Friday, June 27, 2008

Making the Tough Calls

Since my son has been suffering, I had to make the dreaded call to cancel a playdate I had long been looking forward to. Though I was eager to hang with the girls and also let my girl hang with some friends, one look at my son made the decision pretty easy and obvious.

However, some times the game time decision isn't always so obvious. I can't tell you how many times I've cursed the parent who decided that bringing his or her child to Little Gym despite a tuberculosis like cough threatening the health of all the aspiring athletes in attendance.

Realizing that a definitive list was a civic responsibility (and because I love to make up lists), I have generated the following guideline for germ etiquette:

The Top 5 Signs You Need to Keep 'Em Home:

5) Nothing is more run of the mill than runny noses. These disgusting annoyances are the result of anything from teething to allergies, to running outside with the wild abandon. However, if the nose is secreting anything that resemebles any color other than yellow or light green, keep them home. If it isn't clear, than your call to say home is.

4) If your child is consistently coughing, do the rest of us a favor, stay away. Now, there are such things as harmless coughs (when mucus has decided to take up residence, for example), but the actual appearance of a lung isn't your only sign that things are contagious. Consistent coughs are the fastest way to spread the germ love.

3) Rashes. I don't care if the doctor says they aren't contagious...making an appearance at a playgroup with a child that is peppered with any kind of spot is the surest way to ensure you will not be invited back.

2) If there is anything moving on your child. Enough said.

1) Misery. As much as moms crave the chance of social interaction, dragging a bewildered child to playgroup will surely spread one thing: misery. I am certainly guilty of convincing myself that a little distraction will help a child feel better, but you are just setting yourself up for tough times. Playdates should be fun for everyone, not just the mother who needs to discuss something other than the fact that Caillou is 4 and has no hair.

****And the best rule to follow: When in doubt, don't.

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