This morning, like all mornings, I called out to Sydney to make sure she was up and getting ready for school. She said, “Daddy, come here please.” I went in her room and she was sprawled out on the bed. She said, “I hurt my neck.”
“I don’t know. I woke up and when I moved it popped.”
I asked her to sit up and she started crying, tears streaming down her face, eyes beet red. It looked like a real issue. I said, “Well I guess I need to take you to the doctor. Get back in the bed.” I called the my office to let them know I was not coming to work and then sat downstairs waiting until 8:30 am to call the pediatrician. This was not making sense to me. How do you wake up and crack your neck? You are twelve years old. Eighty year old people crack stuff when they wake up, not twelve year old kids. I go back upstairs, kneel down beside her bed and ask her if she is alright. She says it still hurts. I ask her sit up and she starts crying again. I KNOW something is not right but it’s not her neck. I tell Syd, “If I take you to this doctor, pay a $40 co-pay and miss a day of work and there is nothing wrong with you I will be so PISSED.”
I call Andrea and tell her all of this. She tells me she knows Syd did not adequately prepare for her test and was putting in very little work on her English paper. AHA there’s the issue. She doesn’t want to go to school. Now I am really pissed. I sit at the kitchen table playing a game of bookworm all the while thinking about the complete waste of a day I am about to have.
At 7:35 Syd comes out of her room and says, “Dad, If I don’t move a certain way it doesn’t hurt.” I said, “Fine you are going to school. Get dressed.” I called my office told them I would be late and Syd comes downstairs 10 minutes later fully dressed, what normally takes 20-25 minutes. As she sits at the table I grab the spray Icy Hot and she says, “Dad you don’t like that smell.” I say, “Ima spray it anyway.” She then says, “It probably won’t work.” I put it down, grab a bag and fill it with ice. I wrap the ice bag in a loose kitchen cloth. I make six strips of turkey bacon. In the past if Syd is sick or injured she wouldn’t keep the ice on the injury for more than 3 minutes before complaining it’s too cold. She won’t eat more than two strips when sick or injured. I tell her to put it on her neck and she does. We get ready to leave the house and I start to reach for her 20-25 pound book bag. Then I thought, wait, see what happens. She grabs the bag and throws it on her back then “winces” and says, “ow, o wow”.
We leave the house and while driving she tries to have a conversation. She NEVER does this when sick. At the same time she is devouring the turkey bacon. She is not injured. On the trip she asks me to write an excuse for p.e. I ask why and she says, “they will make me run with them even though I am injured.” I tell her, “they won’t accept my note as an excuse unless it comes straight from the doctor.” She is still faking it. We get to the school and she is MILKING this “injury”. I tell the administrator why we are late and she offers the nurse to Syd to grab an Ibuprofen.
Looking back over the last day’s events and talking with Andrea it all clicked. This little girl KNOWS she didn’t prepare for this test nor finish the paper. She figured she would escape with being “sick”. On the ride home from school yesterday she asks me who is taking her to school in the morning. She knew if Andrea took her she couldn’t play this move. She didn’t bank on me taking her to the doctor and she knew I would be pissed if they found nothing wrong. She miraculously recovered just in time for me to NOT call the doctor but did not plan on me saying she was going to school.
What she doesn’t know is when she gets home this evening I plan to play the “sick” card on her and tell her since she is injured she will have to stay in all weekend until her neck is better. Whatcha bet she calls her mom and tries to spend the weekend with her mother so she can avoid the injury.