January 16, 2009

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

Cortlen woke up yesterday morning complaining of an earache. He didn't feel well enough to make his bed or put his cereal bowl in the dishwasher, but he did feel good enough to stare at his sister across the breakfast table until she got fed up and kicked him where it counts.

I let him stay home from school anyway.

When he didn't put up a fight when I called the doctor, I figured that he was telling the truth. It is because I trust my son that I got a babysitter for his siblings and drove to the pediatrician's office in a mini blizzard.

The doctor's office is a place of miracles because the minute that we got there, my deathly ill five year-old perked up and announced to the office staff that he was healed. His healing was so complete, in fact, that when the nurse asked him which ear hurt, he couldn't remember.

"How are you feeling today?" the nurse asked as she pointed to a chart covered with faces portraying varying expressions of distress.



Cortlen pointed to the smiling, definitely not sick face.

"I thought your ear hurt," said the nurse, confused.

"Just kidding!" he giggled.

My son's raucous belly laughs continued until he caught my gaze, at which point they abruptly stopped.

"There had better be something wrong with you or there is going to be a problem," I said unflinchingly.

My son's life was spared by the presence of a small amount of cloudy fluid in his right ear canal. The doctor mentioned several times during our short visit that he had never seen a patient so happy to have an ear infection.

"Relieved," I corrected.

The doctor smiled and chuckled warmly, not knowing how close he came to witnessing World War III break out in his exam room.

Any fakers at your house? Tell me all the details so I don't feel like such a sucker!

49 comments

Wtrfrmsky said...

I was working on finals for the semester and I got a phone call from my 7 yo's school...He had thrown up. I picked him up and brought him home like a good mom. I finished my paper and actually got it turned in on time...I love the internet. He then told me that he did not throw up at school. When he saw my face he said he was just kidding. He was only saved when he actually threw up in the middle of the night. We have a new rule in our house: The teacher better see the stomach contents before you come home.

Finton's Mom said...

My 3 (almost 4) year old daughter was having her Christmas program at her 1/2 day preschool and after it was over, she claimed she was sick and didn't want to go to the Y afterwards. So she "puppy dog eyed" me into bringing her back to work with me and then out to eat for lunch, where she proclaimed that she was "faking". I quickly took her to the Y for the rest of the day where she had to take a nap! DARN! :)

Vanessa said...

I have had it happen twice this week. After having an actually sick child on the weekend, I've had two different days of "sick" children. Sick enough for me, and them, to miss school, yet healthy enough for no puking and lots of playing. Maddening!!

TheQueen@TerrorsInTiaras said...

How about mine who visits the nurse during math class--the last class of the day--and then comes home, doesn't mention the visit to the nurse, plays in the snow and runs around the house bothering her sisters. I get an email from the nurse that tells of the visit, and find out that there was a quiz in math class that day. Big Fat Faker.

Deb C. said...

My daughter figured out about a year ago (she's 6) that if she was sick, she would get to stay home. She's tried several times to convince me that she's feeling poorly enough to miss school. So far, I haven't bought the act. Unfortunately, I'm so convinced that she's acting most of the time, that I drove her all the way to school with her complaining that her stomach hurt, only to have her throw up as soon as we walked in the door. It's a fine line we walk between being a push-over or being negligent!

Likes Chocolate said...

Your children are really clever. Mine haven't played sick yet, maybe because I always tell them we have to be careful not to miss too much school or the Child Protection Service will be at our door. In our state, children can't miss more than 5 days unless they have Dr's permission. They even make you sign a letter stating you are aware of this law.

Robin said...

My son just started kindergarten this year, and he has tried to play the "sick" card several times. But when he realized that IF he was too sick to stay home from school, he was too sick to play with the neighbor kids after school... he was HEALED! It's a MIRACLE!!

rachie! said...

I don't have any kids yet (I'm 11 weeks along) but I remember faking a lot when I was a kid. However, I remember one time when I was in
1st grade, I felt awful, but it was just a cold and my mom decided I was faking and sent me to school anyway. Within 48 hours, I was hacking up lugies in big nasty coughs and she tried to keep me home then, but by then I was feeling fine. So, all you other
1st grade moms can thank my mom for spreading my disease that time!

Charlotte said...

