Friday, January 25, 2002

Faking and Being Sick

An early entry today. It isn't even 9am. And I have loads of cleaning to do between now and 5pm when I get the sitter.

I was up at 6:30. Geoff gets up early and puts on the TV and walks around the house. Not sure how early he was actually roaming, but I heard him coughing.

Coughing and coughing and sneezing and sniffing and coughing. Aw crap, not again. How do these kids constantly pick up colds? They get their daily multi-vitamins. He's on amoxicillin for chrissake, isn't that some sort of deterrent to germs or is that just my imagination. So I decided to keep him home. I knew if I gave him cough medicine it would render him sleepy, cranky and useless.

Jessica then gets out of bed complaining of a stomach ache, and putting on her pathetic and pained face... "ooooooohhhhh, I dont feeeeeelllll gooooood."

So I freak. Every day since I got laid off she has claimed she's sick... has a head ache, a fever, a stomach ache. Thing is, I know she wants to stay home with me because I'm all about the party and I'm tons of fun, but when I'm home I want to get things done, and not hang out just watching Spongebob Squarepants until my eyes bleed.

When I yelled at her that she was faking it and demanded she go get dressed Doug got mad at me, and said I over reacted. Uh, no. I can see right through little kid bullshit, and I'm not over reacting. So he assessed her, does it hurt when I poke here... Let me see your throat, you have no fever... the whole time I'm cursing him because he is playing into her ruse. He determined she was fine and told her to go get dressed. When I filled him in on this whole wanting to stay home every day since I got laid off thing he understood my reaction more.

By the time she left for school she was psyced because a squirrel was on the porch, and other stuff made her happy that if she were truly ill she'd just make a grunt towards and cross her arms tightly. So I totally knew she was just freakin' fine.

No gettin' that crap past me.

My mom was the queen of figuring out when we were faking it and I totally inherited that skill from her. My body temperature runs about 97 degrees, which is lower than normal, so when I had a fever of 99 it would register as 98 on the thermometer and I wouldn't get out of school... I remember my doctor once Doug and I got married telling me that it is pretty common, that 98.6 degrees is only some people's temperature, so he laughed at me when I told him I couldn't get out of school for minor fevers. I'd have to have full blown scarlet fever or ebola or something to get out of school.

I can tell for real sick and for fake sick, and hell, even if you ARE sick go to freakin' school. Some other kid came to school sick and gave it to YOU, so get back in there and give it to someone else!

Jessica dillydallied and was dangerously close to missing the bus, so I got after her and said "you miss that bus, you're walking! I'm not driving you to school!" and that brought back a childhood memory (segue via wavy screen with Wayne and Garth making their travel-back-in-time noise).

Once when I was in the second or third grade (my mom would know the specific year...) I missed the bus.

I had missed the bus a ton of times. We lived up on this huge hill and I never made it down to the bus stop on time... so I'd trudge back uphill and my mom would freak. So that particular morning, she said that very same sentence to me: "you miss that bus, you're walking! I'm not driving you to school!" And I knew what I had to do.

I stood there, it was sleeting, and I looked up and down the road hoping another bus would pass... There was a foot of slush on the roads, and when no bus came to my rescue I started walking. I didn't dare go up that hill to that house to that woman. My ass was grass and her foot was the lawnmower (with bagger attachment) and there was no way I was going to face that music.

So there I was walking along West Shore Road thinking that it wasn't that far to my elementary school, probably four or five miles... I'd be there in no time. I was DRENCHED from cars passing me and splashing me with road junk, and from stepping into the knee deep slush as I trudged my way to school.

A cop car passed me, then came back again, then passed and pulled up in front of me. The officer got out and asked me what I was doing.

I told him I missed the bus and had to walk to school because my mom would kill me if I went back to the house because she was tired of me missing the bus so I didn't have a choice.... and I started bawling.

Now, this is the early 70s we're talking here. Today he would have driven me to school and the school would have called DYS and my mom would have lost us kids and ended up in court and on the channel 7 news. But seeing as it was the early 70s, he drove me to school, and I was only 2 hours late, but I had a police escort (soaking wet still, but there).

I do believe the school called my mom to inform her of what had transpired and she was embarassed (I think, but she'll have to attest to that) but I honestly don't remember missing the bus again.

Jessie's bus stop is caty-corner to the house at the end of the little cul-de-sac across the road. I can see it from the window and can see her pink jacket and blonde hair from here, and I keep a good eye on her until that bus comes. It is a 2 minute slow walk over there. The bus comes anywhere between 8:14 and 8:17, so I try to have her out the door by 8:10. And I've driven her to school before on days when I've made her shower in the morning. But I've never made her walk to school. Her school is 1.5 miles from here... she could do it. There are some good short cuts that you can take by foot which shorten the trek... but I haven't made her do it.

It is a different world out here, compared to when I was in second grade. Even if she missed the bus of her own accord, I'd still drive her because I don't trust anyone. I trust her judgement not to accept a ride, but I just don't trust the concepts of letting her out there on her own walking around. I only let her walk as far as Maddison's house around the corner, across the street from our church, or, to church itself if she has to be there on time for choir and I'm not quite ready to come over with her.

I am not saying I'm a better mom by the way, no dissin' my mom here. It's just a different world. One where we try and pay closer attention to the kids who pull the same crap we pulled back in the day.

Once I let her walk past Maddison's and across the park at Lanen street to a friend's house. I didn't let her walk insomuch as I told her to run and not stop for anyone except traffic... she was there in a manner of minutes. Her friend's mother was shocked. "How close do you live? I thought you lived way over there?!"

Yup. We do.

Well, I have to get a move on. We have that sitter coming tonight, so I have to clean now. Geoff is in the tub because he took ice cream from the freezer ("I was so hungry, Mom!") and sat on the couch eating it out of the container... he then got some on the floor and decided to step in it and make footie prints on the hardwood floor that I cleaned day before yesterday. Dang, yo.

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