Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The yin and yang of being a grandparent

Rylin applying pretend suntan
lotion on my face.
I love my granddaughter Rylin, who’s now just short of 2 years old.

Who wouldn’t love the smiles, the laughs, the hand-holding, the cuddling and the smooches that this little girl gives?

I recently caught up with Rylin, her mom Kelsey and my wife Jane at a small farm up the road from the house so that we could see the farm animals and pick out some pumpkins together..

I was getting out of my car as she was being taken out of her mom’s car and she toddled up to me, her little legs pumping, and gave my legs a big hug. Who wouldn’t love a grandchild like that, right?

But Rylin is making me sick.

For real, she, on occasion, makes me ill.

With the joys of being a grandparent come the challenges as well. And one challenge so far is dealing with whatever illness, plague or pestilence Rylin might bring home from daycare.

If Rylin in these scenarios is Patient Zero, then her immediate family - Kelsey, Dad Jeremy and new baby brother Bradley - are in the most direct line of fire. We grandparents come next.

Right now, we’re dealing with a one-two punch of a cold and conjunctivitis.

The cold, frankly, could have come from anywhere, but I’m pretty confident I can pin the conjunctivitis on my little Patient Zero.

Conjunctivitis, for those who haven’t had the pleasure, is also known as pinkeye, an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin clear tissue that lies over the white part of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelid. Red, itchy eyes, teariness and (my favorite part) yellow discharge that gets pretty crusty once it dries are among the symptoms.

The cure, we learned from Kelsey, is applying Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo, the no tears formula, directly to the eyeball using a Q-Tip. By the way, used in this fashion, there will be tears.

I am no good at being sick. I make a bad patient because I have no patience for being ill. I’ve got places to go, people to see, things to do, even as a working retired.

Could I have prevented it? Perhaps, if I follow rules of washing/disinfecting hands frequently, especially around the people you know are sick.

But what am I going to do: Tell Rylin to wait so Pepere can wash her and my hands before she gives me a hug and a kiss? I’ll risk it. It’s just one of the hazards of a great job.

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