Let me start out by saying that I know I’m jinxing myself with this blog entry.

By publicly saying what I’m about to say, I am almost certainly bringing unholy doom unto our little family, possibly in the form of simultaneous stomach flus that send virulent substances shooting from everyone’s mouth and ass at precisely 3:12 AM.

And yet: I feel I must share this, because it’s been such an amazing and shocking turn of events.


Here goes.

No one has been sick in over a month.

Since their last day at daycare, both kids have been perfectly healthy. No puking. No fevers.

Riley’s mysterious, worrisome headaches and tummy aches have completely disappeared.

Their near-constant runny noses? Gone.

The bottles of children’s Tylenol and ibuprofen in the medicine cabinet? Full. Seals unbroken.

Like I said, I know—I KNOW—it’s stupid to say this out loud. It’s just . . . I can’t help it. I can’t believe the difference. I always joked daycare was a petri dish, but I never suspected how true that really was.

It’s funny, in a way. For so long I had to put my kids in daycare to work. Daycare often made my kids sick. Staying home with sick kids put my job in jeopardy. Ha ha ha ARGH.

And now, I guess I’ll knock some wood. Toss some salt over my shoulder. Cross my fingers. Maybe get out the barf bucket, just in case.


40 Responses to “Tempting fate”

  1. Melissa on October 12th, 2010 2:48 pm

    Same thing happened here when I pulled my son out of day care. It’s amazing what a difference it makes! So happy for your family!!

  2. Amy on October 12th, 2010 2:49 pm

    As winter approaches, I hope you’ll also keep them on a dose of Vitamin D … it comes in chewable gummy form, they’ll beg for it. It has done wonders at keeping flu and colds away from our house for 2 years now.

  3. Kami on October 12th, 2010 2:50 pm

    Our troubles started as soon as she went back to pre-school again this year…she had nothing all summer and bam, it’s back.

    I hope it continues for you and the boys :)

  4. Elle on October 12th, 2010 3:07 pm

    We’re experiencing the reverse: my two oldest sons headed off to public school after being homeschooled for the last four years, and our household has been plunged into a never-ending cycle of ear infections, sinus infections, and flu (affecting even the other two, who are not in school).

    Hope that your run of good health continues! (I’m betting it will.)

  5. Gigi on October 12th, 2010 3:13 pm

    LOL! Don’t forget to say a novena!

    Kids are nothing but germ factories and once you put them all together in daycare or school no one is safe!

  6. kim on October 12th, 2010 3:45 pm

    Yes, both of my girls were constantly sick the whole time they were in daycare (years)! I like to think they are now immune to a million different things. :) They are in school now but it doesn’t seem to impact them the way daycare did. They are rarely sick these days.

    I’m so happy for you – and yes, it is ironic. Now that you can take care of them without fear of it impacting your job, they aren’t sick. Yay still tho.

  7. Eric's Mommy on October 12th, 2010 3:51 pm

    Eric was never sick until he started preschool, he’s never sick in the summer. As soon as he goes back to school, he’s sick. He has a cold right now.

  8. melanie on October 12th, 2010 3:58 pm

    I have always thought you can’t escape it one way or another, either they get it early in daycare or they get hammered their first year in school… I stay home with my kids and they were healthy little ones, but the minute I put Drew in preschool (allie was only 6 months old) the germ factory started… so now I hope not to notice as much of a difference when Allie starts preschool next year. Now if only we could avoid shopping carts…….

  9. .303 Bookworm on October 12th, 2010 4:20 pm

    It’s 4am you should be worried about :o)

  10. .303 Bookworm on October 12th, 2010 4:20 pm
  11. Connie on October 12th, 2010 4:32 pm

    Oh honey, you said it out loud. Must go sacrifice chickens and maybe goats. Light candles. You said it out loud. (Seriously, does not surprise me, but you never say those things in a public forum).

  12. Erica on October 12th, 2010 5:27 pm

    The last year that my daughter was in public school – three years ago, 3rd grade – she not only stayed sick ALL the time, but also got headlice FOUR TIMES and pink eye twice! I am so so so glad to be homeschooling!

  13. Emily on October 12th, 2010 6:00 pm

    You are truly a brave woman. I said something similar last week. So far we’ve had three sleepless nights capped off with a positive strep test (older kid) and early wake-ups and a gross runny nose (younger kid). So, good luck to you.

  14. anonymous on October 12th, 2010 6:00 pm

    No need to acquire wood-knockers, salt, or barf buckets. I hate to think it, but childcare places seem to be petri dishes of bacteria and viruses.

    I like Melanie’s term, “germ factory”.

    Something for other parents to think about: if your child is sick, running a fever: don’t fudge, keep him at home till 24 hours AFTER THE FEVER BREAKS.

    Ditto adults in offices? You hate to lose workdays, but honestly: STAY HOME.

