Sunday, August 15, 2010

Family Life as Germ Warfare

I got strep.

This doesn't usually happen. Usually my children get sick, I nurse them, and then I get sick.

But this time, I started it. I picked it up randomly, at the grocery or the swimming pool or something. No one I know is sick, but I was the first to fall. Then, my older daughter got it. Now my husband has it. We're fighting to try and make sure the baby (age 3) doesn't get it.

I'd never realized before how germy family life is. Once I was recovered enough to think about it (which was right as my older daughter fell ill), I put on my combat gear and set to work.

I wiped every handle, knob, switch and button in the house with clorox wipes. Boy! There are a lot of those. I lysoled the couch. I washed all the bedding and towels on the sanitary cycle. I threw away anything in the fridge that had been eaten from (half finished chicken breast, leftover French fries, unfinished yogurt, etc.). I quarantined big sister in her bedroom, a floor away from the little one.

So, we've been trying to protect ourselves from each other. It's NUTS how many things that entails. We can't buy a smoothie and share it. We can't put the cucumbers in a communal bowl on the dinner table. We can't share a bowl of popcorn (hands in bowl, hands in mouth, hands in bowl, ewwww!) We can't kiss. A hundred times a day, someone starts to do something that would spread contagion and has to stop him or herself.

When we're all healthy, it's amazing what we all share unthinkingly. We all get loco-pops and Little Sister asks to taste mine. I let her. The girls take a bath together. They kiss Daddy in the same spot on his cheek. We pour Little Sister's unfinished stew back in the pot, which Mom and Dad eat as leftovers for lunch the next day. It's a little disgusting when I think about it too much. Maybe in this case, the unexamined life is better. Family life is gross. And that's not even bringing poop and snot into the discussion. EEEEWWWWW!