It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Because it’s not a daycare, silly, it’s a Park!

New Baby Boy, who has been with me about a month now, has had one of the easiest transitions I’ve seen in years. Lovely, lovely New Baby Boy (who really, really does need a blog name)!

The transition has been easy for me, that is. New Baby Boy, bless his busy, action-loving self, has been bright and interested, curious and busy, busy, busy right from his first day. Tears? He has no time for tears! There are diapers to rip off the shelf! Other kids’ bottles to steal! Toys to fling on the floor! Cushions to haul off the couch! Busy, busy, busy days! But happy! Cheerful! Interested! Curious!

But. That all made it easy for me.

New Baby Boy, though? He has not had it so easy. The poor wee fellow has had the misfortune to catch EVERY bug which went through the daycare, some more than once. I was waiting for his poor besieged parents to throw in the towel and stay home with him, or hire themselves a nice, safe, germ-free nanny.

But no! They hung in with me, they let their little guy hang out with me, and this week, we seem to have turned the corner. Not only is he happy and busy, but he’s snot-free, cough-free, and fever-less!


Yesterday morning, to celebrate, we all went to the park. Okay, so we’ve been going to the park all week, but this week’s park outings have had a distinct celebratory feeling to them. It’s sunny! And warm! And summer-like! It’s even been HOT! And we are all — ALL — healthy!!

I have taken the tots to the park when one of them’s been down with a cold, but the cold-kid either stays in the stroller (sorry, kiddo), or is kept in firm quarantine by me. I’ve stopped short of a duct-taping a “PLAGUE” sign to their butts, but we’ve been aiming for times when the park is lightly populated, often entirely empty, and we either leave when someone shows up, or keep a goodly distance. Once in a while I was lucky, and we’d discover that the other child at the park ALSO had the creeping ick! Yay! Guilt-free socializing all round!

But this week, with a full cohort of fully healthy children, we could go to the park AND Mary could pick the time when all the other caregivers are there. Play for the children AND socialization for Mary, too! Oh, happy day! So, yes, I’m feeling distinctly ‘yee-haw’ this week.

I stand, as do all the caregivers, where I can scan the group and see all my tots at a glance. We chat, we women, with fragments of eye-contact. One or another of us is always scanning the group. We’ve got each other’s backs. Ah, it’s good to be back!

There’s a new face, too, a mother possibly, more likely a grandmother. She has one child with her, a pudgy little butterbean of a baby girl, the same sort of age as New Baby Boy, though not as mobile. (New Baby Boy is a walker!) This doesn’t stop New Baby Boy, who toddlers over to her and plonks his diapered butt in the sand next to hers, the better to make the acquaintance of her enormous, multi-coloured shovel with glittering ribbons on the handle this new face. Baby Girl does not object at all when New Baby Boy steals shares her toy, and the two of them interact as babies of that age do: They watch each other, and occasionally copy each other. When they’re not peppering each other’s eyeballs with inadvertently-flung sand, that is. They chew on each other’s toys.

It turns out that the female adult with Baby Girl is in fact a grandmother. We chat about our respective adult children, and we chat, of course, about the miraculous babies we are superintending. New Baby Boy is 13 months old, yes, and he’s been walking for about three weeks. No, he doesn’t have any words yet. He’s more of an explorer, all about the physical. Baby Girl is 11 months old and though she’s pulling herself to stand, she isn’t walking yet, but she’s quite the talker! Yes, that is pretty typical of boys and girls, isn’t it?

So, how does Baby Girl come to be with Grandma today, anyway? Giving mom a break and doing a little gramma-grand-daughter bonding? Well, not exactly. Of course, she’ll take any chance she can to have time with her little darling, but Baby Girl’s mommy works outside the home, and normally Baby Girl would be in daycare, but today? Well, she has a cold, you see, with a terrible cough! Just awful! You should hear it, it’s so deep! Her chest is just so tight! Terrible!


So. Let me clarify here. You have a child who is sick. With a “terrible” cough. So sick that she can’t go to daycare. And so you somehow think that the thing to do with that sick child, who is too sick to be around all the other children in her daycare, is to take her to the park? The park which is filled with children, just like, oh… like a daycare???

Not only does she do this, but she obviously sees nothing at all wrong with it. I haven’t heard the cough, but she’s telling me all about it. In dramatic detail! She hasn’t got a clue. Not one clue.

It’s uncanny how this woman managed to seem so normal, how she managed to get dressed, eat breakfast, and get to the park, even have a conversation with another adult, when she has NO BRAINS AT ALL.

“Oh, poor little thing!” I say, scooping New Baby Boy up. “I hope her cold gets better soon. But you know, if she’s too sick to be at her daycare, then she really shouldn’t be playing with other children.” She looks puzzled. “Because they might catch her cough.” I explain, gently.

Her smile freezes a bit. I know she probably feels foolish, having been so directly corrected, but really. It’s a public service I’m doing here, and it needed to be said. It shouldn’t need to be said, but it did. Obviously. I feel awkward, too. I don’t like embarrassing someone, even when necessary.

Do I continue with the explanation? “When one of mine is contagious, I try to play away from the other children.” Something like that? Or would that just make her feel sillier? Nah. I’ve said the essential. No need to preach. I smile again, and move away, New Baby Boy in my arms.

“But…” She looks at New Baby Boy. “But they were playing together so nicely. Who will she play with now?”

Okay. It’s official. I have met the only living, breathing, upright, completely brain-free human known to man.

“I’m sure she’ll be very happy to play with her grandma!” And I take New Baby Boy back to the corner where my other charges are diligently digging holes, where the other caregivers are watching over our massed flocks,

and I warn them of the NO BRAINS AT ALL woman, and her cute-as-the-dickens plague-carrying baby.


