Friday, February 8, 2008

Sick

I am the worst mother in the world: my kid told me she didn't want her dinner, I threatened to withhold the ice cream ALL THE OTHER KIDS WHO WERE EATING THEIR DINNERS WERE DEFINITELY GETTING, she ate some of her dinner, and then half an hour later she threw up all over the Plymouth Meeting Mall.

To be fair, the kid involved was Hilary, who is notorious at home and at preschool for her hypochondriac tendencies. I swear, at least once a day, she tells me or she tells her teacher that her tummy hurts, she's sick, she needs to go to the doctor.

And I admit it, I'm generally pretty dismissive. If she complains while she's getting ready for bed, I might say, "I think what you need is a good night's sleep." If it's morning, and she's getting ready for school, I might suggest, "Maybe your stomach hurts because you're hungry. Let's go have breakfast!" Most of the time, this distraction technique seems to do the trick. But of course I don't really know what Hilary is experiencing. I don't know if she really is in pain, or if she just wants attention. One of my biggest fears is that it will turn out that Hilary has a chronic but treatable condition like reflux or irritable bowel syndrome - or even worse, some kind of tumor - and I didn't get her help because, when it came right down to it, I didn't believe her.

But I'm not really sure what else to do. In this particular case, last night, we were all out for Ronan's birthday. We had gone to Bertucci's, with subsequent plans to ride the mall carousel and finish the celebration at Dairy Queen. Maybe I was a little too emphatic in my warnings about the ice cream, because initially Hilary didn't seem to care very much about it, but I was afraid she would change her mind when the five other kids were chowing down at DQ and inform me, as she is wont to do when the dinner she passed up on is long gone, "I want my dinner now." And I didn't want tears or fits to spoil Ronan's party.

I needn't have worried. Ronan's party wasn't spoiled - not by Hilary's vomiting, or by Aaron's hysteria once his surprisingly strong little fingers were pried from the handles of his carousel horse, or by Gretchen's hysteria because, although she said she was "all done" with the merry-go-round, we allowed the other kids to go on again without her. I guess when you grow up among so many kids, it seems perfectly natural that at any given time one of them is puking, and another one is crying, and a third is dashing across the food court at top speed, trying to get back to the carousel before his mom can catch him. Amid such constant chaos, as long as you get your ice cream, it's all good.

1 comment:

Laundry & Children said...

I feel you on this one. Two of my four kids can throw up at will. People look at me like I am the worst mother in the world when I look at them sternly and say, "Don't you dare throw up!"