rivals that of a sea-lion
he “had a fever last night but not this morning!”
the vomit is still fresh on his shirt
it would make a little bit of a difference.
A mom whose coughing, runny-nosed daughter with no fever is still home…and will most likely be tomorrow
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