Building My Immunity One Ball Pit at a Time

Written by Emily

At 7 am, I subjected my son to his greatest fear. He’s been wringing his hands about it since he read the first scrolling billboard message on the way home from the pool at the end of the summer. Now, like some kind of nightmare, placards and neon lights and handwritten reminders are everywhere he turns. It’s the ultimate four-letter word for him: shot. In this case, a flu shot.

No amount of rationalizing allayed his fear. I even tried taunting him that his fear is totally lame; it’s not at all like a shark that can literally bite his entire face off. No. I didn’t. I do try to shield my babes from my ludicrous phobias.

The truth is, I hate cold and flu season as much as my boy does…but for different reasons.  Noah dreads his vaccination and rolls his eyes when I ask him to wash his hands again. I use my Lamaze breathing skills as my children rub their faces on every surface they encounter. I swallow and breath despite the science in my mind that makes the cold and flu viruses look like this…


I smiled and cheered every time my sweet girl came up for air from beneath a sea of colored germs balls. Fun! Deep breath in. Cleansing breath out.


My love for museums trumps my neurosis about germs, so get in there and explore that pile of plastic insects that has never been cleaned ever. Go ahead. Maybe don’t use your mouths, though.


Is that fear in your eyes, Chloe? Are you worried that the unsettling warm air inside there is ultra-concentrated air borne viruses mixed with the stink of pre-pubescent sweat and euphoria? Oh? That’s fun you’re having. Carry on!


What I was thinking was: Noah, please keep your tongue inside your mouth when you exit the inflatable with your chin. What I said was, “You are so silly! Of course you can go again!”

This morning Noah handled his shot like a champ. No tears. Nothing.  This cold and flu season, I will do the same. With every bounce house, museum and ball pit encounter, I’m building my immunity. Deep breath in. Cleansing breath out. I have so got this.

Categories: Emily, Family

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6 replies

  1. I must say I was glad to leave McDonald’s playplaces and museum “hands-on” exhibits behind. I don’t consider myself a germophobe. Usually. My biggest issue with the playplace was when some toddler got “lost” inside the tubes and I was supposed to go rescue them…. Eeewwwww. Of course, I had a teenage child remind me during a lovely beach day in Hawai’i that we were swimming in fish and whale poop. Somehow, I managed to avoid contact with the water that entire day. Maybe I am slightly germophobic. Just slightly. So the Lamaze breathing that did nothing during childbirth actually helps with germ issues, Emily? Really?????

    • Lamaze breathing did nothing for me during labor. In a public restroom when my toddler is touching the toilet seat? Awesome. And I’m with you 100%; it’s the going in after the trapped child that’s the worst. I have to admit, my germophobia is waning. I just gag inside now 🙂

      Thanks for reading and commenting! And please tell your husband that I am not too over-the-top about it 🙂 I do know they need germs, but I don’t have to like it 😉

  2. This is a recurring theme! I hope you don’t need a doctor!

  3. The photos under the microscope were awesome! Loved that! I’m much better at controlling my germ phobia now that Mr. T is older. When he was young the little, cute, handy bottles of hand sanitizer were not available like they are today – I had wipes. Grape scented wipes. I should have bought stock when my son was born and then sold the stock once he hit double digits and then I would have been able to retire! 🙂

  4. I’m a proponent on the dirt hypothesis. Not only will I allow my children to lick the play structures I will rub my own face against it to make a ridiculous greasy imprint on the glass and share my lovely bacteria.

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