I'm not sure what it says about me, but my kids fake being well so they can go to school. They can be doubled over with stomach cramps and say, "No...I..think...I...can...make...it." I have been called more than once because my well child has thrown up in school. I'm not sure, but I think it is my if-you're-sick-enough-to-stay-home-you're-too-sick-for-tv-computer-and-wii-ALL-DAY policy. I actually had to soften my stand to keep the really sick ones home.

kori bates said...

My kids have a few times, I know that they were, and they got to stay in their beds for the WHOLE freaking day...only time they could get off of it was to go to the bathroom or eat! They do not fake anymore cause I remind them of staying in their bed all day!!

Cindy said...

When I was pregnant with my second, I was really sick the first trimester. My 2 year old wondered why I was always "coughing in the toilet" and I explained that I just didn't feel good. Then when I would lay on the couch all night, he wondered why I wasn't playing with him as much, and I said I didn't feel good. He picked up on that quick and when he didn't want to do something, he would start coughing and tell me he didn't feel good. Unfortunately, this lead to a puking session at church a while later because I didn't believe that he REALLY didn't feel good that day.

Kelly said...

My kid has admitted straight out, that he is only full when he doesn't want to eat what I have cooked. At least he was honest, right?

Kislak Mobile Notary said...

My Daughter is the Queen of Wolf crying. It has been going on for so many years that I always assume she is lying about her current illnesses. I have sent her to school only to pick her up an hour later because she vomited in class. Eventhough I dread when I am wrong for sending her to school, it all balances itself out when she comes home forgetting what she complained about that morning.

Renny said...

Having no children of my own, I cannot tell you about when they cried wolf. I can tell you that once as a child I woke up in the middle of the night and threw up. The next morning I felt perfectly fine but my mom said she thought I should stay home from school. I accepted, after all, she is my mom and I do what I'm told. Maybe that is why, years later, when my baby brother woke up in the middle of the night crying and didn't make it to the bathroom in time, she left me to clean up his mess, even though I had to get up to go to seminary in a few hours. To this day she tells me she doesn't remember coming into the hallway and asking me what happened watching me clean vomit, and then return to bed. I don't believe her.

Sants said...

Oh YES I have fakers!

My most recent was when my 7 yr old son came screaming and hopping into the house. He had been jumping on the trampoline and hurt his "calcaneous and phalanges" (awesome PE teacher at school has 1st graders spouting the real name of their bones). I put the drama king on the couch with an icepack and a calm show. The night wore on and so did he. Crying, crying, crying, "My calcaneous!" He couldn't stand on it. Not to eat dinner. Not to take a bath (not even a bubble bath, which he loves), not to get to the table to play games, and NOT to go to his friend's house, at which point I figured it was serious.

I took him to the Urgent Care. There wasn't any swelling, but there was lots of howling so we got an x-ray and while we were waiting he jumped out of the wheelchair and said, "You know, I think I am all better!" Then he proceeded to dance around for the staff.

Fabulous.

(And the xray was clear, of course.)

Jordan (MamaBlogga) said...

My 5.5 month old cried all night last night (though she's perfectly fine while awake). We have a doctor appt this afternoon, which I'm sure will show absolutely nothing is wrong with her. I'll have the youngest faker in history.

Janille said...

We have a saying in emergency medical services that the ones being the loudest are the ones who probably are in the least need of immediate care - after all, their lungs and cirulation seem to be working pretty good if they can be that loud and thrash around - it's the quietly suffering ones that often get overlooked and probably have internal bleeding or some other seriously life-threatening injury.

If my kids are well enough to tease, harrass, and drive anyone in the family crazy, then they are fine. I know they are actually sick when they sit down and shut up for long periods of time - it just isn't normal.

We also have the rule that if they stay home from school (or church or whatever) there are no computer games, no friends, etc. No TV but movies are optional and usually have to be either educational or chuch related.

Pam said...

Here you can read my post on what I do to my children when they think they are sick. Maybe it will work. Maybe I should put you icon "meanest mom" on my blog :)
http://childreninducedinsanity.blogspot.com/2009/01/why-cant-i-be-nice.html

Liz said...

my 4 yr. old has had an ear infection what feels like every month of his life since birth.. so I know he's not faking.
my 9 yr. old daughter however is the complete drama queen, she'll get a paper cut and want the world to know about it, and she squeezes her own skin..as hard and as long as it takes... in desperation to make blood appear just so she can get a band aid. She will step on a lego and limp for three days.. she gets caulis' on her hands from gym and claims she has to wear to tape on them so she can write at school. I'm thinking her profession will be a hypochondriac!
LMAO!

