There are always some beautiful things to look forward to with Back-To-School time: free childcare, stimulated children, and kids who (usually) sleep well at night. But, alongside the positive, there are always some things about going back to school that can cripple a household. Notwithstanding the daily battle to get shoes on and exit the house on time, it is 100% understood in the parenting community that Snot Season runs indefinitely from September till May. It’s only a matter of time from the first day of school, that the kids will be bringing home a delightful array of germs that you were not quite prepared for.
I dropped my kids off a little more than two weeks ago, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to their first days of Preschool and Senior Kindergarten. Less than a week later, I picked up my daughter, who went from mildly irritated to a stage-5-meltdown in a disturbingly short period of time. I mean, I get it. I’d be K’Oed too if it were me having to be obedient and learn new things all day. But that wasn’t it. Something in my daughter’s eyes was beckoning me, saying “Fool, you should know better by now. Every pathogen known to man is somewhere in your child’s school. Your child is getting sick.” Ahhh. Yes. Sick. I could see the under-eye bags and watery eyes forming in my girl, a telltale sign that her Snot Factory was about to initiate production. Less than 24 hours later, my son’s Snot Factory was also in full production.
Once I came through the Denial phase, and finally accepted the fact that Snot Season was officially beginning, I made every desperate attempt to ensure the kids had an early bedtime. Fluids and sleep, right? Fluids and sleep.
Wrong. Sleep is a beautiful thing as long as your kid isn’t snorting and gurgling the Snot that’s rampant throughout their upper respiratory tract. Sleep is a beautiful thing, as long as your kids actually stay in bed past 5 a.m. Sleep is a beautiful thing, if the *parents* can sleep too.
Once sleep is compromised, Snot Season brings with it some more tough choices, like “Do I sacrifice my own healthy, Snot-Free temple to give my kids the cuddles, hugs, and comfort they so desperately need right now? Or do I shoot them a kleenex via paper airplane from 3 rooms away, hoping they will figure out what to do with it?” It’s a tough choice, until I consider the fact that I need to keep my kids close if I want to minimize the spread of Snot. Because, once the kids are in control of Snot Dispersement, we risk the spread of the most disastrous plague of any house: The Man-Cold. Once the Man-Cold becomes a serious, legitimate threat, I must volunteer as tribute to comfort my Snot-Laden children.
As I motioned towards my son a couple of days ago before bedtime, I could see how profoundly happy he was that I had volunteered as tribute. Oh look! I thought, he can’t wait to jump into mommy’s arms for some much-needed love and snuggles!! He then sprinted towards me, jumped into my arms, and proceeded to lovingly wipe his runny nose from my t-shirt to my forearm. My dear son then gazed towards me with his itchy, watery eyes, and hurricane-sneezed directly into my face. The result of this impressive sneeze was a green, Projectile-Snot-Rocket that landed square on my cheek. I haven’t quite decided what remedies might jack up my immune system best in moments like these, but rumour has it that if you mix an excessive amount of whiskey with Emergen-C, your odds of staying healthy increase by 0.4%.
My next gesture, after self-medicating with whiskey and vitamin C, was to ensure both kids had enough Advil in them to help them go to sleep. There was only one medicine dispenser, but if they have the same germs anyway, they can share right? As I gave each child
slightly more than their suggested amount of Advil from the same dispenser, every germ in the house realized in that moment that they owned me. The Snot had successfully made me it’s bitch.
In the days that followed, I could also swear that every germ running rampant in every corner of my house was delightfully entertained as I tried to Lysol the counters, disinfect the bedsheets, and wash my own hands 888 times after each nose-wipe. Unlike me, the germs know that my attempts to disinfect things are the ultimate exercise in insanity; the only way to actually rid a household of Snot Season germs is to submerge the entire fucking house in gasoline and set it on fire.
At time of publishing this piece, both kids were slowly on the mend with Pathogen #1 of Snot Season. The Man-Cold has thus far been successfully been averted, but my husband and I are currently feeling suspiciously scratchy throats. I have been able to successfully refrain from setting the house on fire, but I know damn well that this doesn’t relieve me of my duty as Snot Bitch.
So, much like every year, you win, Snot. You win, germs. You win, until May. Until then, your only redeeming quality will be all the batches of homemade soup I’m about to make, and all the whiskey I’m going to drink.