As reported in our last post, babies mess you up in the head. Thanks to everyone who wrote in to share their experience involving emotional instability and parenthood. However, I feel like I may have given the wrong impression once readers began leaving suggestions of which other movies not to watch. For the record, I want to state that there was never any chance I would watch Pay it Forward. This has nothing to do with having a child, I just lump it up there with other truisms such as don’t stick an auger bit in your eye and don’t make toast in the bathtub.

So sure, once you have a kid, you now get misty at the end of Old Yeller, but does it stop there? No. That’s easy to fix. Just get a Kleenex. The bad part is what happens to the rest of your body.

Jenn and I have never been sick as frequently as we have over the last 16 months. Actually, I’m sick as hell right now (which is why there hasn’t been a lot of activity on the site.) This is on top of two earlier bouts of super flu since Trixie was born. In the four years prior to her arrival, I only got sick once. Unless you count the two cases of pinkeye I got in my first month of moving to the Bronx. (That was before I learned not to touch anything in New York City.)

Jenn has also gotten horribly sick three times since Trixie’s birth, including a month-long case of something a just few genes removed from Spanish Influenza. (She also had a pretty good bill of health before Trixie.)

Is there a name for this condition? This rapid deterioration of a previously healthy adult once a baby enters the picture? My good friend Schaff, who has lost track of the number of times I’ve called to say, “I’m sick as hell right now,” has dubbed this condition BIDS: Baby-related Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Babies are not only purveyors of disease and pestilence — they weaken your immune system first by systematically denying you a good night’s sleep.

So without proper rest, you’re guaranteed to develop the worst possible case of whatever you come down with. But wait — there’s more! As everyone knows, disease thrives in crowds. When the host population is large enough for a disease to move around, lay dormant, incubate, and resurface, that’s when the really bad things happen. Plague, measles, flu, small pox.

When there were just two of you, it was easy to beat a disease. But once baby makes three, your host population has hit the critical mass. Now you all get to pass mutated strains around the circle. So there’s a good chance you’re not going to just get sick just once, but again, and again, and again. It brings the family closer together – just in time for the holidays.

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23 Responses to Vector

  1. Sarah says:

    You should be glad you don’t work in day care. 😉 Just imagine what kind of diseases float around those halls! Hope you get better soon!

  2. Charlotte says:

    Ahhh, yes. We are experiencing BIDS right now. Jack had it first but got over it quickly and now we are miserable and he’s got free reign over everything. This goes into the file called “Nobody told me about this”.

  3. Jamie says:

    I know what you mean. I had a pretty much bullet-proof immune system before my 10-month old was born, but I seem to catch everything she does now. It makes it all worse that baby doesn’t just let you kick back in bed and rest when you’re sick.

  4. Nina says:

    all I do is take pictures of kiddos (portrait studio) and some little kid gave me a sore throat! Its nothing major but just a tingle. I worked in a day care in the past so I know all about trying to stay clear of them kiddie germs that paralize everyone who comes close!

    I’m thinking of wearing one of them paper mask things over my nose and mouth to work. I can get you one to wear around trixie 😛

  5. Erika says:

    I am with you Jamie. If I thought for one minute that staying home would be the snooze-fest that I need, I would not be at work right now.

  6. Hayley says:

    Oh so it’s not just me? The Bub got sick for the first time a couple of weeks ago, at 6.5 months, just when all mama’s anitbodies started to run out, but otherwise he’s fine. Me though? I never used to get sick. Since he was born I’ve had flu, a cold, a severe cold, two cases of gyppy tum and two mysterious 48 hour feverish and pathetic things.

    I had a hunch it was the lack of sleep – SO sleeps right through any noise on the monitor and hasn’t been sick once!

  7. BRONAGH'S MOM says:

    I am currently running on two hours sleep, after a night of baby being puny. I’m exhausted, my head hurts, my ears ache, my throat is swollen, and everything is stopped up! Just yesterday, I felt fine. Thankfully, I now know what’s wrong – BIDS. Not only is your site entertaining, it’s informative. Thanks Ben.

