As we drove home I glanced in the rear view mirror and caught the twinkle in her eye.
"Jessica's still in school", she announced. I nodded affirmation. "Beth is still in school?" She asked. Again, I agreed. "Ellie is still in school!" A triumphant exclamation. Then a gleeful "I'm not!" Hmmm.
They learn quickly, these little ones, that the school clinic is a magic portal home to mummy-cuddles, Sponge bob DVD's and snacks.
The School Clinic Aide and I don't really see eye to eye. There is a reason.
The School Rule: If a child is leaking (or is threatening leakage) from any orifice, or if it has a fever, it is quickly dispatched home
The Home Rule: If a child can walk, it goes to school.
You can see the slight discrepancy.
If my child appears at the breakfast table with snot dripping from her nose and a flushed face, then she can go back to bed, and maybe, if her fever is really high, I will call the doctor.
If she has noticeably swollen tonsils and cannot speak, (and has snot dripping from her nose and a fever) then, again, bed is the answer.
If a child complains of a stomach ache and feeling sick, but isn't actually vomiting then she can go to school
If she has a sore throat but no fever, then it's school.
I am a harsh unsympathetic mother. But my children know that malingering is not an option.
Then there are the times when Mummy gets it wrong.
Like the time my oldest woke me up in the night, several times over a period of a few months, to say she had an ache in her lower jaw. I gave her Tylenol. When I eventually had had enough of these disturbed nights, I made an appointment with the Doctor, who advised seeing a dentist who told me my daughter needed a root canal. Ouch!
And then there was the time the same daughter complained of a sore foot after playing soccer. I gave her Motrin and told her it would get better eventually. It did, but only after a visit to the doctor prompted a visit to ER and an X-Ray confirmed a fracture of the growth plate of the big toe. Another ouch.
And then the time the same daughter (she must think I have it in for her) was home sick with a fever. I knew she was sick, but didn't want to give her any medication before a visit to the Doctor so the Doctor would know just how sick she was. Whilst waiting to see someone, the poor girl almost fainted. When they took her temperature the thermometer registered a fever of 104.6. Thankfully, she recovered quickly once they administered the medicine I, her cruel and heartless Mother, had denied her.
It is a difficult thing, deciding if your child is really sick or just playing the system. We sometimes get it wrong. But then, we are only human!