Happy Throwback Thursday, friends. By now, people around the world are getting cabin fever regarding the “social distancing” orders concerning the current global crisis. My daughter, Stefani and I can say that though this is no fun, it’s not our first rodeo quarantine.
If you’re a parent, you already know that all good parents have regrets. Unless your kids are grown, however, what you might not realize is that the regrets we have as parents are most likely not the same things our kids would go back in time and change if they could. I have one of those World’s Worst Parenting moments that’s haunted me for 23 years! Seriously, I have felt guilty about this since my firstborn child (who is now 30) was in the second grade. (The hilarious thing is, when I recently spoke about this to Stefani, she didn’t remember a thing about it!)
Stefani was seven when she developed a rash. Her school nurse called and told me I needed to pick her up and take her to the doctor, and that she couldn’t return to school without a note. I took her to her pediatrician, and he diagnosed her with Fifth Disease, which is a viral infection caused by parvovirus. It’s known as Fifth Disease because it’s one of five common childhood illnesses characterized by a rash.
For her troubles, Stefani was granted three days off school, plus a lot of Disney movies, popsicles, a new Barbie, and attention. Score!
Fast forward a couple of weeks. Monday morning, Stefani was getting ready for school, I was getting ready for work, and Jeremy, who was still a baby, was playing with my Grandma in her room. Stefani gets a stone-cold serious look to her face and tells me, “Mommy, I think my Fifth Disease is back. I’m itchy.”
“Mmm hmm. Nice try,” I tell her as I grab her backpack. “Let’s get going.”
“No, really. I better stay home,” she says.
I put on my Angry Mommy Face. “Stefani, you are not sick! Now go get in the car and I’ll be right behind you.”
She whined the whole three blocks to school, and I restrained myself from laughing at how clever she really thought she was.
About an hour later, the school nurse called me and said Stefani had a rash. She said I’d need a doctor’s note before I could bring her back to school. I was livid! I couldn’t believe my little seven-year-old could be so conniving as to fool a nurse!
I tried to keep my cool as I waited in the doctor’s office for her to be seen. I tried not to roll my eyes as the doctor examined her and said, “Didn’t I just see you here with a rash a couple of weeks ago?”
The doctor called a nurse in and they whispered, then she left and came back with a shot and a syringe to take some blood samples. Wait, what? This didn’t happen last time.
We were left alone in a room to wait for a while, and Stefani and I drew cartoons on the paper that covered the exam table. After what seemed like hours, the doctor came back and announced, “She has scarlet fever. You’re going to have to quarantine her. She’ll miss at least a week of school…”
Crap. I felt like a giant ass for ignoring my little girl’s pleas for help that morning.
I took her home, got her set up in her bedroom, explained things to my Grandma (who watched the kids while I was at work), went to the store and tried to redeem myself by buying Stefani tons of coloring books, crayons, fun pads, books, videos, card games, another new Barbie, ginger-ale, popsicles, etc., then I took them to her and went back to work. That night, I read her story after story, and watched a bunch of silly videos with her to make up for my Bad Mommy Day.
The next day at work, things were going well until my office manager noticed I kept scratching my torso. “I hadn’t even noticed,” I told her. I raised my shirt and was covered with a billion red blotches! My office manager told me to get to the doctor right away and don’t come back without a note. Yes, you guessed it. I, too, had scarlet fever and we were both medically quarantined! (Meaning the doctor gave a LONG list of specific instructions basically saying we needed to live in a closet and not breathe until we were re-examined.)
Stefani moved into my bedroom. Jeremy moved out of my bedroom and into Grandma’s bedroom. The doctor said we both had a pretty bad case of it. Stefani and I spent the next EIGHT DAYS in that room with Grandma leaving our meals outside the door. These were the days where televisions were small, only got a few cable channels, the internet was dial-up and didn’t have a lot of fun stuff to do, there was no social media, and it was boring as hell! Not to mention, neither of us felt much like doing anything anyway, but still, it was no fun!
So, I guess the lessons to be earned from this are: I lived though a quarantine before, so I know I can do it again; at least there are more entertaining things one can do at home now versus back then; and apparently my daughter doesn’t remember what I would consider my largest parenting fail, so I can finally stop kicking myself for it and let it go.
Let’s talk: Have you ever had scarlet fever? Have you ever been under a true medical quarantine? Would a new Barbie buy your way out of a bad parenting call? Are you upset that this post was not actually about a rodeo? Do you have cabin fever yet where you are?