Barf Duty: Should My Kids Stay Home Today?

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.

sick day

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Barf Duty: Should My Kids Stay Home Today?

  1. Murphys law, isn’t it ; hahaha

  2. My youngest always pulled the migraine stunt on me. I sent him to school a couple of times and received a call from the nurse to come pick him up and he did have a full-on migraine experience with the puking and all. So…every time he said he had a headache, I had a dilemma whether or not to believe him. Parenting is tough some days.

    • It really is! My stepson once bonked his head on the playground and the nurse called me. I know how he likes to exaggerate, so I said to the nurse, “Don’t ask him this, because he’ll say yes, but did he say if he’s dizzy or anything?” And she turned around and asked him! Of course he said he was and I had to go get him, only to find out when we got home that he was perfectly fine! Can’t win!

  3. Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog and commented:
    Kids can puke and rally. I took my 8 year old to a birthday party last Saturday. It was in one of those indoor jump-house places. At first I thought, this is smart. They’re letting the kids play before they eat pizza and cake. Then, against my better judgement, my daughter wanted to resume jumping after she ate. Predictably, after 10 minutes of jumping, she sprinted for the ladies’ room and reenacted a scene from The Exorcist. She rinsed out her mouth, splashed water on her face, and went right back to jumping as if nothing had happened.

  4. Same goes with my nephew. He always have reasons to not go to school every morning. Lol. Always a dilemma for his mother.

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