Heather Natzmyrelnam said...

I have a faker for you.
I have a friend who works FT and anytime her kids are sick Being a SAHM I get a call to asking if I can pick them up from school and let them infect my family until she can get home from work. I mean thats what friends are for right? Anywho...her son is a Giant faker......ONLY knowing this from my multiple times of waking up my kids from naps to go to the school and pick up this child that is overjoyed to see me...with a huge smile on his face and this then it started happening way to often!!

Well I had already had "A DAY" you know those kinda days...and then I got a call to go pick up this kid...I swore to myself that if he was faking that I was going to make him regret ever saying that his "tummy hurt"....NOT MY CHILD SO ABUSE WAS NOT A OPTION!
Like always I went a picked him up only to find a huge smile and the first question being "can I play the playstation?" I them informed him that I had new rules....
1. first being the couch was his new friend...He was glued to it and if he so much as needed to go pee that he would ask me first...Not even a foot I wanted to find on the floor...

2. Sick kids need to be spritual healing...and for this he would get to watch Conference (LDS/mormon semi annual televised church service)on TV all day.BUT if my dvr'ed conference's were done....that he then needed to "feel the love"....so he then would get to watch all four tapes of pride a prejudice....
3. That I just plain ole did not want him throwing up the yummy pizza we were eating... so he would get as much chicken broth and rye wheat crackers as he could eat...

Within 10 mins into conference he asked if he could go back to school....
But I told him that I thought he was much to sick for that....and that when he calls me to come get him...he better be on his freaking death bed....

He understands now...
and I have not had a sick call since.

Crystal said...

Only when it comes time to eat dinner.. My tummy hurts! btu not enough to not have icecream!

The Heller Family said...

Aren't children the best!?! I mean, the best liars!This is the link to my fun day last week. My oldest, who thinks she is the absolute shit, had an idea. This idea came after mommy informed her that since she is staying home sick, it's laying around day and no playing. She thought it may be a good idea to just bring some medicine and the thermometer to school and let her teacher take care of her. Then maybe she could play at the neighbor's later that evening! Granted, she had a temp, but it quickly went away!

http://hellers5.blogspot.com/2009/01/i-am-going-to-tear-my-hair-out.html

It's definitely not the first or last time she has done this, but she knows how to sucker me from time to time!

Meep said...

My 2 year old son put a raisin in his nose one day at lunch - off to the doctor we went - it was removed but was so tramatic that the doc had to get ear plugs just to concentrate. Not to live in fear of the raisin, the next day at lunch I offered them again - keeping an oh so watchful eye! Then at naps I was dumbfouned by the annoucement that it had been done again! "Again, again?" I asked "yes, Mommy"! So off we went back to the doc's not before an oh so embarassing phone call to the docs to warn them that he had done it again! After a VERY careful exam - no raisin. Just a word of advice from the doc that if there is one really high up there it will work it's way out through natural decomposition.
"You should be able to smell it in a couple of days." Lovely, Thank you! Now I am the Mom whose kid had a raisin in his nose twice... almost!

Tiona said...

I don't have any kids, but my brother-in-law used to be 'sick' every Sunday. One day my MIL made him go to church, only to have him pass out while passing the Sacrament!

Another time, she didn't believe him when his arm hurt. It only hurt when he had to do homework or something like that. But he could play the piano or video games just fine. Yup. It was broken.

Jennifer said...

My son is a former 32-weeker preemie, and learned before he was 4 months out of the womb that if he coughed he would get attention. It took me another two months to figure out he was really faking.

He's also had a history of ear infections, but it's taken him 4 years to learn how to fake that one. I picked up on that fake after 1 trip to the doctor.

cndymkr / jean said...

After many, many fake illnesses we had to make a rule... a fever over 100, large loss of bright red blood requiring more than a bandaid, obvious vomiting, and or a bone poking thru the skin. My son is the king of the fake illness, he will be a wonderful actor someday.

Malea said...

They try, but they're not very good. "My hands feel like a sausage. My tummy has oil". And that's the nine year old. Amateaur.

Jennifer said...

