Saturday, March 22, 2008

our ongoing study of hypochondria in the young

I've been sick off and on for two weeks, with first a terrible sore throat and torturous lung congestion accompanied by a racking and dramatic cough, followed by a rather humdrum head cold which reduced my IQ by about half.

Now any sensible person would have distanced herself from this contagion and instead rejoiced in her own relative health, but not my offspring. They were jealous and continually cajoled me to feel their perfectly normal foreheads for imaginary fevers.

On Thursday Iris had a headache (believed by me to be genuine). Five year-old Lola, competitive as ever, interrupted her big sister. "I have a headache, too! And I am sick!"

"LUCY!" shouted Iris. "YOU ARE NOT SICK!"

I quieted Iris. "Tell me your symptoms, Lola."

"I have a headache. And my arm hurts." She stopped to ponder, then smiled brightly. "And the bottom of my foot hurts!" Needless to say this assemblage of symptoms did not win her the coveted Officially Ill status.

Eight year-old Iris Uber Alles is not above a bit of hypochondria as well. At her school many of her classmates are being diagnosed with "learning differences", and Iris has become convinced that she has dysgraphia. She finds her parents' indifference maddening. Brandishing a purple brochure she had obtained somewhere, Iris cried out, "But all of these apply to me!" On another occasion, she said emotionally, "My handwriting is bad, and my papers are always a mess! I have dysgraphia! It explains everything!" Not the drama queen behavior, honey, not the drama queen behavior. That is still a Mystery of Science.


hughman said...

from now on, whenever i do something wrong i'm blaming it on disgraphia.

Captain Steve said...

That is an original child right there. Dyslexia is so last season.

Missy said...

I hope you are feeling better and soon.

The competition about who's being sick in our household translates to Who Gets Better Treatment When Sick.

Iris is smart to pick dysgraphia. It means a lot less writing and other people write for you. Good choice!

Anonymous said...

Faking sick is only good if it gets you out of school, and generally the symptoms must fit one general half of the body.

the Drunken Housewife said...

The funniest thing, Nolechica, is that they both like going to their schools right now. So it's not about skipping school per se... but if one gets to stay home and the other doesn't, that means the sick one gets to watch videos during the day (normally a nighttime pursuit only) and gets exclusive possession of Mommy for a block of time.

hughman said...

well i'd fake sick to be with the DH/

Jack's Raging Mommy said...

Jack's new thing is if we drive past his doctor's office he holds his head and says "Mama, my head. I sick. I need doctor".
It's new enough that it's still endearing :)

Unknown said...

Poor Kim wakes up with a headache every morning (only when being roused for school days, not when waking up too darned early on weekends).

It's hard to tune out the whining for the real problems.

And after getting sick once, it takes two weeks to break them of begging out of school every morning.

I really wish elementary school started at 9 AM, and they do too!
Of course, if I didn't have a darling wife at home, I might feel differently if DW were getting her glam on for work as well as herding the kids to the bus. It's been too long since we both worked (9 years in May) so I can't remember.

Wow, 9 years in the blink of an eye!

hokgardner said...

You need to read your girls Shel Silverstein's poem "Sick." My girls love it.

Unknown said...

Ah, something to look forward to is it!
Is it wrong my 2.5 year old already asks for the dr. when her belly is sick

roxtarc said...

hah... capt steve.

our lil guy just had his first "sick" wk/end... virus, fever, teething, you name it... (he's 4 mos)...

to think in a blink he's gonna be 'faking' more than coughs... it's a lil scary