Germ-phobes Beware

kids 1Now is the time of year, where everywhere you go, you will hear a cough, sniffle, sneeze, and even a wheeze.

The kids are back in school, and with that comes germ warfare, as parents (and teachers too) know only too well. Hand sanitizer, chicken soup and a Z-pack can’t hold a candle to what we are up against.

My girls are in nursery and second grade. Suffice to say, stuff happens. Kids share (usually very good), play, put things in their mouth (not good usually), forget to wash their hands before they eat or after they (oy vey) go to the bathroom, touch other kids in the face and touch who knows what? I’ve witnessed my youngest licking the ladder that led up to the slide. Can I call that, uh, entrepreneurial? Perhaps she envisions slide ladders and swing ropes coming in flavors, and that would elevate the entire playground experience. Well, I don’t think she’s quite ready for Shark Tank. No. It’s just weird and some kids do that.

And there is something else. I’m just going to say it. Boogers. There, it’s out there. They are prevalent. Finding a ‘bear in the cave’ is a pastime that both of my frilly, twirly-whirly, girly-girls partake. I wish I could say differently—but this blog is a safe place of transparency here. I know you won’t judge me, my partner or our parenting based solely on ‘the pick.’

My observation of this phenomenon is keen. You see the ‘pick’ is just half the fun for them. The ‘roll’ follows immediately. You’ve seen it. When the pointer finger and the thumb work in tandem to play with this fresh gem. Depending on concurring activities and complete concentration, the roll can last a few seconds or as long as an entire episode of The Odd Squad. After the roll, gem in tact, comes the nosh.

Kid 2

Yes. They eat it. If it dropped on the sofa or in the carpet while making it’s way to the nosh, sleuthing ensues. They can’t find their socks, the other ballet slipper, the book that has to go to the library, or the new tooth brush, but they will relentlessly seek, rescue and recover said jewel as if they were Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), from Law & Order: SVU, pursuing the perp.

The nosh helps to spread the bug. In no time, one of my little lovelies will sneeze while sharing lemonade with her sister. The next day, both lovelies sneeze. I declare a full on, “Moratorium on sharing of drinks.” But it’s already begun. We now percolate and re-circulate the rhinovirus at home. I do my best to dodge this latest outbreak, yet parenting must go on. No matter what trickles from the many orifices, no matter the color or the texture, you must keep on loving, tickling, nurturing, kissing and playing with your children. Hugs, kisses and snuggles are even more important when they are unwell.

And don’t you know it, as the girls (infested) and I (clean) are playing on the floor, one raised atop my feet and flying freely through the living room while the other is cheering and saying, “Me! Me! My Turn,” she coughs. Suddenly my world shifts into super slow-mo. Sounds get muffled. I can see the mist of tainted sputum headed slowly toward my open-mouthed smile. I feel the spittle hit inside my mouth like a shower of little bullets. I feel the miniscule germ-soldiers parading, prancing even, their way down into my throat.

I knew it was ‘T minus 2’ days until this malady would hit, at best. Cough happens. When I cough, it hurts my neck and back in ways that others (see my post titled: Les Misérables) might not imagine. And I wouldn’t change one thing (well, the nose picking could stop) about how this migration of microorganisms into my chest occurred. Why? Love. Truth is, these two girls (and my loving spouse) have crawled into my heart and filled it with such joy (mostly) and naches. I’m kvelling. So again, a little phlegm—bring it on.

My new need for a ‘mommy-carburetor’ came from me doing my ‘Mommy’ job and the girls playing the role of ‘kids’ as they do so very well. It came from laughter, and fun and playfulness, and trust and family, and L-O-V-E.

And I am certain it will happen again.

This cough I now have, priceless.


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