Most of my readers know, I’m sure, that we don’t vaccinate our kids – at least not based on our current place in space and time. Well, this week, my children reached an important childhood rite of passage: chickenpox. (BTW, who knew it was all one word?? I’ve been spelling it wrong all week!)
Because I am a Mean Mommy, I purposefully exposed them. After carefully weighing all my options, I felt it was the best one. So we went and shared germs with some friends who had it and pretty much exactly two weeks later I found one pok* on my daughter’s neck.
We’ve tried this before, to get The Pox. It didn’t work. But I respectfully kept my kids inside for three full weeks just in case we might happen to catch it. Three weeks of unnecessary quarantine suck.
This time around, probably because a bunch of elementary school friends found me on Facebook not too long ago, I thought back to one particular outbreak when I was in second grade. One girl caught them and not two weeks later, the rest of the class started dropping like flies. Children who hadn’t had them yet weren’t pulled from school during this, and they certainly weren’t kept home from school in case they might come down with The Pox – they only stayed home once they showed symptoms.
What changed? The vaccine. I’m not going to talk about vaccination versus the lack thereof, but the fact that our society’s attitude about chickenpox has changed – even among the natural hippie folk who avoid vaccinations – is, well, interesting. And this bothers me. For something that has, in the past, been considered a primarily harmless disease, to be changed into something dark and scary is a little unnerving.
And I don’t mean this to sound like one of those rants our elders share with us about walking uphill both ways in the snow and that if thalidomide was good enough for them it should damn well be good enough for us. Because in this case, really – it didn’t hurt us. (I realize there were, on rare occasions, horrible complications – but so is true from vaccines, even the most mainstream doctor cannot truthfully deny that.)
So this time around, I didn’t quarantine us. I let us live our lives – I tried to be respectful and shared this info with people in certain cases, but I didn’t stop us from enjoying life in the mean time.
And, besides, I’ve learned that adults need periodic exposure to chickenpox to keep shingles away. So you’re welcome.
*I’m not exactly certain what the singular of “pox” is and I don’t care because, frankly, “pok” is better than whatever the actual term is. Unless it is “pok” in which case, good job, English language.