Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Illness Determinator 2000

Would someone please invent one of these things? Pretty please with sugar on top? Humankind has invented some pretty complicated things -- the internet, space shuttles and tv remote controls for goodness' sake!

So why can't someone invent a thermometer-like devise to determine if your child really is sick. It needs to read "Physically ill", "Mentally ill" or "Just plain faking it". And it needs to have a little display that says whether they're too sick to go to school or not.

Every parent of school-age children has been there. Kid wakes up on a school day. "My tummy hurts." "My throat hurts." "My pinkie toenail hurts."

What's a parent to do? Send her to school, risking the wrath of the secretary when she has to call you because said kid really is sick? Keep her home, completely changing all your plans around? Send her to school later in the day when she's bored enough to perk up and start playing like normal?

Trust me, I've done that last one. That's my general caveat when Hayley and Em get to stay home from school: "Sure, you can stay home. But if I determine that you're not really sick, I'm taking you in anyway."

But what's really getting me lately is Emma's mysterious stomach aches. They come and go at random. They don't seem to be related to food, nor stress. The pediatrician thinks it's constipation, but I happen to know (being her mom and privvy to all kinds of great stuff) that constipation is not the issue.

Most of the time, she starts hurting in the early afternoon -- usually between 1 and 2. She calls from school needing to come home. If I bring her home, she perks up as soon as we walk in the door. She's absolutely fine.

If I tell her to tough it out, I inevitably get another phone call half an hour later and end up picking her up anyway.

Run through the gamut of possible causes with me, will you?

  • Stress -- really not much for her to be stressed about right now
  • Nerves -- she is a bit intrepid about the upcoming WASLs (Washington Assessment of Student Learning) but her tummy aches go back three or four months so I don't think they're related
  • Tired -- she gets lots of sleep
  • Bored -- maybe academically, but she loves her friends and seems quite happy at school
  • Bullies -- not a single one
  • Abuse -- I've talked with her extensively and nope, not it

What am I missing? The only thing I can possibly come up with is that she wants to spend more time with me.

Honestly, that's kind of laughable. Aside from school and about 1.5 hours (Sunday school and violin), we are together. I play with her, cuddle her, read with her, help her with homework, etc. etc. etc.

I have been working a lot of hours lately, but I still make time to play with the girls. I'm certainly not ignoring them.

So what is it already? And what do I do? Do I continue to pick her up or keep her home? Her grades are great, but I don't want her missing school. I want her to toughen up. (I live by the creedo "Ow that hurts but I'm ok" and I teach my girls to do the same. They've never quite caught on, though.)

My Mom-o-Meter is broken. I just don't know what to do. Any thoughts or suggestions, oh Deliciously Wise Readers?


Family said...

Sorry Kate - wish I knew?? Seems to be a global thing. My 2 boys have gone throught this at different times - so - what is a mother to do - I asked them, the boys, and top reason was when they think they might get into trouble, another reason was want to stay home (play and be with me and rest)and another reason was they actually are sick. So that is that. If you get any clarification on the 'Illness Determinator' please let me know. By the way - it is Michelle neighbor from San Diego now living in Melbourne with the 3 great men in my life - it's so nice to read you family 'fun'

Deana said...

Is it possible that Emma really doesn't have a stomach ache but knows that if the school calls you once or twice that she will end up at home? Maybe if you tell her to just tough it out a few times that it will end the mysterious stomach ache. It helped with Brittney.