MONDAY: Patient Zero was a seven-and-a-half year old girl with a rasp like Vader and green gunge coming out of her nose like the slime from Jabba the Hut. On her forth trip to the tissue box I asked her how she was feeling. “I’m fine.” She snuffled, wiping her nose inefficiently. “My dad says it’s a sinus infection.”
I’ve had those. They make you feel miserable. Every time you blow, the snot doubles in production. She can’t have felt fine. I made a point of telling dad when I put her into her car that afternoon. “Yeah,” he said. “I should take her to the doctor.”
She showed up the next day with her own pack of tissues and a little pep in her step. Obvious home doctoring at work. I’m not a parent. I shouldn’t judge. But I will.
TUESDAY: Two more children began making the trek to the tissue box. Each one taking turns to pull out a tissue and swipe it across their nose, smearing the goo around the cheeks and fingers. I began to obsessively wash my hands every time I pass a sink. But the sinks are few and far between and the slime is spreading faster than I can disinfect.
Seven year olds are touchy buggers. They like to put their hands on you when they speak, running their palms up and down your arm. They like to ask for help opening bottle tops or fruit bars or whatever, usually after they’ve eaten something with their fingers and smeared the wrapper with their gunk. I did my best to not touch my face but the day was long and the children were frustrating and the cooties were free-range.
WEDNESDAY: One kid out sick, three more with the drip. We were now on our third box of tissues. In their defense, the tissues are cheap and not one child had been taught how to blow. And yet, as the tissue supply is depleting, nothing we seem to do will halt the contamination. Seven-year-olds like to touch each other. Especially when the teacher tells them to keep their hands to themselves. Especially after they’ve visited the tissue box and swiped a tissue across their drippy nose.
And, to add to the joy, we have one kid with an obvious earache whimpering in the corner. "It's allergies." Dad says when I let him know as I put the kid in the car. He obviously does not have the same WebMD degree I do.
I no longer believe my hypothetical parenting of my hypothetical children will be perfect.
THURSDAY: We now have six kids doing the tissue box to trash to seat circle. Earache boy is back and very bouncy. So is the sick kid from the day before. Then, the kid who leaned against me during circle time and slipped his hand into mine while we were going to the bathroom and then told me about his sore throat spends the afternoon laying on the floor and moaning. He tells me his parents know about it and does/doesn't/does/doesn't/does/doesn't want to go home depending on what activity we're doing. Every time I mention his peely wally-ness to the powers that be, he rebounds and is seven-years-old and bouncy and fine.
It’s possible the sore throat is a call for attention and not actually a sore throat but I’m doubtful. I’m not the boss; I let the higher-ups make the call. They opt to wait and see. I opt to wash my hands again. I’ve added hand sanitizer to my routine but between the alcohol stripping away my skin and the cootie-fied kids touching the boogers then the hand sanitizer and then me, I’m losing the war.
FRIDAY: Another kid out sick. Patient Zero is still with us, still wiping and sniffing and sliming. Of the sixteen kids, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen every single one stick a finger up their nostril, root around, pull it out to examine the findings and then either put their fingers in their mouth or wipe them clean on their clothing. Or on someone else’s. In fact, during lunch, I actually witnessed a four-year-old from another class stick two fingers down the BACK of her pants and then put them in her mouth.
I have PTSD.
Despite the trauma I manage to make it through the day intact. I head home planning to douse myself in pure alcohol – inside and outside. Perhaps pouring the stuff down my gullet so enough of it seeps out of my pores will scare away the creepy crud. I plan on stripping down at the door and leaving my infecting clothing to be burned. I am feeling victorious at having made it through the week without a sniffle but I forgot about the damn door handles. Those damn door handles will be my undoing.
SATURDAY: I wake up in a good mood. The sun is shining and it’s a work-free/child-free day. I spend it putzing about the house doing things I should have done last week. I’m so happy I ignore the tickle at the back of my throat and the heat that begins to grow behind my eyes. I pretend it is lack of sleep or dust. That it is just a sad thought bringing about the congestion in my throat. I disregard the first sneeze, excuse away the second and ignore the third. It’s only when I realize that I’m at the tissue box for the umpteenth time that I have to admit it. There is nothing to be done. They got me. They freakin’ got me.
I curse them all as I hunker down in my blanket, tissue box at the ready. Husband curses me as he grabs a squirt of hand sanitizer and prepares to disinfect himself. He doesn’t know yet, it’s futile to resist. No matter the precautions, I will do my level best to infect him so I’m not alone.
SUNDAY: I alternate between attepmting to do yard work in the beautiful sun and lying on the couch trying to breathe. Husband is still cheerful. He is not sick yet despite my attempts to love up on him. In fact, he's smug and way too amused by my suffering. "Just you wait." I snuffle as I pull the last tissue from the box. "This will be you in two days."
