Saturday, December 04, 2010


Picture this: about 125 kids, ages 5-8, sitting on the floor of the library, with teachers at the ends of the rows, all listening to stories. About three rows back was a kindergartener, a little girl in a pink shirt, who got a funny look on her face and then quick, pulled the neck of her shirt up over her nose and sneezed. I think her funny look meant "I'm going to sneeze! What do I do?! Oh, how about inside my shirt!" The teachers were too far away to get to her with a kleenex.

I guess that's better than spraying everybody with germs. "Bat wing" (sneezing or coughing into the elbow) would be preferable. This was at the same school where I said something about coughing and suddenly twenty or so of the kids began to cough. Must be something infectious.

Teachers and administrators are doing their best. Every room has a few boxes of tissues, every school bathroom has a sign about handwashing. Here's one I saw yesterday:

When was the last time you washed your hands? Germ Farm. Scrub 'Em!

At another school, this sign was wordier:

Tips to prevent colds and flu...
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
Sneeze into your elbow if a tissue's not available.
Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer.

I'm guessing I ate more than a peck of dirt in my childhood, and we hadn't heard of antibacterial soap or hand sanitizer. Still, I'd rather not catch every cold that comes my way. I wash my hands often and I don't fill my water bottle from the drinking fountain (or bubbler, as we called it in Rhode Island). Too many mouths have been on those. I sometimes spray my puppets with rubbing alcohol, in hopes of killing off some of the germs.

On the other side, I've changed the way I do the song Poor little bug on the wall. We do the last verse underwater (about 2:43 on the video), but with the finger of one hand acting as a snorkel in the air , instead of making an underwater noise with a finger on the lips. Darn. It was funnier that way.