It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Reeling, I Am

It’s been an eventful week, and no, I’m not talking about the painting.

I’m talking about the pooing. Oh, the pooing. (WHAT? Why haven’t you mentioned this before?? Well, because there are only so many things I can talk about in one post a day. Lots of things happened: Our van is having work done on a radiator that blew up this week. I’ve been sewing up a storm for Emma’s costume for her school musical. I also had a couple of interviews – and have one person who has said she’ll be signing on. Yahoo! So, lots of things.)

Back to the pooing. Oh, the pooing. There’s a reason George and Darcy have revisited the topic in their play.

It seemed innocuous at first. Little Nigel is on antibiotics for an ear infection, and of course it’s effected his gut: lots of…activity. This is not a “keep-the-child-home” event, as it’s not contagious. Inconvenient for me, no doubt, but not contagious, and, despite a couple of up-to-the-armpits explosions of green goo – don’t you just love scooping the stuff out of a child’s bellybutton?? – nothing too out of the ordinary. As long as it’s not contagious.

Then a mommy was sick for a day. Then the mommy’s son came down with it. Then another tot had a bout of the oozing ick, and had to go home mid-day. Then another child was kept home. Then one of the after-school boys had a violent bout of losing everything possible from both ends, all one long, long night. He’s home sick now. A daddy collapsed with an exceedingly violent bout. Seems the older you are, the worse it is. Emma is laying on the couch looking green even as I type, tentatively nibbling on a slice of dry toast after a night of spewing.

I was marvelling over this in the “fascinated by the horror” way you watch the replay of a nasty skiing fall, or the pictures of a multi-car pile-up in the paper, with the father of the only child who has NOT succumbed.

“Wow,” said the dad. “Isn’t that wild? My child had diarrhoea for four nights running, ending a couple of nights ago. One bout at three a.m., every night. Apart from that, they’ve been perfectly normal.”

PARDON?? Your child had the squits at three in the morning, and you sent him to me five hours later? THREE DAYS RUNNING? (Four nights, three days because there was a weekend in there.) And you don’t SEE ANY CONNECTION between that, and the mysterious spread of this disease to EVERY OTHER KID in the daycare? And now you’re TELLING ME????

I didn’t kill him. Because I am a professional. And he’s evidently an idiot. Didn’t even see the significance of what he was telling me, nor grasp the mind-numbing irresponsibility of it. You can’t get mad at the mentally deficient, now, it’s just not fair.

At the end of that day, when I’d had time to calm down, I had a quiet talk with him about my sick child policy, of which he claimed to be completely unaware. (Oh, come on. Most parents give me a phone call when something like this happens, just to find out what I think. Like I should need a policy to promote common sense? Though of course, I do need one. Which is why I HAVE ONE IN THE CONTRACT.)

Today I sent an email to the entire daycare list, reminding them of said sick child policy which states that children are to be kept home for 24 hours following vomitting, diarrhoea, and/or a fever above 100F/37.5C. Just in case anyone else is thinking of losing their minds.

I’m still reeling. A child has diarrhoea every night for four nights, and you send them to daycare. What was he thinking?

It’s enough to make a woman want to call in sick.

March 2, 2006 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Sorry for you but it’s a relief to know the USA hasn’t cornered the idiot market.

    I’d been wondering.

    Comment by Granny | March 2, 2006 | Reply

  2. I would like to speak out a little in defence of the father. Although he SHOULD HAVE known as you said, and common sense should have come into it a little, I’ll agree.

    However, this continues an ongoing “discussion” that my wife and I have, in that sometimes I don’t think of the obvious, and in all honesty I don’t think a lot of men do too. For me, I never think, ooh, I must fill the washing machine and clean some clothes, the thought of this never occurs until I have no clothes to wear. I am getting good with the dishwasher though, because the dishes are in plain sight 😉

    This, to me, would be especially true IF this was the father’s first child, and he has no experience of children passing bugs around. Also, consider that when someone is on short sleep, because they were woken up in the middle of the night, thinking logically doesn’t always apply.

    Comment by Si | March 2, 2006 | Reply

  3. This is what Lauren and I went through. Terrible, terrible stuff. I was down a week, she was down for two weeks. Just when it looked like it was over, she’d puke again.

    Had it lasted one more day, I think Rancito would have left us because he.just.couldn’t.take.anymore.

    Comment by ieatcrayonz | March 2, 2006 | Reply

  4. One reason I read your blog, Mary P., is that I get to learn words like “squits”. I love it.

    Comment by snaars | March 2, 2006 | Reply

  5. SI: My email is being bounced back to me. Your address, apparrently, suddenly developed “permanent fatal errors”. Sounds serious. Terminal, even. You mad at me?

    Comment by Mary P. | March 2, 2006 | Reply

  6. Mad, with you? Never!!

    Will send you an alternative email address 🙂

    Comment by Si | March 2, 2006 | Reply

  7. What I like most about you, dear Mary, is that you are reasonable. My friend’s daycare provider won’t keep a child that has antibiotic-induced diarrhea. Just won’t.

    And today, she made my friend come pick up her daughter because she was crying about a “hurted ear” and was feeling a bit warm. Turns out the little girl had stuck a crab apple stem in her ear *yesterday* while at the provider’s house. She was a bit warm from the crying.

    She never even looked at the little girl’s ear.

    Comment by Candace | March 2, 2006 | Reply

  8. Ahh! I see you have met my “friend” the idiot. Child has a fever for 5 days runnng? Daycare! Child is sleeping round the clock, and not eating? Daycare! Daycare calls and says come get your deathly ill child? “Friend” has a hissy fit!

