Ladies and gentlemen, the 2017 school year has officially begun. You might be wondering (since our kids have been in school for weeks) what is signaling my official start date. Is it the subtle shift in weather? Or the sprinkling of pumpkin spice on everything from pastries to cookie butter? Or perhaps the big yellow bus hauling away my lovelies every morning?
Nope. The official return to school was at the doctor’s office last week, where I was handed an amoxicillin script for strep throat.
School, while it has many benefits (i.e.: educating my children, building friendships, creating connections with loving adults), comes with the drawback of being a cesspool of germs, only surpassed in its spread of disease by those rats that killed all of England during the black plague.
Since my children began attending public school we have been visited by the following: hand foot mouth, pink eye, ring worms, round worms, strep, every stomach bug in the western hemisphere and the big enchilada…lice.
If you’re cringing and judging right now, I’m going to assume you fall into one of a few categories:
People without children, who do not work with children.
Bless you. Bask in your superiority. You clearly made good life choices.
Parents without school-age children, who aren’t attending any regular childcare facilities such as preschool, daycare and mother’s day out.
Enjoy these last precious years of being judgy. Your time is coming. This is much like that time before you have a toddler and you see one flip out in a grocery store and you give that knowing smile to your partner that says “Ugh, those bad parents. That will NEVER be us.” Fast forward two years and you’re peeling your kid off the floor of the Target toy aisle while she screams “Help me…this lady’s gonna hurt me.”
Germaphobes who regularly hose their children down with antibacterial gel and obsessively pursue sanitation.
Your paranoia has served you well thus far. Carry on champ. Bonus points if you’re one of those moms who perform low-level witchcraft with essential oils. You smell like a hippie bead shop…but your health is impeccable.
Survivalists who have cut off contact with the outside world.
I get it. I am one break out from joining you. Enjoy your bunker.
Everyone else, I know you know what I’m talking about.
Last spring my daughters managed to contract head lice three times.
I’m going to just give you a minute to stop itching your head. THREE TIMES. Lawd help.
And it turns out all of those lectures I gave them about sharing are working because the third time they gave it to me. Then, for funsies, they gave me strep throat too…in case the head lice wasn’t pushing the limits of my sanity.
[Side note: I have a running theory that 2007 Britney Spears did not, in fact, have a mental breakdown. I believe that she contracted lice from her children and she was DOING WHAT SHE HAD TO DO. Trust me, after round 47 of combing out nits, you will strongly consider shaving heads, burning all your possessions and abandoning your house just to be safe.]
Just for good measure, this lice/strep breakout happened while my family was staying with us from out of town. Because nothing says “I’m so glad you drove 10 hours to see us” like lice combings and quarantines.
So when I felt shards of glass with each swallow, I knew it had begun. Welcome to the new school year.
We all got it, except the baby (because Jesus loves me). We spent the week consuming copious amounts of Netflix, Emergen-C, ibuprofen, hot tea, and rubbing/diffusing/consuming essential oils (because when you’re that sick you will most definitely dabble in the mystical arts). We managed to (mostly) kick it, but if I’ve learned anything in my four years of sending my children off to the germ factory, this isn’t our last plague of the school year.