Been there. My 6yo had bronchitis back in November and go to stay home from school foe a couple of days. I didn't want her up and running around so I let her play shameful amounts of Wii. The day I was sure she was healthy enough to go back to school she cried to me about how tried she was and she still didn't feel well. I let her stay home but let her know that there would be no Wii, TV or entertainment from me because I had things to do. She was fine all day and I finally got it out of her in the afternoon that she wanted to stay home because she thought I would let her play more Wii. They do start young.

Ashlee said...

I'm more of they cynical sister type. Growing up my older sister would suddenly get a violent bowel problems that would last the entire time the family was cleaning the house. Or a bad sore throat when school was just too much of a hassle for her to bother with on any specific day. I guess she finally got the hint that I am not the compassionate type when she passed out in front of me while I was in deep conversation with a friend on the phone. I kept the converstaion going without a pause and watched as she slowly crawled back to her bedroom. She actually did have pneumonia that time. My bad.

Kim said...

I just got conned into picking my 6year old up from school early today. He called me at work multiple times and sounded pretty convincing. Once we got home I didn't see a single symptom of illness. I have now adopoted Wtrfrmsky's rule about the teacher seeing evidence before I let him come early.

Hope said...

When my 13 year old was 8, he told me he needed glasses. He said he couldn't read, couldn't see, etc. I made an appointment for him to see the eye doctor. I told him as we were walking to the door "If you have 20/20 perfect vision, then I guess we have to go to the hospital and see if you have a brain tumor". Sure enough, he had 20/20 vision. Nothing wrong with is eyes. So as we are leaving the Eye Doctor he says to me "Mom, I don't think we need to go to the Hospital, I see just fine. My friend Michael just got glasses and they looked cool, so no Hospital, right?" I told him wrong, and we pulled up into the Hospital Parking lot, and he started to cry. I asked "so you can really see things clearly, right?" He nodded yes. He NEVER Cried Wolf ever again.

I am also a Mean Mom. :)

Sarah said...

Oh, we have this problem all the time, particularly with our five year old. It doesn't help that when Daddy was still in medical school, he use to read her his textbooks as a way to combine studying and storytime. It is quite common to hear my daughter use a phrase like right-lower quadrant pain or my 2 year old to tell me that he can't go to bed because he is too wheezy. This stuff may sway Dad, but Mom is never fooled.

Reese said...

Just wait 'til he finds the sympathetic ear of the school nurse. Just wait. I love getting calls from her office and telling her to send my kids back to class ASAP......until the day they come home with a 102 degree fever. Punishment for crying wolf, right?

becca said...

my daughter has been telling me she has to throw up at least once a day for about a month. She is 4. Also, I have a rule, no bandaids unless the blood is dripping off your body.

Maree said...

Oh yeah, we got 'em too! As young kids (2-3) my fakers could demand barf when we were eating something they didn't like--Daddy fixed that. He announced that if you barf it at the table, you get to eat it again. If you don't like it the first time, you probably won't the second either. Only had to make good on that one ONCE.

In school, the ever popular "tummy hurts" or "headache" will sometimes be hard to gauge. I once sent the boy to school with "my tummy hurts" only to have him barf all over the teacher's desk. OOPS! My bad! Other times I've been swindled.

I do have to say that there IS something mysteriously healing about the air in the waiting room of the doctor's office. And in his touch. Our former (before we moved) pediatrician was a miracle worker. He could literally walk into the room and the kids started to get better. He had a divine gift--they were legitimately sick. It always amazes me though.

Lastly, Heather N ROCKS!!! I'm now adopting your "sick schedule."

Elisa said...

Absolutely. My 9-year old seems toi suffer from narcolepsy. She can keep awake long enough to have dinner and read at the sable, but the moment I mention putting her plate ion the skin and brushing her teeth, she immediately falls asleep. It's shocking, really.

Meredith said...

Ok. I grew up with an RN for a mother. If we weren't bleeding profusely or actually close to death, she smiled and said, "You'll be OK". Unfortunatly, I am my mothers daughter. My son complained of a stomach ache. I told him to jump on the trampoline. You know, fresh air and excersise. A few hours later he was having surgery to take out his appendix. Another son complained about a sore arm after a snow tubing collision. I told him he should take a nap. A few hours later the doctor was finishing the cast. I don't take care of my kids when there really is a problem, so a faking child has no chance in my house.

Synia said...

