24 August 2007


Another insight into our family life: if I sign us up for homeschool classes at the Science Center, someone in our family will develop a fever that day. Every. Single. Time.

This is made more memorable by the Science Center policy of paying in advance (probably to cut down on the no-shows). They need payment for every person who will be in a classroom, not just the students. In other words, if you were to have a child that is going to freak out being in a class with a bunch of strangers without a parent or older sibling around so you decide to go ahead and sit in the back of the classroom not really participating, just sort of existing (even though this means you miss out on the free Segway rides homeschool parents are offered while waiting for their child) you have to pay for that. Which means if your family doesn't show up, you've lost even more money.

We like to rotate who gets sick, instead of having the same person get sick each time. This time it was Kid1. If it is possible for an illness to have an accompanying fever, she will develop one. As a matter of fact, if whatever is going around usually has an accompanying fever, she will develop a higher one that most people. It's just the way her body works.

After living with her for years, it now seems like an interesting phenomenon. It wasn't always something I would've called "interesting", though. When she was an infant she gave us our first Scary Moment in Parenting when she had a febrile seizure. After that I found myself reading a lot about fever in children, particularly in books like The Holistic Pediatrician by Kathi J. Kemper, MD (I remember sitting beside the bed reading the passage on fever over and over during the night one night while Kid1 tossed and turned beside me), Take Charge of Your Child's Health by George Wootan, and Naturally Healthy Babies and Children by Aviva Jill Romm (who I've often wished would come take care of me when I'm sick).

Having absorbed the message in those books, I view occasional high temps as a natural part of life. We rarely use antipyretics such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty shocked when I hear someone casually comment, "I realized my child had a fever, so I gave him/her some Tylenol". It seems to me a knee-jerk response to a natural immune function. The important things for the child are rest and plenty of liquids.

Overall, fevers aren't scary around here anymore, just exasperating when they always pop up for certain events. By the way, it's my turn next to get sick when we plan a trip to the Science Center. Just saying.

More about childhood fevers here and here. And, yoohoo, yes, I know there are exceptions when high temps do need to be brought down. That's why God gave us brains, so we can discern those times.

(This post written in part so I'm less inclined to write caustic comments when I read on blogs or discussion boards that parents are pumping their kids full of antipyretics. I've now said my piece on fevers, so I can more easily keep my mouth shut when others blurt out things I consider, ummm, less well-informed on this subject. I'm trying to think of a label for this sort of post, because there are some other things I read and hear regularly that bug the snot out of me, and I really and truly do wish to be tactful and polite, but, criminy, what the heck are people thinking when they do some of this stuff. I know we're all trying to do the best for our kids with the information we've got, but I think sometimes people don't have the best info. Suggestions? )


Writing and Living said...

I have a child who does the High Dramatic Fever thing quite well, too. Hope she's better soon.

I *think* we visit the same Science Center. I've thought about those classes, but something about *having* to drive 90 minutes because you already paid the money makes me panic.

Hope your daughter feels better soon.

Weaver said...

On the fever thing, our kids are lucky and don't tend to get too many but when they do, I tend to go with a "it's trying to do it's job" train of thought and basically let it do it's thing. I never understand people's need to throw medicine at every little thing.

On the class thing, I wish I could find someplace that would let me be in the class too. every class I can find around here expects the kids to be happy in a room of strangers. #1 would probably be ok, but #2 and #3 would need to, at least, have #1 there with them to be calm and not one class allows parents or has an age rage that would include the oldest. ugh.

Hope Kid1 feels better and the rest of you stay healthy!

Tara said...

In our house it is a cold and cough before we leave for vacation. It happens like clockwork – even the times we have not told her we are going and made it a surprise. Go figure.
Hope your daughter feels better soon.

Ami said...

I only treat a fever when it's making someone utterly miserable.

Most of the time, we just leave the fever alone.

I work in a public school, and for the first 2 months of every school year, I run a low grade fever every evening. I'm sure that being closed in with a 600 little germy sugar-eaters who sneeze, cough, snot and snort all over the place has something to do with it.

Send kleenex.

GailV said...

If snot were a commodity, I'd be a rich woman right now.

Sorry, Ami, but I'm keeping my Kleenex here.