In Sickness and in, Like, so Much More Sickness

I’m coming to the conclusion that children are always a little bit sick.

Taking care of three to six of them means that I, as a nanny, face the same problem as teachers, daycarians, and parents: Namely, that I will be sick much more frequently than the rest of my adult friends. Because children are always a little bit sick.


They may not act sick. They may be vaulting the furniture or burrowing in leaf piles or slowly but meticulously sending their parents to the madhouse the way they always do. But if you listen closely, you can hear the sniffling, and if you’re doing their laundry you will find snail trails on their shirt sleeves.

When they actually appear sick, it’s merely a flair-up, and in just a few short weeks they will revert to being subtle about their sickness. But make no mistake, illness is always there, and it’s always ready to reinfect the other siblings and you and the dog.


Ever wanted to experience the taste of Satan in your hour of sickness? Well now you can! Now in every grape-flavored children’s medicine.

So on Tuesday one of the youngest boys stayed home due to fever, and on Wednesday one of the middle boys stayed home with a stomach bug, and on Thursday said middle boy went back to school but came back again in the middle of the day because he was so sick all he could do was lie around playing on the iPad, and then today the oldest boy supposedly caught the same stomach bug that renders you incapable of anything but iPad, and then the original sick younger child came home again with Pink Eye and an ear infection.

And somehow, miraculously, I have not picked up any of these ailments. Pardon me, I have to go knock on wood, spin around counterclockwise three times, toss salt over my shoulder, and spit.

I’ve not escaped completely, mind. The children being too “sick” to do much of anything, I’ve had to sit through approximately the whole Pokémon series as available on Netflix. Twice. And not having grown up with Pokémon or you know television in any form, I’m not nostalgic but merely disturbed at the endless hideous creatures the world of Pokémon produces on the regular. Are these the animals of the Pokémon universe? Why are some of them more like humans than animals, and shouldn’t they have more equal rights with humans? Do any of the character’s voices ever get any less grating?


At least watching shows on Netflix means that I don’t have to see any more commercials for… whatever these are. They’re worse than Furbies, but not as bad as some of the Pokémon I’ve seen today.

But at one point today, before sick younger boy went to the doctor’s to have his potential (now confirmed) Pink Eye examined, we sent him to the bathroom. All was well for around forty seconds, and then there was a loud ringing crash, a thunk, a pause… and then hysterical crying.

Investigation into the issue produced one very upset boy and a towel rack that had fallen off the wall. He wasn’t hurt, but the very end of the towel rack- a separate piece- had slid gracefully into the toilet bowl and rested at the bottom. And this was very distressing.

Fortunately, when you take care of three to six boys very little is gross anymore. So I plunged my hand into the toilet, retrieved the towel rack piece, and started washing it off in the sink. The boy was still crying; I think he thought I would yell at him.

And… it was kind of funny.

So I started laughing. Then he started laughing. And we just laughed. The towel rack went back on the wall cleaner than before, he rewashed his hands, and life went on.

This is probably why I’m here as a nanny, because somebody in this very large household has to be able to laugh at things.

And enjoy themselves at Disney World.


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