“Please excuse Lila from school yesterday. She was home due to Potential Judgement From Other Parents.”
I mean, I didn’t actually write that on the note. But I SHOULD have.
Lila woke up on Sunday with a hot pink eye. Which was problematic in that A.) Hot Pink Eye and B.) We were RSVPd to two birthday parties that day, for which we were VERY excited. (And by we I mean that they were DROP OFF parties, so doubly awesome.) No way was I taking Little Miss Pink Eye to infect the partygoers, so I regretfully texted the mothers that Lila would be unable to attend due to
the plague eye trouble.
So I hustle my daughter down to urgent care instead of the Pony Party she had so looked forward to, only to be told that her eye infection was actually eye congestion, due to a sinus infection. She was not contagious, here are some drops to be on the safe side, and she could resume business as usual immediately.
But her eye looked goopy, and I had already RSVPd no, so I decided to keep her home from the parties.
And when she woke up the next day, her eye was tinged pink (less so, but still) and I told her she wasn’t going to school that day. She immediately put up a protest. “But I want to go! And it’s Team Wear Spirit Day! And the doctor SAID I could go!”
But I thought about the little girl who had lice over winter break, and her mother who happened to mention it two weeks later, and the requests that came from parents for an email warning to be circulated, and the nurse to visit the classroom, and the Google printouts that were passed around by well-intentioned mothers on how to prevent this tragedy from befalling your own kids. And I passed down my verdict.
“Honey, the other mommies will be too nervous about your eye. They won’t believe me that it’s not contagious. We’d better stay home.”
The same scenario repeated itself the next day, but this time we missed Hippie Day.
When she finally returned to school on Wednesday, a few parents inquired about her long absence. “She had an eye infection-not pink eye, not contagious, but it was red.”
“Oh thank goodness you kept her home! Can you imagine? If all the kids got pink eye? I’m surprised you brought her back this week at all!”
I mean, what kind of world are we living in that the court of public opinion holds more sway than a Doctor’s? I have a signed note that says she can go, but I don’t send her, because I don’t want to be judged. My daughter missed academic time- and a lot of fun- because the mere mention of a symptom gave the other mommies the Eebie Jeebies.
Doctors recommend you stay home for 24 hours after being treated for lice. 24 hours after a fever. 48 hours for Norovirus (which is a BEAST of an illness, I can tell you). Never at all for a non-contagious eye infection. But we still don’t send them, because the mommies have collectively decided that these things take a week or two to clear up.
And guys. This has got to stop. Your kid could just as easily get ringworm from trying on clothes as they could from playgroup (no but seriously. That happened to me once. So hey there, germaphobes. Sorry I messed up your sleep tonight.). Many illnesses are most contagious before you even show symptoms. There is just no way to protect your kids from every scary-or icky- illness the world has to offer. And shaming me and my kid isn’t going to stop that.
So I’lI put in the drops, and roll up to school proudly the next time this happens to us. But I’ll bring a doctor’s note- you know, just in case a mom wants to see it.