Dylan has a cold, and thanks to the perma-runner of snot coming from both nostrils and a juicy, say-it-don’t-spray-it cough, he’s been sadly transformed into the sort of child that civilized adults turn away from with a delicate shudder. I suppose another household illness was inevitable, after all, it’s been like four whole days in a row without someone being sick.

It’s no fun plowing through all these childhood coughs and runny snouts and midnight urpings, but how exactly do you germ-proof a kid? I remember when I was first talking about going back to work after Riley was born, and more than one person lectured me on how unhealthy he would get being in daycare — well, sure, he’s been sick a few times, but not overly so. Neither of my kids have been prone to ear infections (despite being formula-fed, which as you know typically results in ear-addled, cross-eyed, inverted-nipple children), and while we’ve had our fair share of snot around here, it certainly seems no worse than the kids I know who stay home. Plus, if you’re that paranoid about germs, what do you do when you have a second child, and your first one goes to school? Add a glug or two of Purell to the baby’s bottle for protective purposes? Expose the toddler to antibacterial UV light when they get home?

It is a big old drag when someone in this house isn’t feeling well, though. If it’s one of the children, then life gets about 392751 times more challenging, and if it’s my husband, then I have to listen to this crap all day long (ha ha! Just kidding, sweetie!) (SECRET EYEBROW RAISE TO YOU GUYS: NO I AM NOT).

More and more I think that someone really needs to come up with a real version of that much-referenced mythical plastic bubble for children. It should have air holes, obvs, and possibly some sort of clever suction technology like an astronauts’ toilet, and you should be able to still give belly zerberts and om nom on cheeks and so on, but it should ultimately seal away all viruses and whatnot while simultaneously keeping your child from harming themselves in dangerous head-bonking, bone-cracking situations until they’re . . . oh, say 20 or 25 years old.


36 Responses to “Sealed”

  1. Jasmine on December 5th, 2008 2:30 pm

    Have you heard of this book? Disease-Proof Your Child: Feeding Kids Right by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. My friend changed her family’s diet and everyone in the house got much, much healthier.

  2. M.A. on December 5th, 2008 2:38 pm

    I am braying like a donkey — I completely forgot about the Man Cold. Thank you. Although I have to admit that the LAST cold my HB brought home from work was a REAL cold, which he gave me, and had me down for about a month. No kidding. Geyad. I need to remind him to bring home a “man cold” next time, or maybe just a stale bagel leftover from a meeting.

  3. Marvyn on December 5th, 2008 2:39 pm

    We have to drop off some items at my cousin’s house where her 1 year old daughter is spreading the cold virus. We’re just going to hold on to these things a bit longer and avoid that place like the plague. I don’t need my non-existent-immune-system pregnant wife getting sick.

    And I think Jasmine is onto something. Eating healthy should be a staple in everybody’s disease free regiment. Playing Russian roulette with Ronald McDonald and the chihuahua isn’t the best fuel for a healthy immune system.

  4. Debi on December 5th, 2008 2:40 pm

    Apparently, our children have crappy immune systems because they’re too clean. Feed them more dirt. You’ll be a “bad mom” but you’ll have healthier children. Seriously…how many of our parents died from peanuts and honey???

  5. samantha jo campen on December 5th, 2008 2:41 pm

    Um, that bubble thing is sounding pret-ty pret-ty good right about now.

  6. Eric's Mommy on December 5th, 2008 2:42 pm

    I would also like a bubble for myself, I am SICK of being sick.

  7. Marie Green on December 5th, 2008 2:52 pm

    Also, perhaps come with a mute button… or perhaps a “sleep mode”?

  8. Sue on December 5th, 2008 2:53 pm

    shrink wrap?

  9. sundry on December 5th, 2008 2:55 pm

    Ah, sleep mode. GOD I WISH.

    Also, with regards to “healthy eating”, pardon me while I snort so hard I suck the Diet Coke off your desk. If my toddler ate crap-ass McDonald’s every day I would issue a press release and run joyfully screaming through the streets because AT LEAST HE WOULD BE EATING.

    Ahem. Food. Yeah. That’s a whoooole other topic.

