A couple weeks ago we received a letter in the mail informing Mike and I that our daughter has missed more than 8 days of kindergarten this year. The letter went on to say that the school needs our “help in doing everything possible to reduce the number of absences” and was accompanied by a photocopy of the school district’s policy on absences. I asked around and sure enough, a number of my friends (please note the word “friends” because we are of like mind) also received “the letter” detailing their child’s absences as well. Many of my friends were pissed because “the letter” insinuated in not-so-many words that we are a collective group of deadbeat parents. I personally was not too terribly concerned, considering I have been called way worse and kindergarten is totally not mandatory in the state of Colorado (I googled this).
The irony is that I seriously thought I was being a responsible, thoughtful parent by keeping my daughter home from school when she was puking, had a fever, was coughing or had snot pouring out of her nose on at least 8 various occasions since she started school. All year long, I had been patting myself on the back, telling myself what a great mom I was by not exposing other children to her germs. It was not as though I was keeping my kid home because I could not get my lazy ass off the couch or because I simply could not stand to have 3 solid hours to myself or because I simply love to clean up bodily fluids. Nope, I did it because I am generally a relatively considerate person.
Common sense pointedly suggests that if all parents followed my genius approach to illnesses, absences would decrease across the board. Like, duh. Germs would be relatively contained to one household rather than treating the school like a giant Petrie dish or even worse, a Chuck E. Cheese in winter time. I could just imagine Streptococcus Bacteria saying to an Influenza Virus: “Dude, I kept Johnny up hurling all night long and his nanny just dropped him off for school!” “THAT IS TOTALLY GNARLY STREP! Let’s try to infect ALL of the afternoon kindergarten by 3:00 with an antibiotic resistant strain!” “Hell Yeah Bro!” And with that, the two germs high five each other and start making their way up every 5 year olds’ nose they find. Thus, creating another round of absences or not, depending on which side of the parental fence you may fall.
Unfortunately, the school district sees things differently than I do. To my knowledge, a mass mailing did not go out to the parents that continuously and knowingly bring their contaminated offspring to school. So Sweetheart, I know your eye is bright pink, itching and oozing pus but unfortunately you simply have to go to school today because Mommy has a waxing appointment and the school needs my cooperation. Remember to not wash your hands and share with all your little friends. Mommy loves you sugar! XO