My 7-year-old Madelyn is home sick today. Outside of a bout with a vicious stomach bug, it's her only day missing school (not counting, of course, all those snow days!). She came downstairs this morning with a dramatic cough, disheveled hair, and an intense frown. I was a bit suspicious before she even spoke: "Mommy, I don't feel good. I don't think I should go to school." Hmmm. Go get the thermometer, I offered. She ran upstairs to grab it. She clocked in at 99.5. Not technically a fever. But not great either. "You'll miss your Girl Scouts meeting" I reminded her. "That's OK" she nodded and plopped down on the couch in front of the TV. As I made breakfast I could hear her hacking away. She wasn't faking the cough ... but I also wasn't entirely sure she needed to stay home. Her nose wasn't running, she didn't seem to have anything other than a normal cold. And if we kept kids home from school every time they have run-of-the-mill colds ... they'd never go to school, right? But Madelyn is an eager-beaver kid. She's the sort of kid who runs home to finish her homework asap so she knows it's done. She's not one to skirt her responsibilities, such as they are at age 7. And she didn't seem swayed by missing Girl Scouts, which she loves. I ask her again at breakfast: Are you sure you don't feel well enough to go to school? She was sure. She said if she needed me she'd text (she has an iPod where she can text me, Grannie and my husband.) Luckily, I have a babysitter for her little brother who's home full-time so I could still go to work. Then I get this text from her. Hmmm. Is she totally playing me? Did I make the right call? Or should I have pushed harder and insisted she go to school? What do you guys think?
When to Worry: Coughs & Colds