  10. Marivic on December 5th, 2008 2:56 pm

    Echoing Debi’s remarks…everyone *has* to eat their “pound of dirt a year” – it’s (dare I say it) HEALTHY to build up an immune system, yes, even a child’s’.

    Lola’s 3, has never thrown up and has had exactly 1 cold. Ever. My 4 oldest were subject to my awful parenting as well and have zero allergies and rarely get sick. What I mean by “awful” is that yes we obviously wash hands etc. after potty, before eating, the usual, but we don’t do anti-bacterial anything and generally let them explore all manner of surfaces (which is to say crawling around even if the floor isn’t 100% Comet-approved). Anyway, sorry for the rant, I just hate to see parents and their kids suffer, I honestly believe sometimes old-fashioned really is the way to go with raising kids. ’tis working for me! Hope everyone feels better soon!

  11. becky on December 5th, 2008 2:58 pm

    Um…can I use the bubble on the hubby with a man cold….not for zerberts…but I figure if it has the protection capabilities for a head banging baby…then surely it can withstand a full grown man being punted down the street…right?

  12. sundry on December 5th, 2008 2:59 pm

    Ah, Marivic, by your standards my kids should be downright Teflon-coated, because not only do they get exposed to all sorts of other ooky, germy children, but you should REALLY see my floors. Er, maybe you shouldn’t.

    Sadly, raising them in filth hasn’t seemed to stave off the occasional colds, though.

  13. Amy M. on December 5th, 2008 3:05 pm

    That man cold video made me snort my tea! When I was a kid & got pneumonia, among other horrible viruses, my Mom gave me a bell to ring for her …

    My offspring are ailing as well. The poor baby is so congested & we left the blue meanie (aspirator) at grandma’s last weekend. Am leaving work early today to pick one up now.

  14. Lisa on December 5th, 2008 3:14 pm

    Well, I am not sure about the kids in daycare getting sick more often than those that don’t go, I kinda think its a guilt myth. I stay home with my kids (lordy if I had to put them in daycare I would be making negative money as I was a teacher) and they are sick with colds ALL THE TIME. And my sisters kids that she breastfed and stayed home with…croup, pertussis, allergies, ear-infections and she is a total germ-x dispensing freak even at the pool in the chlorinated water, no joke. (it has rubbed off on her daughter and now we call them Monk and Monk, jr.)

  15. nonsoccermom on December 5th, 2008 3:21 pm

    Oh, man. It seems like our little one is sick ALL THE TIME. Our oldest used to get ear infections and colds CONSTANTLY until he got ear tubes, and they made such a huge difference in his overall health that I am seriously dying to have them put in my daughter’s ears. Even though she’s never had an ear infection. Does that make me a bad mom? DON’T ANSWER THAT.

  16. Liz on December 5th, 2008 3:25 pm

    My kid did me the favor of barfing on my pillow this morning, so I would like to see the prospectus on any bubble things.

  17. JenO on December 5th, 2008 3:28 pm

    Although it is painful now, I can tell you it gets better. I have 8 & 6 year olds and they are immune to almost any thing that comes through their school. Last year, the Kindergarten class went through months of strep, colds and stomach flu and my little trooper caught nothing. I spoke with the teacher about it and she said she could tell the kids that spent some time in daycare.

    I am not sure how long their super-human immune systems will last, but I am enjoying the benefits now.

    Feel better.

  18. MRW on December 5th, 2008 5:23 pm

    ah HA HAHAHAHA. The man cold video – had completely forgotten about that. Hilarious.

    I have to agree with JenO – when my son went to daycare whe he was 6 months old everyone in the house was sick seemingly every damned month for a year. Then he just stopped getting so many colds and now he’s nearly 6, started kindergarten in September, and has had only one very short-lived fever. God does it suck when they are babies (or men) though. I feel your pain.

  19. Lori on December 5th, 2008 6:46 pm

    Comments regarding ‘eating dirt’ rang a special cord with me. My husband suffered from an autoimmune disease called ulcerative colitis for the past 10 years before he had his large intestine removed this year. To ensure my kids don’t inherit his problems, his uber-specialist doctor sat me down and told me to…let my kids eat dirt. Apparently the incidence of diseases like his are increasing b/c our society is so clean. Who knew?! Our 3-second rule has increased to at least 10 seconds now.

