Like you, I recently sashayed my way through the aisles of Target to gather my kids’ back-to-school supplies. Mechanical pencils? Sure! Washable markers? Why not? Traditional Elmer’s squeezable glue? We’re not using it in my house, so toss it in the cart! Don’t get me wrong, summertime with kids is the jam, but come August, this particular Mama Bear is ready to reclaim that part of her brain that’s been sequestered for the last two months by my children’s insatiable need for my attention.
That is until we face the dreaded sick day.
Let’s face it, my kids’ elementary school (and every single other elementary school in the free world) might as well be renamed “Germy Germy Cesspool Primary.” Sure, teachers tell us the kids wash their hands, sanitize, cover their coughs — but we all know better. Kids are disgusting. And whether I want to admit it or not, the laws of being a child dictate that snot from another kid’s nose will find its way into my kid’s mouth — and there isn’t a damn thing I can do to stop it.
So in order to prepare myself for the inevitable call from the school nurse, I’ve compiled a list of the top three things my kiddos will catch from yours this school year. And don’t worry, there are no hard feelings. We’ll be more than happy to pass the germs back around once we’re through with them.
1. The “Loose Stool” Starter
It begins with a watery poop. You know the kind. Sounds like pee, smells way worse? It starts there and quickly morphs into a cycle of gastrointestinal explosions that turn your house into a scene from a very toilet-oriented version of Groundhog Day: Vomit. Diarrhea. Sip of Gatorade. Vomit and diarrhea at the same time. Dry heaves. Repeat.
Thankfully, everyone will catch this but Mom. Sure, she’ll throw up in her mouth a little bit while scraping dried puke off the back of the toilet, but that doesn’t really count.
2. The Lingering Cough
This nearly symptomless ailment is like kryptonite to a blemish-free attendance record. My kid had the sniffles three weeks ago, but some pain-in-the-ass post-nasal drip has a death grip on his throat and keeps him coughing for, like, a million days.
The kid is literally doing cannonballs off the back of the couch and by all accounts is completely fine, but I can’t send him to school because I know you will look at me sideways (as I would you) while he’s hacking all over your kid’s Paw Patrol backpack.
3. The Eye of Pink
You think your family is too clean to catch pink eye? Oh, sweetie, that’s adorable. Because sister, pink eye comes for us all. It’s there in that hint of “sleep” in the corner of your kid’s eye that you tenderly wipe away with your bare index finger. It’s there on the classroom desk you casually touched before nonchalantly adjusting your contact lens. It’s there on the pillowcase you kindly laid your head on to help your weary little one settle in for the night.
It’s always there. Festering. Waiting.
And it’s coming for you.
But fear not, mamas! While the inevitable sick days will rock your world, turn your laundry pile into an insurmountable heap, and leave you looking like you haven’t run a comb through your hair since Taylor and Kanye were still on speaking terms, there will still be cause for celebration.
Sick days are our time to shine. We are the keeper and giver of all things “feel better.” From extra snuggles to extra episodes of Martha Speaks, nobody does nursing a little one back to health better than their mama.
And you got that one on lock.