TALK BACK: faking or not?

So this morning, after oversleeping a bit and dragging myself out of bed to go drag two sleepy girls out of bed, my oldest daughter groaned: “Mommmmmmy, I haaaave a stomachache!” No fever, no vomiting, just the generic term for either not feeling well, or just not feeling like going to school.

So I basically had two options:
1. Let her stay home.
2. Send her to school anyway.

Seems simple enough, doesn’t it? But I often, to a fault, analyze my parenting over even simple dilemmas like this one.

Could I, in keeping her home, be overindulging her?

Or, in making her go to school, am I not listening to or validating her feelings?

I am still not sure.

What did I end up doing? I gave her half a Tylenol, sent her to school, and told her to call me if she felt worse. She appears to have survived.

Right choice? Or not?

What do you do when the “stomachache” greets you in the morning?
[from contributing Mama Manifesto reader, Gina]


  1. I watch my daughter's actions as we are getting ready for school. Invariably, if she is feeling good she will continue through her normal routine. Most times I have found that a stomache is an excuse for something else going on at school. So I question her on that and call the school for verification.

  2. No fever???? Off to school we go!
    sandy toe

  3. I'm not there yet, but I think I'd send her to school too. Maybe I just remember faking sickness as a kid all to clearly :)

  4. Yep, I think you did the right thing. Anonymous had a good point though, to see if there's anything bothering her.
    Sometimes I find students will come to me (teacher) at the beginning of the day and say that they don't feel well. Near lunch time is also a regular "sick" time. They often don't realize they are hungry. I encourage them to have a quick snack, and see how the goes. If they continue to look & act peeked, then I send them to call home. 9 times out of 10 they recover by recess.

  5. Well, if this is not an everyday occurance then she can stay home. With a stern lecture that this will not be an everyday occurance.

  6. It depends. Many of my second-grader's "stomach-aches" revolve around anxiety. While I am typically a stickler for attendance, there was one day earlier this year that she was so stressed out and worked up about something that she simply needed a day off to just relax & hang out with me. I think it's important to read into the faking.

    My two-year-old on the other hand, somehow has already figured out how to stand beneath the medicine cabinet, look pitiful, and say "my tummy huwwwts", all to get her get her little hands on an oh-so-tasty tylenol tablet. Stinker.

  7. I can usually tell whether my son is really sick based on how he treats his brother. He's a total type-a personality and is all about the control of his younger sibling, but when he's sick he just sits there. :)

    I've been wrong a few times and I always feel bad, but all we can do as moms is use our judgment.

    Sometimes I write a note to his teacher and let her know that he was complaining of feeling sick and to please call if he seems worse. The school has never called once. :)

  8. Just last week I kept mine home because a bug has been going around. Little turkey was perfectly fine. Ugh!!! He has really gotten good at faking it.

  9. Yup, my four year old gets anxiety tummy aches. Poor thing. The last one was on the day of there Spring recital for Pre-school. I feel badly for her. We pray about it together and then 'suck it up." I am sure I will deal with this a lot in the years to come.

  10. Since she loves school I usually let her stay home at first. Then I noticed a pattern. With my 7 year old it was a cross between anxiety over a test of some sort or just a need for a quiet day with mom.

    Now if it is just a tummy ache then I feed her toast and honey for breakfast and maybe a hot drink. Sort of pamper her in the morning. I then give her a tums before school and tell her that she shouldnt run on the playground if her tummy still hurts and that if it gets worse (like having to throw up or go to the bathroom really bad) that I will come get her. I've also tried to pay closer attention to tests and study with her. She would rather stay home and get zero than get one wrong. (at 7!)


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