My Son Does Gross Things at School & I Couldn't Be Prouder

julian sticking tongue out
Yuck, barf!
Yesterday, on the way home from school, I had a rather disturbing conversation with my 6-year-old son, Julian. This is how it went.

Julian: Today, in my class, this kid barfed like five times.

Me: Oh. Oh ... boy. Well, that's too bad. So, um, you wash your hands before you eat at school, right?

Julian: Yeah, the nurse always tells me to wash my hands.

Me: That's good. Wait, the nurse? Why did you see the nurse? Did you feel sick too?

Julian: No, it's because I'm the person in my class who walks somebody to the nurse when they barf or have a headache and we're supposed to hold hands, so then after we get there, the nurse says to me, "I think you better wash your hands now!"

Me: Oh. Oh ... boy.

That's what I said out loud, anyway. In my head I was screaming, "Hey! How come my kid got stuck with this gig? Why does my son have to be the Official First Grade Barfing-Kid Escort?!"


Here's the thing: I hate barf. Most people do, I suppose. But when everybody in the house gets hit with the same stomach bug? To me, that experience is the definition of misery. The lowest depth of suffering. Oh, the humanity!

So I was less than thrilled to learn about Julian's esteemed position. But of course I couldn't let him see my true reaction. He didn't seem the least bit bothered by his job. What kind of parent would I be to let my own germophobia stand in the way of my son's natural instinct to help the sick? What if someday he wanted to join Doctors Without Borders or something, would I stand in his way then? (YES!! I mean no.)

Plus, I could tell Julian was proud of being the one chosen to shoulder such a responsibility. (Awwww. I'm verklempt!) And then it occurred to me: My kid got stuck with the Official First Grade Barfing-Kid Escort gig because his teacher trusts him. She's taken me aside to praise his listening skills and willingness to cooperate in class several times this year ... I guess if I needed to pick a kid I thought would actually transport his ailing classmate to the nurse without making a detour to the playground, I'd choose my son too.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go talk Julian into wearing scrubs and a surgeon's mask to school tomorrow.

How would you feel if your kid had this classroom job?


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