There is a phrase that strikes terror into the heart of every parent – that phrase is “I’m sick” (or its bitter, evil twin, “I’m hurt”).
Now of course, the terror first comes from a good place – the “I want my kids to always be healthy” place. But then that passes and real terror begins. The terror of knowing that no matter how we react to hearing that phrase, we are going to come out of it looking like The Worst Parent Ever.
I’m not exaggerating here – the very second your child utters those words, your parenting goose is cooked, carved, and served with a side of idiot sauce.
It starts when your child is sick. Or claims to be sick. Or is acting sick. Or might possibly be sick. You are now enrolled in the impassable parenting class, “Guessing 101: Drama vs. Infirmity.” Yes, I said impassable. No one can pass this class. OK, maybe if you have a really non-dramatic kid you might be able to squeeze out a D-minus. But the rest of us? F! If your kid has even a slightly dramatic bone in their body, you, my friend, are screwed.
Let me give you some examples:
Example 1: Kid claims to hurt her ankle/wrist/knee playing soccer/dance/cheer. Your choices are to:
A) Tell her she’s fine and deal with it, or
B) Take her for an x-ray.
If you choose A, it’s pretty much a guarantee that she will have a broken bone and you won’t know until you finally give in to her whining and default to B, at which time you will look like the worst mother ever: You fail! F! If however, you choose B outright, you will take the child to be x-rayed, be told she is fine, then given a bill for $1650.00: You fail! F!
Example 2: Kid tells you he’s sick. You can:
A) Keep him home from school, or
B) Tell him he’s fine and send him to school.
If you go with A, he will have knocked over several pieces of furniture, threw a football into the Christmas tree and chased the cat up & down the hall 375 times in the 5 minutes since the bus went by: You fail! F! Choose B and he will go to school and barf on everyone: You fail! F!
Do you see what I mean? YOU CAN’T WIN! No matter how you react to their possible injury/ailment, you are screwed!
And I imagine you are expecting me to give you some sage advice on what to do in these situations, but I have none. I just wanted to let you know that we all go through it and that I plan on bringing snacks to the Parent of the Year Awards Ceremony. Sit by me.