Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A Little Common Courtesy

I can't keep this in, I'm sorry. I'm not one to usually use my blog to rant,especially since I'm not good at ranting, but I need to today. Simmer, simmer, simmer, I have to get this off my mind, so here goes...

Both my kids have been sick a lot this winter. I expected the colds, but the stomach virus took me off guard. Our family has stayed home for well over two weeks. Before that, we stayed home off and on while Laurel and Ian were getting over other colds. This was done intentionally to let my sick little people recoup and so they wouldn't infect others.

Today, I felt it was safe to take Ian to Jumping Beans, a little exercise class provided through the city I live in. To say he was excited to get out of the house would be an understatement. "We're going to jumping cwass, hurray!" he shouts as we load up into the van.

We arrive at class, take off our shoes and sit and watch some girls run around on the mats in the middle of the floor. "Mommy, there is children here!" He smiles ear to ear. Ah, it's good to be out around other people again.

We start class by marching in a big circle. Ian holds my hand and tries to march, actually he's taking gigantic steps without lifting up his knees. Next, we walk sideways, backwards and then on tiptoe. Ian's having a blast trying to imitate the teacher. We are warmed up and ready to stretch. We all grab a mat to sit upon.

That's when I notice it, the little girl sitting behind us begins coughing, a down deep in the lungs kind of cough. The mother grabs a tissue and has her daughter blow her nose. I think to myself maybe, hopefully, it's just a cold, no big deal. Wrong. As class progresses and we start running, her cough gets worse and even sounds a bit like a bark. Her mother occasionally takes her aside to blow her nose, but then gets her running again.

Of course Ian and I used sanitizer after the class, but other kids that use the equipment that little girl handled may get infected. I remember a music class Ian and I took when he was about 14 months old, where a mother used sanitizing wipes on anything her little guy played with or chewed on. She used them before he got his eager paws on them, and after, very considerate in my opinion. Maybe I need to start doing that too, using wipes on the equipment before and after Ian uses them. But in the exercise class, there are times where balls, hoops, etc are being tossed back and forth between children. Then, it's out of my hands and Ian will be exposed to whatever.

I know we parents can't keep kids home for every little cold, but when a child is continually coughing that hard, they need to stay home. They need to stay home to get better, and to not spread germs to others. This is just some little, inexpensive class, not a mandatory thing. When Ian is sick, we skip class so that others aren't infected. I also refuse to take him into stores while he may be contagious.

As a teacher, I couldn't believe that a few parents would send their children to school with a note or having called me saying to the effect:

Dear Teacher,
Please keep an eye on __________. She threw up last night. She has a slight fever. If she gets worse, please send her to the nurse.

The poor student usually ended up going to the nurse, and then sent home ill. Then whatever the ailment was would spread through the classroom. Smart. So respectful of others.

I'm not saying that for every little cold a child needs to stay home, but when it's more serious, like a respiratory infection, pink eye, the flu, or worse, yes, he/she needs to stay home. A little common courtesy can go a long way to help keep our children healthy.

16 comments:

Heidi said...

Yes it is so hard especially during the flu seasons. I always am so torn since it is actually good for their little bodies to be exposed to - like you say the "little stuff" so that they can build up an immune system. It's so important for them to get rest when they are sick so that they can get better faster! And not expose everyone at the height of the illness!

We are sick now to yucky...hope all of you stay healthy!

beth said...

I absolutely agree. This is one of muy all time peeves with people. And I know it's hard sometimes. Sam and I have been home waiting for him to get over his cold for 2 weeks now and it's not like I havn't wanted to get us out of the house, but I have not taken him to any place where he is among other kids and spreading germs. I just feel like none of us should be doing anything to make another mom's life any more difficult, or child for that matter.

Pattie said...

I could not agree with you more. I kept my son home for the first time this school year because he had pink eye. He was fine, but I didn't want him around other kids until he was treated. Also, I remember a time in preschool when another parent told me she gave her son Tylenol before she took him to school because he had a temp of 102! I couldn't believe it. A little consideration of others goes a long way. I agree with you, too, that you can't keep a kid home for a cold. They would never go anywhere if that were the case! :)

binkytown said...

