Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sick day

There are definitely days I think that I shouldn’t be a parent. I am so at the end of my rope right now, just from trying to put the kids to bed. It’s pathetic. I’m incredibly edgy, and all I want is to not see or hear from my kids until tomorrow morning. I’m skeptical I’ll get my wish, but right now it’s my burning desire.

Well, maybe I’m not bitchy JUST from putting the girls to bed tonight. Maybe there were precipitating factors. Maybe I got the call that all working (and non-working) parents hate to get.

The one that starts with, “Hi, are you Anneke’s mom?”

Your obedient, model-citizen, audible voice is saying, “Yes, yes I am.” While your inner, smarter voice is screaming, “Who? No, no I’m not. I’m afraid you have the wrong number.”

Because who calls and opens with that inquiry? I can think of only three groups of people, none of whom you want to hear from while having a productive work day. There’s the school principal, school nurse, or some kid staff person from the YMCA.

My morning call (yes, it was still morning) came from a young YMCA camp counselor. She called to let me know that Anneke had thrown up.

The crazy thing about this call was that she gave me an option. She wanted to know if she should just sit my daughter out of the tennis action or if I wanted to pick her up. The first option was tempting, so tempting, in fact, that I asked to speak to Anneke. (Everyone knows that a good mother would say, without hesitation, “Oh no, I’ll be right there, I’m on my way. Please take care of my poor baby until I can reach her.”)

In retrospect talking to my girl was a waste of time. I mean, what did I really think she was going to say? Because, she was either (a) really sick, in which case she would want to go home, or (b) faking being sick because she, um, really wanted to go home. I thought that if I got her on the phone I could somehow hear how sick she was. That my mother radar would somehow know if she was faking it or truly ill.

Well my radar sucks. Once I heard her little voice saying she felt sick and wanted to go home, what was I going to do? (Note to self, next time just take camp counselor’s first option and decline to talk to child.)

A glance at the clock let me know that it was 11:09 AM.

I had a 12:00 noon loan document signing appointment that I was not okay with missing. I figured I’d just drag my sick girl to the title company and she could recoup in the cool air of the high rise. Of course, as I’m forming this sucky, but still manageable plan b, I remember that she’s not at the local, nearby YMCA -- that this Y “specialty” camp is a tennis camp, which takes place at some San Diego high school. My oldest is still six and the high school is not my neighborhood’s high school, so I’ve got to google the damn school, check map quest for directions, and figure out how fast I have to drive to make it there and back to the title company by noon.

I make good time, find the tennis courts, and my daughter is shuttled out to me. She is looking a little sick. The counselor tells me she threw up again since our call, so I’m glad I’ve come to get her (while simultaneously growing increasingly leery of taking her to the title company).

She thinks she needs to run to the bathroom once more before she can face riding in the car. We go to the depressing high school bathroom, she leans over a toilet and does a half ass job of trying to puke. A little spit, nothing more. I hurry her back to the car. I start the engine while explaining to her where we need to go “real quick” before we can go home.

She does not like the sound of the title company, at all. She doesn’t know if she can do it. I explain it more slowly, and more carefully because we either need to start driving fast, or call them RIGHT NOW to cancel the appointment. My girl is looking pathetic and scared and does not know what to say. She is only six. What is my problem? She’s sick for God’s sake. Call the damn escrow people and reschedule.

And I do. I may not be the best mother, but no mother wants their daughter puking all over the 500 pages of mumbo jumbo they make you sign to get keys to a new home. No one. Not even a mother like me, who would otherwise make her sick child go to an appointment such as this.

We go home. I have to pull over one time on the way so that she can throw up. She leans against the side of the car door in very dramatic fashion, coughs, and manages to spit out a bit of saliva.

“There mom, I just threw up.”

“Not really sweet pea.” But what does it matter now? I’m pretty sure, after that performance, that I’ve been had. That definitely does not qualify as throwing up. She knows it, I know it, although apparently the camp counselor does not know it.

My suspicions are confirmed when she wants a chocolate granola bar, pretzels, and two tangerines when we get home. When she then afterwards puts on her roller skates, plays with her keyboard at full volume, and begs to go outside to play. This is no sick little girl.

I should be happy, right? I mean, who wants their child to be sick? At this point, my friends, I do. I do. I’ve left work, canceled an appointment, driven to a random high school to pick her up, and I’m not even going to reap the reward of a sleeping child.

Don’t be shocked, I did start out this post with the disclaimer: There are definitely days I think that I shouldn’t be a parent. This is just one of them.


mumple said...

There's not a week that goes by that I don't think someone sent me this child of mine by mistake!

I honestly believe that the best moms are the ones who recognize their own fallibilty in parenthood--the ones who question whether or not they should be allowed unsupervised access to this small person!

There oughta be a club.

Jacquie said...

Man, I hate being had like that - I remember e-mailing my family about this not too long ago when my boy faked his way out of school. I was so irritated and grumpy and mean about it until he totally felt like shit and was crying, and then I decided to just play along and treat him like he was sick, even though he wasn't. I guess everyone needs a mental health day now and then. Sorry you didn't get your docs signed, did you reschedule?

My favorite parenting quote ever is from my sister Jane's sister in law Sue, who said to her kids: "After 9pm I'm not Mommy anymore, I'm just the lady on the couch!"

Ellie said...

Aw Beth. Sorry for your woes. You're a great mommy -- your girl jjust wasn't a great daughter yesterday!

Beth said...

I would like to be a founding member of the club.

I would also like to steal Sue's quote. Nine PM is plenty late to assume your real identity.

dana wyzard said...

If I had not been in the same room when my daughter was born, I'd be saying "I'm 100% sure that child isn't mine" and yelling for a DNA test.