I’ve been lucky so far when it comes to my children getting sick and having to miss school. It hasn’t happened too often in the four years since my oldest started preschool, and when it does, it’s generally only for one day.
Not only have I been graced with relatively healthy children, I have also been graced with honest children. I haven’t ever had to deal with wondering if my kids were really sick or just trying to get out of going to school.
Since my youngest started Kindergarten, the issue of, “It’s not fair that she got sick and got to stay home!” has graced us with it’s presence. Only a child would envy the fever and vomiting of another human being. So after two days of my daughter being home with a stomach bug, my son decided it was his turn.
He refused to get up and get dressed, complaining of an upset stomach. Now, some people might think I’m mean (even I think I’m mean sometimes), but I just don’t put up with a lot of nonsense. I’m of the “suck it up, you’re fine, get back out there” parenting persuasion. He had no fever, so I told him if he felt like he had to throw up, then go throw up. He tried to. He really tried. But to no avail.
But he still kept insisting his stomach hurt. So here began my dilemma. I was dealing with a kid who has never told a lie in his life. He’s so painfully honest, that when his sister accuses him of hitting her, he comes back with, “I didn’t hit her! I kicked her!!”
I didn’t know what to do. So I broke it down to all the facts:
(1) He has truly never lied (that I know of, anyway).
(2) He didn’t want to eat breakfast. Not only does he never lie, he never turns down food of any sort.
(3) He told me that the previous night he was thinking about trying to lie about being sick, but then he actually felt sick (See? Never lies).
And perhaps most importantly,
(4) I did not want to be that parent who sends their kid to school where they throw up and tell their teacher, “I told my Mom that my tummy hurt this morning.”
Suffice it to say, he stayed home. And he was perfectly fine all day.