Ok, tell the truth – we’ve all done it: hyped of a case of the sickies to get out of some unpleasant task. I got so proficient at it as a kid that my mom finally created an entire name for the illness which befell me most mornings only to miraculously disappear as soon as the school bus had passed our house. “Don’t tell me,” she’d say, “another case of Yellow Bus Fever?”
Well it seems my youngest is testing the waters to see just how far and often he can fall victim to Yellow Bus Fever without losing any of his after-school perks. After several days of, “Mom, my throat hurts and I think I have a fever and should stay home because I don’t want to get the kids in class sick and my asthma doesn’t feel very good and, and and…” I got wise to the scheme.
With his first croak of the morning, I’d whip out the thermometer. “If it’s a fever, fine. If not, then you’re going to school.”
“Even if my asthma’s bad?” he’d ask, totally offended at the callousness of this woman who’d sat by his bedside and stroked his hair as she fretted over his wheezing and poor health only a few weeks ago.
“Even if your asthma’s bad,” I’d say. “We’ll pump you full of albuterol and send you on your way to fill that brain up with important learning.”
And then I’d deliver the secret weapon, “And then when you get home, I’ll make sure you get plenty of rest by sending you straight to bed. You’ll have to be careful not to get over-tired in this delicate state, so, of course, the computer and the Wii and even your Gameboy will be off limits.”
It is a modern-day miracle how fast that boy recovered. Within minutes, the croak was completely gone from his voice, and he wasn’t feeling a bit of wheezing.
I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, though – because when you’re a mom, every strategy eventually backfires. I’m waiting from that ominous phone call from the school nurse, “Your son is in the office, and he can barely breathe thanks to a horrible asthma attack. And did you even look at his throat? It’s obviously on fire. What kind of mother sends their poor child to school like this?”
I’ll have an answer though, “Oh, I was sick in bed this morning. My husband made that bad decision. I’ll be right there.”