  8. Oh the past 3 weeks have been like that around our household. First the baby (10 months), then me, then the wife, then the baby gets an ear infection… meh, I’m ready to get over everybody being sick.

  9. Maddie's Mom says:

    We avoided BIDS until Madeleine hit 14 months, I returned to the work force, and she went to day care. My daughter, who had never been sick before this, has had 3 (or 4) consecutive colds since October 1. She shared the worst one with me and my husband, which I am just now getting over (after getting TWO secondary infections along with it.) Here’s how I get through it: I just think of what a super-immune system we’ll all have in a few years. Right? That is what will happen, isn’t it? Please?

  10. Sarah says:

    I’d suggest hoping for something a bit more realistic 🙂 … when I first started in day care, my director told me, “Don’t worry, work here for about a year and you’ll be immune to everything!” HA! She lies. And anyone else in day care who tells you that you develop an immunity to illnesses … lies! Whatever the kids get, you get … you’ll be lucky if you don’t! If you get sick working in day care and you don’t have any kids of your own, I can just imagine what it’s like having your own!

  11. Rubber-Sol says:

    Oh I went through that….but during my first year teaching. I caught so many colds, illnesses, pink eye etc from my first year teaching.

    I think it just may take a while for your own immunity to build up. Take for example two weeks ago. My two babes were having a barf fest and my husband and I managed to escape that sickness (knock on wood).

  12. Kathy says:

    Hey Ben,
    BIDS is alive and well! I work as an RN in a Pediatric Emergency Room and all I can say is that after 4 years, I think my immunity is completely uber-boosted. Meningitis, chicken pox, strep, gastro, shigella, HSV, pinkeye, croup, fuzzy blanket syndrome, etc………..That is my only answer, MEGA exposure sets you free! Love your site………We have 5 kids ages 18, 10, boy/girl twins 2.5, and 10 months!

  13. Xdm says:

    Babies are petri dishes.

  14. Rubber-Sol says:

    Okay Ben!
    So I posted too soon….for just as I pressed “submit” (or so it seemed) for my previous comment…..I got it. That BARF-FEST syndrome.

    Geez, I was thinkin’ I was SO STRONG, so HEALTHY! I take back everything I said ’bout building up your immunity!


  15. fred says:

    If you have BIDS, what does Schaffer have? CIDS?

  16. jo says:

    will someone explain to an old computerize novice,what BIDS is? Thanks for the education!

  17. benmac says:

    BIDS: Baby-related Immune Deficiency Syndrome

    The name BIDS was coined by Schaff, a longtime Trixie Update reader and friend, to describe the increased frequency of sickness in our household since Trixie was born.

    According to google, we’re the first site to reference the phrase “Baby-Related Immune Deficiency Syndrome”, although surely not the first to take notice of this phenomenon.

  18. Jo says:

    Thanks Ben, I feel better educated and you can teach an old(68)dog new tricks.

  19. christy says:

    Yes – there is a nice combination when you work and have kids at daycare because the kids get sick and bring things home and then you take it to work and it all just continuously circulates. So right when you get over something it has had time to go around to everyone else in daycare/work and has had plenty of time to mutate so your immunity doesn’t mean crap. Fun! Fun!

  20. Sue says:

    I’m a pediatrician and we are experiencing BIDs in our household since baby Emma, now 18 months old, has ventured out in the world. This past week my daughter gave an icky GI bug to my husband, my mother, my mother-in-law and finally a milder case to me. Thank God my pediatric training and immunity came in handy.

  21. Caro says:

    Once again i am late to the party — but here goes anyway ! Just wait till you have two or three kids :O !!!!!!!

    And make SURE you dont catch FSS !

  22. stefanie says:

    me my husband and our 4 1/2 mon old just got over the same thing it,s awfull i hope you gett better also