Asking for Immunity


I know, I know. One of the reasons we chose a nanny vs. daycare from the start was all those “germs” (there are several other, much more obsessive reasons, but this one also fits). So we knew that when she started school in September – at 2, mind you – that she’d get sick.

But come on.

She’s been sick at least once a month since September. Takes 5-7 days to recover from each little sniffly, snuffly episode (longer if she develops an ear infection). You do the math. Best part? It’s like living with Jekyll and Hyde. First there’s a laughing little girl with a little runny nose and/or congestion, which is OK during the day when she’s moving around but literally ruins sleep at night. (On the bright side, we are fueling the economy by keeping Kleenex and Advil in business. You’re welcome.)

The not-so-bright side (other than loss of sleep) is the fever – enter Mr. Hyde. The picture above is our “teenager” as Mr. Hyde. “But I don’t want to go to school [sit in my chair, take a bath, take more medicine, put on my shoes, play with friends]” The list is long. And random. Just an exercise in being contrary. And we’re learning to adapt. Here are some recent examples (insert “But I don’t want to…”):

  • [eat yogurt] She loves yogurt, so I know this statement is not true. I rub a little on her lip with the spoon (oops, I missed your mouth!), she instinctively licks it off and says “YUM”. Then eats the yogurt – all of it. Too bad this doesn’t work with broccoli.
  • [take medicine] At 100.5 degrees, this is not an option. I try to rationalize (not smart), then ask nicely (no luck), then say “Do you want to do it yourself?” She squirts it in her own mouth (I love needle-less syringes). Medicine, check.
  • [take a bath] Often Zoe takes a shower and uses her shower-approved crayons to draw draw draw her way through shower time, and she loves it. For this one, Daddy heads into the bathroom and starts with “Ooooh, what is THIS?!” She runs into the bathroom and hops in the shower.
  • [go to school] Honestly, we’re struggling with this one. I’m sure you remember but she started school with “Yay, School!” and has loved it ever since. Until we went to my sister’s for Thanksgiving and she spent 7 straight days, nonstop with “mommy & daddy”. Ever since (and I’m not exaggerating) she has NOT wanted to go to school.

Nothing works. “You get to play with your friends!” “You get to see Teacher Patty” “You LOVE School!” Inevitably, we get a “But I don’t want to go to school” either at home, in the car on the way there, or when we arrive. The first day back from Thanksgiving Zoe spent saying “I want mommy & daddy” all day long, and when we arrived to pick her up, Teacher Patty greeted us with a very concerned look on her face saying “This is not our Zoe.”

Day Two after Thanksgiving, it only lasted for the first hour. Now, it lasts for the first 5 minutes where she clings to us and cries, loudly. It’s almost been a month. Insert two illnesses in there (she just got over the most recent one – welcome back Dr. Jekyll!), and it’s been a heck of a month.

One little note on Zoe being sick. I’m not the only obsessive parent over here. Sure, I take her temperature every 30 minutes and track it on a white board on the fridge, along with the time we gave her the last Claritin, Advil, Tylenol, whatever. But my husband is obsessed with her ears. Sniffly nose is what most often leads to ear infections, so every time she gets sniffly (especially with fever), he wants to take her to the doc to check out her ears. In his defense, he did catch an infection early, which surely shortened it, but I’m just sayin’ – I’m not the only one.

Yes, for her last illness I pulled out the Briar Rose to supplement the Claritin. I kept the Owl humidifier full and put 3 drops of Eucalyptus on a tissue under her bed. I followed her around with purple Gatorade, popsicles, Smart Water (electrolytes!) and a temporal artery thermometer. I made chicken noodle soup and let her eat it with a straw. But I’m sure that’s just what all parents do with a sick child, right? (All parenting advice on any of above is more than welcome.)

Happy Holidays! Here’s to more Jekyll than Hyde in your Holiday Season:

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