Time Is a Flat-Packaged Ikea Box
Historical Incidents

On Being the Best At Everything Except the Opposite of That

So yesterday kind of blew. On multiple levels. Multiple levels of blowing. Hmm. That's quite a visual I just painted for myself. 

First, there was work-related blowing (ABORT ABORT MAYDAY ON THE BLOWING TALK) — nothing apocalyptic or anything, just one of those days that finally snaps you out of the "freelancing/consulting is the best job in the motherflipping world!" mindset and reminds you that oh. Right. It can also be an unpredictable monster of a rollercoaster with one sudden jerky corner that blows out your eardrum. Stop getting so attached to your projects and sack up, start hitting the pavement, diversify, etc. 

(And that's exactly what I plan to plan to do, once I wallow in a pity party for jussssst long enough.)

(No, I didn't get fired, and fingers crossed, everything will be back to normal in a couple months. BUT FAR BE IT FROM ME TO BE REASONABLE, NON-PANICKY AND TO TAKE THINGS IN STRIDE. YEE HAW.)

Anyway. Whatever. Everything is fine. That's also what I said to Noah yesterday morning, when he came into our room and — after getting told no, he most certainly could NOT play with the iPad before school, I don't care that you're on the final Lego Harry Potter level, you can play after school like we discussed — suddenly began complaining of all kinds of unrelated health problems. His throat hurt! He could barely walk! His stomach ached and this finger isn't bending that well and...

Noah. You're fine. Get ready for school.

I also said "everything is fine" to Noah's school nurse later in the morning, while I was in the big worky swirl of lowered expectations, when she called to tell me that Noah was in the health room with a variety of fuzzy, unverifiable complaints (and no fever). Oh please. I'm onto him. Send him back to class.

Then the teachers started emailing, echoing Noah's complaints with the added details that he looked "very pale" and "didn't seem like himself." I grumbled the video game suspicions again, basically called my child a con artist and a liar like a really excellent, loving mother...but finally agreed to drive to the school and bring him home.

He didn't look pale to me, and we'd only made it halfway to the car when he asked if he could have the iPad.


I was extremely grumpy at this point and sent him straight to bed, iPadless, when we got home. Gurl, you lying, go to your room. Ike's nap was now all borked to hell and I was just going to have to load them all back into the car soon to go get Ezra and poor me, poor me.

And that's when I realized Noah had fallen sound asleep. And maaaaaybe felt a little feverish. 

The fever spiked like crazy last night and I eventually realized all his weird, disconnected symptoms sound an awful lot like strep. So, 1) that's awesome, and 2) I AM THE GREATEST MOM EVER. 

(The good news is that my scanner is working again. The bad news is that I haven't...um...bothered to scan any of the things I need to scan for my big great awesome post idea. Which is now 100% guaranteed to not turn out great or awesome because I've had multiple days to overthink things. I'm way perfeshunal like that.)



Reminds me of the time I though my then 6yro was faking a headache, until I pushed back his bangs a noted a giant goose egg/bruise. Yeah. Sorry for your shit day, love. Hope it's not strep also.

Amy Gabriel

Hang in there! I'm in a work-related apocalyptic funk, myself. Time for a new chapter, or so I'm trying to convince myself. Love your blog, your kids are beyond adorable, and you are funny as hell, so there's that


Oh Amy...my Mother of the Year award is somewhat tarnished too. I had the same school nurse conversations about both kids (slow learner I am). Husband went one time to school to deal with son's vague symptoms and we ended up deep cleaning company car, due to projectile "fake symptoms due to math test" or so we thought. He was home with flu and ear infection and cold for a week. Then the rest of us got it. Yep....really should have had that award recalled.


My 5 year old just had confirmed strep and scarlet fever, so I feel your pain! Second time in 6 months that he has had it. Now is whole class is coming down with it too!


Oof. I think we've all been there one way or another--when all the balls we normally juggle just fine fall on our heads. Hang in there, and I hope Noah feels better soon.


We just had our first bout of strep ever a couple of weeks ago. The good news- amoxicillin kicks that crap to the curb in a hurry. He felt much better six hours after the first dose and was completely back to normal the next day.


