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9to5to9: The creeping crud’s creeping around

Submitted by on Thursday, 6 November 2008 No Comment

It’s coming. I’m headed toward it just as sure as the constant snotterfall has rubbed Big Guy’s tiny nose raw.

Any day now, I’ll have to decide whether Big Guy should miss his first day of kindergarten. Whether he’s really too sick to go or whether he’s going through his normal morning malaise.

It’s a much harder decision this fall.

I looked at his first report card a few weeks back, saw 56 days, no absences and knew it would never last. Not the kid with the immune system as flimsy as the tissues he’s gone through one after another this week. Not the King of the Ear Infection, though that problem’s improved with age.

It’s nothing serious. Just a cold — a very bad cold that’s refused to relent. It’s shown signs of abating for, oh, minutes at a time, but otherwise it’s assaulted for almost a week.

Clearly, he was miserable this evening as the frequent sneezing and blowing combined to leave him with a very sore schnoz. Compounding the problem: It took until late today to convince him that a Kleenex is a much better mucus-removal mechanism than his sleeve.

I’ve been rubbing Vaseline under his nostrils in hopes of shielding him — funny how that scent circumvented the stuffiness — but a new round of wiping eradicates it minutes later.

He doesn’t have any of the classic “keep them home” symptoms yet. The sneezing has gone on so long that I have no idea when he might have been contagious. No fever, though he does look hopeful every morning as I dutifully stick the requested thermometer in his ear. Not even much of a cough, and I always worry about that with an asthmatic. No lethargy beyond the usual morning slow-motion.

Yet, he seems to be genuinely suffering.

If it were a year ago, the decision would have been a snap. I could have worked at home without dropping a bomb on colleagues, so it would have been easy to keep him out and let him rest. Not that he’s mastered the resting part of being sick.

It’s different now, though. The papers handed out during orientation warned us that each day out of the classroom adds up to two in lost learning. Kindergarten being at the break-neck speed it is these days, I worry about that.

And if I let him stay home for sniffles and sneezes — granted, extreme sniffles and prolific sneezes — does that teach him to expect a day off for every bug that lands on him?

On the other hand, how much misery does it take to make him too miserable to learn? I wish there were a thermometer capable of measuring that.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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