I fought these odds when I was an elementary school teacher. It didn't always work, but I had my germ-fighting, immune-boosting strategies down -- teaching kids the vampire cough, strict hand washing policies, an arsenal of zinc lozenges and vitamin C, as well as maintaining a safe distance from infected children without revealing that I viewed them like leper pariahs.
It's the "safe distance" part that's the catch-22 for moms. It's impossible to avoid the germ-ridden coughs, saliva and mucus of your own child. In so many beautiful ways, mother and child are like one. Unfortunately, what follows from this conclusion is that their germs become yours too.
When I'm not engaging with Claire's runny nose in a vain attempt to wipe it, she's coughing in my face without heed to the concept of personal space. If she's not handing a booger to me to hold (sorry for the visual), she's demanding a drink from my glass or some of my food (since, of course, whatever I'm eating is infinitely better than what she's eating, even when we're eating exactly the same thing).
It's unfair. I suffered through these garden variety illnesses as a child. It's Claire's turn to catch germs, not mine. Don't think me callous, either. Of course, I feel horrible when my child's sick. That's exactly the point. I want to spend all of my faculties nursing her back to health, not have them compromised because I'm taking care of me.
The worst part is that all of the railing in this post won't help me to avoid the inevitable. We are both going to continue to get sick. At least, I'm no longer suffering in silence. Thanks for listening!
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