November 14, 2006

Am I bugging you?

It appears Arun may have his first cold. Ever.

Over the past year, I've mentioned here and there that Arun has never really been sick, no colds or anything of that sort. While it may appear that I am bragging, what is actually happening is that I am expressing my sheer fascination with the whole "breastfeeding/immunity" thing. Indeed, whether my child gets a cold or not has absolutely nothing to do with my prowess as a mother - a fact of which I am fully cognizant. Instead, this extreme interest in my kid's immunity stems from my lifelong love of science. In grade school, we would always have those special assemblies where scientists would come in and do cool slide shows on their travels to places like Africa and South America where they studied some tropical beetle. I was the geeky one with stringy hair and Coke-bottled eyeglasses on the edge of her seat with excitement. In high school, we were only required to get 3 credits of science - I got all 5 available and was a member of the Science Club (don't mock me on that alone - I was a cheerleader, athlete, bandmember, and Knowledge Bowl contestant. Now, you can point and laugh at will.) Anyway, I went into college thinking I would do some sort of engineering, but frankly, chemistry KICKED MY ASS. I loved my biology class and lab, though. As in, "actually looked forward to class" LOVED it. When the semester ended, I realized with a sick heart that it would my LAST biology class ever. I remember looking at that easily earned "A" and thinking. Hard. I suspect the problem at the time was that I had no clue what a biology major would do career-wise. Now that I am older, I would have canvassed some professors or GTAs, but I was just a kid wandering a large state university on my own. So, I told myself that biology could always be a hobby, then proceeded to enroll in business classes for the next semester. I don't really have regrets, but I do wonder what would have happened if I had pursued a career in something I truly loved. In the meantime, I try to watch the Discovery channel when possible, subscribe to National Geographic and enjoy an occasional cheesy Hollywood flick (think Outbreak - corny as all get out, but I LOVED that movie.)

Where was I? Oh, yeah. The Kid...... So, it appears he may actually have a cold and good God, he's actually COUGHING. I think he may have gotten the cold from his Uncle A. Our friend A was in town from Boston over the weekend and there is a mutual adoration between Arun and his Uncle A. I've mentioned before that A is an awesome Indian Uncle and I'll even admit that it's pretty handy when he is in town because it's like there is a 3rd set of hands to help out X and I. So, after a weekend of hanging out with A, it appears Arun has a cold. And finally, this probably makes sense.

The cool thing about breastfeeding is that when I am exposed to a pathogen, my body immediately starts producing anti-bodies. Arun, of course, gets those anti-bodies. This is why, despite the fact that we have been all over the country on various airplanes, despite the fact that X himself is on a plane nearly every week, despite the fact that we attend playgroups, despite the fact I absolutely refused to buy the shopping cart condom, and despite the fact that X and I have had several colds ourselves, Arun has yet to catch one. In most cases, the germs that Arun is exposed to are also germs that I am exposed to so he gets immunity from me before it wallops his system. This is precisely why when a mother breastfeeds and sends her kid to daycare, colds still slip through the breastfeeding cracks - her child is exposed to stuff that she herself was not exposed to. Folks, I am not judging or making some grandiose Worldwide Breastfeeding Organization type of statement - just 'splaining (i.e. I was a Formula-fed kid myself and I came out just fine. At least I think so.) Anyway, I've seen lots of mothers express dismay that they are breastfeeding, but then they still see their kids gets colds - and that is usually why. BOTH parties have to be exposed. Still, a nursing mother sending her kid to daycare shoudn't throw out her breastpump, because she's still decreasing the amount of sickness her kid will get.

So, as much as I adore our friend A, it's only in a "brotherly" sort of fashion..ahem... and that's why it appears Arun finally caught a cold. Now, of course, I am waiting to get the cold from him.

And so it begins.


Leah said...

It is cool. As much as I complained that D. had a cold, it was amazing how mild it was and how fast she got over it. Breastfeeding is fascinating. Too bad it's not the normal dinner conversation. :)

Anonymous said...

I, too, love biology (I used to teach Biology before the kids came along) & Chemistry kicked my ass too! Did not like that year I had to take to get my degree. And what I'm thinking of doing when we (the kids and I) "Grow Up" may require me to go back and take a year of Organic Chem while getting my Masters. That makes me a bit nervous since it's already been 10 years since the Inorganic & I only passed that with the help of my study group.

As far as kids/immunity/ breastfeeding that Son #1 is in preschool we are all getting introduce to lots of new germs. So Son #2, at 10 months, has already been sick several times (but we'll build his immune system up that way as well, it's just the harder way). With Son #1, I kept thinking he was sick with the same cold, and then finally realized it was his molars coming in! Yeah, not so bright at times.

Sorry he's sick while you're so tired. That makes it harder. Hope he gets better soon!

Anonymous said...

Look at those THIGHS! Hee, adorable.

Here's hoping IF he does have the cold, it'll be a small one. =)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for explaining that. Seriously, I have been one of those mothers who shrieks "my baby is sick and yet she is on the boob all day. Life is not fair." And then I stomp my foot for effect. Analise does not go to daycare but I don't lick the other babies in our various playgroups with as much vigor as she does...guess I better start.
Thanks again and congrats on your impending arrival.

jess said...

OK, I just spit out my coffee because your child looks like a tiny version of my college boyfriend - it actually startled me!

Anonymous said...

My son who was breastfed was 9 months before he got any sort of bug, and almost a year before he got an actual cold. In three and a half years he has had about half as many colds as they say the average child will get in their first year. And, usually they are so mild that I end up wondering if it in fact was a cold at all, or just a figment of my imagination. I am also firmly against the shopping cart condom-breastfeeding is so much easier!

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to think what it would be like to have biology as a hobby. It doesn't quite lend itself to being a hobby the way, say, knitting or stamp collecting does.

FFF said...

I love Biology too. And Outbreak, cheesy as it was, kept me on the edge of my seat at the movie theater. I was fine with the first year of chemistry, but Organic Chemistry kicked my butt. That's why I have a biology degree but am a lawyer not a doctor. But our science love ends up being so helpful when talking to doctors, doesn't it? (Ya right, they must hate me because I always want to know why and I ask questions when they don't tell me). Hope Arun gets over his first cold soon, but you can both rest up in the interim. Saline nose drops are a wonderful thing!

Oh! And calling it the shopping cart condom made me laugh out loud! We bought one after my would not stop sucking on the metal of the cart, but I feel really lame with it, and I can never get on right or fold it up when I'm done. Good choice to skip it!

Anonymous said...

I heard about the prego from Fussy's site; congrats! I have two that are 20 months apart, and let's just say get used to being tired! Hopefully you don't get too sick! Love your site, great pics!