  15. Linda on October 12th, 2010 6:06 pm

    Anon: it’s not always that simple. I mean, it would be nice, but when you’re out of sick time and your ass is going to get fired if you call in one more time, you sometimes send your kid to school with a dose of Motrin and a prayer.

  16. Anon:) on October 12th, 2010 6:31 pm

    The thing with keeping them out until they are 24 hours fever free is that it doesn’t work if it is just one family doing following that rule. You have to get the entire class (or daycare depending on if the different classes share spaces) to follow that rule. We try to combat the “germ factory” that daycares are, but there is only so much that you can do before you require each kid to bring their own plastic bubble and/or hazmat suit to daycare with them.

  17. Deb on October 12th, 2010 6:47 pm

    My daycare requires every child and adult to wash their hands as soon as they enter the classroom and they practice frequent handwashing and it has made a HUGE difference (yes, there are sinks in every classroom). Just a thought for those who still have kids in daycare – maybe a recommendation to the school nurse? The nurse at our school has said that she is amazed at the difference for both the students and teachers.

  18. Ally on October 12th, 2010 7:09 pm

    This is what i’ve always heard about daycare too, my mom drilled it into my head, and this is why I always had a nanny. The kids are not exposed to other kids’ germs nearly as much (my now 3 yo did start going to nursery school at the age of 2, twice a week), but definitely not as much exposure as full-time. Even during those 2 days a week for 2.5 hours each day, i constantly saw parents bring in totally and utterly sick kids, and I was so angry! Because unlike daycare, I knew these nursery school parents had a choice, and could have kept these kids home.

    and that’s why now, every time i keep thinking of putting my kids in daycare, since they’re no longer babies (14 months and 3.5 years old), I think of all the times they would get sick, and how i would have to take all this time off, and I just cannot let go of my nanny arrangement because of this reason.

  19. Faith on October 12th, 2010 7:14 pm

    Yeah, really any public place where lots of people gather regularly is a petri dish, adult workplaces included. Each time I went to college my entire class would spend the whole first semester battling the same cold passed around and around until our immune systems got up to speed. And I remember that when I worked in an office, it was impossible to escape illness for very long (especially when I worked in doctors’ offices). Since I started working from home three years ago, I’ve been sick maybe twice. I thank the health gods for that every single day, twice a day during my recent pregnancy. When you announced that you were taking the boys out of daycare I expected to hear that the illnesses would become less frequent – I’m so glad for you that it happened that way!

  20. Lori on October 12th, 2010 7:26 pm

    Good news! It’s amazing how much better life is when the kids are healthy. Even something as simple as a runny nose can throw their sleep off and put them in a bad mood. And how nice to know that if they do get a cold you and the little guys can snuggle up on the sofa and watch ‘toons all day instead of stressing about whose turn it is to stay home from work. Daycare definitely provides the prolonged exposure, but I really think it’s anywhere with kids. My own got plenty of germs at the childwatch at the gym, church nursery and playgroups.

  21. Kristal on October 12th, 2010 7:43 pm

    What are you doing, woman? Seriously, knock on the wood.

  22. Anonymous on October 12th, 2010 7:52 pm

    I work in a child care center. Total fucking petri dish. Over the past week alone we’ve had bronchitis, colds turned into sinus/ear infections, a stomach flu accompanied by high fever, & multiple back injuries plaguing us. And that is just the staff.

    And officially I’m not saying this, but don’t feel guilty about the occasional dose of motrin to do what you have to do. The vast majority of the time we as staff members have to show up to work and somehow power through with migraines, back injuries, fevers, bronchitis, even walking pneumonia because there aren’t enough staff to cover scheduled days off much less when people call in sick.

    Yeah, this was not a day that I especially loved my job for this very reason. I love what I do, and love the children & families that we serve, but it certainly comes at a very high price when I’m compromising my health simply by showing up to work every day.

  23. Christina on October 12th, 2010 7:57 pm

    Same thing happened for us. We had the kids at big day care and small home care situation. After we had them home with a nanny the difference was A-MAZING. Now that the five year old is in school, we are back to sickness for all of us. Seriously bumming me out. Oh well.

  24. Ness at Drovers Run on October 12th, 2010 11:36 pm

    HAH. You made me laugh out loud with this post. I said the same thing to my hubby back in May, and it was more like, “Honey, I’m almost afraid to say it but no-one has been sick for like 3 months now!” and he gave me this look, and then almost leapt out of the sofa and said, “Shhhh!!!! They will hear you!” – not sure if he meant the kids, or fate and murphy’s law!

  25. jessica on October 13th, 2010 5:40 am

    It gets better… My son lived through the petri dish of childcare… he got everything under the sun except chicken pox (darnit!)… When we started going to a play group when he was four, he was the healthy one and the other kids were perpetually sick because this was THEIR first mass exposure to outside family germs.

