• Oliver Messner

Influenza. How I loath thee!

Mia, my youngest, started going to the Kindergarten a few months ago and absolutely loves it. I believe that it is an important step for kids and helps them develop on an emotional, mental and social level. Interacting with other kids their age, coupled with the fact that they now also have to deal with, listen too and learn from adults other than their family is, in my opinion, vital to their early development.

Big and prominent on the early learning calendar is the time honored tradition of sharing. They learn about this from the get go and the teachers try their best to instill in them the belief that sharing is indeed caring.

Now it doesn't just stop with toys and food, they apparently love to share all manner of little germs and viruses among themselves too. Once they've accumulated enough of these, ( sometimes to the point that I'd expect the local center for disease control to raise an eyebrow or two over), they then love to take it home and share it with the rest of the family.

I can't recount the times I've gotten sick over the last couple of years. Out of the blue I'll get stuck with a runny nose, a stomach bug, a cough, the flu or, my all time favorite, a full blown fever. It all started about three weeks after my eldest first visited the kindergarten and then slowly calmed down the older she got, only to come back in full force when my youngest started her pre-school tuition this year. I've actually been fighting a fever for the last few days..... and it's the middle of freaking summer.

Although I fully understand that some parents do not have the option to keep their kids at home when they inevitably get sick but it isn't very fair on everyone else. It really is beyond annoying when my kid has been recuperating from the flu for the past week or so and she is finally healthy enough to be sent back to school only to come home a day or two later, bearing gifts to share among the rest of the family, in the form of another, totally different virus or bug. Kids, especially toddlers, have a rather disgusting tendency to touch, pick up , lick, taste and otherwise interact with any object within reach that they come across and then leave said object for the next ankle biter to come along and repeat the process.

In a classroom of between ten and twenty children, it's almost guaranteed that at any given time, at least one of them is sick with something or another. Pediatricians and doctors have explained to me that this is apparently a good and important way for their bodies to build up immunities to help them combat future illnesses. Be that as it may, the entire process can wreck havoc with a parents sanity, not to mention their wallets due to the accompanying doctor bills.

A few years ago, Kira was in her first season of kindergarten and kept getting sick on a seemingly weekly basis ( obviously, so was I ). I finished a job early one day and went to pick her up at around lunch time, walked in while they where eating and proceeded to totally flip my lid. There where about six little ones sitting in a half circle around one of the teachers, who was busy feeding them yogurt.... out of one container and using a single, solitary spoon to dole the stuff out. Two of the kids even had runny noses and I would have laughed if the situation were not so idiotic. When my first child was born, I promised myself to better control my temper and be an all round nicer, friendlier and calmer person but this was one of those times where I miserably failed in that department.

After many apologies and assurances that this would never happen again, I non the less removed my daughter from there and enrolled her somewhere else. She and consequently I, still got sick but it was nowhere near as frequently as before.

I am sure that almost every parent has their share of horror stories concerning this topic and imagine that it is something we all, inevitably have to face and deal with sooner or later.

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