Im such a germaphobe I totally agree. Ive been couped up in this deep freeze for days but I'll be damned if I'm going to take my little man to the library or the childrens museum because of that woman and the deep down cough. Its cold and flu season people!

carrie said...

I agree with you completely! While it may be hard to catch some viruses in their contagious phases at the beginning before the symptoms present themselves, it is obvious when a child has a horrible cough (unless it's asthma - which isn't contagious) or green mucus.

I firmly believe in the 24 hr. rule and try to follow it. That is, if your child has vomitted, had diarrhea or a fever in the last 24 hrs. KEEP THEM HOME. It will do all of us some good.

And please, rant all you want! I just did and someone actually got a little mad at me...

Carrie

ps. I like your new look! :)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that IS annoying. I have my own problem. As soon as I get into the gym Hunter starts coughing... he's not sick or anywhere near... I feel like I'm the parent you are talking about, but he really isn't sick. Ack... embarassing turn of events for me, the teacher, who gets sick when parents send their sickies to school....
~Elizabeth

Kristen said...

I cannot believe that a parent would send a note asking for a teacher to KEEP AN EYE on a sick child that they should have taken time out of their day to stay home and watch/take care of themselves! That is sad.

And yes, I hate seeing really sick kids playing and spreading germs all over. I have to fight the urge to go up to the mom/dad. But I'm crazy like that. Hand sanitizer is as far as I end up going though. But I sure do put it on her in PLAIN view. Hoping they will get the picture- though I'm SURE they don't.

mo-wo said...

I remember my first few times dropping my daughter off at daycare when sick kids were there. It always bugs me. But there seem to be a lot of parents that try to push it. It is like you say a matter of courtesy.

that letter from home slays me. can't be!

MaryP said...

Apart from the consideration factor - and wouldn't it be nice if more people showed some? - the issue is their child's comfort.

As you said, that class was nothing mandatory. Even if the child was asking to go to the class, you say, "Sorry, hon, you're sick. If you go, it'll just make you feel worse." Does it not occur that their child will feel worse for all that vigorous exercise?

If the child wants to go out - and fresh air is good for them - put them in a stroller and go for a walk around the block, just the two of you. (Or you can invite a friend. As long as the children stay strapped in their respective strollers, a couple of feet apart, the odds of catching anything are remote.) If you stay close to home for your walk, you can go back the minute she gets tired - or she can sleep in the stroller as she breathes in some fresh air. Just don't be taking her indoors, into a group of people!

That's the key for avoiding germs in the winter: stay outside. Really. It's not the temperatures that give us the colds, it's being cooped up indoors together when there's bound to be someone with something contagious.

Munchkin Land said...

I SO understand where you are coming from; we do our best to keep Devyn away from any children while she is sick. We won't even put her in the church nursery. I hate it when mothers don't show the same respect.

Kelli in the Mirror said...

Rant on, sister! :) I have that happen to me pretty regularly. Was he coughing a lot today? Yeah, he was up four times in the night and I gave him medicine this morning... But they didn't bother to tell me that in the morning when they dropped him off.

Michelle said...

Ugh, that is so disrespectful (of others, of her child) and annoying, I'm completely with you on that one!

Damselfly said...

Hey, I like your new look! (But the lighthouse was nice too.)

I agree, if you're sick, you should stay home. That goes for school as well as the workplace or activity classes for kids. My rule has always been if I throw up or have a fever, it's a day to stay home.

Glad you could get out and have some fun!

Alli said...

Here, here! It also drives me crazy when kids are coughing and sneezing and their parents don't remind them to cover their mouths (if they are old enough to do so).

Kelly M said...

Oh I'm so with you! I to am a teacher, (I no longer work in a public school but in a private facility - the kids don't leave) I so used to hate this. Used to call parents all the time to come pick up their kids...after 1 hour of being at school. Didn't you know for some parents we are babysitters?? Very annoying! I too am a HUGe Disinfectant USER!! I carry it whereever I GO!!

Knitting Maniac said...

Don't EVEN get me started....