Today I'm home with not one, but two sick kids. Are you kidding me? Sore throats, fever, stomachaches.
We haven't had a school year that was this unhealthy in. . .ever. I'm just beside myself with annoyance. The key issue here, and I see it all the time in the classrooms, is that parents see no problem with sending their kids to school when they're symptomatic: "Oh, it's just a little runny nose." This is so incredibly frustrating to me.
Parents have no problem sending a note to school when it's their own issue at stake: "Johnny is allergic to all nuts, including peanuts, and also wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, and dust mites. Please do not send any of these items to school and make sure your children are well dusted. Thanks, Johnny's Mom."
OK, so I feel bad that Johnny has all of these allergies, but Johnny is the same kid who comes to school with a dribbly nose which means he's likely in the very early stages of something contagious, but Johnny's Mom has no problem sending him to school and exposing him to my immuno-suppressed kid. Guess what, Johnny's Mom? That dribbly nose, which might be something minor for Johnny, is still really contagious and is going to wipe my kid out for a week and cost me in doctor visits and time that I can't work.
Believe me, we've tried the allergy parent tack and sent home notes to parents letting them know how important it is for Finn that they not send their kids to school when they're even mildly sick. You know what? People don't care. What if I did that? What if I sent in a PB&J sandwich even after a parent made their child's food allergy known? To me, it's the same thing. It's caring enough to respect someone else's situation.
Now obviously, I would never send it a food that I thought would endanger another child. Our very good friends have a child with a severe nut allergy and frankly, I get nervous any time I serve him something to eat and I scrutinize all labels before I even open something in his presence. But my point here is that if it means keeping a kid home from school and missing work or having to arrange child care, going that extra step just doesn't seem to be important enough to people.
We do as much as humanly possible to keep our kids healthy--healthy food, lots of sleep, supplements, being really vigilant about handwashing and germs--but nothing is going to overcome kids who come to school when they're contagious and cough and sneeze all over my kids. Nothing.
The school we're at now isn't actually a peanut free school, but we have been at them in the past. And I do have to admit, those kinds of restrictions used to annoy me because I would think to myself, "Wow, if my kid's food allergy were that life threatening that he couldn't be in the same building as a nut, I'd be too nervous to let him go to school and I'd homeschool." Heck, maybe our situation is the same. Until Finn is of an age where he can totally police himself and can consistently keep his hands away from his eyes, nose and mouth (and that does tend to be hard), maybe I should stop kvetching and homeschool him.
But let's face it, no one wants to do that. And I get that. Selfishly, I just wish other parents would give my kids the same consideration I give theirs. Is that asking too much?
Sigh. I know I've raged about this before. It gets me nowhere except making me sound like I have something against kids with food allergies. Which I don't. I'll stop now. I have to go take temperatures anyway and make chicken soup.