Runny Noses and Nosey Mothers
Let me ask you, all mommies who send their kids to school or day care, how you decide when your child is too sick to go to school or daycare?
Here's what happened. About a week ago, The Dictator caught a cold. And she had a bit of a cough. She had no fever. And she was in great spirits, laughing, playing, you know, happy. Thus, she wasn't THAT sick.
All was fine. Then, a couple days later, Nanny Mimi picked The Dictator up from school. She told me that one of the mothers was quite concerned about The Dictator, telling Nanny Mimi that her husband had dropped of their child a couple days earlier and had mentioned to his wife that "Rowan was coughing. A LOT! A LOT!"
Nanny Mimi kept stressing that this mother kept stressing that her husband had told her how much Rowan was coughing (Rowan is The Dictator, my daughter)
I felt instantly annoyed. I mean, maybe this mother really was concerned about my daughter's cough. But, frankly, and I know I'm lucky, I have a nanny. Which means, even though I have to work, I don't have to send my child to school if I don't want to. She could just hang out with Nanny Mimi all day.
In fact, because I'm a writer, I can pretty much work my own hours. So even if I didn't have a nanny, I wouldn't have to send my child to school, especially if she was sick. I'm lucky that way.
I'm also not a mother who thinks that my child can not miss a day, or three weeks, of nursery school. Come January, we're yanking The Dictator out of school for a couple weeks, so she can learn about life in Maui and the beauty of the ocean and the Four Seasons smoothie.
The point is, I'm not one of those mothers who will send her child to school at any expense, and I certainly wouldn't send my child to school if she was sick.
I soon realized that the only thing more annoying than parents who send their truly sick children to school (come on, we all hate that, just like we hate when people come to the office when they're super sick) is the parent who thinks you're the type of parent to send your child to school when they're sick.
Two days later, just after The Dictator was dropped off at school, and I mean 20 minutes later, I got a call from her teacher, saying that "Rowan was just not herself. She's pale and fell asleep on the floor and was coughing A LOT."
Which I thought was very odd, considering I had just spent an hour laughing with her, playing in her bed (She likes to talk to my finger - Mr. Ticklely worm) and my child did not cough once.
So I was amazed, that in twenty minutes, my child not only fell asleep at school, but was coughing a lot. It takes me 2 hours to get her to go to sleep. And, yes, she's pale. That's what happens when the weather turns to minus 30. We're not exactly getting outside in the sun that much here in balmy Calgary.
In my gut, and sometimes your gut is right, I felt that one of the mother's mentioned something to the teacher about my kid coughing and then the teacher got all concerned because another mother spoke up and complained.
Here's what I think. I think that every time my child coughs, she has me and Nanny Mimi asking her a million times a day, "Are you sick? Poor baby." So The Dictator has learned that she gets attention when she coughs, even fake coughs. Smart kid. If I could get away with that, I would.
But, still, the morning the teacher called, I immediately called our doctor and got her on the phone. "My daughter has been sent home from school. The teacher says she has a bad cough, but I haven't heard it very much."
"Does she have a fever?" The doc, asked.
"Nope. But I need you to come over and check her out."
So, the doctor came over, and checked her lungs, throat, ears. Voila, she had no fever. She was fine (And, as always, adorable, which has nothing to do with this story, but is important to mention.)
I still kept her home from school the next day, not because she wasn't in good spirits, but for fear she'd just be sent home again, or that the teacher wouldn't believe me that she was just fine, or that a mother would be all like, "Your child is coughing all over mine!!! Gaa!!!"
The truth is toddlers get colds, especially in winter, and those colds last forever. And if I kept the Dictator home every time she had a cold, well, she wouldn't be in school for months. Colds last for, like, three weeks, when they are kids.
Why? Because kids carry germs. I swear, the other day The Dictator was playing catch with a little friend of hers, who took the ball and wiped his snotty nose on it, before tossing the ball back to her.
Gross? Yes. But normal? Yes. And I don't freak out about those kind of things, because kids catch colds. In fact, they need to catch colds so they can build up their immune systems. You can't have your kid living in a bubble.
Then again, maybe everyone really was THAT concerned about my child. Maybe I should just shut up and be grateful that so many people seem to care about the health of my child.
But no one knows their own child as much as their mother. If she's sick, I'll be more than happy to have her stay home. I would not send my sick child to school, ever.
I kind of envy the mother who may have complained about my daughter. I mean, I just would never have it in me to complain about another person's child - unless of course it was serious.
I mean, there's this one kid in her class that always is hitting The Dictator. I know, because I've witnessed it. Have I said anything? No. Why? Because, frankly, that's kind of how three year-olds act. I would NEVER say anything to the teacher or mother, mostly becuase I don't think it's that serious. I trust that the mother, who has also seen her kid hitting, knows it's wrong and will deal with it herself. I would never tell on her.
However, my friend whose son keeps coming home from day care with bite marks, that I would complain about. But another kid with a cold? Um, no.
So, when do you keep your kid home from school? And when do you speak up? And when the heck do you just keep your mouth shut, trust that a mother does want the best for her own child, and buy some Kleenex in case your kid catches a cold?
Which they will.