Tuesday, 23 January 2007

when NOT to encourage sharing

I have two kids, one is 4 years and the other, nearly 3.

My four year old goes to pre-school.

I help out one of the working pre-school Mums, by allowing her to drop her child into my house on Wednesday mornings. I take care of him for the hour or so before school; take him to school with my son, and drop him to his baby sitters after school.

I know it is not much. This particular mother has had a really hard time since going back to work - some unbelievably bad strokes of luck; major car trouble, unprecedented school closures, snow storms, major wind storms, anyone of her three kids sick at any one time, out of town family deaths, you name it. So I am more than happy to help her out and ease a tiny bit of her load.

The week before Christmas my kids were sick.

There had been a nasty virus going around, and of course, schools seem to breed such things in plague-like proportions. Unfortunately for my youngest, her illness turned to pneumonia, but she is ok now.

Last week was the first week after the holiday break that I had taken in the previously mentioned boy, for the pre-school run. The week prior her eldest son's school bus broke down AND there was snow, which caused further head aches for the boy's Mother- anyway the little boy didn't go last week.

My son and this particular boy get of very well, in fact this little boy is quite a sweetie, but he turned up to our place last week with a gut churning, lumpy, bumpy and chunky cough. If anyone was going to cough up a lung (and more) it was going to be this kid!

It was perhaps 15 minutes after the drop off, that the boy made his first attempt at stifling the unstoppable cough. It made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

The mother hadn't said a word about it, but considering the difficulties she has been experiencing in actually getting to work on time, or at all, I can understand why she might have chosen not to have mentioned it.

I did voice my concern, since his cough sounded so painful and utterly dreadful.
"Are you ok?!!!" I asked.
"Yep", he assured me.
"Were you sick over the holidays ?" I furthered.
"Nope", he informed me innocently.
"Well that cough sounds just awful!" It was quite obvious he HAD been sick.

Yesterday my son awoke and wasn't really himself. He kept telling me he was tired. He was also unusually quiet all day. He kept crying over meaningless things, lost his normally insatiable appetite, then finally, last night, he informed me that his head hurt when he jumped up and down. He was coming down with something...

I gave him some Tylenol and suggested he sleep for as long as he wanted. This morning he woke at 8am with a fever, runny nose and an awful cough, one that echoed that of his little friend.

Time to stock up on the Kleenex - AGAIN. Sigh....


shishyboo said...

While I can understand (in part) the possible reasoning of the boy's mum for not mentioning his cough, I think it is still irresponsible of her.

How does it work in Canada regarding taking time off work (sick leave) when your child is sick?

strauss said...

I was a little disappointed about that too - I confess. I don't know what the Canadian rule is, but I woudl imagine they would entertain the idea of sick leave with adequate compassion - they have some pretty good social policies here. I am not suer where you stand regarding part-time or casual work, which is what this woman is on, I guess she doesn't get paid. That is tough for a single Mum of three.