January 14, 2017

occupatoinal hazards: germs

The thing about hand, foot, mouth disease is that by the time a roly-poly toddler has nonchalantly dripped, wiped, and licked his infested saliva all over most structures in your home, you don't even realize that he is sick.  Who can read the mood swings of those little runts, who sporadically grow teeth, develop ornery personalities, and suffer from sleep deprivation?  Their 'issues' make it hard to pinpoint if they are actually ill or just dealing with the frustrations that accompany life as a non-communicative poop-machine desperately wishing for his needs to be met. 


So that's how Christmas break began at our house.  Said tot deposited germs arbitrarily around our happy abode prior to his diagnosis.   The unwelcome, relentless virus added a whole new dimension to our extended time with our children over the holidays this year.

My big kids interact with the babysitting kids all the time.
Tetanka was a triple threat when it came to contracting the bothersome and clingy hand foot virus thing.  First, he can't keep his mitts off the tykes.  He relates to them.  The little fellas may not 'use their words', but Tetanka is well versed in baby-speak.  I suspect that he's secretly starring in a remake of the movie 'Big' that I swear is being filmed in my home daily via hidden cameras.  Small child trapped inside a soon-to-be-man with size 14 steppers.  If the hidden camera thing is a reality, then most of the flick will be bleeped out because of Tetanka's unsuspecting mother's potty mouth. 

Secondly, Tetanka is the least likely of my offspring to practice proper hygiene.  Hand washing, tooth brushing, showering:  all activities he practices less frequently than most of society would deem acceptable.  Wearing the clothes one slept in, avoiding fruit, inhaling food meant to be consumed in small quantities:  these typical Tetanka tendencies welcome germs of all shapes and sizes.

Thirdly, Tetanka's immune system starts off somewhat compromised from the word 'go' because the kid is in a constant battle with sleep.  His standoff with acquiring decent sleep patterns is the opposite of my life's mission to catch more z's.  Despite our best efforts to send him to bed and encourage a good night's rest, he can be found lurking behind corners, stalling, or eating.  There is no end to the tactics he enlists while begging to watch additional television.  Rest, sleep - who needs that?

After Christmas, Tetanka developed a sore throat that initially threw me off.  I assumed his recently completed strep medicine hadn't been potent enough.  Although his throat culture was negative, when his little brother, Reggie's, throat culture was positive a few days later I asked the doctor to take a second look at T.  Aha.  He identified the little blisters in the back of Tetanka's throat as the hand foot thing.  Curly presented with a fever a few days later.  While wiping handles, doorknobs, and light switches with Lysol wipes, we waited to see if she would have the curable strep or the lengthy hand foot.  Not long after we realized that hers was hand foot, Reg admitted his throat hurt as well.  Double whammy for this kid.  Strep and hand foot mouth.  Good times.

During one of our days of quarantine, I decided to take the four youngest kids to the movies.  Unable to invite friends over, visit a  museum, or other public place, I pondered an activity we could partake in where our germs wouldn't be easily spread.  The contagious kids agreed not to spit on anyone - simple.  Coughing and sneezing weren't issues, so armed with the winter gloves they planned to don at the theater along with the knowledge that they wouldn't spread the virus by accidentally licking someone, we set out to see a matinee.

The remaining days of this seemingly endless break were spent checking the healthy kids for any sign of the dreaded illness and watching movies.  We rented oldies but goodies, like 'Mr. Mom', from the library.  Other days I served as referee as we tried to get a consensus on which taped movies to watch.  Twice we took a small break from the boob tube to play a family game.  In my spare time, I prepared vats of jello and dedicated myself to stocking the freezer with popsicles.  Not only did I encourage constant hand washing, but I urged anyone with a sore throat to not pester me for a cold treat . . . just serve yourselves!  Mayhem ensued. 

Healthy Mini shared her disgust with me that her siblings were feasting on popsicles undetected all morning in the basement.  I suspect she was a bit jealous that her pain-free throat left her with no reason to indulge in frozen treats.  Aside from this one moment, I don't think anyone else was envious of our Christmas break germ fest

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