It’s hard to know when that kid is crying wolf! Every other day he lies on the floor feigning illness. I get him going and he’s fine. Since he goes to school a full 45 minutes after Gavin he passes the time by watching TV. In my defense, it keeps Gwen and Parker from fighting and gives me a minute to shower or workout or finish whatever I’m doing.
As soon as I say it’s time to go his illness comes back. Probably because he didn’t get to finish the Spongebob episode or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Who wants to go to school when the boob tube god is flashing images and blaring a tempting version of the Hallelujah Chorus?
This morning was no different. The floor had an extra gravitational pull for Parker. The couch called his name and it took some convincing to get him to eat. I kept stressing the fact that if he stayed home he would have extra homework, he would get behind in school, and all I was going to let him do if he stayed home was lie in bed and stare at the walls. No toys. No TV.
He set up camp on the floor watching me do a quick ab workout. Gwen was more or less in the way unsuccessfully trying to do the exercises with me! I finished just in time to comb his hair, pop two children’s Pepto tabs in him, and take him to school.
He was walking slowly and his face was a little pale. No fever – no stay home from school. I hoped it was all psychosomatic from watching a Full House episode yesterday where DJ faked the flu to get a rock star autograph. I hoped he could make it.
In my defense Parker is the most likeable kid in town. Even the teachers are in love with him. How many times did the school nurse call me to pick him up from kindergarten? How much money did I spend on copays to get a doctor to tell me what I already knew – that he was fine! He was flushed from recess but the teacher sent him to the office anyway. Any time Parker replaced his perma grin with a more somber expression the teacher was sending him to the office. This is my defense! I’m sticking to it!
I was raised by parents who never batted an eye unless there was gushing blood or vomit. And then they would swear at us for making a mess! I remember my mom wore sunglasses in the hospital like some kind of incognito rock star and kept telling me to stop crying because I was embarrassing her! Her coworkers may see her since we were across the hall from the x-ray department where she worked. I had ungracefully fallen off my bike onto my face and needed stitches in my lip. don’t feel emotionally scarred from this. I’m a tough cookie because of it. I am raising warriors not pansies!
Good intentions only go so far. I made it halfway down the long street to my house before Velma stopped the music to tell me someone was trying to call me. I pressed the U-Connect button to answer. It was the school secretary telling me she had Parker in the office. He had thrown up. I told her I was turning around and made the next left into a circle to do so.
Could I be any more unprepared to pick up a sick child from school? Gwen was still in her pajamas with bare feet. She suggested she stay in the van while I hold Parker’s hand. Her words. I was still sweaty in my workout clothes with flip flops on. Luckily I had grabbed a hoodie as a cover up. It concealed some of my body no one should ever see encased in lycra. I know. Vanity runs deep in me.
Parker looked nearly as green as the jacket he was wearing. I hugged him and got a little of his puke on my shirt. I apologized to him and he quickly forgave me. When I told him he could spend the day on the couch watching TV he was relieved. He told me he didn’t want to stare at the walls like I had threatened earlier.
The sun is shining. It’s a beautiful day that Gwen and I will no longer enjoy at the Alien Playground. The TV god will be properly worshipped all day. I will never win any mother of the year awards and who knows what the school nurse and secretary think of me! But at least Parker forgives me for never believing him when he says he feels sick. In my defense, he cries wolf a lot.