- from Ferris Bueller's Day Off
(quote courtesy of IMDB.com)
I was pretty sure I wasn't going to have to deal with a Ferris Bueller in my house until The Doodle was into her teens, but here we are. I got a call from school saying my kid "doesn't feel well". Given that I just saw her less than an hour before, I knew perfectly well that she wasn't sick. I sighed and changed my route.
This isn't the first time I've doubted the legitimacy of a "sickness". The Doodle's figured out the right combination of non-descript symptoms and milks the admin staff with an earnest look of "oh my gawd, I'm growing a third arm, you HAVE to call my mother to pick me up." She's an actress. She recites movie lines flawlessly, perfecting the intonation and delivery of every single character that has ever danced across our TV screen. I've seen her work. Look out, Broadway.
So I'm not the least bit surprised that they bought it. Again. At least this time she knew not to bounce with excitement by the front door, screaming "MUMMY!MUMMY!MUMMY!" No, she actually looked flushed; my palm to her forehead sensed a slight increase in temperature. "My tummy feels sick, Mummy, and I feel like I'm gonna droo-oop." Well, if you're gonna droo-oop, droop into this, I said as I handed her a bag for the car ride home.
Where do you draw the line between keeping your kid home and saying "suck it up, Buttercup" as you herd them out the door? Are they physically sick? Does it warrant a trip to the doctor's, or just a day of soup and snuggles? Is there something going on at school causing trepidation? How many times do you ignore (or answer to) the cry of "wolf" before you're caught off guard with a real emergency and have to endure the disapproving glares of other parents for being "that mom"?
I maintained somewhat of a victory over the situation by laying down the law: too sick for school? Too sick for movies, TV, treats, naps on the couch, playtime, trips to the park. Bed rest was the order of the day (cuz gawd knows I needed it too). I was floored when she obediently did my bidding. Maybe she really was sick, after all? In any case, after a day that was thankfully free from any drooping episodes, The Doodle had fully recovered enough to greet Daddy at the door with an excited screech and a promise not to "pretend sick" anymore.
It's one of those ultimate tests parents have to go through: riding the fence between "You're not THAT sick" and looking like Mom of the Year when your kid does end up barfing up a lung.