September 12, 2008 6:53 am
When my son was born, we went into full-on First Child Mode. Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about, you did it too. We washed our hands a thousand times a day, we kept Germ-X by every doorway and made our visitors lube up with it before entering the house, even if they weren’t planning on touching the baby. It was so bad, we even refused to take the poor kid out in public.
Graham was about two months old when I finally ventured out into the world. Our first trip was to the mall, I went with a friend to get a bite to eat and escape the confines of the house. My guard was up the entire time, I was scanning every surface like I could see the Outbreak Monkey heading our way. While walking through the mall, a woman TOTALLY TURNED HER HEAD TO POINT IT TOWARD MY NEWBORN SON and let out a hacking cough. I did what any good mother would do, I yelled at the woman “COVER YOUR MOUTH” then rushed away once I realized I had just yelled in a complete stranger’s face. Friends and loved ones joked about the seriousness that our germ-fighting measures involved, but I didn’t care. I had this fragile little baby to take care of and I wasn’t about to let some jackass get him sick.
Graham is now twenty months old. He survived his infancy (thanks to Germ-X) and is a happy and healthy child. He recently started school and with that came a whole new set of germs. When I picked him up from school on Tuesday, he had developed a nice little cough. I asked his teacher what the protocol is for sick kids at school and she told me “if you kept him home every time he got sick, he would never be at school. Bring him in on Thursday.” A quick trip to the doctor revealed that Graham’s earache had resurfaced and that he had a pretty nice cold as well. Jamie and I decided that we would play it by ear on Thursday and depending on how he felt, bring him back to school.
When Thursday morning came, Graham sounded terrible. I decided to keep him home with his sister and me. Believe me, I wanted to send him to school (six Graham-free hours a week is all I get, come on!) but I just couldn’t send him in good conscience. We bummed around the house all day but were getting stir crazy by mid-afternoon. When a friend called and invited us to the mall, I jumped at the chance. I warned her that my kids were sick and she gave me the all clear so off we went.
Walking through the mall, I noticed that Graham’s cough seemed much worse. Louder, somehow than when we left the house. I’m sure I was just imagining things but he really was coughing a lot. We walked over to Baby Gap and Graham let out a pretty decent coughing fit. I was holding my hand over his mouth and looked around to notice SEVERAL people with strollers giving me the eye. Somehow, I had transformed into that person, the one with Patient Zero in tow getting everyone sick.
Until Graham is feeling better, I’ve decided that we’re in quarantine. No more school, parks, mall or Gymboree. It’s the only way I’ll be able to sleep at night, knowing that I’m doing my part to keep the world germ-free. Am I the only one out there who takes other people’s health into account when I have plague-spreading potential at my camp?