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Germs begone!

February 23, 2011 - Betsy Bethel
If you haven't had illness in your house this winter, just wait.

Stomach bugs, ear infections, sinus infections, colds and good old-fashioned influenza have kept some kids out of school more than snow days have — and that's saying something. The onslaught has turned normally level-headed mamas into anxious, careworn, blubbering masses of loungewear. I wonder if show and tell in some classrooms has been suspended until further notice due to too many kids bringing in their partially digested breakfasts.

Moms are using Facebook not only as a sounding board for their children's symptoms, but also to vent their frustrations. One mom and I were in the midst of a FB chat about how my daughter WAS sick and her son WASN'T, when the school called her. He WAS, after all.

And what about when Mom gets sick? Well, suffice to say, all bets are off. All rules are now negotiable; routines become fickle. I remember one mom a few months ago, she was so sick her boys were gleefully emptying 1-pound bags of M&Ms and peanut M&Ms onto the kitchen floor — tip-tip-tip-tappity-tip-tip-tip and then whoosh, tidal waves of colorful candy shells. She had no energy to tell them to stop. I bet she'll find M&Ms until 2024.

I was only somewhat sick this week (mystery illness) and I barely got out of bed for 24 hours. I "put" Emma to bed in my own bed rather than trying to sit or kneel beside her bed. I read her books and went to sleep right beside her — "We're having a sleepover party," she said. Oh the rules we break when we're under the weather. Unfortunately, babies don't understand "Mama's sick," and misery begets misery.

I have no magic bullet to help rid Ohio Valley households and classrooms of the nasty germs that have settled here this winter. We try to wish them away, praying for our little ones' heads to cool off, their stomachs to stop emptying in unorthodox ways, their ears to cease and desist.

All I can say is I wish you and your families good health. And when you find it, spread it around, OK?


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