Never a Dull Moment
Growing up in the 70’s, I have always been a HUGE fan of Judy Blume’s writing, especially the books in the Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing series, which had a young man named Fudge as one of the main characters. If you are not familiar with the books, Fudge is the younger brother of fourth-grader Peter, and has the personality of a one-man circus. As the youngest child in our nuclear family, I always thought how awesome it would have been to have a younger sibling that did all the crazy antics of Fudge. Much to my disappointment, my parents chose not to give in to my begging and pleading to provide me a younger sibling.
However, as a mother of four children, two girls and two boys, ranging in age from 26 to 7, I HAVE given birth to several “Fudges”, and it definitely makes life a bit more … should I dare say entertaining, albeit tiring. Only the younger boys still reside at home, but that doesn’t mean that the girls have completely graduated from their own “Fudgey” antics now and again.
After the 5-day weekend from school/work for the Thanksgiving holiday, we were all feeling a bit reluctant to greet the impending Monday morning. After all the playing, baking, and relaxing on what felt like four simultaneous Saturdays, the thought of returning to a Monday felt exceedingly glum for all of us. At dinner time, our youngest, James, began to declare that he was not feeling very well – AT ALL, while helping carry dinner to the table. I put on my “Dr. Mom” hat and felt his forehead while he took his plate from my hands – he wasn’t warm, but I figured I better still keep a close eye on my poor little guy. As he walked toward the dining room, I happened to notice his face quite close to the food on his plate. And by quite close, I mean his forehead was on his chicken nuggets (Now let’s discuss this for a second, shall we – as a Mom of four, you learn not to fall on every sword – it was his own food, so like the 10 second rule, I let this go – not a battle worth fighting — don’t judge). When he returned to the kitchen for his next dining room run, he stated, “Feel my head now,” confident he was now running a fever. Sure enough, he was a bit warm, but I told him we would just have to watch him closely, with as much concern in my voice as I could muster while brushing the bread crumbs from his forehead.
He exclaimed, “No – you need to check in my ear (i.e., the thermometer gun)!” Again, choosing my battles, I got out thermometer gun, turned it on, placed it in his ear for the required 5 seconds before hitting the button … 98.6. “Sorry bud – no fever,” I said.
“Check it in the other ear.”
We went through the process, again, in the other ear. This time, he put his hand over mine to make sure I had it in there really well … 98.6, again.
“You know sweetheart,” I said, sympathetically, “I have seen this before. I think I know exactly what is wrong with you. Does anything hurt?”
Digging deep for a symptom, he responded, “Uh-huh … my belly hurts I think.”
“Yep – I know exactly what this is. You have …. school-itis.”
“School-itis?! What’s that?” he asked with excitement and a touch of apprehension.
“Well, it happens after having a bit too much fun on long breaks and vacations from school. You have spent time at home and with friends, having such a good time playing an doing what you like most. So, now that it is time to go back to school or work, you start to feel a bit sick.”
James thought about this explanation for a moment and started nodding his head. His eyes brightened with the light bulb going off. “That is EXACTLY what I have. Is it very serious?” he asked grimly.
Now – as a Mom – you learn to think quickly on your feet. It is a necessary survival skill if you have any hope of actually making it through their 18 years at home in one piece. “Well, it can be pretty serious,” I said. “There is only one known cure.”
Eyes now wide with concern and curiosity, he asked, “What is it?”
“Well the only cure is to get up on time, go to school, and work really hard in your classroom all day, every day.” I glanced up at my husband on the other side of the table seated between my sons, hiding his laughter behind his hand. His older brother was just shaking his head and rolling his eyes as he continued to eat.
Relieved to hear there was a cure for his ailment, James was content and started eating his dinner. Not another word was said about his mysterious illness for the remainder of the evening.
We woke this morning like any other Monday. I was really expecting James to yell down the stairs that he was feeling worse and would have to stay home. The boys alarm went off, and they climbed down the stairs in the typical “too-much-weekend zombie” mode. Our morning routine continued without a hitch. Just as they were getting ready to walk out the door and wait for the bus, James turned around to give me my goodbye kiss. “If I feel sick today, I will just go down to the nurse and let her know I have school-itis” he told me, closing the door behind him. I stood there slightly dumbfounded. Picturing the nurse’s face if James declared his illness to her, I shook my head and thought” It’s a good thing she loves my son.”
If you enjoy reading these posts, make sure you don’t miss the next one by leaving your email address in the “subscribe” box in the left column of the page and we will notify you whenever there is a new post!