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“I don’t really feel good, I don’t want to go to school today” said Grant as he ate his Cheerios and watched Curious George.
Christ, I thought he’d at least get to elementary school before he started pulling this shit
He looked up from his coffee at Grant. “Well you don’t have a fever and you seem to be wolfing down your breakfast without much issue. How about we give school a chance today? You’ll have fun.”
“Butttt….Ok dad. I just have a headache, I’m not going to have any fun.”
The last time someone told me they had a headache and didn’t want to leave the house was at Paul’s bachelor party.
“Come on, let’s get dressed. You’ll be fine.”
“Hi, it’s Mrs. Hinkle. Grant says he’s just not feeling well. He ate his lunch but says he’s got a stomach ache and a headache. No fever, but he doesn’t usually complain much so I figured I’d call.” She paused, as if waiting for him to chime in, then continued. “He said he didn’t feel good this morning too.”
That little bastard sold me out, now I’m the bad guy.
“Ahh, yeah he complained a bit this morning but felt fine and didn’t have a fever, so I told him to give it a try. Should I uh, come grab him then I guess?”
“Yeah that sounds good, I’ll have his stuff ready to go.”
“Great. See you in fifteen.” Dammit, there goes watching golf at my desk all afternoon. Kid better really be sick.
He tapped gently on the door of the room, as the lights being off inside signaled that they were in the middle of nap time. As he lamented the fact that he couldn’t remember the last time he had a nap, Mrs. Hinkle opened the door. Behind her was Grant, smiling like a four-year-old Ferris Bueller.
“Hey Daddy, I don’t feel very good.”
“I know buddy, we’re going home” he replied, grabbing his little backpack.
As soon as they walked out the door of the school Grant signed and said “I really think going to the playground would make me feel better.” There was a playground down the street that was usually his post-school pit-stop. Not getting an instant reaction from his father, he continued “Can we go to the playground now?”
Look at this guy trying to game the system.
He felt a mix of emotions staring at his son. Annoyance being the first, as he’d forgone his afternoon to pick a seemingly fine Grant up early. But also an odd sense of nostalgic pride.
His first time faking sick to get out of school. The first of many. He’s learning so young.
He looked down at Grant, with his dreams of Grant’s Day Off swimming in his head and said “Buddy, you left school sick. That means no playground. We’re going home and sitting on the couch.”
“Ah, ok Daddy.”
He figured that after picking him up “sick” he’d at least be dealing with a mellowed out Grant. Bundle him up on the couch, throw on some Trolls, and go stand up at his desk and catch some golf while he chilled out. As Lee Corso would scream, not so fast my friend.
Grant watched Trolls in a relaxed fashion for roughly ten minutes, then turned back into into a 3.5 foot tall human with seven Red Bulls worth of energy. While he couldn’t pull a Bueller by stealing a Ferrari and tearing up Chicago, an hour into his premature stay back at home it was clear to Grant’s father that he’d definitely had a fast one pulled on him.
As he watched Tiger send a drive into the trees, a football struck him in the leg, coming with a cry of “Daddy can we play football?!?”
“Aren’t you supposed to be sick? Didn’t you just tell me you have a headache?”
Grant looked shaken, then recovered. “Yeah, but football would make my head feel a lot better.”
Buddy, I’ve got some bad news about what football would do for your head.
He realized that while it was a little adorable that he was trying to fake a sick day, he needed to lay down the law early to ensure that he wasn’t skipping once a week. He needed to save that shit until at least the beginning of high school.
“Grant, sick days don’t mean running around and playing. You’ve gotta sit on the couch, rest, and move as little as possible.” There was nothing a kid hated more than moving as little as possible. “Sick days mean relaxing and early bedtime, so let’s get snuggled back up on the couch.”
Clearly bummed, Grant relented as his father this time joined him for the duration of the movie. Fake sick day though it was, he knew he wouldn’t have these chances to hang out on the couch with Grant forever.
As they did their bedtime routine a bit earlier than usual, he thought he had done a good job with the day. He hadn’t gotten mad at Grant for being a little faker, but he also hadn’t set a precedent for a repeat performance.
They walked into Grant’s room and he looked up and said “Daddy I don’t feel very good.”
“Well champ, sleep helps everything. Why don’t you go to bed and you’ll feel better in the morning.”
Grant looked up at his father with a strange, almost pained look. Then he vomited on the floor.
Right away he scooped him up and started running a bath, only to have Grant lean over the toilet next to the tub and hurl some more. A little pale, he finished and wiped his mouth, then said a little weakly “Can I get in the bath now?”
As he let Grant soak in the warm water after brushing his teeth, he realized he’d gone from extreme smugness about catching Grant in the act to extreme guilt upon realizing there was actually something wrong there. He sat next to the bathtub. In his defense, two hours previously he’d been bouncing off the walls and tossing a football at him, but still.
“Heyyy buddy. You starting to feel any better? Here, have some water.”
Grant sucked down some H2O and responded, “Yeah I feel better. Can I watch more Trolls?”
“Sure buddy, you want some ice cream too? Or literally anything at all?”
You’ve got a blank check with my guilt kid, strike while it’s hot.
About thirty minutes of Trolls later, he and Grant laid down in bed together, as Grant’s bed had caught some puke spray earlier.
He’d texted a doctor friend who assured him it was just a little bug, but was still wracked with guilt and some sadness as no parent likes seeing their child sick- especially after doubting his sickness all afternoon. As they both dozed off, he pledged to himself that when he likely encountered a grumpy and sick Grant that morning that he’d go all out as doctor Dad.
“WAKE UP DADDY IT’S MORNING!”
“Wha….what? Morning buddy, how are you feeling?” he mumbled, as Grant draped himself on top of him.
“I feel great! Can we go downstairs and play??”
He sat up, bewildered. Much like an 18-year-old shakes off a hangover like nothing happened, Grant’s stomach bug seemed to have disappeared overnight. He spent the morning watching for any sign of recurring illness, or a surprise throw up like the night prior, but after Grant asked him if they could go for a bike ride for the third time that morning he figured that the bug had left as quickly as it’d come on.
“Well actually, buddy, your Grandma is headed over to pick you up so I can get some work done, but we will go on a bike ride later.”
Grant looked first dismayed, then elated that he was headed to Grandma’s house, better known as the place where he never hears the phrase “No, you can’t have that cookie.”
When his mom arrived to pickup Grant, he got him out the door and walked him over to the car. As he buckled him into the carseat he said, “Have fun at Grandma’s bud. I’m glad you’re feeling better.” Grant responded “I’m glad you’re feeling better too Daddy.”
Shaking his head at how weird and sweet kids can be at the same time, he thanked his mom, then walked back to the porch. As he waved to Grant through the window he felt a sense of relief that it looked like his battle with this stomach bug had been only a 12-hour fight.
Then his stomach started to ache. .
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