A rectal thermometer.
That was the recommendation when I asked my friends for a good B.S. detector that would let me know if my kids were faking sick.
“Threaten the rectal thermometer and they will skedaddle off to school.”
Yesterday, I had to wake Aidan from a sound sleep to get ready for school. “IT’S MONDAY? I’M TOO TIRED! I WANT TO STAY IN BED!” (That was Aidan. Although I had a similar tantrum a half hour earlier. Tom has been out of town for the past five days, I am pooped.) I drag Aidan’s butt downstairs and sit him in front of a bowl of cereal. He insists that his stomach hurts and that he is way too tired to do anything. I check, and there’s no fever. I tell him he’s going to school. He starts a litany of every time I didn’t believe he was sick or hurt when he really was.
“Remember when I told you my stomach hurt and you told me to eat a Tums and I threw up in on the rug? And do you remember when I said my foot hurt in my ice skates and you made me skate and my ankle had blisters and I was bleeding? And do you remember…” Okay, punk. I got your point. Go back to bed. No TV. No video games. Sleep, books and coloring.
One hour later, the kid comes down and whines how there is nothing to do and starts spinning on my office chair. “Why can’t I play Lego or watch TV? This is so booooooooooring!”
I called B.S., packed him up and brought him to school where he wouldn’t be so bored.
Fast forward to 3 o’clock. Aidan runs out of school, tackles his buddies and heads off to a friend’s house while I get ready to help shuttle our Girl Scout troop off to a field trip. All but one of our 27 girls are assembled outside waiting to caravan to the Nature Center. The missing kid: mine. So we wait. And wait. And wait. (Eileen is notorious for being unorganized and disheveled, so packing up her backpack can be an ordeal.) My blood starts to boil and I am losing my patience. Ten minutes go by and she finally hops out of the school, sobbing, “I fell and hurt my ankle!”
“Oh, you’re fine,” says the B.S. detector.
“It REALLY hurts! I just want to go home!”
I clench my teeth and reply, “I have a car full of girls that I am driving to this field trip that we are running late for. We are going. I have ice in the car for your snacks that we will put on your ankle.”
At this point, my friend and co-leader Maureen steps in as the Nice Caring Mom that I should have been in that moment. “Okay, let’s take off the extra weight,” she says calmly as she removes my kid’s backpack. “Then let’s get you off of your feet,” and she heroically picks up my kid like the scene from An Officer and a Gentleman. (Well, except for the part where Richard Gere has a gerbil up his butt.)
“Um, thanks Maureen,” I mumble. “You can just bring her to the curb and I’ll pull the van up.”
“Leave her by the curb? I got this.” And she walks down the block, carrying Eileen in her arms.
Really? I couldn’t do that for my own kid? Was the Nature Center going to explode if we were five minutes late? Couldn’t I relate to a hurt ankle considering that I just did the same thing a few weeks ago? Where do I sign up for Compassion Lessons? Why do I ask so many questions?
I suck. I should be fired.
We get to the Nature Center that involved a hike, so Eileen and I sat that part out. She then hopped around for the rest of the event and I whisked her off to her four-hour play practice while she ate a PB&J in the car. Fortunately, another Nice Caring Mom noticed her hopping into rehearsal and offered to run home and bring back crutches. So, Eileen hobbled through the rehearsal, three costume changes and a few dance numbers — tripping her fellow cast-mates with her serious crutch skills. She falls into pieces during the car ride home over the disappointment of hurting herself right before the play opens.
This morning, it was still painful for her to stand. I resist the urge to say, “Are you sure?” and bring her to the doc for x-rays. She has a sprain and needs to stay on crutches until it doesn’t hurt. I joked (kinda) with the doctor about injecting her with steroid or cortisone so she can be crutch-free for the play this weekend. For some reason, he said no. She’ll still be able to perform on crutches, but it definitely impedes any Jazz Hand movements.
My poor kid.
Whoever coined the phrase “Break a leg!” before a show should have a crutch shoved up his keyster. Like a rectal thermometer.
If you liked this post about my broken Bullshit Detector, then you’ll love this past post about my husband’s kidney stones!