Saige, our almost two year old, woke up three times last night and then was up for good at 5:30 am with a fever (too bad mama is not a morning person). I called the doctor, who came to our house, and told us that she has infections in both ears and that her tonsils are infected as well.
Another round of antibiotics is in order. It has only been four weeks since her last round. The doctor recommended that we take Saige for a regular check-up when she is better just to make sure everything is in order. “Why is her immune system low?” she said. “Does she eat well?”
“Yep, she eats a lot of fruits and vegetables, “ I replied. “Could it be that she is not used to the germs here and she just started nursery school a few months ago?”
“Yes”, the doctor said. “That’s it. The culture is different here. People send their kids to school even if they are sick because they can’t afford to take off from work.”
“Yes, and they are not obsessively using hand sanitizer either,” I replied. It’s true. I remember my older girls’ preschool experiences. They weren’t allowed in school if they were at all sick, not even with a runny nose. And everywhere I looked, I saw hand sanitizer. The kids were sanitized every five minutes it seemed.
This is not the case here in Saige’s nursery school. Not only is there no hand sanitizer but the soap they use to wash hands is so watered down (to make it last) that it’s barely soap and the hand towel shared by all thirteen kids is … well, gross.
I send our nanny to nursery school with hand sanitizer and her own towel but I know from experience that it’s very difficult to keep a twenty three month old from picking up all the germs in her environment. And who knows? Maybe this is for the best. After this experience, she will have a super strong immune system. She will be able to go anywhere in the world and not get sick. Meanwhile, it’s hard to watch her suffer.