Sunday, October 23, 2016
When The School Nurse Calls
My husband and I had just returned from lunch. He has two weeks of leave, and it might be the only leave he gets for a long time since he's a MTI now. So we've been taking advantage of it, going on lunch dates and exploring Texas. And by exploring Texas, I basically mean going shopping. And eating.
As soon as we parked in the driveway, my phone rang. I answered and was told it was the school nurse. My heart plummeted because the last time the nurse called, Natalie had lice. I immediately thought, "Oh no, not again" because when Natalie had lice, it was an all day event of scrubbing her hair. Then Tommy freaked out because he doesn't like germs, and was panicked that he'd get lice. (He didn't, thank goodness.)
The nurse said, "I have Natalie in the office complaining of a stomach ache. She doesn't have a fever but she's gripping her stomach."
I chewed on my lower lip. Maybe I was immediately supposed to go, "My poor baby! I'll be right there." But my daughter is 9. She's nearing the age where she'll see what she can get away with. So I hesitated because responding. Eventually I said, "Do you think I should get her?"
I went through all the possibilities. Maybe she wanted to come home because of a test. Maybe someone was being mean and she didn't want to deal with the bully. Girls can be mean. Or maybe it was because of a boy she liked who didn't like her back. Maybe he was being mean.
"Well," the nurse said kindly. "She's not a kid who is in here on a weekly basis like some others. So I believe her. But if you want me to send her back to class, I will."
I thought it over. What if Natalie DID have a stomachache and needed her mother? What if she had to go back to class thinking I didn't care? One of the reasons why my husband and I decided that I should stay at home was to always be here for these kids. If I ignored Natalie's stomachache, what message would I be sending?
Parenting is hard.
"I'll get her," I finally said. I thought of my little girl frightened in the office, gripping her stomach. Wanting her Mommy. I'm lucky enough to be able to get her anytime during the day.
"Okay. See you soon," the nurse said.
I drove to Natalie's school and found her in the office. She looked tiny on the chair. Her arms were encircling her waist. She glanced up and a tiny smile played on her lips, "Mommy," she whispered.
My heart melted. I had made the right choice. Unless she was a really good actress. Still, after I signed her out, as we walked to the car I asked, "You didn't want to come home because someone was being mean, right? You can tell me."
Natalie shook her head. "No. My stomach has been hurting all day. I could eat my lunch but then it really started hurting. The teacher told me to try and use the bathroom. I did and it still hurt." She shrugged. "I'm missing art. I love art and we can only go every two weeks now. My friend says it's because of something called cutbacks."
We got home and she went right to bed. I reminded her that she would not be playing with friends if they came to the door after school. My rule is if you stay home sick, you can't play. She understood. She slept for two hours and when she woke up she said she was feeling better.
She was able to go to school the next day. Maybe it was a quick stomach bug. Maybe her body was fighting something. Maybe it was growing pains.
But I'm just glad I was able to be there.
Would you pick your kids up if the nurse called but there was no fever or injury?