Monday, November 7, 2011

Tootsie Roll Pox Pops

When my second son was a baby he got the chickenpox and he suffered.
There wasn't a half-inch of clear skin on his little bottom. Everywhere you looked there was a red, painful bump made more bothersome by the heat of his diaper.
He was too little to understand "Don't scratch!" and just big enough to know he was miserable. He looked at me with an "Why don't you make it all better?"expression.
Two weeks later, my daughter had them and two weeks after that, my oldest. I figured it was the nature of things and never considered sending everybody to a chickenpox party so they'd get it all at once.
That's why when I read a story about mothers buying lollipops licked by someone with chickenpox and then mailed to people who want their children to catch chickenpox, I was appalled.
It's a really bad idea, an outgrowth of the chickenpox parties of 20 years ago.
It toys with the balance of the universe, risks lives and invites abuse all in the same sentence.
What is someone thinking?
(It's inevitable, I suppose, that people will reckon their kids will get the disease anyway so why not schedule it in on purpose.)
I get that people want to plan their lives and some may even think this way they are protecting their kids from getting chickenpox when they're too big for a children's disease.
I guess there's some logic to protecting those bigger boys who could have serious side effects from chickenpox.
But how about just going for the gold, hoping one's child doesn't catch it or if he or she does, that it's a mild case that leaves some immunity behind?
There are probably folks reading this who think that's kind of what the logic is behind vaccinations: give the injectee a little bit of the disease so his/her system will become capable of fighting off the disease entirely.
Acceptable risk, maybe?
Perhaps. But I can promise you that if I send a grandchild a lollipop, it will be a clean, still-in-the-package sweet with no germs invited along for the ride.
And viruses are not welcome at my parties.

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