    In regards to all the runny noses and fevers, I wish I knew how to stop those. I stay home with the kids, but I still feel like they have runny noses from November to March. Some days I’d be willing to try out the bubble if it meant I wouldn’t have to wipe another snotty nose.

  20. Nancy on December 5th, 2008 6:49 pm

    My twins started daycare in July, and it was one cold and/or ear infection after another for the first 3 months. At one point, I asked the pedi what I could do to help support their immune systems. He recommended probiotics. You can buy Culturelle at Target (behind the Rx counter, but not Rx) or Walmart (on the shelf near vitamins). I pop two of those capsule contents into a dish of yogurt or applesauce (or whatever your kiddos prefer), mix it in and dish it up. They don’t notice, and darned if we haven’t had only one cold and no ear infections in the last month. “They” say that 70% of your immune system is in your gut, so stock it up with good bacteria. Whatever — it’s working for us. After months of not being able to get through a single week without having to miss at least one day of work to watch a sick kiddo, this is glorious!

    Good luck… man, babies with colds just make it tough to get through the day, and especially the night.

  21. Bianca on December 5th, 2008 6:55 pm

    Hey Linda, I am HOOKED on Twitter thanks in part to you (SantaFrancisca). Speaking of which you had asked about zombie comics awhile ago and I was going to recommend Deadworld or Fleshrot to you. Let us know what you think!

  22. emily on December 5th, 2008 7:12 pm

    dude, you are not fucking kidding right now. my husband is “suffering” from a “man” “cold” as i type. already i’ve run out for OJ and brownies for him. he’s said many times, “i want to cry”.

    yeah! me too! PARENTS DON’T GET TO CRY, FUCKO.

  23. Jess on December 5th, 2008 7:33 pm

    Yeah my kid was formula fed (my boobs were stricktly for show apparently which is sad since they are so small and now saggy)and yet my daughter never got the vomiting up body parts flu that went around by us and many people that I know who TOUTED HOW MAGNIFICENTLY THEIR BOOBS FED THEIR CHILDREN all had sickly vomiting children. HMMMM and I let her eat a lot of dirt b/c I would prefer to talk to other Moms at the playground. So Sundry you are my kind of mom and if I didn’t live on the East Coast I’m sure we would hang at a park not breast feeding our kids and ignoring them while they ate twice their weight in dirt. Mud pie anyone? :)

  24. trish on December 5th, 2008 9:24 pm

    You may have already considered this, or know for a fact, but manay allergies mask as colds. Runny noses, coughs etc all coming from mucus stuck in the head. This can come from carpet and you’d be surprised how many less colds you will deal with if you get rid of the carpet and only use natural fibers in your house. (Cotton or Sisal on your wood floors, or even wool). I swear it makes a difference, and it took me only 30 years to figure it out!

  25. trish on December 5th, 2008 9:25 pm

    Please ignore my typos… it’s late on the East Coast!
    Adding….I went from 4 or 5 “colds” a year to none in 3 years. Removing carpet was the only change I made.

  26. H on December 5th, 2008 9:31 pm

    This won’t make you feel better now, but I swear they either get sick when they’re young or when they’re old. Mine went to daycare and got every bug imaginable but now that they’re 17 and 20, they’re hardly ever sick. My friend’s kids stayed at home (no daycare) and were pretty healthy then, but they catch everything now (and they’re ages 18 to 23.) It isn’t fun when they’re so little, they can’t tell you what’s wrong and they can’t take care of themselves. However, I think you pay now or you pay later.

  27. Mama Ritchie on December 5th, 2008 11:33 pm

    Here’s a question – are kids sicker now than when we were their age? I would ask my mom but she seems to have developed some sort of parenting amnesia where she has forgotten all the negative, shitty things we did as kids, resulting in her appearing as The Perfect Mother. Apparently, we never got sick, we were all members of the Clean Plate Club, we never fought with our siblings, we potty trained ourselves, we gave up the binky on our own, we used tissues and we said please and thank you without prompting.

