When it comes to having a sick day all of my very own, it would seem I’m always the bridesmaid, never the bride. No sooner have I come down with something, at least one member of my family is sure to follow quickly behind, most likely my husband who will get it much much worse than I. Always. And then suddenly, there I am, playing nurse, when I really just wanted to be the patient.
Anyway, just the other day, I found myself feeling very poorly indeed. I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say that every toilet trip I made was punctuated with cries of “It burns! It burns!”. And no, I didn’t have the clap. Hell, I don’t even really know what the clap is, except perhaps a good name for a “The Clash” coverband, don’t you think?
ANYWAY, turns out that the very same morning where all I wanted to do was lie in bed and feel incredibly sorry for myself, Mr Justice bounded out of bed shouting for a sick bucket. After spitting in said bucket a few times and doing a poo which was allegedly “a bit dribbly”, he entered his claim that he was “too sick to go to school” and then proceeded to chow down breakfast, tourment his siblings with a stick and run around the back yard. And yet, every time any mention was made of going to school, he had an instant relapse. Just like that.
Now, I have a number of litmus tests I perform when faced with a child who claims to be ill but without displaying obvious symptoms of illness – e.g. fever, vomiting, rash or singing Bindi and The Croc Men songs.
The first is to remind them gently of my rules of No TV, No Computer, No Wii. Instead, I announce, we shall dedicate the day to quiet contemplation and gentle convalescence in a semi-darkened room. When faced with this bleak prospect, school suddenly looks like the Warner Brothers’ Movie World in comparison and an ailing child, previously unable to to even lift their weary head from the pillow, can make a miraculous recovery.
The second is to say something like “Oh, what a shame. I had planned to have [insert best friend’s name] over for a playdate this afternoon but I guess I’ll have to wait until tomorrow when you’re feeling better.”
The third is to casually lay a five cent coin on the table and say “Oh, I thought that I would award this generous cash prize to the child deemed to be Most Well today…”
Mr Justice maintained that he was Truly Sick through all three tests. And yet he seemed perfectly fine. Still, I kept him home from school since the last time I doubted him, it ended spew-tacularly (see “The Boy Who Cried Sick“). And so it came to pass that I, who was actually sick, found myself with one extra child at home and one step even further away from having a sick day of my own. The injustice of it all.
Perplexed and somewhat broken, I sought counsel from my friend The Suburban Diva about my son’s mysterious ailment.
“Ah, it’s just Thirdtermitis,” she pronounced. “This has been a long term and it’s the arse-end of the cold and flu season. Everyone’s officially Over. It.”
And that’s when I really started to panic because Everyone Knows that a common complication of Thirdtermitis is School Holidayalgia, which can quickly develop into premature Fourthtermosis and progress into Summerholidayrhhea. And then, before you know it, it’s advanced into full-blown Teenagalgia, a condition from which no-one apparently ever really recovers. Neither parent nor child. No-one.
Better get some Actual Sick Days in before that one hits. I’ll need my energy.