    It has to happen sometime, I think. Your kids will be healthy like you won’t believe in kindergarten and 1st grade. I can count the number of times on one hand I’ve kept my 2nd grader home from school since he started school 3 years ago.

  26. Korinna on October 13th, 2010 6:39 am

    I’m thinking you might working a win-win over there.

    Not only are they healthy at home since they’re not licking everything in sight (what is UP with kids and needing to lick everything)–BUT! they received some killer immune-system boost by being exposed to some germs early on the game.

  27. Jen on October 13th, 2010 7:55 am

    Ugh. My son just turned four and started Junior Kindergarten this year. He’s been home with his Dad and never in daycare, and OMG. We have all been sick nonstop for the past three weeks :( I could honestly count on one hand the number of colds he’s had in the past four years… until now!

  28. pam on October 13th, 2010 8:26 am

    i’m just surprised you’re surprised.

  29. kristylynne on October 13th, 2010 9:00 am

    Yep. Scary, ain’t it? I told my pediatric allergist that my son’s nose started running the first day of preschool and did not stop until the first day of summer break, every year. He didn’t believe me and told me the kid has allergies. Funny how the allergy medicine never helped, though. Finally, now that he’s been in preschool for four years now, he seems to have built up some immunity. Which didn’t save him from nearly dying from the flu this spring. I’ll be getting him his flu shot as soon as I can.

  30. MRW on October 13th, 2010 9:19 am

    We were disease free for a month or so even though my daughter is in daycare and my son started second grade. Then, we went to visit the cousins – three kids under 5 all going to daycare in a different city. Got back Sunday, Tuesday morning daycare called, my daughter has a fever and is home today as well. God damn it, if it’s not my kids own school/daycare making them sick, now it’s the cousins. GAH!

  31. June on October 13th, 2010 10:08 am

    Re the headaches and stomachaches – I’m re-reading Weissbluth’s sleep book as I attempt to find a solution to my 3-mo-old twins excessively late bedtime, and he suggests that sleep deprivation often causes headaches and abdominal trouble. Perhaps Riley is better rested now that he’s not rushing to day care in the AM?

  32. Janette on October 13th, 2010 11:51 am

    It’s pretty cool. The only time our son gets sick is when his daddy brings home a cold virus or something. And then I get the subsequent ear infections. I know this is all going to change once school starts, but dang this nice compared to what other parents I know go through.

  33. Katharine on October 13th, 2010 12:09 pm

    That’s great! We found the same thing when we pulled our son out of daycare. He’s in part-time preschool now and since he started, sure enough, both he and his sister have gotten sick. I think it’s an inevitable consequence of kids being near each other.

    I have a question – my son is approx. Dylan’s age and I’m pretty sure if he had a headache he wouldn’t know how to tell me that. Maybe he would say his head hurt – not sure. How did you know? I’m prone to headaches and sometimes worry that if my kids are, I’d have no way of knowing and might mistake it for sleepiness or general crankiness.

  34. Linda on October 13th, 2010 12:20 pm

    It was Riley (who is 5) who talked about headaches. I don’t think Dylan (2.5) could articulate if he had one.

  35. Katharine on October 13th, 2010 12:56 pm

    Ah yes – I misread – thanks (and I’m glad the headaches are gone!)

  36. simon on October 13th, 2010 3:11 pm

    Knock some wood. Heh heh.

    Sorry, couldn’t help it.

  37. Kristin on October 13th, 2010 3:13 pm

    Just found your blog. Funny stuff. And more importantly… real stuff. Thanks for the chuckle.

  38. goingloopy on October 14th, 2010 5:51 am

    It may be that daycare was stressing Riley the hell out, or that he was depressed. When I was about 7 or 8, I went through a rash of headaches and stomachaches that had no organic cause — we did weeks without dairy, without wheat, switched pillows and bedding and laundry soap — and nothing helped until I was out of school that year and not getting bullied by an evil teacher and teased by a bunch of mean kids. With you homeschooling, Riley knows he’s in a safe place with someone who loves him.

    Even as an adult, for me, if I hate my job…I start getting sick a lot….blinding headaches and stomach issues. When the situation improves, no more mystery ailments.

  39. Josefina on October 14th, 2010 10:49 am

    Yeah. We’re a lot better since I pulled the kids out of school.

  40. Heather on October 18th, 2010 1:19 pm

    Hi, Linda,

    Once upon a time I made a well meaning but poorly worded comment on another piece you wrote… and I made you grumbly.

    I see you made the same choice I did…and I’m so glad for you! May you enjoy every moment of childhood! (and yes, they do get sick tons less). Reason 4,000,000 why keeping kids home works.
    I’m just so. Incredibly. Happy for you.
    Also, I wish I could swear with such abandon. It’s kind of amazing.

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