Tuesday, 23 November 2010

I think the kid pulled a bluff

Kids are right tinkers they are. At lunchtime today my phone started ringing.

I picked up the handset, "Hello?"

"Hi, it's Miss C here - Izzy's teacher at school," said the voice at the other end.

"Oh hello, what can I do for you?" I asked.

"Izzy isn't feeling very well and I was wondering whether you could come and collect her?" asked Miss C.

"Yes of course, I can," I replied, before adding, "what's wrong with her?"

"I am not entirely sure to be honest, I think she might just be feeling a bit delicate."

Delicate? Izzy? She normally has the constitution of a Cart-Horse mixed with a Russian Shot Putter.

I drove to the school and buzzed security box at the gate to enter the playground. It was lunchtime playbreak and the yard was thronging with children all doing Brownian Motion at full speed. After a quick scan of the mayhem, I saw Izzy in the corner of the playground being hugged by two other girls.

I walked over to them and the girls instantly became animated, "Hello Izzy's Mum," they said, jumping around excited by the drama, "Izzy is poorly."

"Thank you for looking after her," I said and turned to Izzy, "What's wrong with you sweetheart?"

She replied, "I am poorly."

"Which bit is hurting?" I asked.

"My tummy," she said.

"Where?" I questioned.

"Here," she replied, pointing to the wrong bit, her lower abdomen. Then she added, "Daddy didn't rinse the washing-up liquid out of my water bottle."

That was when I started getting suspicious about Izzy's "illness", and this was compounded by the fact that when we were leaving the playground, Izzy bumped into her best friend, May. They both regarded each other with glee and started jumping up and down. Blimey, she didn't need a stretcher, that's for sure.

"Hey Mum," Izzy shouted, seemingly having forgotten her 'delicate' state, "can we show you our dancing routine?"

Now you can call me a Victorian mother, but by this stage I was starting to suspect that the illness was not quite as acute as Izzy had been making out. And now that I was confronted with pseudo tap-dancing and flailing arms, I was pretty sure that there wasn't much wrong with Izzy.

But still, it was school protocol to take home children that were considered unwell, and as such, I bundled Izzy into the car and drove her home. Once through the front door, I told Izzy to go and lie on the sofa where I wrapped her in a blanket. To be on the safe side, I took her temperature and checked for rashes.... but there was nothing.

"Ok, Izzy," I said, "you can sleep there for the afternoon."

Izzy looked at me, adding weakly, "can I watch TV?"

"Most definitely not," I replied, "if you are well enough to watch TV, you are well enough to go to school." [note to self: AAGH! I am turning into my parents! They used to say shit like that to me].

Izzy looked shellshocked by my decision, stuttering, "but last time I was ill you said I could watch TV."

"That is because last time you were ill you weren't missing school," I said.

I ignored her protestations and went into the kitchen to make a cup of tea. Less than two minutes later I heard a pitiful voice coming from the living room..... "Mum, I feel better now." Darn. It was confirmation that I had been gibbed by the illness milarky.

I walked back to find a rather perky looking Izzy standing in the middle of the room. She looked at me pleadingly with big, lovely eyes ..... "if I can't watch TV, can I play with my toys instead?" she asked.

Now, I am not sure if I did the right thing here [all suggestions gratefully accepted], but I refused to let her play with her toys.... "Nope, we are going to spend the afternoon doing numeracy and literacy exercises," I told her. I was determined to make missing school a non-fun experience. 

To be honest, I felt a bit mean. For all I knew, she could have been genuinely ill. But then again I grew up with a medical doctor as a father, and I literally would have to have contracted leprosy, pneumonia and a pulmonary embolism at the same time to miss even a minute of school.

I remember being knocked down by a car once, breaking several ribs and my left arm in three places. After being treated by Accident and Emergency, I was dropped right back off at school. Mind you, I was pretty accident prone in general.

Pic.No.1. The "patient" seemed to have made a miraculous recovery. I must be like Mother Theresa .... either that or Izzy wasn't ill in the first place

So my question is this - if you were in charge of a child that was suspected of being ill during school time (or whom might be pretending), what would YOU do? ....... Victorian parent, or bleeding heart?!

P.S. I am looking forward to the answers to this one because quite frankly, I found today's decisions difficult!


