Ah, November! ‘Tis the season for heavily discounted Halloween candy, chunky knit sweaters, red Starbucks cups, and cold and flu season. It’s already hit my 5-year-old and I am washing my hands like Lady Macbeth trying to keep the germs away from my pregnant self. He has missed four days of school this week thanks to a honking cough, more boogers than should be humanly possible, and a fever. He’s missed enough days to warrant a mandatory doctor visit to allow him to come back to school. I have no idea when I’m going to fit that into my schedule, since I’ve already rearranged the last four days to make sure that either my husband or myself can be at home with him, but that’s the way the gingerbread cookie crumbles.
Five years ago, when I found out I was having a boy, I started thinking about all of the things that I was going to teach him in his formative years. He would be kind, empathetic, learn to dance (because we need more boys who dance), and he would learn how to navigate being sick. When I am sick, I really don’t have an option but to just keep plowing through. I have performed with fevers as high as 104, worked events with strep throat, and even directed rehearsals while wearing a surgical mask to avoid spreading germs.
It’s been my observation that guys… and I love you, guys…. but, you get the sniffles and you decide to stay in bed all day. Having made this observation, I determined that it must be learned behavior. Are the moms babying their boys when they’re sick as kids? Well, there’s no way I’m going to do that! My boy will be able to run a marathon with a double ear infection!
Cut to five years later: my sick baby is cuddled up to me on the couch with an entire tray of snacks, two different kids of juice, a whole queue of sick day movies lined up, and me at his beck and call.
I’m a failure. I am contributing to the problem. I have babied my baby and he will probably continue to be a baby when he’s a sick adult.
I promise I will NOT do that with my baby girl.
Oh, who am I kidding? I’m going to be putty in her hands and she probably already knows it.
So stock up on that vitamin C and hand sanitizer, Moms, and buckle up for a crazy winter full of boogers, sore throat lollies, and doctor’s notes. Godspeed to you. And Cold & Flu Season – you can kindly piss off.