And I will NOT be telling New Baby Boy’s parents. We will just keep our fingers crossed and hope for better luck on the germ front than he’s had so far.


May 26, 2010 - Posted by | health and safety, outings, socializing | , , ,


  1. The world is so full of stupid people that it boggles my mind.

    Hmm… names for Boy… Sunny? Or a name that means happy like Felix or Asher?

    I’m thinking of something that reflects his hair. maybe? Just not “Red”.

    Comment by ifbyyes | May 27, 2010 | Reply

  2. Ooo, a name for New Baby Boy and maybe a list of who exactly is there right now? I seem to have lost track! Sorry about germs in the park, yech!

    Good thought. We have Tyler and Noah (both age 2 and three-quarters). Noah is leaving in July, when his mummy will have his new baby sister, and I have a replacement lined up for him, a little girl who will start in September. Emily is still coming, too, and then we have Baby Lily, who’s been here for five months or so, and New Baby Boy. There is also a New, New Baby girl, but she only comes a day or two a week, so I haven’t gotten a feel for her yet, and so she hasn’t yet featured in any posts. We’ll worry about a name for her when she starts to appear here!

    Comment by Sarah | May 28, 2010 | Reply

  3. wow. Grandma really wasn’t thinking was she?

    I am curious though- don’t all new kids go through the sick period when they catch everything that comes through the door, and some that doesn’t? My two certainly spent the first 6 months or so in and out of the daycare (sick one day, better for three, and then a new malady to content with!). I thought that was typical. When I was a child, it typically happened at age 5 when we started school. Now it happens at 6-12 months, no?

    Yes, they do, but not like this poor little guy! I expect a cold a month for the first few months. A cold, mind you, with a runny nose and a light cough, not necessarily something that would keep him out of daycare. It’s tedious, of course, because a cold takes up to ten days to shake, so if you’re getting one a month, that’s ten days sniffling and snotting, twenty days clear, before back to sniffling and snotting. So, two days healthy per one day sick. That’s enough!

    Newbie Boy, though, has had two colds — with fevers! — one vomitting sickness, and one bout of diarrhea. In a month! That’s way, way, waaaay over the top. Poor kid!

    Comment by Diane | May 28, 2010 | Reply

  4. You know…I HATE when people do dumb thing like that!! I have a whopper for ya. (Not the burger, it might be soggy by the time it reaches wherever you are lol) During our last bout with the flu here, my two yr old was the sick one. She developed a 103 fever over lunch them threw up said lunch. I called mom at work to give her a heads up. She actually tells me to “put her in her brother’s bed, I don’t have a mattress protector on her bed yet.” Okay so lemme get this right…you want me to put a sick, vomiting child in the well kid’s bed so that he can get sick and have to miss school…WOW! Did I mention I work for 2 doctors? LOL I swear every doc I have worked for is brilliant at the hospital and loses ALL common sense when they come home. 🙂

    I suppose the reasoning would be that they live together, they’re going to catch it from each other no matter what you do. You do develop a certain fatalism about this sort of thing when you have more than one child…

    Comment by becomingme2010 | May 28, 2010 | Reply

    • I see that most parents would develop that and yeah sometimes germ spreading is unavoidable…but when the kids bedrooms are on opposite ends of a 3,000+ sq. foot home, I just don’t understand FORCING the germs into his bedroom. Sometimes you can’t help the touching of the same toys when they have a cold but I at least try to prevent the obvious things like not letting the kids share drinks and having them wash their hands more often.

      I liked your ideas on the reading time. Tried it today and it worked!!! (Anyone hear the angels yet?) He said he felt like he got “grown up time” since he had his chocolate milk and I had my coffee. hehe

      So now, I need more advice. (Sorry it’s back to back but a few issues have come up in the last two weeks that I’ve never experienced difficulty with before. JT had a meltdown the other day about how JO is allowed to do whatever she wants and no one corrects her. She takes his food and drinks, breaks his toys and rips up his books and he is usually the one to get snapped at to “just let her have it, she’s younger than you!”. I have heard the mom say this to him countless times and say nothing to the 2 yr old. Now my auto-pilot response would be to start “teaching” JO that you can’t just take what you want. I practice this with her and she is very polite while with me. This and a bunch of other things aren’t “backed-up” when I leave (potty training, table manners, time-outs, using words vs. grunting, etc.)Both parents have admittedly not been watching her as they should (she is destroying the playroom upstairs while both parents are downstairs). JT literally said he feels like nothing in the house is just his because JO is allowed to take whatever she wants and he takes the punishment for it (not physical but having to clean up her mess while she does nothing). How do I broach this topic with the parents without losing my job? Or do I just coach JT and encourage him to stand up for himself and take his sister out of the room himself if parents are present?

      Comment by becomingme2010 | May 28, 2010 | Reply

  5. Red hair … how about Rufus? It sounds cheerfully rugged too.

    Comment by Z | May 31, 2010 | Reply

  6. Or Rory? It means “red” or “the red king.” I always loved the name.

    Comment by Kiera | June 2, 2010 | Reply

  7. My hair stylist has a lot of horror stories about people who decide that if they’re too sick to work, it’s a good time to get a haircut. Or if a child is too sick for school, it’s a good time for the child to get a haircut. She generally marches them up to the desk to reschedule for when they’re feeling better.

    I had guilt fits before I knew this because I kept canceling when I had a lingering cough. I apologized for all the cancellations when I saw her again, but she enthusiastically thanked me.

    Given the sheer extent of public health education on this topic after the first H1N1 outbreak, I’m stunned people still behave this way.

    Comment by Helen Huntingdon | June 5, 2010 | Reply

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