Go away, back-to-school ads. It’s only August. I haven’t had my summer vacation yet. In fact, I’m still holding out to buy a new bikini. (Actually, I’m intentionally putting that off.) I’m entitled to go frivolous shopping for my upcoming family beach trip. Buy a breezy maxi dress I will wear once on a night deemed “the nice night,” the night my husband and I take our two-year-old twins to a restaurant that does not have pictures on the menu. That night will inevitably be a disaster as I watch my kids try to de-cloth the table with the plates still on it like magicians, but still, I have the right to the idea of a nice night out in a whimsical summer dress. So back off, J.Crew catalog, with your schoolboy blazers and promise of polkadots. Fall–et tu, Pottery Barn?–I’m just not ready for you yet.
It seems like only yesterday it was June and I was in the doctor’s office being told that my son’s mystery fever was due to a “summer virus.”
“A summer virus.”
When my blank stare conveyed the equivalent of “whachoo talkin’ about Willis,” my doctor elaborated, “coksackie.”
Up to that point, coxsackie was one of those things I’d heard people talk about but personally had no idea what it was. Based on the name alone I thought it was really gross, like a child who is not going to eat something called brussels sprouts, come on. My doctor told me what it was, and then I knew it was really gross.
–The virus is spread by direct contact with nose and throat discharges, blisters and feces of infected people.–
“Oh, my god!”
After coming home and crying in the corner of the shower like Jim Carrey as Ace Ventura imitating “The Crying Game,” I disinfected everything, including myself and my children.
Then I learned that a neighbor’s son had it, too, and in an a-ha moment we traced our steps together and put our fingers on the culprit:
“The playground. . .”
“The sandbox is disgusting!”
“They eat everything in there!”
As she embarked on a crusade to have the sandbox removed from our local park, I recounted all of the disgusting things my children encounter on a daily basis. After all, it is summer, and there is the giant landfill that is the beach (those darn cigarette butts are always so tempting to curious hands). The sandbox is public cat-liter. Don’t even get me started on the horror of all horrors, the open toilet that is the kiddie pool. She went and took action. She’s a good mom. I accepted I can’t possibly shield my kids from everything revolting. (I am a good mom, too.)
In September my twins start a two’s program where they will be sharing germs I MEAN school supplies with their classmates. Like fall itself, I know this new realm of kids-in-close-quarters passing around everything is coming, but I’m not ready for it yet. The difference is I don’t think I ever will be ready, because I know I never can be.
My house is clean (mostly). My kids are clean (for a short window of about twenty minutes after bath every night). My stroller is clean (thank you, BuggyLOVE). The rest of the world, that’s out of my hands. . .
All I can do is put on my breezy maxi dress, and hope for the best.
Written by Amy Denby author of Dear Babies: Crazy Life, Simply Explained www.amydenby.com