Kids’ sick days – they’re inevitable. And I think they should be respected. Not only because you don’t want to be that parent, but because kids need to know that they are important, and that they matter, and especially so when they’re sick. It’s nice to know people are there for you when you feel yucky.
So, what to do?
Not the mental gymnastics involved in making phone calls, canceling plans, and making apologies. I’m talking about once all that is done, and you’re settling in, and have to figure out how to handle the day.
It’s one thing if you know they’re sick and feel bad. You’ve been thrown up on once or twice already or the digital thermometer freaked out or whatever. That absolutely calls for board games and stories read ad nauseam and watching that movie again.
But sometimes, the fever broke at 2am, and she has to be fever-free for 24 hours before you can send her back (you tried to fudge that one, once, only to get called by the school nurse halfway through the day when the fever returned, so you are not trying that again), even though she is bouncing on the bed and singing the most annoying song she can think of.
What to do with those days?
Or the days when you kind of feel like you let yourself be convinced to keep them home.
Maybe someone just needs a “mommy and me” day. I hate to think of brushing that off. Sometimes, a kid just needs to be close to Mama (or Daddy). And that’s okay, because it works the other way, too – sometimes Mama just needs to hug her baby. (Insert Daddy/his as appropriate – I know it applies, but it was hard to put both in and still make the sentence pretty.) How do you balance that with the need to not miss school? I try to work in as many Moments outside of school as we can, but then there’s also homework and extracurriculars and dinner has to be cooked and dishes have to be done and there’s the laundry, and, and, and.
There are less cuddly reasons, too. Maybe it’s 30º outside and they don’t like wearing a coat, or it’s 85º out and they don’t want to wear pants. Maybe they didn’t study for the spelling test. Maybe the movie they’ve been wanting to see just popped up on Netflix or maybe they’re 2/3 of the way through HP7 and they just have to find out what Harry and Hermione and Ron are going to do next and they tried to stay up all night reading but now they’re exhausted and if they stay home then they can sleep in and then finish the book.
(Though really – what book lover hasn’t had that idea? It sounds like a little slice of heaven, really, but I’m pretty sure it’s in the Mommy Rule Book somewhere that I’m supposed to tell the kids that education is important and they’re supposed to go to school.)
Where do we draw the line between being supporting and loving, and boring? I want to be comforting, but not make “sick” days so much fun that we start seeing more of them.
And there’s this to consider, too:
Education is important. Being responsible is important. But taking care of yourself is important, too.
Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. -Ferris Bueller
How do you teach balance Indulgence and Responsibility? I think it’s a hard thing to do well, and I want to help my kids learn how. I think they’ll be happier for it.
And I somehow feel we start with how we approach Sick Days.
Now, you’ll have to excuse me. I think I have a date with a maybe-or-maybe-not-too-sick kiddo, and Pete the Cat.