Summer Flu

It’s  May, school is out in three weeks, and my child is getting an “A” in “How to be sick and stay home from school.”

It all started two weeks ago when he got the spring flu. It was one of those colds where he was too sick to go to school and hack all over everyone, but too healthy to stay home and not pester me (also too healthy to warrant any real sympathy).

“Harrison,” I said, “You’ve missed two days this week and today you are going to school!” It was a Thursday which meant I had the honor of volunteering in his classroom.

“Achoo! Cough cough hack hack Oops-there-goes-a-lung!” he said.

“No, you can stay home for an hour until your cough medicine kicks in, but then it’s back to school with you.” He had been well enough sit around and play video games, run errands, ask me to buy him a toy at McDonald’s, and back talk.

“Fine,” he said, coughing his way  back to the bathroom to brush his teeth.

We made it to his classroom and I started in on the day’s activity. Harry quickly forgot about his cold and proceeded to joke and play with his buddies.

He also coughed, sneezed, and wiped his nose all over his sleevesThere were three other mothers volunteering with me and I could practically feel their germ radars zeroing in on my walking petri dish.

At the end of the hour I couldn’t deny it; he had to come home.

“Harry,” I said, “Grab your sweat shirt, you’re coming home with me.”

“YES!” he did a fist pump jump and skipped to his cubby. Poor little invalid.

We made it through the weekend and his cold finally trickled down to a casual runny nose and the occasional sneeze. On Monday morning I was all business.

“Harry! You’re going to school today, so hurry it up!”

“What?” he asked, coming from his room. “My stomach hurts so bad! I think I’m going to throw up, you should NOT send me to school.”

“Really?” I said, “Well by all means, feel free to throw up any time you want. For the record, that is the only way you’re staying home this morning.” I watched him walk away, shoulders slumped and hand on his poor little tummy.

He had been at school just long enough to finish first recess when my phone rang. “Mom?” came the weakened voice on the other end of the line, “I’m so sick, I think I’m going to throw up!”


“Just come and get me! I’m really sick, I’m not faking it!”

I hung up the phone and slowly loaded my three little kids into the car.

As I walked toward his classroom I decided to give it one last shot.

“Hi Mom,” he said with a pitiful moan.

“Hello son,” I said, “Before you sign out, I  need to tell you something. If you choose to come home right now, you will go straight to your bed. You will have nothing but water and plain bread for the rest of the day and you will not leave your room. In the event of a sudden recovery, you will spend the rest of the day cleaning the bathrooms, all three of them, and then the garage. There will be no television, no video games, and no computer.”

His mouth flew open. “What?!” he said.

“Are you sure you’re sick?” I asked. He looked back over his shoulder at the friends sitting quietly, listening to his teacher read a book aloud.

“You know,” he said with absolutely no shame whatsoever, “I think I’m actually feeling much better. See you after school!” With a little wave, he was off.

The Summer flu sure has a quick recovery period.


  1. Haha, what a smart kid. I think if my mom had said that to me I would’ve just gone home, to embarrassed to admit that I had fibbed/exaggerated about being sick. 🙂

  2. Funniest story EVER. Love that Harrison and good job mom, I am remembering that if this situation ever strikes my kids.

  3. Heather says:

    Your blog (and articles) always make me smile! Thank you for that. I am so happy to hear other mothers call their children out on “being sick”. I have to admit to bringing my thermometer with me when my one daughter called from school one day. I have told them that they better have a fever or be throwing up if they want to come home.
    We have had too many of the “quick recovery” afternoons at our house. So I had to go hard core on them.
    Hopefully he makes it through the next 3 weeks for you.

  4. some days i would think it would be hilarious if we had blogging back when my mom was raising us, oh the stories to be told! i already know them, but it would be even more funny to hear them from her perspective! i remember staying home sick, REALLY SICK, and cleaning the house! why was that expected, i was dying! {oh yeah, i was the oldest} 🙂

  5. THAT is a funny story. One of my kids called me once to come and get them. The teacher said he looked a little green and I probably should. So I did. We came home. The kid pooped. And then he was fine. So not sick at all, just had public pooping phobia. We’ve since worked on said phobia and have had no other emergency pick ups. Cause let me tell you… I would NOT be sympathetic a second time around.

  6. So dang funny! We’ve done something similar. If they stay home, they have to work (unless they really are bedridden). They have extra chores and extra babysitting. Often they choose to go to school instead. 🙂

  7. Today my kid has a case of “the air show” today . . . . . we’re playing hookie . . . . . bad, bad mom.

    You know, I used to always get a case of the summer flu . . . . then found out that my cough, runny nose, sore throut and stomach ache were all caused by summer allergies . . . . . . wish I didn’t have the allergies, but man, has it made a change in my life to be able to do something about it! Just sayin’!!!!!

    You write a fun blog, as always Annie!!!! Good one!

    • annie valentine says:

      Ha! Would you believe that he does have horrible allergies this year? I just got him meds because I think it’s been making him miserable.

  8. You totally could be a doctor or scientist or something.
    Knowing how to cure illness and all.