    Comment by AverageMom | March 2, 2006 | Reply

  9. And your sick child policy is so clear, there’s not a lot of wiggle room (if any) in terms of who is asked to keep their child home due to particular illnesses! Also, I think that most daycares have a very similar policy!

    Comment by Angela | March 2, 2006 | Reply

  10. Granny: No, we have our fair share. One of whom is a parent in my daycare, oh, lucky me!

    Si: No, not his first child. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for this, argument: a pile of laundry is not in the same level as a sick child. One can be overlooked, the other, not.

    Crayonz: Thankfully, our version appears to be short and sharp. Three days, tops.

    Comment by Mary P. | March 2, 2006 | Reply

  11. Hey, Sorry that our replies are a bit slow this week, but Adrienne is at a conference and I’m a bit behind on the blog and other e-mails.

    Super 14 is a rugby competition between 14 teams from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa ( I follow The Crusaders from Christchurch NZ and Adrienne and Jarvis follow The Blues from Auckland NZ. They are big rivals.

    Actually, Canada are a growing force in rugby and seeded 14th in the world out of 95 countries.

    Right off to get Jarvis some lunch before he wakes. Love your blog too by the way,

    Lee :o)

    Comment by House Dad | March 2, 2006 | Reply

  12. Oh don’t get me started… I am a new Mom right and probably are more ready than other to stay home with my kid for any reason — so don’t let me come off as more considerate than others. But I loathe sick kids being dropped at daycare. This was something I specifiically asked references in my last search. I HATE it.

    I am sort of last parent on the totem pole where we are now, last parents in. Some of the more ‘senior’ families — read long term cutomers 2 kids bring their young’uns in all manner of sniffling, puking and running. I really appreciated when N. sent a reminder of policy out with notice of Christmas hours. Arrrghhh it makes me so mad. I guess I particularly dislike spending 3 days at home with a sick kid knowing where they got it and summoning every courtesy to face the numb nuts at fault. I’m nice, I just don’t like it.

    The parents handbook really taught me about the need for consideration of daycare as a place for everyone.. not a sitter to take my kid. I would say I really didn’t quite get it until I put the equation together of N. being good, nice and smart with all THESE rules. I encourage you to use one.. even though, evidently, some parents still defy getting it when there is one available.

    Comment by mo-wo | March 3, 2006 | Reply

  13. Hmmmm… Quick guys tend to outsmart us and cheat us. Slow guys tend to irritate us. Brrrrrrr…… Thank God for our patience and motherly love…

    Comment by Queen Bee | March 3, 2006 | Reply

  14. Snaars: “Squits” came courtesy of my children. It makes me laugh every time – it’s funny, yet so descriptive of the event.

    Candace: Mental note to self: “When child complains of ‘hurted ear’, check in ear.” Kids do stick things in there! It’s too easy to assume “ear infection”.

    Thanks for the praise. I have fellow-caregivers who have a rule: two poops, whatever the cause, and the child goes home, but it never seemed fair to me. As long as it’s not contagious, I see it as part of the job. Parents only have so many sick days.

    Average mom: They’re all over, aren’t they? I have to say that this is the first time I’ve had anyone in such flagrant disregard of my sick child policy, the other children, and their own child’s well-being.

    Angela: It is a clear policy, and it is pretty standard, yes. I suspect he hasn’t read the contract – left it to his wife. Who is out of the country this week. Bah.

    HouseDad: Thanks for the information. My grandad, who was my father figure after my dad died, was a Brit who played rugby in his youth. He actually started to teach me when I was 11 or so, but then became ill, so I never really learned the game. He did instill in me a firm sense of rugby’s superiority to American football, however! LOL

    mo-wo: Yes, I’ve been thinking about the handbook idea ever since you showed me the one your caregiver uses. This is exactly the sort of situation it would address best. I’m thinking I’ll write one over March Break. (My week off.) I’ve already planned on a note explaining why we don’t send sick kids to daycare. Ostensibly to all parents; in fact, only to this one. 🙂

    QueenBee: Feeling a little jaded, are we? This one’s a slow one, and it is my character to be impatient with the slow ones. This one’s a slow, SELFISH one, which is even worse.

    Comment by Mary P. | March 3, 2006 | Reply

  15. I wish my office would issue the same guidelines. I just spent 3 days in a fever induced haze on by couch thanks to the “dedicated” employees who thought coming to work to hack and share their germs was a great idea.

    Comment by Monica | March 3, 2006 | Reply

  16. this is why I feel so fortunate that I have both sick days and a couple of “Family Medical Leave” days for sick kids. Last week we both had a fever and sore throat and awfully snotty snouts and I am lucky enough that I didn’t have to think twice about staying home together. My husband who is practice teaching, however, has no way to take a day off without wrecking his hour count, so it would be a tough call for him.

    As to the ‘not noticing” – I don’t get this, it irritates me all the time! WHY don’t you notice? WHY?

    Comment by kittenpie | March 3, 2006 | Reply

  17. Monica: It’s a question of how you prioritize your values: which is more important – a perfect attendance record at work, or trying not to infect your co-workers. If you have the choice, of course.

    Kittenpie: His practice teaching must be monitored differently than mine was, all those years ago. We could be sick, and it made no difference. Well, I suppose if you were sick for half the time, but the odd day here and there, it would be just the same as missing a day of classes. I was single and no children, then, no problem. Too bad your husband doesn’t have the same system!

    Comment by Mary P. | March 3, 2006 | Reply

  18. You are right, dear! Jades need a polish too… we want sensitivity and love…

    Comment by Queen Bee | March 4, 2006 | Reply

  19. I have not been feeling well today, and this entire post and comment thread, and I read all of it, is not helping, but I am too tired to click away.

    Comment by jen-o-rama | March 4, 2006 | Reply

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