Much like mice that harbor bedbugs, children are the carriers all things bacterial, viral, and otherwise bad for health. Plus, they give me heart attacks. Since I started teaching preschool (again) (mistake) barely two months ago, I have been sick with a variety of illnesses afflicting nearly all parts of the body…including heart attacks. I’m fairly sure that I’ve had up to seven heart attacks a day since September. Oh, and did I mention that I’m not even technically teaching?
Oh, okay, let me clarify. I’m assisting. And by assisting I mean things like this happen: the actual teacher and I are standing within equal distance of a child with rainbow mucous streaming down her face. Actual teacher says to assistant teacher, “Oh, could you help her wipe her nose?” (oh, by the way, why me?) No. Because helping her makes exposure to the rainbow snot plus the possibility of being covered in it a sure bet. Not to mention that I am already internally vomiting by seeing it slugbubble out of her nose. No.
By “help her” actual teacher means “do it for her” which means? Now I am contaminated. Because even though I feel like saying a big fat overemphasized “NO!” I do it. And while I wipe and cringe, rainbow snot germs crawl into my pores, disperse through my veins and hitch directly into my lungs where they send out all of the rainbow army into every area of my body that can produce and store large amounts of phlegm. Plus I have three heart attacks right then because I know what is happening. I know what that freaking rainbow snot army is up to.
It doesn’t matter how many times I scrub my hands. Or how many times the little ones scrub their hands. The concept of germs with children does not compute. If they can’t see the germs (i.e. the snot, the pee, the poo, the GERMS!) it does not require washing. The only thing kids believe in that they can’t see is Santa Claus. Because he brings presents. But invisible germs make you sneeze and cough and feel yucky?! No way.
So the wee one in question is finally coerced to wash her little fingers and pat them dry…and ahhhhhhhh, she snakes one little pointer finger back up the nostril it came out of and for good measure the other hand trails back down the rear end of her little fuchsia corduroy pants with the pink satin hearts on the back pockets. Adorable. Great. More whooping cough. More boogers. More e. coli. Thanks. I always need a little e. coli and a heart attack with lunch.
And here’s the real thing of it. The preschool where I work is on a lovely piece of land out in the country in a rustic home and it is truly magical. The beauty of the surroundings plus the organic home cooked lunches make it rather pricey. So the children attending have parents who let’s just saaaayyyyy, can afford it. And most of the mom’s are stay-at-home. So, if their child is sick enough to stay home the only thing that is interrupted, seriously, is yoga. And mayyyyybbbeeeee tea with the girls after reaching proper consciousness at yoga class. At other preschools where I’ve taught, a child’s sick day can cost a parent’s work day. That, I get. Other arrangements still must be made but…but in the current preschool…conjuring up stories (or, benefit of the doubt…a medical information error…) about how your child’s fluorescent snot is not contagious to get out of bringing your sick child home with you when only your yoga class will be disrupted??? Seriously. Moms. Seriously.
Oh, and more importantly so I am not the total naysayer…with warmest appreciation, I thank the moms and dads who keep their sick kids at home. They are learning how to care for themselves by watching you care for them!
So yes, I rant. I rant for the week’s pay I lost from BOTH jobs because those who send their children in sick.
Simultaneously, I make some decisions. I have to do something to make money. But accountability is key and this I know is true: children are not my thing; I can do without the germs and heart attacks.
What I do know is: for the rest of my life the very most important things for me to practice are writing, publishing, and performing poetry, listening, learning, reveling in silence as a form of communication as well as learning to choose words that matter when I speak, making connections, riding my bike, seeing the world, and being creative…thinking larger than my immediate horizons.
And also? I don’t do “kid” posts. This is the last one. You’ve got my word.
*(oh p.s. thanks to www.accessv.com/~shawgrp for the rockin’ 1980′s Rainbow Brite Image)