How to build up a kid’s immune system

Friday nights at the park are becoming a bit of a habit. A good habit. Tonight it was to celebrate a little friend’s sixth birthday.

“Here,” Tracey said to me when I arrived straight from work. She planted a kiss on my lips and shoved Miss0 into my arms then tottled off with Miss2, who looked like she was about to fill her boots if someone didn’t get her on a toilet seat very, very quickly.

We have a superb park in G-town, with loads of swings and activities and, best of all, a couple of flying foxes. I love it because the kids love it. All around our kids were running and playing and having an awesome time.

I sat on the grass with Miss0, absently letting her crawl around and stick the odd leaf in her mouth. I felt a kind of peace.

It lasted all of five minutes, roughly until Tracey arrived back from the loos. Sitting on the grass with a 10 month old is boring when there’s a flying fox not twenty feet away. I wanted to have an awesome time as well.

“Tracey!” I called out, noticing for the first time Miss0 tearing some grass up by the roots and giving it the ol’ taste test. “Tracey! The baby is putting all sorts of stuff in her mouth. You know you shouldn’t trust me with this sort of thing. It’s very irresponsible of you!”

Tracey hates it when the kids put unsanctioned things in their mouths. I could hear her thinking, ‘People walk on that grass!’ at me as she came and relieved me of my fatherly duties.

But then it turns out putting-yucky-things-into-mouths was kind of playing on her mind.

“Soapy (Miss2) dropped her lolly in the bathroom,” Tracey told me. “In front of a loo! Then she bent down and picked it up to put back in her mouth.” To make it worse (as if this story needs it) they’re unisex loos here in the G-town park.

I gagged a little. A blade of grass is one thing, but a piss-coated jube!?! Yuck!

Fortunately, Tracey managed to dive across the room, Lara Croft style, and snatch the lolly out of Miss2’s hand just before she started sucking on it again.

“You should have let her eat it,” one of the other parents told us.

“Sorry? What?” I said, sure I’d misheard.

“We used to worry about that sort of thing but our daughter cured us.”

It seems their daughter doesn’t get sick. In fact, when they gave her the four year immunization shots her arm became so red and swollen they raced her back to the doctor only to be told it was her body fighting the immunizations themselves.

“It’s fantastic!” the doctor told them.

And while I’m sure they were joking about us letting our daughter eat the lolly, I must say I was impressed with their story. How did their daughter get this fantastic immune system?

“Licking hand rails,” this parent told us.

“Sorry? What?”

“We tried to stop her,” the parent insisted, I’m guessing because Tracey’s face, and mine, demanded some sort of explanation. “But we got sick of saying, ‘don’t lick the railing!’ so we just gave up. I mean, it didn’t seem to hurt her.”

Unfortunately for me and my hopes of going on the flying fox, if there’s one thing Tracey hates more than the idea of horrid things in her kids mouths, it’s sick kids.

“Here,” Tracey said to me, handing back Miss0. “Go sit on the ground and feed your daughter some grass.”

I don’t think we’re in any danger of my wife encouraging her children to suck on urinal candy yet, but I’m guessing, because of the unique skill set I bring to the childminding table, I’m about to become more hands on with my kids at functions.

When not typing away over here and checking his stats every two minutes

Bruce Devereaux hangs out at his ‘BIG FAMILY little income’ Facebook Page.

’raising a family on little more than laughs’


  • Hahaha. My Little Mister is always putting gross stuff in his mouth. Now that he’s 1 and getting about a lot, I have relaxed a lot more with sterilising his dummies or sippy cups. I am, however, paranoid about him choking on stuff so I freak out over that!!
    Touch wood, the Little Mister hasn’t had any kinds of contagious illnesses (other than my infection when he was born) his whole life. I’m wondering when the jig will be up…

  • My 6yr old at about 12months decided to try snake poo, dog poo, and his own all in one day.
    He had never had more than a sniffle until he started school last year. Now he brings everything home for the family.

    The daughter below him Miss5 has always been one to pick up random things from the ground in shops, footpaths etc and she doesn’t get sick either.

    Master3 licks windows, chains on swings, pretty much anything….. this week RAW CHICKEN .. well … its caught up to him with that one!

    Miss10 is far too civilised to have ever eaten anything other than a bit of grass as a baby. She didn’t like getting dirty (I don’t mind a bit of dirt) but she always had to be clean – she is often sick.

    Miss364days likes licking things and chewing things around. Her favourite at the moment seems to be shopping trolley handles!

  • The best advice I was given when first pregnant 18 years ago was “Let them eat dirt” I have never forgotten this and didn’t get freaked out when my kids would try odd stuff like bugs, dog or cat food, dirt and cigeratte butts (tried to limit this one). My kids have not been sick for any length of time, and didn’t bring home the colds and flus going around school. It’s a shame really – I have a lot of sick leave available….

  • my toddler licked the hospital floor yesterday while I was there, I am pretty good about dirt, and random things but the hospital floor is not on my ok list.

  • Master 2 grossed me out when i found him sucking on a blue bottle fly. M husband had used insecticide earlier in the day and well……. Called my sis whos a paediatrician and she fed me the immunity line ooooooo yuck

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