There has always been a little voice in the back of my head telling me that Holden’s extreme enthusiasm for the institution that is school probably wouldn’t last forever. I mean, technically it COULD- but it’s more likely that there will be at least a few years where I will have to drag him out of bed and force his ass through the doors.
I’m not saying it never happened- but growing up I don’t recall ever “playing sick.” The kind of playing sick where you totally fake that shit, wait for your folks to go to work, and then eat all of the junk food in the house and then feel like barfing so the playing sick becomes actually FEELING sick. Can someone say Karma?
I know there were many days that I expressed I simply did not want to go, and my mom always let me stay home an extra day after recovering from barfing or hacking or whatever ailed me just to “get my energy back”- but she didn’t let a lot of bullshit get past her. Very inept, that woman was.
It seemed like on every sitcom there was a kid moaning and groaning about how their tummy hurt and they couldn’t possibly go to school or pulling the whole “thermometer on the lightbulb” trick (but not realizing that humans can’t have temps of 125) to fake a fever, or being really tricky and spraying themselves with squirt bottles to look all sweaty and sickly. I was impressed. “That looks awesome and foolpoof!” I thought, “I could do that!”– and then I looked at my Mom’s face. You know- THE face. No. I could not do that. I knew other kids were, but I could not.
Since school started for Holden in September- I have actually been shocked at how much he loves going. He loves everything about it. He doesn’t complain on the few mornings he isn’t up before the alarm and I have to hover over his bed repeating his name to get him up or ever whine like I used to about how tired he is. The kid doesn’t like homework- but that was to be expected. The other day he even went as far as to tell me he likes being at school more than at home. Rude.
The problem I’ve had with his schooling is that he’s basically been sick on and off (mostly on) for 4 months now. Which means we’ve all been sick for 4 months now. Elementary school is a petri dish of nasty, and Holden, never having been exposed to that level of germ-bomb, is getting his ass kicked. Luckily it hasn’t been SO bad that he’s missed a ton of school- but the days he did miss…. well I wish he hadn’t. All I heard about all day was how he wanted to go to school and why couldn’t he go and blah blah whine whine blah blah. When you’re sick and hacking up bright green snot but whining about how you want to go to school- that is LOVE.
The kid is 5. It’s his first year being around other kids in that kind of setting- it must be exciting for him! He’ll probably love the shit out of it for kindergarten and maybe half of first grade and then his first big project will come home and the hate will start to boil up inside of him, and then he will start boiling thermometers to get out of going during an oral report day, or just because he’s tired and doesn’t feel like getting up and getting ready. Maybe a pint of ice cream will be calling his name from the freezer. Who knows- I just had the inkling that his honeymoon phase he was experiencing would not last.
My inklings are usually right. And by ‘right’ I mean I get the ball in the park but whether or not it’s caught…. well…. no. There’s a lot of fumbling- but I got it in the park, damnit! That counts for something!
I was right about the honeymoon phase not lasting. I was wrong about how much longer I had until it wore off and he was filing for divorce.
Yet again this week, the walking booger is sick. I mean, kind of. He’s been coughing like a madman but there’s been no fever and in general his temperament is fine. No moping or whining about how sick he is- but he really dramaticizes those coughs. It’s like- I KNOW you don’t need to be coughing that hard, child. Get that shit under control.
With no fever or lethargy, you can bet your sweet ass I’m still sending him to school- but I threaten to keep him home if he doesn’t calm down with the barking. Seriously, it’s ridiculous. Usually his response is “NOOOO! I WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL”– so reverse psychology does its job.
This morning, with the seal-barking continuing, yet again I threatened him expecting the same response… only instead he says “Okay Mommy. I want to stay home.”
Say what now?
I go get the handy dandy forehead thermometer (thank you cheezus I don’t have to shove anything up his butt to get an accurate reading anymore)- no fever. Nice try, buddy. You’re going to school.
“But you said I could stay hoooooommmeeeee *cough cough hack hack cough*”
Here is where you have to get tricky with the trickster. No, he’s not heating up a thermometer or spraying himself down with a water bottle- but he’s playing that shit up good. The kind of good where even though you KNOW it’s mostly for show, you still get that little lump of guilt for carting them off because “what if he really DID feel terrible?”
Mommy Guilt is a biatch.
Instead of answering him, I sent him to get dressed (something I would not do if I were keeping him home, but he is not quite old enough or quick enough to pick up on that yet.) When he returned a few minutes later, clothed for the day, he plopped his butt on the little red scooter (dubbed ‘the red scooter of DEATH’- that bitch is FAST) and started pushing himself across the kitchen at warp speed shouting “WEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”
and then I knew I had him. Deflect and distract a 5 year old brain in just the right way and they forget their sneaky little plot to get what they want- thereby giving you what YOU want. Win!
“Well, if you’re healthy enough to scoot, you’re healthy enough for school.”
He couldn’t even argue with that. He didn’t even TRY. Super win.
Don’t go thinking I’m going to be derpy enough to “inkle” that I can do this again. At least not until I can distract him from how I distracted him this time. He’s kinda pissed. It could be a while.
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