While the rest of my coworkers are stuffed into their business casual uniforms, I’m comfortably dressed in flip-flops, a Dead Kennedy’s T-shirt and gym shorts.
While they were startled awake at 6 a.m. by a blaring alarm clock, I was still in bed until almost 9 with Stephen King’s latest scare-fest spread across my lap. But it’s not without guilt that I appreciate such things. And such things are not without their downside. The reason I’m home on this particular Wednesday is because Jellybean is sick … or at least I think she’s sick.
It’s not always so easy to tell when it comes to little ones, but I’m a sucker when it comes to my pouting 5-year-old who may very well be manipulating me ’cause she, too, knows I’m a sucker. What I do know is that yesterday she was acting really weird.
When I showed up to pick her up from afterschool, she had her head down on the desk and her teacher said that she’d talked about her “tummy hurting.” But as all parents know, the old “my tummy hurts” is usually a ploy for attention or an attempt to get out of something.
If memory serves, The Diva had a stomachache from kindergarten through fifth grade to the point one doctor suggested we take her to a gastroenterologist. Turns out, she just didn’t like playing soccer.
This time Jellybean was particularly pitiful, however. When we made our traditional Tuesday Kids-Eat-Free pilgrimage to Chick-fil-A, Jellybean fell asleep in my lap before taking a single bite of nugget. She didn’t even wake up when the overly enthusiastic servers asked if she wanted an ice cream cone.
I was afraid she’d been replaced by a Pod Person from “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”
She slept all the way home and for another two hours on the couch. She stirred just long enough to put on pajamas and ask to watch “Grease,” but was back asleep before we got all the way through “Look at me, I’m Sandra Dee.”
My Lovely Wife and I just chalked it up to exhaustion. She’d been tossing and turning in bed a lot as of late and still hadn’t gotten used to the lack of naps in “Big Girl School.”
But when the morning came and she still wasn’t her perpetually perky self, I knew something was wrong. I even tried a few pootin’ jokes to get her giggling, but she just lay in bed moaning. She was a little warm but otherwise nothing was visibly wrong … save for her constant cries of “my tummy and my head hurt.”
Again, I’m an admitted sucker. But part of me thought I might be getting played. Of course, the last time I ignored the “my tummy hurts” warning, I ended up cleaning regurgitated chocolate milk from the Kia’s upholstery. So I made Jellybean look me in the eye and promise that she was really sick and home we stayed.
I got some ribbing from my co-workers, and they’re right. Staying home’s kinda awesome … and kinda awful. I have to stay close in order to hand Jellybean sips of apple juice from the coffee table and have officially watched 12 episodes of “Pinky Dinky Doo.” It’s a beautiful day outside, but we’re sitting in virtual darkness so that Jellybean can rest. And she won’t eat, but keeps coming up with food requests, making me ever fatter.
Come to think of it, I wish I was the sick one.
Contact Brett Buckner at firstname.lastname@example.org.