Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Scarlet Letter

Being the source of an illness out break at school is the fastest ticket to social exile there is. In our defense it's unfair to 100% pin it on us - it could have come from anyone.

The Three year old came down with Fifths Disease (you should hear dramatic sounding music in your head about now) or as it's also known - Slap Cheek (switch your soundtrack to a clown car horn.) Her first mistake was to start developing symptoms while at school. By spiking a high temperature and asking to lie down, she managed to draw maximum attention to herself.
As I wasn't able to pick her up early - everyone got to see her in all her plague ridden glory. If there had been a bell ringing it would have been less conspicuous. The vomiting didn't help I'm sure. No chance of sending her for the rest of that week. Sigh.

We dutifully trekked to the doctor. Nothing I enjoy more than paying an expensive insurance co-pay to hear it's a virus that requires nothing more than rest and ibuprofen. Not to mention being no further than two inches from mummy for the next three days. The one valuable thing learned at the Doctor's office - we shouldn't be in touch with pregnant women - especially in the first trimester.

Here's where the difficulty comes in. How do you handle that? A sign, a t-shirt? Ring the aforementioned bell and shout "unsafe for pregnant women" loudly? Since the incubation is up to 21 days, The Husband, The Eight year old and myself are all potential bio hazards at this point. Do I send out a notice to everyone at the eight year old's school? Should the husband stay home from work? Should I shop alone at the market at 10pm only? The three year old got it somewhere so should I just accept that it's a very common virus (Fifth in the world as it happens) and it can't be that infectious?

Sending the info out to the three year olds class was a given - they were definitely exposed. The response was mixed. Now at the risk of sounding like an experienced (some might say pious) second time mom - those newer moms are a panicky bunch.
We don't have Cholera. It's a very common (did I mention Fifth most common?) childhood virus. Pre-schools are the petri dish of childhood. You attend - you'll get sick. Some say it's a good thing, developing immunity and all that. Some (perhaps less medically qualified but wise all the same people) say it's just a giant pain in the derriere. Either way - it comes with the territory.

Our first day back, I definitely observed a wide berth approach from some parents. The not so subtle (think Spanish Inquisition) style 'conversation' at drop off. The studious observation of the Three year old for signs and symptoms. Pregnant momma's that's a whole different thing - I was fully happy for them to give me a Hazmat suit. I am well aware of the those in glass houses principal but let's face it - this didn't stop me giving stink eye to the mom of the kid with the runny nose.


  1. So funny. I remember calling every mom in my playgroup when my first baby got croup and apologizing for attending. These days, I'm willing to babysit sick kids in their class because they're going to get it one way or another. (Hope you're all feeling better.)

  2. I'm with Stacey. They're all going to get it anyway. And you know as well as I do that someone else had it first and sent their kid anyway.


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