Kindergartners are gross. I know because I have one at home. These mini people will not hesitate to lure you in for a hug and then sneeze or cough in your face. They may also use the shirt you are wearing as a tissue even though they would never voluntarily use anything to wipe their noses except maybe their sleeve or arm. Between my daughter and her friends over the past few months they’ve had lice, ringworm and pinworms. Those are exciting moments in our household because my husband and I have no idea what to do.
A few months ago I took the kid to the doctor because something weird was happening. A kid whose been potty trained since she was two and never has accidents suddenly was peeing her pants like a drunk man in an alleyway at 3 a.m. Except this was at school in front of all her friends and she was horrified. Kids like talking about pee and poop, but that doesn’t mean they want to do it on the floor of the classroom. So, I took her to the doctor. I was worried it was a urinary tract infection or a strange form of defiance. It had to be something. No urinary tract infection. Nope. They checked her butt and lo and behold there were little white worms wriggling there. I was tempted to leave my daughter with the doctor (she seemed nice enough) and come back when those things were no longer in my child’s butt. The doctor wouldn’t own up and insisted I take her home with me. When we got home we took some shots. Not of tequila like I wanted. Pin-X is this yellowish liquid that is supposed to banish those wriggly jackasses from your nether regions, so we took shots of that. She has since stopped peeing her pants and I haven’t started, so I think we are okay for now.
A case of lice was another fascinating experience. One day I noticed a dark gray critter crawling around on my bed. It looked like your average bug, but something inside of me knew it wasn’t. Then I saw one fall from my child’s head like a man jumping off a skyscraper. Why the louse did it, I’ll never know. I slowly inched toward my daughter’s head while trying to keep a safe distance in case one of the suicidal Phthiraptera (that is their fancy name) tried to land on me. Her head was crawling with them. How we didn’t notice it before is beyond me. I brush her hair every day. Okay, maybe not every day, but often enough where such a development shouldn’t have gone unnoticed. I took her to the bathroom to contain the situation. I felt instantly itchy. My husband did too. There was mass hysteria in our household. Everything got thrown into the wash. I thought of throwing away all of our furniture and moving but settled for cleaning everything in sight and suffocating all her stuffed animals. (I am not a homicidal maniac of stuffed animals. Putting them in a plastic bag to rid them of lice is a typical recommendation.)
I insisted that I had lice too. Yes, my itching had increased since I realized my child had them, but when I thought back I realized that I had been somewhat itchy for a few days. My husband checked my hair and there they were having a party near the nape of my neck. They were just there. Apparently the lice found the rest of my head unsuitable. My husband was certain he had them too. His hair is sheared to the scalp so I reassured him that unless they were an Olympic version of the buggers he was safe. His single friend who was staying with us curled up in a ball and rocked himself on the couch feeling itchy and promising himself to use every contraceptive possible to ensure that he would never have to deal with this grossness.
My husband ran to the drugstore and bought high quantities of lice removal chemicals and steel combs to get the nits (lice eggs) out. He doused us with the chemicals and began combing. His attention span dwindled halfway through combing my daughter’s hair. After all he didn’t have them and his friend was in town to have a good time not look at the louse removal process. He decided more chemicals and less combing would do the trick. He took my daughter outside and hosed her down and doused her head with more liquid lice remover. This is when I knew we needed an intervention. I called a discreet and confidential mobile head lice treatment service in the area. The owner was busy that day but said she would come by the next day. My daughter and I spent the rest of the day not certain where to sit or what to do. The next day the lice lady came to the house and she fixed us right up. She meant business. My daughter didn’t like having to sit still so she told the woman she didn’t like her. The woman said that was okay because she had six kids at home who didn’t like her either and that she was going to de-louse my daughter’s head whether she liked it or not. That shut my daughter up. After an hour of treatment we were $100 lighter in the pocket and bug-free. It was the best-spent money, ever.
I now have a newborn and am even more aware of the grossness of kindergartners. I try to keep mine at arm’s length at all times. She finds this offensive. She insists on kissing me or holding my hand, and doing the same with the newborn. I am like a goalie trying to field her tiny hands as they try to contaminate us. It doesn’t work. Those tiny hands work quickly. I try to tell her just to touch his feet. She instead puts sloppy kisses on his cheeks. He loves it and I am appalled.
Kindergartners don’t just pass around human disease agents that infest the home. They are walking cesspools of viruses and bacteria. In the past three months the kid has had strep throat three times. She has tonsils the size of gumballs dangling in the back of her throat just asking for some bacteria to come hang out and they happily oblige.
Someone is at fault and I think it is you. I would blame elementary schools, but I have seen the artillery of hand wipes and sanitizers in every classroom of my kid’s school, so I know that isn’t it. The real problem is parents who don’t keep their sick and disgusting kids home when they should. Yeah, you know who you are. You are the same person who takes your kid to the playground after the school sent him home because he has a fever. You acted surprised when they called, but you knew he had a fever because you sent him to school with one. Now Johnny is wiping his snotty nose on all the playground equipment because he doesn’t believe in tissues and your shirt isn’t handy since you have smartly gotten as far away from him as possible. You know kindergartners are gross and that is why you are avoiding yours. Plus the break allows you to have five minutes away from him and you are tired. So very tired. So tired that you don’t care that the entire city is now going to come down with whatever Ebola-like illness he is carrying. You also have to now explain to your boss that you won’t be in tomorrow because schools have a strict 24-hour no fever rule and they are already onto you since they know Johnny has a fever.
The snowball effect of a kid home from school is significant. Work piles up and it means hours at home trying to just catch up. Now you are sick and you can’t take off work because you already did to take care of Johnny. His sister Ashley is coming down with it so you have to hope she gets better fast or that the school doesn’t notice her low-grade fever. So Ashley goes to school sick and passes it on to her best friend Kara, who passes it on to Tyrone who passes it on to Sam who passes it on to my kid. Now I have a sick kid who puts mushy kisses on my newborn and me. Now we are all sick. Thanks for that.