We spent almost two years keeping our son away from anyone who was contagious and many people who might be. It was for good reason. His weight was precarious and when he got sick he got REALLY sick. A normal illness would take twice as long for him to recover from as it should. Meanwhile, he would vomit more food just as he really needed the extra calories.
When we first heard we could get him out more and worry much less about illness we were really excited. He could go to play groups. He’d be able to play with other kids his age at church. It sounded like it opened so many doors! In reality, it’s been a bit of a nightmare. He still takes a long time to recover from many illnesses. If we catch something at the same time he’ll be struggling with it days after I’m better and it will eventually settle into his ears, nose, and throat.
At some level, we knew we were in for a hard time. He didn’t develop antibodies from his flu shot. According to his immunologist, that does happen from time to time in younger kids and isn’t all that strange. His immune system just needs more time to develop and it’ll get better as it matures. Nothing prepared us for the eventual realization that every time he comes into contact with large groups of children he WILL get sick and he’ll stay sick for a while. I’ll catch it too because I’m around him so much and toddlers aren’t sanitary creatures no matter how hard you try. We have to actually take planned breaks from having him around groups of other children so he can be well for some of the time.
I know he needs the exposure but it’s hard. Part of me wants to keep him in small groups until he gets older but when he gets older he’ll have to go to school. If he’s not exposed to these things before he goes to school he’ll miss a lot of classroom time trying to fight everything off until his immune system finally catches up. I hate watching him suffer through illness after illness. I hate struggling through them myself once he passes them on to me! It’s for the best though and so we’ll grin and bear it. Hopefully, he gets better at fighting things off soon and we can stop dealing with back-to-back-to-back colds and other bugs.