Friday, November 9, 2007

The Girl Who Cried Wolf

The Girl is home from school today. I had to say yes, because she is complaining of all the same symptoms I have been experiencing. If I am going to give myself the pampering I think I deserve when I am sick, then I can't deny her illness.

Although occasionally it is hard to know if The Girl is really sick, she has a flair for the dramatic. She may limp about for days after stubbing a toe - unless you catch her in an unguarded moment. As emergency medical attention is not always offered when she bumps an elbow, she will rig up a sling made out of a winter scarf or a long stocking. The effect of a pink sling with snowflakes and Santa on it may not be as devastating as she would like to believe.

I watched in amazement when, at 18 months of age, she alternately practiced laughing, smiling, looking surprised and looking sad in her crib mirror. I shook my head in disbelief when at 4 she told the pediatrician that her legs sometimes went into spasms and she couldn't walk. As the doctor and I both stared, wide-eyed, at her demonstration of a girl using those "sticks that help you walk", her objective suddenly became clear to me. "She's trying to score a pair of crutches", I explained to the baffled physician.

I have told her the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf many times but it hasn't made an impression. What good are stories with a moral if they aren't going to scare children? I think Hansel and Gretel would be a better choice. She might think twice about eating all the school snacks in one afternoon - after all, she might need them one day to find her way out of the woods.


Terry Heath said...

Sounds like you have a budding actress on your hands. I can actually remember wanting crutches and even glasses, but I think what I really wanted was the associated attention. Not the attention of already having them, but of someone giving them to me. Not that I didn't feel taken care of, but somehow it's what I wanted. I grew out of it, and even turned out somewhat normal.

Andrea Paulsen said...

Yes, I have often thought I should have named her Sarah Bernhardt.

I remember washing the dishes with a blindfold on, trying to see if I could cope with being blind just in case.

Some people think I turned out somewhat normal too, but the votes are not all in yet.

Anonymous said...

Maybe she'll win an Oscar some day. LOL, I think I used to do things like that too, only it was more the my throat's too sore to go to school today type of theatrics. It never worked.

Andrea Paulsen said...


I think all kids "play sick" occasionally, but she has elevated it to the level of performance art.

Sometimes, even I believe her.