The Hot Zone Just Got Hotter

Croup-proof pacifierDropping Ryder off at day care on Friday, there was a seemingly innocuous note tacked to the cork message board with his name on it. Last week there was also a note, it contained a newsletter telling about the employee of the month and offering nutritious recipes for kids. This week was different. The note started off with the heading, “YOUR CHILD HAS BEEN EXPOSED TO CROUP”. It highlighted symptoms that include…a barking cough & wheezing while sleeping, all announced in an exaggerated frilly font. Really. Good job doomsday-note-author. I was slightly concerned when I read the headline containing news of croup exposure, but my concerns faded as I saw the pleasant and playful typography used in its announcement. The note also highlighted the fact that they wash everything at the end of the day. I don’t know how familiar everyone is with the habits of a 4 month old – but let me tell you, he does not care if a toy is dirty and/or sprinkled with germs. He will pick it up and try to eat it. Sanitizing at the end of the day does nothing for baby Ryder.

I leave for work and continue to think about the potential for croup unpleasantness; I considered the distinct possibility that if croup germs were anywhere within his arm’s reach he would have found them and licked them silly. Not unlike a junkie trying to get a fix off the back of a hallucinogenic toad. Later that day when I picked him up, the croup still weighs heavily on my mind. I find him fast asleep in a swing. I gathered up his belongings, but couldn’t find his pacifier. I scooped him up, noticing a pacifier that looked like his sitting at the bottom of the swing. Immediately I knew what happened – the much feared paci switch. I asked the caregiver if she knew where HIS pacifier might be. She walked over to the swing and erroneously said, “Oh it’s right here.” You can probably guess the rest…his pacifier was at the bottom of an exersaucer containing a little bald girl. I suspect, perhaps, that croup festers on bald heads, although I cannot confirm this. The newsletter made no mention of this key fact. We’ll see.


  1. “I was slightly concerned when I read the headline containing news of croup exposure, but my concerns faded as I saw the pleasant and playful typography used in its announcement.” – brilliant. I hope little Ryder doesn’t catch it : )

  2. Oh let me assure you both – EVERYTHING festers on bald heads! Croup, double ear infections, bronchial coughs, pink eye…you name it. The more bald and the less teeth a small person has, the more likely they are to contaminate your world. And as for the old “paci switch” game…just wait until Ryder (and his little bald friends) approach the 1 year age – they LOVE to feed each other pacifiers. And if you don’t keep an eye on them, they will also find joy in feeding the neighbors dog their pacifiers. I’m just waiting for information on what that illness is called…barking cough?! Sweet. Bring it on! Hope Ryder stays healthy and has lots of friends with hair!

  3. I am a preschool teacher.

    This note made me think something i have thought many times in my twenty-seven years of childcare.

    If you really care then why aren’t you raising your child yourself?

    Maybe you should face reality. You had a choice in deciding whether or not to have children. When you decided to procreate you might have thought about the two paths you could go down. One path being to raise your child and the other being to have a full time career which would force you to externalize the burden, the time, and the effort of giving your child the care and nurturing it needs. Maybe the option to not work wasn’t viable for you. This is something i understand and i do not disparage at all. Regardless of whether or not you had an option in externalizing the burden or not that is the situation you are in now and it would be idiotic to act on the presumptions that do not the reality of the situation. Putting a number of children in a space with even the best ratio of care givers and the best hygenic and sanitary precautions and procedures will never completely prevent illness or it’s spread.

    Excepting a facility that lies to you or one that does not follow state mandated health and safety proceudres you have no right to criticize the facility that you are patronizing. If you don’t like something about it don’t ask them to raise your children. Take them somewhere that is to your liking. They are required to warn you that your child may have been exposed. You should be grateful that the law requires you be informed and that the facility you patronize acts in accordance with the law.

  4. It’s all about a sense of humor. “Anonymous” I think you’re taking yourself entirely too seriously. So I can’t really take you seriously at all.

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