I’m just going to come out and say it up front, I’m an unsympathetic mom. Yep. I would make a bad nurse, because I don’t care how much pain you are in. Actually that’s not true, but my kids think it is. Let me tell you why.
We’ve all heard the story about “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”, right? Well that can sum up my lack of sympathy around my house. Like most kids, my two are accident prone. Ironically, they are more accident prone when they are being told to do something they don’t want to do, or when they are being yelled at for not doing something they were supposed to do. For some reason I don’t really see this timing as a coincidence. I don’t think any logical person could blame me here. So it goes without saying, that when I am forcing one of my children to be obedient and they hurt themselves, I usually respond with “you’ll live”, “get over it”, or some other uncaring comment. Unfortunately this scenario tends to play out in my house at least once a month, sometimes more. So enters the “cry wolf” story. Well of course, I am not going to believe that there is really an injury that needs tending to. I’ve tried explaining this to my children, but they have it ingrained in their little brains that mommy’s failure to bend at their will means she doesn’t care.
So then we have a scenario like the one that is currently playing out. Numerous times last night, I had to tell my daughter Virginia to clean up her stuff off the kitchen table for dinner. She and her sister were also instructed to help with getting dinner to the table. Wouldn’t you know it, in the middle of the chaos, Virginia managed to stub her toe. *Enter Dramatic Scene Here* The night progressed with her whining, crying, complaining…I’m sure you get the picture. Now we have all stubbed one of our toes at some point or another, and yes it hurts like hell. But the pain will eventually subside and go away. Virginia’s didn’t. I may have been more concerned if the situation had played out differently this morning. If she had come to me when I got her up for school this morning and told me that her toe still really hurt, well then, I may have been concerned. That’s not what took place. The scenario I received was a child that refused to get out of bed. Of course, she didn’t go to bed at bedtime last night. She had her usual routine of stalling, playing around upstairs, and doing whatever it is she does to keep from falling asleep. Then she got up late this morning (as usual), and was on the verge of making us late to school yet again. Child number two, who was fine just a few moments before, suddenly felt ill (another cry wolf tactic in our house). *Insert Mom’s I don’t care response here.* As I yelled for Virginia to get her shoes on and get downstairs, she came down whining about her toe. *Insert another unsympathetic response here.* Then she proceeded to start crying about not being able to find her shoes. Of course. We were late yesterday, because she couldn’t find her purse with her bus pass in it. The crying progressed. My blood pressure continued to rise and I had a splitting headache.
All this time, my friend Tina (whom I carpool with) and her daughters sat quietly on the sofa watching all of this chaos. Trying to rush out the door, Virginia was still in a panic about finding her shoes. Klara was trying to help look at my request, and I went to start the car. Virginia came outside momentarily crying, then went back inside. I followed and entered the house to two crying kids. Virginia having yelled at her sister, making her cry now too. Why can’t I ever have a quiet, peaceful morning? Why? Luckily Virginia had found her shoes, we headed out to the car, and she dropped her breakfast on the ground. More crying ensued. You see, my child is usually too late to eat breakfast at home, so we buy stuff that she can take on the go. Yes, I realize that one is my fault. But I figure that is one battle I can do without in the morning. This morning she would have to do without.
Now we were already late. Traffic was barely moving. I’m upset and lecturing Virginia. Virginia’s upset and lecturing me about not caring. She wants to go to the doctor and get an x-ray. Seriously? My dad broke several toes once…all they do is tape them. That’s all they can do. A few months ago Virginia thought she broke her ankle. It took us three hours between seeing the doctor, getting x-rays, getting results – and she was fine. Funny about that incident, immediately after being told she was fine, she was walking normal again too. I told her there was no way I was skipping work to take her to get x-rays. She announced that she was going to tell her teacher so I would have to take her to the doctor. I had to laugh at that one. Still, the caring part inside me (don’t tell Virginia it’s there) was a little concerned about her toe and contemplating what to do.
We arrived at school, and being the uncaring mother that I am, I handed Virginia $5.00 and asked her if she could still get breakfast in the cafetera before school started. I may be an ogre, but I don’t want my children to starve. How could I possibly torture them if they are starving and don’t have the strength to battle me back (yes that is sarcasm in case you didn’t know). As I left the school, Tina and I finally had some peace and quiet in the car. My headache was finally going away, and we made a bee-line for Starbucks. Yes, the magic ju-ju that is Starbucks helps heal all ailments. Maybe that’s what I need to give to Virginia for her toe. But seriously, I will get some medical tape, tape her toes, and provide Virginia with some “feedback from the doctor” and hope that makes her feel better. That will help me save money from paying for x-rays; money that we will need in a few years to pay for my kids’ therapy after they are thoroughly convinced I am a monster.