Monday, July 16, 2012


Taking a TemperatureAs a kid, I rarely got sick during the summertime. I got sick plenty, but usually just during the winter months, like normal people do. Apparently having small children means you are no longer a normal person (newsflash).

I have already been sick four times this year – twice in the past three weeks – and currently Hannah, Abram and I all have a cold. At least we’re a family who shares.

Since my kids stay at home with me most of the time, it almost seems as though they get sick every time we leave the house. I know that can’t be true – otherwise it would mean we really need to get out of the house more – but it feels that way, and it drives me completely BONKERS. I need to escape these four walls as often as I can, but is it really worth it when I end up spending the next couple of weeks stuck at home, trying to get everybody well again?
Each week the library has a ‘Babytime’ session with stories and songs, and occasionally we venture out to partake in this exciting activity (sarcasm intended). Every parent knows that getting around so many other children is like swimming in a cesspool of super germs, but we do it for the sake of fun. (Or some semblance of fun, which generally means you hope it’s going to be fun, but it just ends up being more trouble than it’s worth.)

At least the kids get a kick out of it, but the question that plagues me (pun intended) every time we go is are we going to win the germ lottery this week?
Baby in sandbox
Everything goes in the mouth
At Babytime they sing a song called “Chocolate” (the Spanish pronunciation – cho co lah tay). I dread the Chocolate song. Because that means they bring out the bag of maracas. The slobbered-on, grubby-hand-assaulted, mucus-crusted, microorganism-infested maracas. And do you know what seven-month-olds like to do with…well, pretty much anything you give them? Right. In. The. Mouth.

In a perfect world Abram would never lay a hand (or tongue) on those icky maracas. Like a true germaphobe, I stay put while the kids line up for them.

But inevitably, without fail, every single week one of the other parents/grandparents decides that my little boy is so adorable that he simply must receive a pair of maracas.
“Here you go,” they say cheerfully as they hand me the dreaded orange-and-yellow wands of disease. “For the baby.” Then they beam as though they’ve just handed us 3-day passes to SeaWorld.

“Thanks,” I say reluctantly as I accept the infected gifts. I could deny them, but then I risk offending the kind gift-giver and becoming known as the mean mom who won’t let her poor little baby have some innocent fun shaking maracas.
It’s not innocent, people. So not innocent.

I give in and let Abram hold them. Then I spend the next few minutes helping him shake them along to the music while his little mouth tries to attack them like a zombie after some brains. I die a little inside and wish it was socially acceptable to bring a bottle of Listerine to Babytime for toy decontamination.
Then we go home, and I nervously await the verdict as I watch for symptoms over the next couple of days. I always breathe a sigh of relief when it appears that we are in the clear and have actually avoided bringing home an epidemic.

Then we go to the store, and he tries to eat the shopping cart. I give up.