Ah, winter. The season of cold weather, getting fat from comfort food, and constant dry skin and chapped lips. Really it's an awesome time of the year. Despite the fact that I live in South Texas and our "winters" are what northerners refer to as "Indian summer" or even "spring," it's been pretty cold this year and I am desperate for winter to be over. Winter also is known for the #1 enemy of the toddler/preschool mom: germs.
We have been lucky this year and so far only have colds. And when I say "colds" I mean 2 solid months of runny noses and coughing. The pediatrician says that Captain Destructo has allergies, which is why her nose has been running for 2 months. Po-tay-to, po-tat-o, I say. Either way, she coughs a million times a day, has a runny nose, and looks gross enough to get me dirty looks from other moms when out in public. I want to get her a shirt that says "it's just allergies!"
I've noticed this winter that some places are germ havens and every time we go, Captain Destructo seems to acquire another illness. If germs were terrorists, these places would be on a map with bullseyes on them.
Germ Hotbed #1: Fast Food Restaurant Playplaces When it is cold outside and Captain Destructo is sick enough to look gross but not sick enough to be any less active, I occasionally get to the point where I am about to lose my mind by keeping her quarantined. To me, Chic-Fil-A is the perfect outing. Yummy food, awesome customer service, and a playground that is in the warmth AND free. Apparently, every other mother of a slightly ill child must agree, because when we go it's like a Russian roulette of germs. There are kids wiping noses on sleeves (ok, that might be my kid), a chorus of coughing, and God only knows what else. Once, a dad told me that he took his daughter down a slide at McDonald's and his back smelled strongly of vomit afterwards. Oh, the humanity. Germ Hotbed #2: Mall Playgrounds Very similar to the fast food restaurant, the mall offers the added benefit of shopping for Mama. In the middle of winter when my days have consisted of pretending to eat plastic play food and changing Potty Elmo's diaper, shopping with a 2 year old actually becomes an attractive alternative. The mall playground, however, is actually more disgusting than the fast food restaurant playplace. Ours is constantly covered with a film of ground up Goldfish and Cheerios. Throw in the kids running around like wild, untrained monkeys because their parents are on their cellphones or otherwise ignoring them, the mall playground quickly becomes way less fun than I imagined. Germ Hotbed #3: The Pediatrician's Office The last, and most repulsive, hotbed of germ activity is the pediatrician's office. Inevitably, the 2 month cold/allergies/who-knows-what turns into an ear infection at some point and I am forced to go to the pediatrician's. Because every other kid in the city is also sick, there are always roughly 300 kids in the waiting room. There is a sick child/well child half wall dividing the waiting room, but Captain Destructo can't read and doesn't care what germs are on the train in the sick child room. I would personally love it if there were no toys at all at the pediatricians, since my kid still uses her mouth as a third hand, but it is filled with trains and books. The last time we went, we sat in the waiting room with who knows what disgustingness floating around, sat in a room waiting for the doctor for 20 minutes while Captain Destructo tried to put books in her mouth and crawled under the chair, and then learned that she didn't have an ear infection after all. "Just fussy." Awesome.
Only 6 more weeks of winter. In 3 weeks, I will become mom to The Toddler Who Eats Everything and Is Full of Disgusting Germs, and mom to The Newborn Who I Am Terrified Will Get Horribly Ill. I think I'm registering for a holster for cans of Lysol.