  1. I have to admit I was rather good at the old pretend illness 'oh look I'm all better but only enough to watch telly and not enough to go to school'. Either that or Mum knew what my tantrums were like so just let me get away with it. Well done you, I reckon. I'm not a parent by any stretch of the imagination, but I think you did the right thing. I mean, I got away with blue murder when I was little, and look at me now. I'm not saying I'm an *actual* murderer, but the members of Blue better look out.

  2. I am with you.

    Make time off ill no fun at all.

    Phew if she kept getting away with it she could grow up into an aerospace engineer or something like that!!!


  3. errrr Izzy, you don't look very ill do you... DUPED...

  4. Ha ha! You cheeky bugger Robert.. one could only dream about turning into an Aerospace Engineer!

  5. Bloody right Clare. But it's a toughy. You turn up to school to pick 'em up an they look all pale and listless. Then they pop back up to life like a self-inflating camp bed as soon as you get home. It's a nightmare

  6. Having never had children take this for what it's worth. In my view, illness is faulty problem solving. If kids get to have more fun by staying home sick (legitimate or not) they soon learn that illness comes with perks -- a trait they carry into adulthood. I think if a kid stays home from school, it should be as austere an experience as possible. If they learn early that nothing good comes from being sick, they'll be less likely to create illnesses as an adult to get them out of things they don't want to do or elicit sympathy.

    That may seem a little out there, but then so am I. ;)

    Please get Disqus for commenting. Pretty please.

  7. Eh up, welcome Sophums.... and thank you muchly for your comment. You have given me some solace that I did indeed take the right course of action! Look forward to you coming round and visiting again!

  8. Yo Jayne... you and me are homeys when it comes to dealing with sick kids!.. But hang on a mo... what is disqus? and why do I need it?

  9. Well lovie...Never having had kids myself, but having had a mother who loved me with iron will when needed I would absolutely agree that you did the right thing.

    I tried the sick when sick is convenient thing with my mother. I got the same from her....filler work that I would have missed out on and no fun whatsoever.

    Learning that staying home "sick" to miss out on lessons isn't fun you are doing her huge favors...she'll appreciate it when she's our age. =)

    Good on ya, woman! Keep up the super mom work! =)

  10. I'm with you on this. Our kids have to have bits falling off before we keep them home from school. As such, they were both given cerificates last year for 100% attendance - only half a dozen kids out of the whole school got those.
    And if they were off sick and I thought they were pulling a flanker, it'd be literacy and numeracy lessons for as long as I could be arsed to give them.

    PS - I loved that Brownian Motion/playground analogy :)

  11. Here's another mom on your side. When my daughter tried to play this game, she was confined to her bed (no TV in the bedrooms!) and got only tea and toast for the rest of the day. Or I'd made her come to my office or her father's office, where she was allowed to nap in the corner... or to do her homework. It was hideously boring. It didn't completely quell her delight of the game... but after the first couple of times, the threat of having to spend time at her father's office (boring unto death), she'd admit to feeling well enough to stay in school for the rest of the day.

  12. Looks perfectly healthy to me!

    Kudos to her for trying though. Wanna do that and stay home from work some days.

  13. You made her do math when it's obvious from the photo that she was death's door? Harsh indeed! My folks told me I was prone to Monday Morning Virus. I actually took to placing notes on my bedroom door instructing them as to just how sick I was and not to wake for me for school.

  14. I was excellent at feigning illness. But I went to school after a bit of a prang with a broken ankle. Didn't discover I'd had a broken ankle for decades.

  15. Phew.... it is bloody good to hear that you all support the 'austerity measures' put in place... thanks ever so much for your feedback... you are awesome!

  16. Ha ha Kelly! you taking her to the office made me laugh.. that is proper kid hell!

  17. Eh up Brahm... yeh totally healthy and then some. It bugs getting gibbed by a five year old!! But hey, if you have a bad day, you can come round to my house and I will let you watch a video!

  18. Masher - I couldn't agree more. I hold pride in 100% attendances, and expect Izzy to be the same. She has always been a trooper when she has been ill, so I was a bit disappointed with this latest stint. hopefully lessons have been learnt!! *wink*

  19. BB you nobber! You made me laugh... yeh she was really near death's door as you can tell from the pic!!

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