Father Of The Blog

A Journey Through Fatherhood and Parenting

Father of the Blog

The Girl(s) Who Cried Wolf

Originally posted on BabyCenter.com 03/19/07 

Olivia woke up Wednesday with a crippling daddy day hangover. Slowly she roused, hands shielding her eyes from the meager dawns light, “Is today a school day?”

“Yes sweetie. Today is a school day.”

“I don’t want to go to school today… I don’t feel well… I’m sick…” She gasped out a pathetic cough. “My ear hurts…” Pointing to her left ear. “I want to go see doctor Bullivant…” I bargained her out of bed, leading her to believe that if Roz (Olivia’s preschool teacher) thought she was sick then I would take her to the doctor.

Just last week Hailey stayed home from school for a few days with a nasty virus and I was suspecting Olivia was attempting to test how she may be able to reap the benefits of falsifying an illness. During the blur of activity that involves readying Olivia and Hailey for and getting to preschool I asked Olivia if her ear was feeling better. She said that it still hurt. I asked her which ear was bothering her. She pointed to her right ear.

There was this one time, I was six or seven, I tried to convince my mother that an old scar on my hand was really a debilitating rash and there was no way I could go to school that day. My mom smartly didn’t buy it and callously sent me to school. She had a lot of experience debunking fake sicknesses before I came along. (I’m the youngest of four). Through the years I had to become increasingly creative when attempting a fake sickness. One bit was rubbing the old fashioned mercury filled thermometer on my pants to raise the temp. My mom would feel my cool forehead and say “hmm, one hundred and six? I’m surprised you’re not dead. Now get to school.” By the time I got to high school I would research medical journals for believable illnesses and sickly act out all the symptoms. “Hmm, bacterial meningitis you say?” My mom never fell for any of it.

Back to Olivia’s pseudo ear ache. When we arrived at the pumpkin room, (Olivia’s classroom), with a wink I explained to Roz that Olivia had woke up feeling ill. Roz assured Olivia that after breakfast she would send her to the school nurse. I told Olivia that I would come pick her up if the nurse thought a doctor visit was necessary. I didn’t hear from the nurse that day and when I got home from work that evening I asked Olivia how she was feeling. She answered, “fine,” her face wearing the expression of ‘why are you asking me that?’

***

The night previous to Olivia’s sickness charade, Bubie (my mom) came over for dinner and story-time. It has become somewhat of a Tuesday night ritual when Bubie is home from volunteer work in Israel. This particular night Hailey was more flamboyant than ever. She danced and ran circles around the house, naked of course, showing off for Bubie. “Watch dis (this) Bubie!” As she dove off the couch.
During dinner my mom remarked that Hailey must be feeling better from the virus that kept her home from school for a few days last week. Before Bubie could finish her statement, Hailey started wailing, “my mouth!…it hurts!”

Bubie instantly sympathized with Hailey, “Oh poor thing, her throat must be a little soar still.”

I rolled my eyes and said, “the girl who cries wolf.”

As those words were leaving my mouth, seemingly rehearsed, Hailey tilted her head back and howled out a piercing full moon wolf cry, “Auow, auow, auoooow.”

I can handle the world’s deceptions, I have too many years experience with that. Yet, from my own children? Sure, Olivia and Hailey may still be figuring out the difference between fact and fiction, testing their creative boundaries, perfecting guile and warping their own creativity. I understand that, for now.

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