Yeah, I totally ignored the strep symptoms until it became full-blown scarlet fever. I even accused my husband of letting him get a sunburn until I realized it was a rash from the strep. It was a big Mom-fail day.


I have a friend who is a teacher. She told me she had an elementary student who had a broken arm for three weeks before her parents realized it. And both her parents were pediatric orthopedic surgeons.


Sounds like you're feeling rough for lots of reasons so I'm chiming in to say that of all the blogs I follow, yours is the last good one. Seriously all of the rest of them are wastelands of links to babble slide shows of boring top ten lists about their cats or some sponsored shit. You're the only one that seems to have respect for her readers anymore! Even when you were on babble and when you do write sponsored posts, it's not all you do. It sounds like you do so much on top of this blog, and yet you prioritize this space. I appreciate it! You do good work and I really enjoy reading what you write! :)


I am pregnant with a 4 year old in her first year of preschool (no daycare) and a 13 months old. I live in fear of all the crap she has brought home to us. It is hard because my mom watches the girls while I work 2 days a week and got sick from something and had to miss a week of HER job. I am pregnant and can take nothing. So, last week, I rushed my kid to the pediatrician (for the 4th different complaint since the last week in January) when she got a fever at 4 am. By the time we got there (9:30 am), kid was chipper, unmedicated and fever free, and saying her throat didn't hurt any more. I swear to god the starred her chart and wrote "mother is insane. Maybe that munchausen by proxy."

My mom just called to say she was complaining of a sore throat and had bad breath...six days after the appointment. I CANNOT go back there. CAN. NOT. They are going to institutionalize me.

So, opposite problem here. SIGH

Sassy Apple

Puh-leeze! Here's a normal conversation in my classroom.
9:00 AM: 'Teacher, I don't feel good.'
'Did you tell your mom/dad/grandma that this morning?'
'What did they say?'
'I needed to try to stay at school today.'
' Did they give you medicine?'
' Well sweetie, you're here for another 4 hours.'
In our district, parents are required to pick up their kids only if they're vomiting or have a fever above 99.6. So desperate/devious parents dose their kids with Tylenol to suppress the fever and send them to school. So my long-winded point is that you were ignorant not malicious. There. You feel better now, don't you?

Rachel M

If it makes you feel better I had strep for 5 days before I realized what it was and I was the one who was sick. Even then the reason I went to urgent care was because I had a horrible inner ear infection as a secondary thing.


So yeah. My kid walked around with a broken arm for 2 days before I took her to get it checked out. Mom of the year, right here.


Just you wait-he is a con artist and was totally laying groundwork for the future. There will come a day when he will have the same vague symptoms. You will be powerless to say "no". He will get his stay home TV-computer-iPad-binge day. Yes, he will. Maybe even two.


You aren't horrible for two reasons:

Reason the first: being an excessively pale person who was once an excessively pale child, the "but he's just so pale" thing is TOTALLY easy to fake and I used to have my school nurses number like woah in school

Reason the second: Because of this my mom instituted a NO FUN policy no matter what. If you were home "sick" you were in bed, if you were really sick then that's where you should be, if you weren't well then maybe rethink the whole staying home thing. Now granted I got around this with books and such because my dad was a soft-hearted sucker BUT it was totally a good idea in theory and did make me really reconsider faking as I got older and harder to entertain.

And a bonus you aren't horrible: my sister, who is not pale at all, always faked by complaining of non specific aches (i.e. I can't do chores my ankle hurts) and because of this walked around with a hairline fracture for like 2 weeks. Soo yeah, that pretty much cured her of faking because it actually hurt and took forever to get anyone to pay attention too.

Anywho, not horrible, just suspicious as you probably should be because kids are horrible con artists

Jessica V.

