We’ve been hit again – this time, a crappy chest cold is making its way through the family. I came down with it yesterday and I feel pretty darn crummy – not bad enough to avoid my usual chores and work, but bad enough to want to whine a whole lot, drink copious amounts of tea, and wear the biggest, fuzziest, socks in the world. You know how it is.
The kids all have it too, to some degree, which means we have been doing the usual dance of Who Should Stay Home? There’s no doubt in my mind that the following symptoms mean staying at home: fever, vomiting, listlessness to the point of being willing to or even asking to take a nap, breathing or asthma issues, and possibly broken bones.
It’s the grey areas that kill me, and almost always leave me feeling like I’ve totally wimped out. So I’m looking for some feedback here – would you keep your child home under the following circumstances? Or would you send them to school?
Situation A – Child has plenty of energy, but has a sniffly, runny nose, which you suspect will gross out the teacher and probably spread germs to most of the other children in the class. But if the child stays home, you will end up with tissues on the floor of every room and a kid at your elbow declaring themselves SOOOOOOO BOOOOOOORED every five minutes until you want to give them up for adoption. What do you do? Does your answer change if you have a dentist appointment that morning?
Situation B – Child has plenty of energy for annoying his sisters, and no symptoms other than a chesty cough. You know that he has asthma and gym first period, which will likely combine to cause some sort of incident if you send him to school; but if he stays home, he’ll likely cough once an hour then spend the whole day playing video games and rotting his brain. Do you send him to school with a note to sit out of gym, knowing he is going to throw it away in embarrassment and run around anyway? Or do you keep him home and try to convince yourself that six hours of Mario Kart is educational?
Situation C – Child complains of vague symptoms like “sore throat,” “stomachache,” or “headache,” but seems otherwise fine. Do you send them, risking a call from the school an hour later reporting your child has vomited on the classroom floor? Or do you keep them home, only to find them jumping on the couch after snarfing a secret loot bag full of Skittles they found in the back of their closet? Does your answer change if said child pulls this kind of complaining all the time, or is a rock of stoicism and never usually complains about anything?
Parenting – it’s all grey areas, isn’t it?