Thursday, September 18, 2014

Awkward Mom vs. School Sick

There's regular sick and then there is stay-home-from-school sick. Moms are supposed to know the difference. Supposed to.

So, I am watching Super 1st closely this morning. He is trying to put his left shoe on his right foot. Over his right shoe.

The thing is he has the cold that half his class has and he didn't sleep well. He never sleeps well, if truth be told, so this shoe issue isn't quite as alarming as it could be. But he is coughing. No fever. Coughing. Sleepy. He's sick. But is he stay-home-from-school sick? Not sure.

My queries to him are no help. My "do you want to stay home from school?" is met with the dreaded "I don't know. What do you think?" Ugh. I don't know what I think! I'm barely keeping stuff going over here. I am thinking "can you be stay-home-from-school sick this early in the school year?" "Maybe he is mostly tired." "What if it is that virus thingie they say is sweeping the Midwest?" "How would him staying home affect the others today? We have preschool for one, a playdate for the other, and I really wanted to get some writing done." "What would my mother do?"

Well, my mother would have kept him home and that is what I should have done. If I was gonna do it; fast and quick, like ripping off a bandaid. But that wasn't what I did. No, I settled for something much more awkward.

I take him to school. I line him up in his line with all his coughing classmates. And when his teacher comes out, I embarrass the heck out of him because that's good, right? Embarrass a cold, starve a fever, I tell her that he has been feeling sick, not fever-gross-bathroom-plague-stuff that they want you to keep them home for, just cold-sick. I am hugging and kissing his head during all of this. She crouches down and asks him how he feels. All eyes in the line, parents and kids, turn to him. He turns bright red, tears up, and whispers that he is fine; this makes him look anything but fine. Now he looks full-on stay-home-from-school sick. I ask him if he wants to go, he looks around at all those eyes, and says, "I don't know." Should have pull him right there, but I didn't. I look at the teacher. She looks at me. Then, she says, "Hey, why don't you stop by during snack? That's around when you drop Super Preschooler off anyway. See how he is doing then." I grab this delay with glee; I am nothing if not a true procrastinator. Super 1st can feel the eyes leaving him, so he relaxes and heads into school.

Now, I am thinking that I'll just pop over to the school office after dropping Super Preschooler off (Super Preschooler's class is near but in a different building), they'll let me go to his class, I'll peek in and catch his teacher's eye, she'll wink that he is fine, and I'll slip away. Perfect. Because suddenly I am Perfect Mom. Right......

Nope. I show up and buzz the door and they want to know what I want. I don't want to explain the whole long thing to a buzzing box, so I just say "Umm. I have a 1st grader here." They buzz me in. I walk in the office and the secretary (who is more than a little intimidating on a good day) glares at me and looks behind me.

Intimidating Secretary: Where is your 1st grader?

Me: his class.

Intimidating Secretary: Well, then why did you say you had one?

Me: Well, I do have one. I just don't have him with me.

Intimidating Secretary: I see. (She doesn't see.) Well, what do you need?

I explain the whole saga and she questions me intently,

I.S.: Does he have a fever?

Me: No.

I.S.: Did he throw up?

Me: No.

I.S.: Diarrhea?

Me: No.

I.S.: Just a cold.

Me: Yes, but he was acting funny.

I.S.: Funny?

Me:  Not himself.

I.S.: Oh, I see. (She doesn't see.) Well, I will call the classroom and have him sent here.

Me: Oh, is that necessary? I could just pop down there.....

I.S.: I will call his teacher. (End of discussion.)

So, it's horrid. She has some sort of intercom that blasts into Super 1st's classroom that Super 1st Grader (actually his entire alias is spoken) is to come to the office at once. He shows up, clearly terrified that he is in trouble and I can see that he has spilled some of his fruit cup snack down his shirt, probably in alarm of being called to the office. He slips in, trying to be invisible, but to no avail. Both secretaries, the principal, and I stare at him. Then, everyone stares at me. Guess I am the cause of this, so I start.

Me: Hey, baby, how do you feel?

Super 1st.: Fine.

I.S.: *Glare at me.*

Me: Think you are well enough to stay at school?

Super 1st.: I guess.

Principal: It's OK if you want to go home, Super 1st. Do you feel sick?

Super 1st.: A little.

Me: Wanna go home?

Super 1st.: I don't know. (only it's not an I-don't-know, it's an angry why-are-we-still-talking-about-this.)

I.S.: I see.

Yeah, me too. I see. Finally. I'm the mom. I have to make this decision. All these I don't knows are just Super 1st. saying what I should have known in the first place. "You're the mom, keep me safe. You're the mom; stop being indecisive. Stop over-thinking. Stop worrying about anything but the needs of me, your child. Stop. You're the mom; trust that you are the mom." So, I do. I look one more time in his eyes and see that steely resolve that makes him captain of the Supers. I kiss him once on the forehead, mostly to check one more time for the dreaded fever, but also because who is going resist being able to love on their 6-year-old in the middle of a school day? No fever. He'll be fine and he was always going to be fine. So, I send him back to class and turn to smile my thanks to the secretaries and principal. I get 2 smiles back.

That's OK. I'm the mom, I can handle it.

When I am stay-home-from-school sick, you are gonna know it.
No, I don't knows from this camp. 
Fair warning. 


  1. man, that is always a tough call. - Catherine

    1. Seriously. Who made me the adult? Seriously, who do I have to blame for that??? :)

  2. Super 1st will be fine, even with a cold, because he is awesome. He is a combination of all the best parts of you and Henry.

    1. Thanks! Super sweet of you, and yes, he is already feeling better! Although I did hear that the cold struck at your house.....

  3. I love that picture of Super Toddler. She has a bit of that look that Donald Sutherland had at the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

    1. Super Toddler will be the voice of reason when the alien invasion comes. A loud voice of reason. :)