I am not going down alone.
I didn’t do my blog post homework and write something because yesterday was our ten-year wedding anniversary.
TEN FREAKIN’ YEARS!!!
I’m not sure how we made it through one let alone ten. According to Husband, it’s because, “ You let me do what I want, and I manage your crazy.”
He’s not wrong.
We're not too cute about it. Meaning, I don't give him Shrek stuff and he doesn't give me Donkey stuff. We don't own the movies and, other than this picture, taken TEN YEARS AGO on our honeymoon, we don't have any pictures of them.
But Husband scored some serious points with this anniversary card...
Sure, it should be Shrek in jail but whatever. This is a WIN! I'm even going to let slide the fact that he said he loves "all of me. Every single one of my personalities." And that he forgot to give me what he promised he'd give me on our Tenth anniversary.
Well, for now I will. The guilty sighs will start up soon....
I’m working in a class with six and seven year olds this week. We’re putting together a mystery and we’re giving them clues to solve that will lead to them creating a story to act out and share. On Monday, a man in a black hat came in and delivered a “package” that he wanted them to take care of. This ramped up energy in the room from normal six and seven year old chaos to hyper squealing and speculation.
Yesterday, we were discussing the mystery man in the black hat that had given them a box containing “jewels.” The group came to the conclusion that the man was a criminal and that he gave them, the Dragon Detectives, the jewels so that the police would think they were the guilty ones. It was all kinds of chaos as they were speculating what should happen next until one kid piped up and said, “If I go to prison, I’m going to need my friends dad to go with me. He’s my Boy Scout leader and he is a prison guard.”
My co-teacher and I looked at each other. This could go badly really quickly. She stuttered, trying to form a response. I just started laughing.
And then a girl said in a traumatized voice, “OH! I’ll have to wear those horrible jumpsuits!”
By this point, I was hiding behind my notes and crying. My co-teacher and I could no longer make eye contact. She did a better job of keeping it together but only just slightly.
The craziness continued. My co-teacher was trying to get them to quiet down and actually come up with a story. It was at this point that our dear opinionated, overly sure, WAY overly educated seven-year-olds voice pierced through the cacophony.
“I don’t want to go to prison because of the food. They only give you TWO vanilla Oreos with a drink they call kidney killer!!!! AND you only get a sandwich with ONLY turkey and mustard!”
I was a mess. Tears running down my face. My co-teacher wasn’t doing much better. Thankfully seven year olds are great at talking over themselves and didn’t seem to notice the absence of adult commentary while they argued about PRISON and what it did and didn’t offer.
Later, I was sharing this story with another teacher who had a younger class of students. She had been working with them on making turtles out of construction paper for their story when one boy asked her in earnest, “Can I put a penis on my turtle?”
She didn’t think she’d heard him right. “Sorry. A what?”
Again, she was unsure. Did the six year old really just ask her if he could put a penis on his turtle? “What did you say?”
“Can I put a penis on my turtle.”
This went on for a while. She just couldn’t come to terms that he was really asking about putting a penis on his turtle. She kept trying to figure out what word he might really be saying that sounded like penis. Finally, she had to admit that it was indeed what he was asking and respond.
“No. Our turtles have a head and four legs and a tail, thank you.”
And that, my friends was Tuesday. We have three days left of this group. I’m not sure what educational gems today will bring me. I’m not sure I’m going to make it through any of it with a straight face and definitely not with my dignity intact. I mean, ONLY two vanilla Oreos? What is the world coming to?
Also, I’m not entirely sure where a penis on the turtle is supposed to go. At least not a sure as that six year old was about where one should be.
Sorry to have been so picture focused the last few posts. I spent last week teaching theatre to young pre-teens. I had such good intentions on writing blog posts in the evenings but after a day of trying to keep the kiddos engaged, entertained, focused diffused and excited, my brain was more old car trying to start on a cold morning; a backfiring stuttering mess. Less than inspired creative genius.
And this week will be more of the same. I promise, when I can pull two thoughts together and make them stick, I’ll tell you about the party we threw on Saturday and the random conversations I heard – started myself. For now, I’ll leave you with this -
Yesterday, while I was sitting in my three-hours-of-sleep zombie coma, Husband asked me if I’d gotten a chance to talk with a friend of ours during the party. I hadn’t. “Well,” said Husband, “I saw him looking slightly frantic and confused, staring into his cup and trying to fish out an ice cube. I asked him if he was alright and he said he’d taken acid and he’d just seen a spider in his ice cube and was trying to get it out…”
How’s that for a tease?
Wait. Crap. I didn’t think that through. Now I have to come up with more interesting things to share and that might have been the most bizarre one because it wasn’t that kind of party...
Really. It wasn’t…
My name is ej. I'm a girl. I say that because with the short hair and the short initials, folks aren't always sure. More brilliant insights to who I am in About me