Fake it ’till you make it

I am more than 5 1/2 years into this parenting gig, and I still don’t know how to tell whether my kids are getting sick.

Case in point: My kindergartner has been dragging in the mornings lately. At first I wondered if he was getting sick, but no symptoms appeared, so I figured he must be staying awake in his room after bedtime. Then this morning, he didn’t get up with his alarm. When I went to check on him, he said he was sick, with a cough and stomach ache. He seemed a little congested, so I made the call to keep him home, sighing quietly over missed errands and gym class.

One hour later, he was bright-eyed and and claiming to be completely healed. At 3:00, there is still no sign of any real illness. Is he coming down with a cold? Who knows. What I do know is that unless he’s running a fever, he’ll be going to school tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I had to wake Lina up a little after 7 a.m.: very unusual for my early riser, who is usually raring at 6:30. I found her sleeping on the floor. How long had she been there? Did she fall out of bed? Perhaps this toddler bed transition is not going as smoothly as we thought. On the up side, whatever she’s doing in there, she’s not waking us up.

As soon as I got her little Van Winkle self awake, she started sneezing, and she’s had a slightly runny nose and red, watery eyes the rest of the day. The report from school was good, but she has been clingier than usual. Is she getting a cold? My guess is yes, but who knows for sure?!

It’s still remarkable to me how often in parenting I’m just guessing. I’m a fan of following informed instincts, but sometimes, I really have no idea. I suppose I’m practicing “fake it ’till you make it” parenting: act like you know what you’re doing and hope you actually do. The problem is I may not know for sure for at least 10-15 more years, and by then, it’s too late for re-dos.

Which is why I pray, and sometimes have to ask my kids for forgiveness. It also helps to have a community of understanding moms to poll for ideas.

Speaking of which: Anyone have a surefire method for telling when your kid is actually getting sick?

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