At Home

We’ve been hit again – this time, a crappy chest cold is making its way through the family. I came down with it yesterday and I feel pretty darn crummy – not bad enough to avoid my usual chores and work, but bad enough to want to whine a whole lot, drink copious amounts of tea, and wear the biggest, fuzziest, socks in the world. You know how it is.

The kids all have it too, to some degree, which means we have been doing the usual dance of Who Should Stay Home? There’s no doubt in my mind that the following symptoms mean staying at home: fever, vomiting, listlessness to the point of being willing to or even asking to take a nap, breathing or asthma issues, and possibly broken bones.

It’s the grey areas that kill me, and almost always leave me feeling like I’ve totally wimped out. So I’m looking for some feedback here – would you keep your child home under the following circumstances? Or would you send them to school?

Situation A – Child has plenty of energy, but has a sniffly, runny nose, which you suspect will gross out the teacher and probably spread germs to most of the other children in the class. But if the child stays home, you will end up with tissues on the floor of every room and a kid at your elbow declaring themselves SOOOOOOO BOOOOOOORED every five minutes until you want to give them up for adoption. What do you do? Does your answer change if you have a dentist appointment that morning?

Situation B – Child has plenty of energy for annoying his sisters, and no symptoms other than a chesty cough. You know that he has asthma and gym first period, which will likely combine to cause some sort of incident if you send him to school; but if he stays home, he’ll likely cough once an hour then spend the whole day playing video games and rotting his brain. Do you send him to school with a note to sit out of gym, knowing he is going to throw it away in embarrassment and run around anyway? Or do you keep him home and try to convince yourself that six hours of Mario Kart is educational?

Situation C – Child complains of vague symptoms like “sore throat,” “stomachache,” or “headache,” but seems otherwise fine. Do you send them, risking a call from the school an hour later reporting your child has vomited on the classroom floor? Or do you keep them home, only to find them jumping on the couch after snarfing a secret loot bag full of Skittles they found in the back of their closet? Does your answer change if said child pulls this kind of complaining all the time, or is a rock of stoicism and never usually complains about anything?

Parenting – it’s all grey areas, isn’t it?

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9 thoughts on “At Home

  1. A) Goes to school with a box of kleenex if the snot is fairly clear and runny. Stays home if it’s smelly and/or green and thick.
    B) Goes to school and I CALL insisting he sit out gym – though really my kid’s a rule followers so a note would suffice for us.
    C) Goes to school if the kids frequently plays the stomachache, etc. card. Stays home if it’s out of the norm. (Our oldest has vomited only twice in his life and always without warning.)

    I keep the kids home for fevers, listlessness/sleepiness, copious amounts of green snot or severe asthma.

    Thankfully I’m super close to home and school if something happens and Dad works from home two days a week so I frequently send the boy to school on Monday, knowing he’ll probably have to stay home on Tuesday. But since Dad is around and he’s old enough to manage on his own, everyone is happy.

  2. I have kept my child at home for a hacking cough, but otherwise had great energy, because I figured that the hacking cough would be disruptive to the teacher and the class. Kid did just fine with a day at home reading and watching videos. Went to school the next day (still a hacking cough but not quite as bad) and lots of water, OJ and contraband throat losenges (though his throat didn’t hurt – just trying something to help minimize the disruption). Those grey areas are tough, but generally I agree with Carly. I tend to err on the side of “go to school” and it usually works out. Those school secretaries are made of tough stuff to deal with all the crises that go through their office!!!

  3. I very much dislike the grey areas, and have been known to wish my kid would “just vomit already!” – then I’d know.

    In the past I’ve sent a quick email to the teacher along the lines of, “I think he’s fine to go to school (emphasizing no fever, no vomiting), but if you should feel he’s not up to it, please call me.” For some reason, that removes most of my guilt.

    Now that they’re older, I’ll also tell the kids “You’re going, but phone if you’re not well.” I’m a firm believer in the power of recess, snack time, pizza, friends, etc. to distract them and make them forget about vague things like sore stomachs.

    Having said all that, if life’s been tough and they’re really wiped, and it’s been a long time since the last long weekend, I will cave in and give them a rest day at home on the strict condition that YOU DO NOT BUG ME OR I’LL WALK YOU BACK TO SCHOOL!

  4. A) Depends if the kid can blow/wipe his or her own nose, or if they will use their hand and spread germs.
    B) I’d send him to school and CALL to say he is to sit out gym.
    C) Keep home if kid is normally a rock of stoicism, send if kid is normally a complainy pants.

  5. I’m ruthless. Off to school in all three situations. And calling me doesn’t make any difference, unless you are vomiting in the office or laying somewhere with a broken bone. I don’t have a car to come pick you up, so it better be serious if i’ve got to call someone to come get me at work and then go to school.

    like i said, ruthless.

  6. I’d say off to school as well. My girls are rule followers and hate to miss school so they never even ask to stay home. Usually it’s only in a case of high fevers and/or vomiting. Other than that off they go. I made Maya stay home the day after she was in a car accident, Abby the day after she broke her thumb and the day after she ripped off her toenail. In all the three cases they lobbied hard to go to school, but I kept them home to deal with any residual pain they may have had the second day. My kids are wonderful weirdos.

  7. I’d keep all home for all situations even if it irritates me. Rot your brain with tv and video games as long as you are QUIET while I do my stuff. This way I can usually guarantee they’re back to normal and out of my hair quicker. I pump them full of probiotics (seriously, for sore throats, open the capsule and put the chalky powder in your mouth and leave it there, it has worked for us EVERYSINGLETIME, never any doc offices or drugs) and grin and bear it. This is how we do it ‘now’. Once I go back to work I have no idea how we’ll deal with it then. Good luck! Can we tell the polar vortex to get the hell out now that it’s almost March? Go back up to the Arctic where you belong, kinda thing? SIGH.

  8. I totally believe that one day’s rest early on (even if it’s spent in front of the TV or the 3DS) has the potential to prevent more, worse days off, so I’d likely keep them home. That said, I packed The Girl off to school yesterday morning after a night of coughing and hacking because I had a massage booked at 9 a.m. and wasn’t going to cancel for the third time in three months (due, of course, to one or the other of the kids being home sick). Ended up picking her up at 11 a.m. anyway…but got my massage!

  9. I sent Lulu to school this week with a bad cold.
    It started last weekend and was at it’s worst Saturday & Sunday.
    But on Monday I sent a message in her agenda to her teacher letting her that I could come and get her if she feels worse through-out the day.
    Packed her extra tissues and warm chicken soup and kept my fingers crossed.
    In the end, being at school helped distract her and she was in great spirits when she got home each day after seeing her friends and teacher.
    I’ve also really been on her to cough into her arm and put used tissues in a plastic baggie that she carries around with her.
    I refuse to pick up any from the floor any longer.
    selfishly I didn’t want to catch her cold before we go away for March break.
    So it’s been air hugs and no good night kisses all week.
    Not sure if this wins me Mom or the Year Award, but heck a sick mom is never a fun mom either…

    hope you all feel better soon

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