My oldest is the biggest faker-faker-belly-acher there is, and yet I fall for it more often than not. Like this past Monday (argh)! It has gotten to the point that the nurse rarely calls me if she thinks he is full of baloney (i.e., when his symptomatic descriptions include this gem: "I got hit with a ball during PE and also think I'm coming down with the flu." He almost never actually gets sick, so I'm not sure why I'm such a sucker for it. Gah - kids, man. :-)


Monitor the stomach aches. My son had them when he was on meds. They are a definite side effect. I too thought that he was exaggerating but they went away when he stopped ritalin.


To stop the fake sick day - my sister has a rule with her daughter that if you are too sick for school you have to stay in bed. You may have one book, but otherwise it is sleeping for you. No TV and no tablet.
It stopped the fake sick days because it is so boring.
And when she is actually sick, she is usually pretty much okay with having to stay in bed anyway.


Kids are freaky like that. A month ago, Lily said she wasn't feeling well. I didn't believe her, because she also said she just wanted to go see Grandpa and watch Paw Patrol. Then she went skipping down the hall. So NOPE. I dropped her off at school. I had just gotten home when the school called. Lily had thrown up everywhere and now had a fever. Could I come get her? Also, she didn't have any spare clothes so she had to borrow an outfit from a child who actually had a competent mother who remembered to do things like bring spare clothes and whatnot.

I felt like shit. They had to steam clean the carpet.


If I had a dollar for every time I thought my kids were faking and then it turned out they were really sick, I would be rivaling Bill Gates for magnanimous rich person. You're not horrible, you're just a mom.


Also, if I had a dollar for every time the kids were perfectly okay by the time we got to the doctor's office, in spite of looking like regurgitated death half an hour before at home, I would be in Donald Trump's tax bracket.


My strepasaurus gets it so often that at the first complaint of a sore throat, I'm poking down his throat with a flashlight. Strep and I are on a first name basis with my naked eye diagnosis. Now, of course, my 8 year old has turned to "my stomach hurts" for fake ailments. No way to win.

Wacky Mommy

Kinda love this post, kid. Also, our family lore is the time my granny sent my uncle to school w/ the mumps. "You're fine!" lol. Get well soon, Noah.

Cheryl S.

My daughter bashed her foot on something at a friend's house. I basically put some ice on it and told her it would be fine. When there was still a knot on the top of her foot the next morning, THEN I took her for the X-ray. Yup. Broken. Pass that Trophy!


I second what Debbie said; I LOVE your blog and I love your writing style. I wish I had a friend as irreverant and grounded as you in my life. Go grab some booze and binge watch Game of Thrones until you feel better.


I think we've all been there. My daughter swallowed a marble once, about ten minutes before we would have left to go to school. (She was five.) I argued with her that she was fine and should just go to school. Sounds awful in retrospect, but she was talking, had no trouble breathing, and it was a freaking marble, for God's sake, not some corrosive, poisonous substance with jagged edges. She insisted that I call the doctor (again, I sound like such an asshole to myself ten years later, but it really made sense to me at the time). I caved, and called, and I'm sure they thought I was a nut job, because I asked if I really needed to bring her in? Yes? Well, okay, if you say so. And it was a waste of time. The doc gave her a bite of a donut and told me that if they can eat and drink and keep it down, whatever they swallowed isn't stuck. The marble would work it's way through her system and she'd be fine.
We got in the car and I turned around and said to her "I told you you were fine!" Not my finest moment.


I second (third? fifth? nth?) the rule of "If you're too sick for school, you're too sick for play." (And that includes all forms of play, i.e., electronic devices.) It worked for my mom. My options, if I stayed home sick, were to lay in bed and sleep. (If I was actually, verifiably sick, she would pull out some entertainment for me, but otherwise...nuh-uh.) It certainly put the kibosh on my trying to fake being sick as a kid...right up until my teen years when I regularly stayed up half the night anyway and didn't want to wake up for school...then I was thrilled to just sleep all damn day!


Yup I use the "you stay home for school you are restricted to your bed" school of thought as well. Crap I even do it with bedtime. If you feel so inclined to leave your bed for whatever 70000 things (water, sheets, frogs in walls..whatever) you sir may sit in time out in the dark dining room until such time as you decide you no longer want to be in time out and you want to go to bed. LOL

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