The “I’m too sick to go to school virus” has struck!

Liz Fogle

“I cannot go to school today, said little Peggy Ann McKay. I have the measles and the mumps, a gash, a rash, and purple bumps. My mouth is wet, my throat is dry, I’m going blind in my right eye. My tonsils are as big as rocks; I’ve counted sixteen chicken pox. And there’s one more-that’s seventeen, and don’t you think my face looks green? – “Sick” By Shel Silverstein

A serious illness/virus has hit our house!!! It is just terrible and is highly contagious! It is called… “I’m too sick to go to school virus.” It has multiple symptoms: stomach ache, head ache, drippy nose, sore throat, and occasionally a fake cough. What is increasingly funny about this virus is, it comes and goes very fast! One minute you might feel fine and the next you are just pitifully sick (I hope you see the sarcasm here)!!

Ugh…I so wish I was joking, but Bug (my daughter) has tried to fake sick twice. The first time was several weeks back. I was at school volunteering and I walked by her classroom. Bug was happily playing and waved to me. The next time I walked by, I found her in her teachers lap looking super pitiful. I immediately went into her classroom and asked what was wrong (big mistake). She told me her throat was hurting and that she didn’t feel good. I looked at Bug’s throat and it was a little red. I decided to take her home with me and take her to the doctor (strep throat was going around). Needless to say, I paid for an unnecessary doctor’s visit. Once I got her home she was doing cart-wheels and doing anything but rest!!!! Bug did learn her lesson (well maybe not) because she wasn’t able to attend church that night. She was incredibly upset!

So fast-forward a few weeks. Bug wakes up super clingy and whinny.
All I can think of is, great she is probably getting sick. Within a few minutes, Bug says her stomach hurts and that she can’t go to school. Hmm…. this momma didn’t just get off the boat! I started asking her a few more questions because she has had stomach issues in the past. Bug did not have a fever, ate breakfast without any problem, and seemed to be fine. I immediately told Bug that if she stays home from school, she can’t go to church tonight. Wow!! Our tune changed really fast! Bug jumped up and immediately got dressed and was ready to go to school.

I expected Bug to try to get out of going to school when she was older. Not when she is 4 1/2!!!! If she is faking sickness at this age, what will she do when she is 14?!?!? I think I am in big trouble! What I don’t understand is she loves school, so this faking sickness has come out of nowhere. I’ve asked her teachers about her behavior. They tell me she is the model students and always has fun. I now have to be extra vigilant about Bug and sickness. I now have to determine if she is sick or faking sick (ugh…my head hurts).

Apparently this faking sickness is very common among children ages 5-7 and 11-14. This is when children are dealing with the challenges of entering elementary school and middle school. Extended vacations, sickness, a dramatic life change, or the death of a family member can all impact a child’s attendance. The experts just recommend a parent be smart about what is going on with their child at school and to encourage school attendance.

Anyone else facing this? Ugh…I am so puzzled by this. She is 4 1/2 years old!!! I just hope and pray that this is only a phase and Bug doesn’t try to fake sickness anymore.

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