GILL SOUTH

 Journalist | Editor | Speaker 

School is making me sick, Mom

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A friend, who I don’t believe has children, gave me some excellent parenting advice last week. Take the electronic devices away from your kids and they will cause you a whole lot less hassle, he said. He is so right but as we parents know, these things are easier said than done. And we give them the phones for emergencies. Emergencies, ha! My son, nickname, Just William, was back lobbying hard this week from his Samsung.

Now, I’m interested in your thoughts. Is a cold an illness which should keep your child out of school? FOR DAYS? Let’s hear what Just William has to say for himself on the sixth day of his cold.

9.23am  JW from school: I feel awful.

9.25am Me: What? I am off to tennis. You can’t have another day off. It’s just not happening. (He had the previous Friday off.)

9.26am: JW: I’m sorry, but going to school just isn’t helping, it’s making me more and more sick.

9:29am Me: It’s just taking a full week to get over like all colds and you are not having a week off. Just booked your haircut at 4. I will pick you up at end of the day if you are feeling poorly.

9:31am Me: Should we be cancelling the camp trip? (with his best friend and family. I don’t camp. California ground is far too hard as I discovered last August. Tossing and turning was pure agony.)

9.33am JW: Not yet.

9.33am Me: OK, it will get better over the day, I promise.

9:47am JW: I’m not feeling any better.

9.49am Me: You need to stay. Turning off phone now as at tennis. Will check in on you later? (I didn’t really turn off my phone, in case of emergencies. And I wasn’t quite at tennis then.)

12.00am JW: I’m not going to miss anything, I just feel crap. (By now I am at the shops. I’m trying on a very nice navy top at J. Crew, something I’ve been looking for for ages but somehow I feel guilty. So this is where I buckle.)

12.02pm Me: What have you got? A maths test tomorrow? Must be there for that. I am 20 minutes away. Have lunch.

12.24pm JW: OK, I’ll see you at 12.20 or something.

12.27pm Me (in the school office) : I AM HERE.

12.28 JW: Actually, not like till like one o’clock? (WHAT?????!!!!!!)

12.28pm JW: Sorry I have to get a teacher’s permission. (It’s lunchtime, he’s having fun somewhere)

12.29pm Me (on my way back to the car. I’ve had enough) You may as well stay. It’s digital art. You like that. It’s easy. I will pick you up at the end of school.

12.33pm JW: Mum I feel crap. Please stay til lunch is over. Like 15 minutes.

12.38pm: Me (He has pushed me too far): I have left again. I have an article to write. I am not your servant. I have a life. I will pick you up by the tennis courts after school. You can get through the day. Ask for painkiller if you have a sore throat.

When I pick him up, he is strolling happily along with his friend, hops in the car and  goes off to get his haircut without a murmur of protest. It’s as if we NEVER had the ping-pong text conversation. But the next day, the next day, I take his phone off him before he goes to school. If he has an emergency he will have to go to the school office like it was always done. God give me strength. Three weeks til the school holidays. I can’t figure out if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

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