Blowing Chunks or Blowing Smoke?

The dreaded words first thing in the morning for me are “Mooooom, I feel like I’m going to throw up.”  The one thing that can’t be proven true or false until it is too late.  Flu?  Check for a fever.  Strep throat?  Get out the flash light.  But vomiting?  No way to know for sure.

My kids are not morning people (NO idea where they get that from…) so frequently come up with excuses for why they can’t possibly go to school that day.  Unfortunately, the excuse of choice now seems to be the threat of hurling.

You see, I used to feel confident in my ability to spot a faker.  I could smell one a mile away.  The conversation used go like this…

Me: “Time to get up for school!”

Kid: “I caaaaan’t.   I feel like I’m going to throw up.”

Me: “OK, just lay there.  Sometimes it goes away once you wake up.” (Hope: they will forget and in a few it will just be a normal yawn, not a technicolor one.)

Me (5 minutes later): “Time to get up for school!”

Kid: “I caaaaan’t.  I feel like I’m going to throw up.”

Me: “Ok, get up. Quick!  Go stand over the toilet!” (Hope: that standing over the porcelain god will make them realize they don’t want to pray to it.)

Kid (5 minutes later): “I didn’t throw up…but I still feel like I might.”

Me: “Let’s go eat some toast.” (Hope: if he doesn’t lose his breakfast, he won’t ‘lose his lunch’)

Kid (after eating the entire piece): “It didn’t help.”

Me: “Eat this cookie.” (Hope: if you can eat a cookie, you won’t toss your cookies.)

Me (after cookie is inhaled): “Time to get dressed.”

Kid: “I caaaan’t.  I still feel like I’m going to throw up.”

Me: “Nope, the cookie always works.  It’s a fact.  Let’s go.” (Hope: throwing out absolutes like ‘always’ and ‘fact’ make it clear the throwing up conversation is over.)

Fast forward to after school…

Me: “What’s up, Chuck?  How was your day.”

Kid: “Great.  But who’s Chuck?”

This scenario replayed time and time again.

Until the day it didn’t.

Within 5 minutes of arriving at school, it happened.  I won’t say who it happend to, because it is still a touchy subject.  But he threw up.  In his classroom.  In front of all of his classmates.  All over the place.  It wasn’t fake this time.

I was mortified when I got the call.  When I arrived at school, I got the one-eyebrow-raised look, along with the words  “He said he told you he was sick this morning.”  Yep, he did.  For the 5th time this month.   The other 4 times I was RIGHT.  Can’t we just focus on that??

I wanted to start spouting “the boy who cried wolf” life lessons but instead rushed to the car with my tail between my legs.  Guilt mounted as I listened to a regurgitation (pun intended) of every itty bitty minute detail of what happened.  I started to feel sick to MY stomach over the incident.  Not because of the grossness, but the humiliation!

Since then, the conversation has changed to…

Me: “Time to get up for school!”

Kid: “I caaaan’t.  I feel like I’m going to throw up!”

Me (while already dialing the school absentee line): “OK, sweetie.  Feel better and get back to sleep!”

Unfortunately, kids can smell fear a mile away.  They know I’m terrified of a repeat of the catastrophe.  That my “faker” radar is broken.

The frequency of “sick days” keeps increasing.  But every time, they are out of bed and fine by 10am.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m thankful they aren’t puking all day.  I don’t want them to be puking.  I just want them to be not puking AT SCHOOL.

I just know the first time I push one of them out the door, I’m going to get the dreaded call.  And the dreaded look.  And the dreaded guilt.  So they stay home. “Sick.”

I’m not sure how many more of these days I can stomach.  I need a way to know if they are truly nauseous or if it is just another nauseating attempt to sleep in.  I have no patience with the patient once it is obvious that they are, in fact, well.  By the end of the day, I’m so annoyed that I got suckered again that I should probably call it a “sick of YOU day!”

Maybe I should send them to school with a note that says “Watch under.  He may chunder!”


Does anyone else have problems with kids staying home from school for not-so-sick days??

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