how to make an old wives tale sound like science to a five year old

so we have rain. wonderful rain all night, and rain going strong today. i cannot remember the last time it rained. and we have a five year old, freshly dressed for school, for whom rain is a complete novelty. and we have temptation. so, we negotiate:

kid: i wanna go play in the rain
me: no! you’ll get wet!
kid: i’ll use the umbrella.
me: no! your shoes will get wet!
kid: i won’t jump in the puddles, i’m a big kid now (ummhmm. yeah. right.)
me: if you get wet and cold, you’ll get sick
kid: i’m not sick
me: but you’ll get sick! when you’re wet and cold, your immune system doesn’t fight germs as well.
kid: system?
me: you have glands, organs in your body, that make things that go in your blood and fight germs.
kid: germs go in my blood? they suck the blood out of me?
me: no, no, you have cells that fight the germs. but if you’re wet and cold all day because you can’t get dry, your body is too busy trying to get warm, and it forgets to fight off the germs.
kid: can i just feel one drop?
me: oh, ok, stand on the edge of the porch, and reach out.
(five minutes later)

ok. i know technically lots of folks spend lots of time being cold and shivery and don’t get sick. that’s not the point. i just didn’t want him getting wet before school, and the conversation was actually much longer than that. it included the material his shoes were made of, the depth of the water on most surfaces out there, mud, etc. germs were my last resort.

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