Thursday, September 27, 2007

Putting the "Communicable" into "Community Learning Center"

It's Bambina's third week of preschool and--surprise, surprise--she came down with her first cold of the year this evening. If you are a parent you will identify with my feelings of simultaneous despair and sympathy: a combination of "Aww, hell" and "Poor wee lamb." You realize when helping a preschooler through the miserable panoply of cold symptoms that nose-blowing is not an innate skill, nor is finding the sleep position that allows you to get a modicum of rest without backing the phlegm up into your throat. Gross, I know. But if we can't be candid here, darlings, where on earth can we be?

Bambina does not get sick that often, so everytime she does I learn something new. Mostly because I flip out and start combing the CDC website for information on such frightening (and no doubt Outbreak-worthy) symptoms as "runny nose" and "low grade fever." I learned tonight that over-the-counter cold remedies have not been proven, in any of multiple studies, to have any effect on preschooler's colds, be it on severity or duration. Antihistamines also do not work. (A particularly poignant fact since Benadryl's inventor, George Rieveschl, passed away today. A generation of airplane-traveling parents salutes you, Dr. Rieveschl!). The only solution is hydration, rest if necessary, and perhaps Motrin or Acetaminophen, if the child seems to need it. No magic ways of making a preschooler's cold either easier or shorter, which of course is a tremendous blow to the innate maternal need to ease your kid's physical pains.

So I'm sitting in my bed with the monitor on, listening to her sniffle and breathe boogers. I, of course, will not be the one to go to her at night if she needs anything since I'm trying to cut down on my rhinovirus uptake for the next 9 months or so. This is a deeply distressing fact, even though I know she will be well taken-care of by people who would throw themselves under a bus for her. It's not the concern for lack of care that bugs me; it's the fact that I can't really hug her or sit with her while she's sharing droplets via hand and mouth. The doctor warned me back in April that this would happen, but we all agreed at the time that the paramount concern besides my health was ensuring Bambina had as normal a life as possible. That meant sending her to preschool, which meant running the risk of her bringing home a little something from Abby or Tyler (there's always an Abby or a Tyler, isn't there?), which meant me keeping my distance for a week or so till she wasn't contagious. So here we are. And there she is. Talk about subverting the innate maternal instinct, huh?

The good news is that Bambina is loving preschool, is making friends (if three year-olds can consider any human besides themselves as truly relevant), and is learning so many new things. For instance, just the other day she mentioned that "Ando"* (*names all changed) is in her class. I asked if Ando is a boy or a girl. She said, "Ando a boy.[two second pause] He pee standing up." (See? Human anatomy!) She also said authoritatively while doing a puzzle with me, "Mama, you not concern yourself with my pieces. You just worry 'bout yourself, Danielle!" I asked her about Danielle: "She bossy." (Learning teacher-speak for "shut your cakehole, Miss Four Year Old!"). I then asked her if she and Ando were friends: "No. I not like Ando." "Well, why not?!" "He have runny boogers."

Wait a minute.....!

When I next see Ando's mommy (oh, like, next year!) I'm going to thank her for sending Chronic Cattarh Ando to school when she should have kept his dreepy a** home watching SpongeBob.

At any rate, the subject of Ando gave me the impetus to have my feminist discussion with Bambina about how she is not *missing* a penis; that girls just don't need one. It arose today as she attempted to pee standing up, announcing to me that "I have a penis!" "No, sweet girl, you don't." "Yes I do! Look! Me standing up!" I resisted the urge to Lloyd Bentsen her with "Sweet Girl, I know penis; I have worked with penis. You, sweetie pie, do NOT have a penis," but I resisted, recognizing that I haven't shown her the tape of that debate yet. But I did take advantage of my last year of making jokes she won't get by saying, "But on that topic, we're having meatballs for dinner. Wash your hands and come downstairs."

Mother of the year, baby, mother of the year. ;)

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