A few years back, before we had BG, we had a friend with a toddler, and we would watch said toddler from time to time. Once, I was scheduled to watch her daughter, and I came over to find that her child was very, very sick, but only after my friend left! Of course, anyone who has cared for a baby or toddler with a cold knows that it’s virtually impossible to avoid coming into contact with the illness, between the nose-wiping, the child sneezing or coughing on you, the child wiping snot all over you, it’s just not possible. So of course, I got sick. And I was furious with this friend. I was teaching at the time. I had to miss nearly a week of classes, sacrifice pay, and get terribly behind all because my friend wanted to go to some event.
Nearly every time our family falls ill, we can trace it back to small children. I realize that we may very well be contracting these illnesses at the grocery store or the gas pump or the letter carrier for that matter, but it always seems small children are at fault.
But it’s not really the children who are at fault, is it?
We have a member of our family who brings her child to family functions coughing and sniffling and snotting it up all over the place and then lies to us, telling us her child has allergies. A few days later, our family is laid flat by some suspiciously similar “allergies.” I know this family member doesn’t want to miss out, that she doesn’t want her child’s seemingly mild illness to get in the way of her plans, but honestly, I wish she would just keep her at home.
This is not uncommon though, is it? I know we all have to take our kids out in public when they’re sick from time to time. I had to do it this week to get medication for my wife because she was too ill to take care of our son. So we went out quickly. I kept him close to me in the cart, covered his mouth each time he coughed, and I wiped down our cart with antibacterial wipes following our trip. I know I wasn’t able to eliminate all germs he spread, but bringing him with me was unavoidable.
But when it is avoidable, why do people do this? Why won’t people keep their sick kids–or for that matter, their sick selves–at home? Why do they need to share their latest contagions by letting their kids drool all over playground equipment or library books? Why?
I don’t think I need those questions answered, but I would be interested in knowing what you think. What should sick child ettiquette be? Would you lie about your child’s health if it meant you were able to attend an important event? What do you do when your kid is sick and you can’t just stay home?