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The Flu Has Been Flying Around

When a mom gets sick, she has roughly 30 seconds to rest up before she is back on regular Mom duty 

The very minute one unknown person casually turned to his friend and remarked, “I hear the flu is going around,” my kids’ immune systems rolled over and gave in without much of a fight.

The first one to get a fever was promptly whisked off to the doctor, who confirmed that he had the flu.

I wish I could say that his brothers felt even the slightest bit of sympathy for their fallen comrade, but in the interest of truth, I am forced to admit that their initial reaction was one of indignant outrage.

“Why does he get to stay home from cheder, and I have to go? That’s not fair!”

“He’s staying home again? If he gets to stay home for three days, then I’m going to stay home for four days when I get the flu!”

It was touching, really.

Then they switched tactics:

“I should really stay here to play with him, because he’ll be so bored with no one else home.”

“Maybe it’s a good idea for me to stay here with him so that he’s not jealous when all the brothers leave to cheder without him.”

Very creative. And while it was thoughtful of my boys to be so considerate, not to worry, they all had their turn to stay home with the Flu of ’22.

I went into survival mode, inspired by Florence Nightingale, the nurse who is famous for having invented bribes to give to healthy kids who were refusing to go to school if even one sibling was sick at home that day.

If you had popped in for a visit (in a hazmat suit of course) anytime during that two-week period, you would have found a slightly frazzled mom surrounded by charts with children’s names and notations of which medications were to be given to whom and at what time.

Sleep schedules were a thing of the past as kids slept their fever off during the day and were up at night, and the days swam into each other in a river of Motrin, Tamiflu, and coffee.

Just when we were starting to send our recovered patients back out into the world, one kid came home from school with red, puffy, dripping eyes. Yes, it was the dreaded conjunctivitis, also known as the severely contagious pinkeye.

The doctor prescribed eye drops, and I sighed. Anyone who’s had to administer eye drops to a child under the age of ten knows it requires the same skill set as alligator wrestling, which is a fun activity to engage in if you hate peace, serenity, and happiness.

Then she added some instructions, with utmost seriousness. “Just make sure he always washes his hands after touching his eyes. And his brothers shouldn’t play with the toys he’s touching. You should also wash your hands after touching him and before you touch your other kids.”

I looked at her in disbelief for a minute, and then I started to laugh (somewhat maniacally to be honest), because the chances of any of that happening was a pretty solid zero.

As they say, time heals most germs, and luckily we managed to make it out of our temporary infirmary to attend a family simchah.

Do you know what happens when you take recently recovered kids and attend a week-long simchah with little sleep?


You all get strep.

And by “you all” I mean me, too.

There is an unwritten rule that states that mothers cannot get sick. This rule exists because it is difficult for the Director of Operations to direct and operate if she is ill. Therefore, most of the time Hashem miraculously allows mothers to wade into germs up to their eyeballs while caring for their offspring and remain healthy. However, every now and then it is possible to run into a counter-rule known as “pushing your luck.”

This is what happened at my house.

On trip #247 to the doctor with my kids, I remarked that I myself wasn’t feeling too great, and perhaps I should get a throat culture as well.

(If you are reading this and are local to my neighborhood, room #5 at the pediatrician and room #10 at the urgent care have been renamed in my children’s honor due to the frequency of our visits.)

As it turns out, when a mom gets sick, she has roughly 30 seconds to rest up before she is back on regular Mom duty — especially if she is recovering together with her strep-afflicted kids at home, which is exactly as relaxing as it sounds.

I sure hope we’re in the clear for the rest of the season because I have a feeling that if I hear one more sneeze, cough, or sniffle, I’ll suddenly remember a very important errand I need to run… in Tahiti.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 830)

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