The Flu, and Farewell 

My 4-year-old has the flu, and it’s your fault. You might protest: “But Riane, how could it be my fault? We’ve never even met!” To that, I say: That is a strange way of apologizing for giving my child the flu. Look, I know it can’t be MY fault. So it has to be someone else’s. 

I did everything right.  

First, I got her her annual flu shot. Also, I always make her wash her hands — soap AND water, not to brag — throughout the day, which is no small feat, considering that she can be very particular about sink water in public restrooms. (“Too hot!” “Too cold!” “It feels soft!”)   

I also wipe off stuff in public places! My methods are a bit haphazard, because, to be honest, I’m never totally sure what I should be wiping (my scientific understanding is that germs are hard to see).  

But I still do it. I’m a mom! I’m biologically wired to wipe stuff! So if I’m out in public and think that something looks a little dirty — a grocery cart handle, a restaurant table, a fellow mom’s face — I don’t ask questions. I just wipe it!  

Now, I know some of you are thinking: “Why would you wipe the face of a woman you didn’t know?” That’s a ridiculous question. If you were out in public, what would you *want* me (a complete stranger) to do if I noticed a bit of dried toothpaste left on your cheek? Ignore it? (Yeah right.) Politely let you know? (That makes no sense.) Or would you want me to just dive in myself, with no warning or introduction, and wipe your face off?  

I’m assuming the third option; I won’t be reading responses. 

As far as flu-prevention strategies, that’s what I do. It’s not a lot. But in my defense, those are literally the only things you can do to avoid catching the flu, so it’s a more impressive list than it may seem. 

And I’m a team player, too! When my daughter seems like she might be coming down with something, I keep her home, like the Incredibly Amazing Parenting Hero Who Doesn’t Deserve To Have the Flu Or To Parent Someone With The Flu that I am! 

I’ve so enjoyed writing this column for the past year and a half. But this, sadly, will be my last entry. I’m retiring to devote myself to flu prevention strategies full-time. 

If you need me, I’ll be sitting with my kid on the couch in our jammies, chugging Pedialyte. Please don’t disturb us: We are busy watching Tarzan for the 54th time week. 

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