There are four teens in this house. They all live here. They attend four different high schools.
Savour that for just a moment.
On an average day, the combined number of humans they are exposed to in school ALONE is just under 4000. And unlike the time I made up that number regarding how many treats I took from the free candy dish at my optometrists office (My number: 2, Real number: 5) I am not making that number up. Approximately 4000 kids A DAY have access to my kids hands and delicate mucus membranes. Add to that, the fact that these are all gangly teens with emerging personal hygiene skills and a spongey pre-frontal cortex that tells them it’s totally cool to share a Coke with 5 of your grossest friends.
The number of viruses, pathogens, and plagues I am in turn being exposed to every day is at most, pandemic, or at it’s lowest, an informative pamphlet from your doctor’s office. Illness and the various stages of illness are on a convenient rotating cycle at all times in this house. You are always heading-into or rolling-out of something germy, so you never really know what you have or who Patient X is in the house. In the last week alone I have experienced the following symptoms which may or may not ever turn into anything:
-Can’t stand the smell of ketchup.
-Fever with follow-up chills.
-Unable to locate keys to Gym locker.
-Inability to see reasonable points in husbands arguement regarding my skim milk purchase.
-Pants from 2 years ago no longer fit.
-Uninspired Instagram posts.
According to WebMd, I either have a parasite, tuberculosis, or am lactose intolerant.
Hey, what ever happened to lactose intolerance? I feel like it kind of got swept to the side when the peanut thing happened and never really got the exposure it so badly wanted. Gassy kids need validation too!
What WebMd does not tell me however is that kids are all walking petrie dishes on loan from a virology lab, guarded by Paul Blart, Mall Cop. They parade around the house unaware of the pestilence they carry in their lunch kits, disguised as fruit roll-up wrappers and yesterdays peach pit. If I seem cold and uncaring with my kids during the school year, it’s because I literally have no idea what I am being exposed to through a hug. My next best idea (in a sea of really good ideas) is to tend to them like radioactive isotopes and handle them through the loving touch of lead lined gloves and a 3″ thick glass barrier, or just head straight to the Silkwood showers. It’s still a mother’s love…just in an antiseptic form.