Tag Archives: mothering

Is Your Child Too Sick for School? Or, When Doctor Land’s Kid Threw Up On The Teacher.

It was about 7:30 one morning 10 years ago when, while rushing to clean up breakfast, make lunches, dry my hair and convince three slow kids to move along I heard my son say, “Mom, I don’t feel so good!”

We have all had mornings where we have heard those words but – what do we do next? How do we know when to keep our kids home and when to send them off to school?

Part of our job as parents is to get our kids to school on time everyday. Doing so helps ensure their success in school. We know this and yet, the decision about when a child is too sick for school can be a very difficult one.

While your decision must involve a healthy dose of common sense, here are some basic guidelines to help you:

  • You child should not attend school if they have had a fever over 100.4 in the last 24 hours.
  • If your child is contagious to other kids (some examples are: fever, vomiting, diarrhea, uncontrollable coughing, red and oozing eyes) she should stay home.
  • Keep your child home if they seem too sick to be able to participate actively in school.

Here are more specific examples (each with links to help you know when it is time to see a doctor):

Fever: 

If your child has had a fever in the last 24 hours, the child is likely contagious and does not feel well enough to participate in school.

Vomiting:

While one isolated urp is unlikely to be a reason to keep them home, vomiting right before school or twice within 24 hours should be a cause for staying home under your care. If vomiting is paired with belly pain, fever, decreased urination or an inability to take any liquids, see a doctor.

Diarrhea:

Some kids have chronically loose stools (often from drinking juice) but, if their poops have been watery or bloody or they have had three bowel movements in 24 hours you should consider keeping them home. Diarrhea can be from an infection.

Red eyes:

If the white of the eye is just slightly pink and the discharge is watery, your child should be good to go. However, if the eye is red, hurts or has yellow/green discharge, it is time to see a doctor.

Sore throat:

If a sore throat is accompanied by fever, swollen glands, rash or stomach ache, then you should arrange for a strep throat test. If the sore throat is only paired with a bit of runny nose, the child may be well enough for school.

Rash:

A new rash on a child that does not feel well should be evaluated by a doctor. If the rash is accompanied by a fever, a doctor must see the child.

We know that school-aged kids get sick an average of 6-10 times a year – that’s a lot! There are a few things you can do to keep your child as healthy as possible:

  • Teach them to wash their hands often. Most childhood illnesses are spread through germs shared by touch (one child wipes their runny nose and turns a doorknob and the next child who touches the door knob gets the cooties). Helpful tip: they will do a more effective job of washing if they sing the ABC song twice through while sudsing up!
  • Fully vaccinate your child including the yearly influenza vaccine. Vaccines are safe and effective.

Know that, despite your best efforts sometimes your choice will turn out to be wrong. You may send a sicker-than-you-realized kid off to school and get called by the school office. Or, you may keep your child home, only to be stuck with a way-too-healthy child bouncing around your home! To help avoid repeating that last scenario, I always try to make staying home very unappealing: no TV, no play dates and not too much fun with mom.

Sometimes children begin to try to avoid going to school. This can become a real problem with chronic absences impeding their ability to achieve in school. If you are struggling with a child who often seems to be asking to stay home, check out this toolkit from Attendance Works and this helpful resource on school avoidance from Kaiser Permanente for more guidance.

On that morning that I had a decade ago, I looked at my kiddo and said: “You have no fever, you aren’t throwing up or coughing, you look good enough to me so – hop into the car!” Off we went. Then, 3 hours later the school called me – the poor kid had thrown up. All over his teacher’s shoes. My son is in college now but – I’m guessing I will never live that one down!

 

 

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Love and “Non Sequitur” Defined (or, A Weekend Alone)

What does a working mother of three do when she finds herself home alone for three days? Well, true story, I can tell you the answer:

Bake, lots. Clean, prune and organize. And think. Lots.

Turns out though that I wasn’t completely alone. I had two rambunctious, trouble-generating puppies to keep me company.

Okay, I baked. First though, I started to clean the kitchen cabinets. As I cleaned I found bits and pieces of things that needed using up. The first was a jar of soy flour from… well, a while ago. So, I baked 8 dozen pumpkin muffins using the soy flour (there was more to use up than I thought.) Then I found a tube of almond paste left over from making stollen this Christmas so, I baked an almond pound cake. I found 3 half bags of chocolate chips. You guessed it – cookies.  Then a bag of golden raisins, a 1/2 box of currants, and some walnuts? Oatmeal cookies.

I thought about the meaning of love – after all, it was Valentines Day this week. Turns out, when you look on-line for a definition of love you may find out that

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 

The dogs certainly challenged this definition; I may not have been endlessly patient. I may have angered. I’m afraid I can list their wrongs (they got in the chicken coop – twice, vomited on the rug – once, peed on the rug – once, made a hole in the fence – once, escaped through their new hole in the fence – once, woke me at 530 – three times). And, I did boast a bit when a nice lady complimented my ability to walk two young labs at the same time (didn’t mention that I had run them in the fields for two hours before she saw us limping home.)

I watched TV and learned, from an episode of  “How I Met Your Mother”, that

opening yourself up to another person means opening yourself up to going a little insane

Okay, that definition of love I’ve got covered.

 

I looked up the meaning of the word non sequitur.

I did some laundry (I may have been alone but, I do have three kids.) Pruned the roses. Organized the freezer (to fit in all the baked goods) and then felt compelled to eat all the odd bits of frozen things there for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Read the NY Times all the way through. Looked at Twitter despite planning to take a “holiday” from social media. And there I found this definition of love:

Love, I’ve recently recognized, is that moment when you desperately need forgiveness from the one who inspires your best self for having just been, in some small, petty way, your base self.

I walked the dogs again. Made the beds. Cleaned a closet. Sorted through the CDs; listened to lots of Alexi Murdoch, Macy Gray and The Cure. And, spent several nice hours on the phone talking with a handsome man from Switzerland who has always inspired my best self. My Swiss friend asked me – It is hard to live alone isn’t it?

Its going to rain Tuesday.

 

2pooches

Spring Has a New Name

Sure, every mom does lots of laundry. I too do lots of laundry. It used to really bug me. I would try different systems of managing the endlessness of it. My sister-in-law swears by an only one day a week system. No laundry for 6 days did sound like a dream come true….problem was that the seventh day was hell.

It is the folding that really kills me. I don’t seem to be able to stay on top of it. My best friend suggested her trick: don’t. She hucks the load of clean laundry on her bed and the kids sort through and grab their own stuff and…stuff that in their drawers. My mother was horrified when I tried this; she straightened their drawers and folded every thing in the house for the whole week she visited.

I came to peace with the laundry some time ago. I decided to try a zen-thing with it. Tried to focus on the moment, to feel the cloth as I folded. Enjoyed the peace of the laundry room alone. Started listening to NPR podcasts to get me through. I developed a nifty system of organization in my laundry room. It was, as they say, all good. For a while. Then, spring hit.

Spring came last year and involved one baseball player, one softball player, one lacrosse player, two swimmers, five skiers and a new puppy. Wet towels, muddy pants and smelly socks piling up day after day threatened to take me down the path to insanity. How is a mom supposed to keep up with spring in the laundry room? Well, I think I found an answer. Make that three answers, a boy, a girl and their brother.

Spring has come again. I call it Laundry Season. This time it involves three lacrosse players, two swimmers, the ?dog and five skiers. Yesterday one of them came to me and asked what setting was right for his lacrosse pads. Cool.