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Kids Sick in Fall

Since I Had Kids, Fall and I Are No Longer Friends

Nothing beats Fall in the Midwest. Despite my apathetic feelings about Halloween and my severe dislike of pumpkin spice lattes, this has always been my favorite time of the year. Crisp air, cozy sweaters, honeycrisp apples, and bright red leaves on trees . . . I could go on and on about the season. And then I had two little darlings and realized that Fall really means one thing and one thing only: my kids will get sick and they'll stay that way for a long, long time.

Since the first official day of Fall about three weeks ago, my daughter has been battling a terrible cough, my son has been dripping mucus all over my house, and they've ever so kindly passed along both ailments to my husband and me. A trip to the doctor proved completely useless (maybe it's allergies, perhaps a cold), except for the permission she gave me to give them both Benadryl before bed. Even with that wonderful kiddie cocktail, they've both been up every single night, crying, coughing, and feeling generally miserable (or is that just me?).

This isn't the first Fall that their immune systems suddenly stopped working. Late last September, we spent a nice afternoon at one of the many apple orchard/petting zoo/jumping pillow/pony ride situations in our area. You know, the kind of place where you feel like you should probably just hand over your wallet when you walk in because after you pay for admission, apples, pumpkins, doughnuts, popcorn, apple cider, pony rides, petting zoo feed, and (hopefully) a couple of adult drinks, it's empty anyway.

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While I was waiting with my daughter for her third $5, two-minute pony ride, I noticed her hands looked a little spotty. I took off her shoes, and sure enough, she had the same spots on her feet. A trip to the doctor the next day confirmed it. Hand, foot, and mouth disease, though a mild case, for my little girl who'd never had anything more than a cold. F-in Fall.

I know I'm not alone in my new "Falls sucks" campaign, as pretty much every parent I know has also been dealing with ear infections, bronchitis, fevers, and more over the last few weeks. At least one or two kids have been absent from my daughter's preschool class pretty much every day, a sure sign that even more bugs are sure to be making their way to my house.

So what's the solution? Should we pack up and move somewhere that doesn't have such distinct seasons? Should we start our yearly hibernation months before the first snow? I'm not sure even that would help. For now, I'll be stocking up on Claritin, Benadryl, Mucinex, and ZarBee's nighttime cough syrup (God bless melatonin) and hoping my normally healthy kids reemerge long before the last leaves drop.

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