Every single day my youngest(4y/o) tells me her stomache hurts while sitting in front of a meal that she either doesn't like or has decided that she doesn't want to finish, but won't just come out and say "I'm full". She does have IBS, but I KNOW there is no way her stomache hurts during every meal. (Actually it is only lunch and dinner. She has no problem cleaning her breakfast plate full of waffles and syrup that she requests 3.5 seconds after she makes her way the stairs every morning)

Terra Howard said...

Feel like a sucker no more. My 9 yr old is a professional faker. He can even make himself throw up. He has Apserger Syndrome & apparently some awesome acting chops. As long as he thanks me when accepting the Academy Award we're all good.

Momlissa said...

My daughter told me just this evening that her ear hurt. She is twisted in that if she sees someone taking medicine, she wants to take it (definitely a red flag!) and her little bro has had an EI and has been taking meds. I never know if she really has pain or is just faking as the few times she did have an EI, she never complained.

Lisa said...

My older son is nearly 15 and he has faking illness to skip school down to a science. First he comes in to my room and is barely able to speak "mom, my stomach/head/butt hurts". I say, "go eat something/take a shower/get dressed". 15 minutes later he comes back in with "mom, I just threw up". "Ok son, fine, go back to bed". When I come home at noon for lunch, he is playing video games/messing around looking at the computer/eating everything in the house. This has happened more times than I can count.

Sounds like somebody is a faker in training!

JHalmes said...

My son has been a medicine junky for most of his life (he just turned 3) so he LOVES to be "sick" so he can get medicine. He will even say "I don't feel good, I need a diamond (vitamin). So I pretty much know when he is sick becuase he gets lifeless and asks for nothing but blankie and mommy!

My Ice Cream Diary said...

When I was nine I faked apendicitis because I wanted to see what it was like to go to the hospital (my sister went all the time). I was very much NOT worth it. In the end I got my just deserts because I had real apandicitis when I was 22.

* TONYA * said...

Oh. My. Goodness. That little booger. I would have lost my damn mind. He's lucky he had a little fluid in that ear.

I had to pick up my son from school (before he started homeschooling) because the nurse called and told me he'd been throwing up. I get there and give him the 'you really don't look sick to me' look when the nurse pipes up to let me know in no uncertain terms that he had in fact been throwing up (not that she'd seen it) and that he didn't look well at all. Call it mother's intuition but I knew better. Turns out he'd been playing basketball for an hour on an empty stomach and having not had anything to drink all day. Well yeh, of course you're going to feel a little sick. The second he had something to eat and some water he was miraculously recovered. Go figure.

Amanda Panda said...

My daughter Bethany just turned 4. She was freaking out about her ears. But it was only when I washed her hair, so I figured she ust didn't like water in her ears. But when her teachers at school showed concern because she was begging to go to the doctor for her ears, I of course made an appointment demanding the scheduler find us a same day appt. We get there, and the doctor checks her out and says her ears look great. then Bethany told us that it is actually her finger that hurts and held out a perfectly fine finger to show us. So that is my story about the faker at my house. I can so relate to your blogs!

Natasha said...

My 11 year old got me good by eating some beef Jerkey, yuck taking some water and then spitting it into a bowel! he brought me the bowel and I fell for it hook line and sinker until I found the cup of water in his room and started putting two and two together, he never drinks water! So now my rule is if I don't see you throw up then your not sick!

Anonymous said...

My kids love the taste of liquid medicine. Why I don't know, but they ask for it and will come up with ailments to see if I will give. I usually don't see a purpose in medicating a well child so I let them suffer. So hopefully the fact that I disbelieve them so much now that they have to have bloody fluid flowing out of their ears in order to qualify. Mean Mom? or saving their liver for college endeavors. Barbara

Anonymous said...

Just to add on to my just posted post. I also now require that a child who has been allowed to be home from school, remain in bed, no TV it could hurt their sick eyes, no reading unless it is homework, no games they are far to busy with the efforts of getting well. If they are well enough to exit their room/bed, they are well enough to be driven to school.

Amy The Mom said...

the school nurse called me one morning very concerned about the "marks" on my 8 year-old son's arms. she said they weren't scabby, more like a blood blister sort of thing. he had several up and down each arm, she was worried about a blood disorder! i called the pediatrician, they got me right in and the whole way to the office i'm in a panic, almost in tears that i'm about to get the horrible news that my son has leukemia or something. One look from the doctor squelches all my motherly-fears and also fires up all my motherly-rage!! hickies...he and his buddy at school had been sucking on their arms the afternoon before. nice.