You know how your stomach sinks when you’re at work and your kid’s school calls? You see that number flash on the caller ID and your mind starts making manouvers: if you have to leave at that exact moment, what about the meetings, the report you’re supposed to review? How and when will you pick up the other kid if it’s a bad virus? Those that have had to drive somewhere with a puking kid, one hand on the wheel and the other helping the puker hold a bowl under their chin, praying your upholstery doesn’t get hosed with smelliness know what I’m talking about.
But maybe your kid just hit their head? I mean, may glob strike you down for suggesting it, but you know by law (at least for the little ones) the school must contact you if a kid has suffered some sort of blow to the head or face. I’ve gotten those calls. It’s always been “so-and-so fell and hit the back of their head/got bitten on the cheek/was struck with a plastic doodad toy when kid A was playing space tornado.” As a parent, I expressed the appropriate level of sorrow, concern, and most importantly, relief that my spawn is intact and well.
You can move on with your day with those calls. Puking/fever/rash calls mean you are screwed for at least 48 hours. Your child is a big old bag of germs on those occasions -even more than usual- so they are expelled until fit for reintroduction to GenPop. We parents all get why. I’ve inwardly wished vile things upon parents who didn’t isolate their own little darling carrier monkeys thereby exposing mine to whatever horrendous germ is going around. But those calls – the “bad ones” – cause sphincter-tightening panic and a flurry of schedule and life reorganization unlike any other.
Anyway (Sorry. Apparently I’m wordy today.) I got one of those school calls yesterday. It was Felix’s teacher. Oh shit. “Is everything ok??” What a stupid thing to ask. These folks don’t call you to chat. “Felix had a bit of an accident.” Relief flooded my body. Only a noggin bump. “Is he ok?” See? Injecting that -for reals- parental concern. “He fell off the top of the beehive (this wooden play structure the school has) and landed on a wheelbarrow wheel. He landed on his face.” Oh shit. That sounds not good. “Well is he ok???” Maybe a fever or puking would’ve been the better call this time ’round. “He’s fine. I’m trying to hold ice on it, but he’s getting really upset because the other kids are trying to take the pile of stuff he’s collected while I’m seeing to his face.”