Those Little People

  Another teacher and I were just commenting the other day on the fact that for mid-winter, our kids have been remarkably healthy. We did have a string of illnesses earlier in the fall which included both the actual swine flu and the almost swine flu. One student with a runny nose explained, "Yeah, I've got a nose problem, and I'm really close to getting swine flu." It seems to me that the swine flu is an either/or proposition--you either have it or you don't, but apparently there's a way you can be close to having it. Maybe Matthew just knew it would be arriving in three days, let's say, and was thus really close time-wise to having this new flu.
  Fortunately though, nothing major has swept through the classroom in a while. In fact, it's a little surprising at times that we don't have more germs spreading around, when you look at how frequently there are fingers in noses in the second grade. Some colds here or there--oh, and there was that one acute attack of "those little people."
  Alexis had been out for two days and was back at school, still somewhat stuffed up. As we walked down the hallway to art after she had made up some missing work, I asked her what it was that she was sick with for a couple days. "I had something that starts with 'm.' " she replied. "Those little people." Hmmmmm. The letter m. Those little people. Mumps? No, kids don't really have that these days. Measles? That either. Then I pictured the little green blob in plaid pants who's supposed to represent mucus personified in those TV commercials for Mucinex. Ah yes, the blurry lines between reality and what's on TV. "Mucus?" I asked. That didn't ring any bells with Alexis, and I was out of guesses.
  The next day, though, she had done her research. "I found out what I had" Alexis announced as she walked into the classroom the next morning. "Mucus."

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