Hey Jerk, Don’t Bring Your Sick Kid to Church

The last two weeks my family has been afflicted with the stomach virus and we missed church two weeks in a row.  I want to share with you the strange thing that happened.   We did not get struck down by lightening.   I know, it is really strange, in my experience, most people believe that Jesus wants them to go to church no matter their state of health.

I could understand if our church was into faith healing. I don’t think a lot of that showboating actually goes on at our contemporary, coffee-bar style church. Besides, dropping your pestilence-ridden toddlers off at the nursery is NOT an attempt at faith healing. It is just a Jerk move.

I would propose that in addition to the contexts of your child actively spewing forth from both ends, coughing up hunks of green nastiness, or bleeding out their eyeballs that there are several other circumstances that merit staying at home.

  1. If your child has had a fever in the last forty-eight hours perhaps you should skip church or at least the nursery. (One day we were dropping off Z in the nursery and we overheard another couple talking about how their angel had been up sick all night and they were really looking forward to dropping him off for a break. Really? We just turned around and came home.) Also, if you are continually medicating your child to keep their fever down it doesn’t count as “not having a fever”.
  2. If your child has an actively snotty nose, or obvious respiratory infection. Don’t play. You know your baby is sick. Stop lying and saying things like, “oh her nose is really runny when she is teething.” That baby’s snot is green with blood in it. That is NOT teething.
  3. If your child has had stomach virus in the last week or so, you should pass up church. Rotovirus is highly contagious with just a few viral particles and can be transmitted for several days after the acute illness passes.   Plus, it is just gross and miserable and you are not a good person for doing this to others.   (On a related note, saw many people a couple of weeks ago on Facebook comment about how bad the stomach virus was at their house only to see them at church a couple of days I am sure all the volunteers are really going to be sending you a thank you card when they are missing valuable work time because for some reason you felt compelled to bring your sick child to church.)
  4. If your child has a positive flu and/or strep test, YOU. SHOULD. SKIP. CHURCH. (I shouldn’t even have to mention this, but sadly, I do.)

Just consider the above a public service announcement from both a physician and mommy.   Remember that there are other children, elderly and pregnant women at church who may have depressed immune systems. There are also numerous people that cannot be vaccinated for myriad reasons (transplants, allergies, etc.) They rely on us not to expose them to diseases.

I think the problem is that people feel “safe” at church and expect people there to act ethically and in the best interest of the whole community and they do not use the vigilance they would in other public settings to protect themselves against germs. Please realize that God is not going to strike you down for enjoying the sermon remotely while in your PJ’s if your family is sick. We will ALL thank you for this.   Also, remember to wash your hands and vaccinate those kiddos! We are all in this together!

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Girly girl

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                I must make a confession. I am not a girly girl. I do not recall the last time I bought a pair of shoes that were not 5T in size. The only impetus for me buying clothes in the last four years was gestation, and then it was reluctant and largely over the internet. I purchase makeup at the local Walgreen, not at the Clinique counter, and I feel that the only purpose of it is to disguise blemishes, not for enhancement.

                I should have known something was strange about my two-year old at eighteen months of age. I was putting an outfit on her one day and she starts crying uncontrollably. I thought maybe there was a tag left in it that pinched her or something, so I gasp, “What’s wrong Z?”

                “Thath’s UGLY!” she wailed.

                Ok, maybe I didn’t hear her correctly, after all, she is only eighteen months old at this point, and why should she care what she wears, so I pick out another outfit, and she continues to wail.

                “What’s wrong baby?” I am concerned.

                “Thath’s UGLY too!” she responds with her chubby thumb thrust into her angry, pouting mouth.

                I decide to conduct a scientific experiment and start pulling outfits out of the closet. I pull out a variety from the mundane to the lacy and indulgent.

                I am met with multiple, “Thath’s Ugly” until I hold up a frilly confection, and am met with a wide-eyed, excited, “Oooooh, Thath’s cute!”  

                How does this kid know that “Thath’s cute” and the “Thath’s ugly? She doesn’t even have access to television and only reads books that we approve. Where did she get this?

                Fast forward about six months to last Sunday while trying to get her ready for church.   She is arguing that it is her constitutional right to go to church in a pink tutu and a diaper and nothing else.  I explain patiently that this will simply not be permitted. She pouts and whines and is presented with an array of other options that I deem “acceptable”. Finally she condescends to wear a particularly ostentatious dress that is silk, bedazzled with pink jewels, with a full trailing tutu covered in glitter. As a result, we all, including the baby end up covered in glitter and looking like a day-time hookers at Sunday service.

                Earlier this week, her father sends me a picture with her in a layered tutu, and a day-glow, unmatched top wearing high-heeled shoes and a bright orange head-band in her hair. There is no question in my mind that she would have happily left the house proudly and greeted everyone in sight wearing this contraption.

                I watch her and how she is so confident, and knows that she is beautiful. I don’t remember the last time I felt that way. I hope she always feels this way about herself and I ache inside because I know that she wont. I know that over time small scars will form on her precious heart as some mean girl tells her that her clothes are not expensive enough or are not in style.   I know that she will lose this lovely confidence when the boy she likes asks her prettier friend out. I know that no matter how smart and astonishing she is, that the media will eventually convince her that her body is wrong and she is not enough. I hope that she can hold on to this feeling of striking invincibility as long as possible, and that she is able to find her worth in her exquisite mind and God’s love for her and not in her attire, or how gorgeous she is. But I must admit, she is pretty fabulous and she can rock a pink cow girl hat.

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