    I digress… but it would be interesting to find some statistics somewhere. C was healthy his first 3 years – hardly got sick though he was bottle-fed (the HORROR!) – he started preschool this fall. He’s on his third cold and his very first ear infection. Everyone tells me that it’s just building his immune system. That’s like telling a bride that rain on your wedding day is good luck. Well, then – what’s sunshine?

  28. Timi on December 6th, 2008 1:05 am

    Oh my god, I feel you. My daughter was perfectly healthy, no colds or bugs for the first 9 months of her life when she had her own nanny. Then we switched her to group daycare because she was getting bored, and boom, three days after she started daycare she got sick and it hasn’t stopped since. It’s awful, but kind of a fact of life (and my daughter was completely breastfed) if she’s not going to get exposed to all of these germs now, then it will be in a couple of years. What can you do. Babies’ immune systems have nothing to fight germs with until they’ve been exposed to those germs. It’s the eat dirt theory, it’s just a necessary evil. Hope Dylan feels better soon.

  29. Joanne on December 6th, 2008 11:56 am

    God, I hope that there is some good to breastfeeding because I sort of hate it. Here I’ve been telling myself that it’s the reason my kids have never had ear infections! I think I’m just going to continue to go with that, as well as take credit for the lack of inverted nipples (so far!). We’ve been home until this summer when my son started in a developmental preschool and it is a pain in the ass, he gets all kinds of germs there and brings them home to us and the baby. It’s a drag but what are you going to do? They have to leave the house sometime.

  30. iidly on December 6th, 2008 1:43 pm

    Let your kids get sick it will help their immune system when they are adults. I am serious not being sarcastic.

  31. Anonymous on December 6th, 2008 7:36 pm

    wow, you sure complain allot these days.

  32. sundry on December 6th, 2008 9:45 pm

    Oh, I KNOW, and don’t even get me started on rude chickenshit commenters who can’t spell “a lot”, like OMG.

  33. shelto on December 8th, 2008 8:49 pm

    Whilst at the zoo the other day, my son and I visited the restroom. Where I saw a little girl, 5?, come out of a stall eating a fruit roll up. She set it down on the sink counter(!), washed her hands, and continued to eat her snack.. I threw up a little in my mouth. Yes, kids can be disgusting, but really?

  34. Abby on December 9th, 2008 7:32 am

    i only have 1 kid so far (20 months old) and this is why i have a nanny and am not sending her to daycare. (well not just this, there are a gazillion other conveniences to having a nanny for us, but this is one of the main reasons). i know eventually she’ll have to go to preschool, kindergarten, etc, but not yet. so far she’s only been sick a handful of times, and she was formula fed. i just can’t deal w/ more of it (especially if it’s avoidable).

    i get pretty extreme about it too. was inviting a friend over for dinner w/ her kids, who said they’d love to, as long as we don’t mind that their 4 yo is sick. i said i mind. :)

  35. Kristin on December 10th, 2008 10:08 am

    I’m just catching up after a few days, so I hope you’ll see this one……here’s my theory….daycare or no daycare, we all have to take the swim in the cesspool of germ exposure at some point or another……..yes, its as frustrating as heck while you’re going through it, but that’s just the way it is!!! My two girls (now 6 and 22 mnths)both did daycare, and we’ve had our share, but I always felt like I’d rather have them missing daycare when they are younger & it doesn’t “count”, than missing school when they are older. You can pay now or pay later, IMO!!!

    And my ped assured me that its NOT us, especially with the 2nd (because Emme seems “sicker” than Charla ever did) – she said its simple – Charla didn’t have an older sibling bringing home all of her germs, in addition to the ones she picked up herself throughout the day.

    Ultimately, I’m just trying not to stress too much (and I am NOT a Purel freak)- just be practical & reasonable in our hygeine/hand-washing, etc. – and looking forward to the day when, in a few years, they are damn near bulletproof because their immune systems are built up from exposure!!!

  36. Jan Neuner on October 18th, 2010 3:44 am

    Very helpful reading. Nice piece of info, have a nice day!

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