It’s happened. Every year I sign the paper that says some blah blah blah about outbreaks of chicken pox and threats to exclude my kid(s) from school for weeks upon weeks because they haven’t had the vaccine, yadda yadda. It’s never been an issue. I don’t even think about it. Except maybe when I’m dragging my kids hither and yonder to share germ laden lollipops with friends (both close and not). So far they’ve not contracted the (apparently evil) pox.
A couple Friday’s ago, a good friend sent me a text to let me know she’d heard there were pox at the elementary school my kids go to, a family that she’s friendly with. We’ve had two possible pox outbreaks close to us that turned out to just be weird rashes (damn). The kid with the pox was in Pip’s class; not one of his peeps or even anyone he really sits next to, but still, the real pox. I guessed they weren’t close enough that Pip would have caught them, so I put it out of my mind and decided that when my friend’s kids got them from this kid’s family, we’d expose our kids then (which would put our pox outbreaks well after Blissdom – did I mention I was going to that?).
The next Monday I pick the kids up at school and we’re meandering around waiting for the ex and 3:30, when Hopper’s conference starts. The ex comes bustling in the front door at 3:25 – “did the nurse call you?” I look around… no, I’m right here, she could have walked out of the office and talked to me. But she called the ex to inform us that Pip was going to have to be excluded from school for two weeks because a kid in his class has the chicken pox. And the ex, who is a walking overreaction to life, couldn’t keep this bit of information under wraps until later when I got home so I could break the news to Pip gently.
Instead, we start Hopper’s conference with Pip in tears because he can’t go to school until after February break. He was on the verge of a full blown meltdown when Hopper’s teacher, who was also Pip’s first grade teacher, pulled him aside and had her go help him with a little errand. An angel from heaven is what that woman is.
All this didn’t fluster me much because I was sure Pip has been harboring secret chicken pox immunity. He’s partied like a rock star at some hard core chicken pox parties and been well exposed otherwise and he never broke out with the pox. But then neither did I. Oh, fear not, I got the shingles twice. You can’t get shingles without getting pox. So I just figured I had some magic fairy dust immune system that I passed on to my kid. I was so confident that the next day, much against his will and in the ‘for your own good’ column, we drove to his pediatricians office to get a blood test to prove it. There was a lot of cajoling and failed attempts at bribery (he now has a Facebook account… kill me). I never thought I’d utter these words, but thank god the ex was with us because I also had Mack strapped to my back in the Ergo. In the end, Pip was held down by a nurse, phlebotomist, and the ex, so a second phlebotomist could jam a wee butterfly needle in his arm while he was screaming/crying/begging for them to “please, wait just a minute, I’m not ready!” and I was holding Mack, bawling because I literally could not get to him. They were sneaky and edged me out while circling him like a pack of wild dogs. Before I could grab any of them by the hair and pull them off my
11 year old baby, they were done. I still haven’t forgiven myself, nor can I get the image of him screaming for help out of my head. Oh the mama guilt, her scourge on my heart is powerful.
And two days later they called to tell me that he is not immune the chicken pox. Oh. Even though that particular news had nothing to do with her, Hopper’s response to Pip’s lack of immunity was a tear filled drama fest that she didn’t want to get the chicken pox either. You know what the little stinker’s go-to bedtime story has been lately; long before the pox were even on our radar? Arthur’s Chicken Pox. Twit.
Now that it looks like Pip’s classmate’s little brother is coming down with them, a chicken pox partying we shall go!
(And in bureaucratic riddle fun, help me figure this out: the poxy classmates little brother is a second grader at the same school, he is also unvaxed and he was NOT excluded from school for the past week. Make sense to you? No, me either.)
What do you remember about having the chicken pox as a kid? Or do you even remember?