Once More Unto The Breach

OMG THAT KID IS SICK AGAIN. Another week, another cold. Another day off school.

It’s fine, of course it is. She’s missing kindergarten, not a thesis defense. And yet, I still feel that angst making the decision whether or not to keep her at home. I suppose it gets easier the more they can articulate how they are feeling, and the older they get to be able to take medications.

And, by extension, the better you get at determining if they are faking it. But that’s not for a few years yet. For us, the potential of sick days means battling a child who WANTS to go to school and will pitch a fit if she CAN’T. So here’s hoping THAT never changes.

Anyway, a sick day means she spends the day on the sofa, watching movies. I am near at hand, but fortunately don’t have to be right there all the time anymore, as I did when she was little. I pop in and out, and today I am getting some paying work done, as well as a couple of blog posts, some dishes, some laundry, and a bit of cooking. Nothing that will lure her off the sofa, though — she is at the age where she wants to HELP, and loves to clean, so I have to keep it to quieter, less distracting, and more solitary pursuits.

One of the issues we have with sickness nowadays is nighttime. We all retreat to our neutral corners at bedtime, and we all sleep with our white noise. When she was tiny, we had monitors to be able to hear if she was sick, even over the white noise in our rooms. But now, she is older, and we have to rely on her to come to us to tell us if she is feeling poorly in the night.

The problem is, she may not. She is a child who takes rules to heart, and knows she is not to get up and wander around at night. So we have no way of knowing if she will take it upon herself to get us if she needs us. She’s still not old enough to determine when it’s appropriate or necessary, and she doesn’t have the comprehension that we can teach it to her yet.

Sometimes, like when she has had an earache and the pain was bad, she will go all the way downstairs in the dark to get Dad. But some nights, she will cough and cough and cough with no relief, and not set foot out of her room, and it becomes an issue where one of us can’t stand it any more and we go in there in the middle of the night and medicate or soothe her. So that is a bit of a challenge.

Fortunately, today is the last day of school before a 4 day holiday weekend, so taking the day means she will have had five days to get rested and healthy. I am okay with that. I just have to adjust to the fact that as her parent, if I am okay with her missing school for reasonable reasons, then it is okay — whether or not the school says so. It’s still a new role for me.

I know, many parents send their kids to school when they are sick. Some send them because they have to, not being able to take time off work all the time to take care of them. Some just can’t be bothered, and think of school as free daycare anyway. And some think that their kids are probably not that sick and turn a blind eye. And this is the reason that my kid is sick, and so often. (And to be fair, not just my kid. But you know what I am saying.)

But BDH and I try to be conscious of this; perhaps we are overly so. We don’t want our daughter making other kids sick, and we feel the teachers have enough to do without dealing with sick little ones, or with getting sick themselves. And honestly, if we don’t like dealing with hot and cold running boogers and our kid sneezing and coughing all over us, why would we think a teacher would?

Still, it is tough to know when to make the call. Stinkerbelle’s preschool had fairly specific guidelines, and so we tend to follow those. I don’t know if that makes us overly cautious, and if her teachers are going to think of us as overprotective parents or be critical of That Girl for missing school. I can’t imagine so, but on the second day that Stinkerbelle was off sick last time, we got a call from the teacher asking when she’d be back. I was unsure whether to be impressed or feel slightly checked-up on and chastised.

I am sure it gets easier. But this whole school thing has been an adjustment for us all and, just for today, I don’t mind that my tired kid is loafing on the sofa and taking it easy. She’s got a cold, and she’s been working very hard and learning and adjusting for the past month. She deserves a bit of rest.

Which reminds me — ask BDH to pick up some more children’s Tylenol on the way home.

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