FILED IN: Parenting

The Ides and Crooked Teeth of March

According to the old saying, the month of March usually starts with cold, unpleasant weather, but ends mild and becomes much more agreeable – atmospherically speaking, of course.

“We don’t have ANY days off from school in March!”

Yes, it’s true, there are NO holidays requiring a day off from school in March (go ahead and check, I’ll wait) so, I’ve grown accustomed to referring to September through February as “the holey months” when large blocks of the school calendar are crossed-off for one holiday, birthday, or teacher’s conference, after another.

Aaaaand, considering the snow days we’ve had to take in February, no wonder the schools are bugging me about my kids, and the number of sick days they’ve already had, this year.

“Your child has been absent 4,291 times, this year…”

I’ve had kids in school, full-time, long enough to know that the state requires schools to send those annoying little, “just so you know,” letters; however, judging my recent conversation with one of the school nurses (Ratched, I believe) and a letter I received from my son’s school, I’m still a little fuzzy on identifying the difference between “excused” and “unexcused” absences.

“Please make an appointment, so that we can discuss ways in which we can improve your child’s absentee record.”

Off the top of my head, I can only think of one real good one – send my kids to school…sick.

“Mrs. Thompson, your daughter has 15 absences, already!”

My oldest (she’s 16) called me from the nurse office, the other day.

“None of which are excused.”

Turns out, my calling the attendance office and telling them that, you know, my kid won’t be in school, because she is sick, has cramps, or bleeding like a stuck pig, whatever, is not good enough.

“Excuse me?”

You see, I don’t typically play the “I’ve got 4 kids, you know?” card, but all I wanted was for her to give the kid a Tylenol.

“I’ve received, signed and returned dozens of forms, from all 4 schools, so I am well versed in student absenteeism policies.”

We’ve also received numerous handouts, outlining the signs and symptoms to look for, when deciding whether or not your child is sick or, not (especially, this year, with swine flu) along with weekly reminders NOT to send your kids to school, you know, sick.

“All I wanted was for you to give the kid a Tylenol!”

Because, I’m pretty sure I signed that paper, too.

“Just so you know, the high school only allows 20 absences…THAT’S IT!”

I wasn’t ready for a lecture and, it was at this point in our conversation, I was pretty sure that I needed a Tylenol, too.

“I have her file here in front of me and see that most of your daughter’s absences are unexcused.”

Okay, so this time, the school nurse was right and I didn’t send in a doctor’s note, every time, because I don’t take my kids to the doctor, every time they are sick!

“So, is she getting the Tylenol or not?”

Since, you know, I didn’t see any reason why we both should continue arguing, what was quickly becoming a mute point, while my poor kid was sitting there, in her office, doubled over, in pain.


I know the school nurse was only doing her job and is probably accustomed to dealing with very unreasonable people, every day (sound familiar?) but, did she really need to make me feel like crap, too?

“As far as sending her home, you can do what you want, but she’s not throwing up and she doesn’t have a fever.”

I am no doctor. However, raising 4 kids (sorry) and having spent an unimaginable number of sleepless hours, wiping down feverish little faces and cleaning up buckets of puke (you’re welcome) not to mention, seeing my 14 year-old through surgery (twice) and assisting in her recovery from pilonidal disease (you’re welcome, I’m sure) I do believe that I have become somewhat of an expert at growing a thick(er) skin (seriously, that was just plain nasty) especially, when it comes to knowing whether my kids are sick, or not.

“Okay, but I told her to suck it up and that you, my dear, are an ass!”


This was NOT one of those days.

“Yay, we get our braces this month!”

My oldest girls have been waiting a really long time for this – since I made the appointment, way back in November, actually – and they are perhaps the only teens thrilled to FINALLY having braces put on their teeth and, well, YAY!

“Are we going to have to stay home from school?”

[checks calendar]

I’m sending in a letter, signed by the orthodontist, maybe even a notary, along with a picture of their crooked teeth, just in case.