My 7-year-old son woke up yesterday morning complaining of a sore throat and asking to stay home from school. He rarely complains about stuff like that, and he never asks to stay home from school. So I went down the normal mommy checklist, and the only ailment he could come up with was the sore throat.
“But Mom, I don’t want to go to school today,” he continued to whine. And after several attempts on my part to figure out why he wanted to stay home so badly, he finally admitted: “I just need a break.”
I didn’t know what to say because quite frankly I needed a break too. I wanted a break just as badly as he did, enough to be tempted to pretend I didn’t know he was faking just so I could have a mental health day. But I knew I couldn’t give in and teach him it’s ok to feign an illness.
“Sorry buddy, you have to go to school today. But we have a 3-day weekend coming up so we can both have a break in a couple of days.” I think I was just as bummed about having to go to school as he was.
Fast forward 30 minutes, when our entire family is dressed and fed and minutes away from piling up in the car to head out to school. I’m brushing Little C’s hair, and I hear this weird coughing/gurgling sound. I race into my bedroom and see Big C sprawled out on my bed, gagging. Next thing I know, I’m watching my son, the one with a sore throat who needs a break, vomiting all over my bedroom floor.
After leading him to the bathroom, I went downstairs for cleaning supplies. Mr. RC, who apparently needed a break too offered to stay home with Big C. “No, it’s ok, you go to work,” I said. “I’ll stay home.” And then we both practically ran to the phone, fighting over who was going to call in sick. I’ll call in! No, I’m calling in! No, that’s ok, I’ll stay home!
Yes, we could all use a break every now and then. And yesterday we all got one. Mr. RC and I tag teamed our sick days, each working a half day so we could switch off staying home and tending to the sick boy. Oh, and that sick boy? Not so sick as it turns out. When I got home at noon for my sick child shift, my men were lounging in bed eating Oreo cookies. I don’t know exactly how Big C was able to spontaneously produce vomit at just the right moment, but if I’m not careful, I might have a Ferris Bueller on my hands.