I think one of the hardest decisions I have to make as a parent of school-age children is whether they are sick enough to stay home from school or not. It doesn’t sound that difficult, I know, but if you’ve been there then you know what I mean.
First of all, I swear at least one of my children has a complaint every single morning. They are either too tired, or they’ve coughed once, or they imagine they have a stomachache because they’re hungry. If I let them stay home every time they said they didn’t feel good, they’d be home all year long.
Now, if I do decide to let them stay home, inevitably they feel absolutely fine just a couple hours later. Fine enough that they are hanging on me, begging for snacks or another round of Go Fish even though I’ve explained that I need to work. Fine enough that I ought to take them to school, but I never do. Fine enough that I think I made the wrong decision.
Of course, then there are the mornings when I have leaned the other direction and sent them to school anyway, only to get a call from the nurse a couple hours later to come pick up my puking and/or feverish child.
There’s no way to win.
And that’s why I told my youngest that she was going to school Tuesday morning. She had already stayed home on Monday with a bellyache, and of course she spent most of the day playing, singing, running in the house after I told her not to, and in general enjoying herself far too much for a sick day. No vomiting, no fever.
So when she complained of a bellyache Tuesday morning, I didn’t worry about it. I mean, she was fine, right? She got up and ate her weight in Cap’n Crunch, as usual, and seemed alright. Our normal morning routine is to spend any extra time before the bus comes cuddling on the couch and watching TV, and when we sat down she complained of her stomach hurting. Again, I assured her she was fine.
And then Cap’n Crunch exploded all over my living room. Seriously, if you haven’t ever seen a lake of well-used crunchberries spreading all over your living room floor, then I don’t advise it. It came pretty close to beating the Double Projectile Vomiting of Cocoa Puffs Incident of 2010. (They both stayed home that day.)
Of course this was two minutes before it was time to go outside for the bus, so I was racing back and forth between mopping up puke and making sure my other daughter was at the bus on time.
So what was the universe trying to teach me here? That I should just let my kids stay home any time they’re under the weather? That there’s a reason I don’t eat kid cereal? (Cause really, I don’t even want to smell that stuff anymore.) Or maybe just that it’s impossible to always make the right decisions as a parent.
All I can do is scoop up the barf and move on.
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