The Complete Illustrated Guide to Why We're Sick All the Goddamn Time
January 16, 2014
Whenever I mention the latest crappy cold or virus that's ricocheting around our house, there's inevitably at least one comment along the lines of, "Wow, your family gets sick more often than anyone I know. The hell is wrong with you guys?"
Of course, they're always perfectly polite about it (as you all are, honestly, since this is a motherfucking CLASSY corner of the Internet), but it does make me worry that I'm portraying us all as a bunch of weak, vitamin-deficient consumptives who should've been Darwined out a couple generations ago thanks to our faulty immune systems.
In reality, it's more just a byproduct of having multiple children who go to multiple schools and classrooms. Here, let's do a visual.
Say you have a child.
Sooner or later, you may decide it's time send said child out of the house and into some kind of educational group or social setting. Daycare, preschool, gymnastics "class" where every primary-colored surface is given a perfunctory rub-down with Clorox wipes once a day by a staff of disinterested teenagers, etc.
The peer population may start out small.
But eventually, it happens. You show up one day and there's a child there who should not be there.
"Oh no," you say. "My daycare/preschool/infant yoga center has RULES. Kids leaking yellowish-green pestilence are to be kept at home! And everyone has to be fever- and diarrhea-free for 24 hours!"
You're adorable. And let me know how that works out for you. We will probably never know who these parents are — these negligent monsters who drop off children who are clearly coughing their fool heads off and wiping snot on the sleeves of their karate uniforms — but they are real and they are out there. (Although their phone calls from Beyoncé are probably fake as hell.)
Anyway, back to our story. So five minutes later, everybody's sick, including your preshus snowflake.
And because you are not an inhuman hell-beast who ignores the basest principles of the social contract, you keep your feverish child home from school. With you. And your open mouth, which they will cough in. And your hair, which they will wipe snot in. And the rest of your exhausted, worn-to-a-nub body because your job doesn't care that your snowflake haz a fever and da shnifflez and is still making you work on that 57-page proposal.
And then a week later you take your newly-healthy child back to school, and on your way to pick them up you walk past a dad escorting his kid out, and the kid's face is covered in a fresh, oozing crust of infection-tinted mucus and it takes every last waning bit of restraint in your still-diseased self to keep yourself from flipping the fuck out right there in the parking lot, because JESUS CHRIST YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME.
And here's where we get to the advanced math portion of today's post. Let's say you have more than just one child. Let's say, for reasons that may never be fully understood, you have...three.
And each of them also attends a daycare/school/toddler-basket-weaving course. And the class sizes get bigger as they get older, exposing them to more and more children.
And every single one those children is a hand-washing/cover-your-cough wildcard, plus a good number of them have siblings...
...who also attend school and/or glee club sectionals with other children, who also have siblings, and who are getting smaller and increasingly difficult to draw eyeballs on...
And so when cold season hits...
It's basically snot, everywhere. A constant barrage of All Of The Colds and everything else that's "Going Around Right Now," in every possible direction. You get the picture.
(I will spare you the version I drew representing stomach flu season, however. It just wasn't up to my high artistic standards. It was also disgusting.)
And it's especially rough if you are dealing with either 1) a newborn who is wearing you out and draining your life force, or 2) a child attending a new daycare/preschool/Advanced Placement Community Toy Sucking for the very first time and who hasn't been exposed to any of those particular germs before. We've met one or both of those criteria for (what feels like) 47 winters in a row.
TL;DR I THINK I MAY BE COMING DOWN WITH SOMETHING, YOU GUYS.