My nine year old had a cough this morning. Not terribly bad but you could tell there was congestion. But it made me wonder if I should keep her home. I can’t stand when people send their kids to school running fevers and coughing all nasty. If you ask me, perfect attendance awards should be called the “Typhoid Mary” award.

So I asked my nine year old how she felt and she answered quickly, “I’m fine. Perfect.” Then she practically ran away from me like I’d just asked her if she had an alibi for the incident where someone left a crayon on the heating vent.

Hmmm. This is the same kid who, in years past, would descend the stairs every weekday morning like some kind of shooting victim, clutching her belly and groaning. So this was a change. The boy cleared it up for me when he came down the stairs in his gym uniform. Well, not the whole gym uniform. His sweat pants and t-shirt. Many days he lays his clothes out the night before because he wants to be able to say he’s the first one ready. I actually suspect he sleeps in them sometimes but hey he’s ready early so I’m not going to argue.

Anyway, I asked to take the nine year old’s temperature and she insisted she was fine. The seven year old boy walked up to her and said in the nicest tone you’d ever want to hear, “If you’re not feeling good you should stay home. You don’t want to get the other kids in the class sick. And you’ll get to sit around all day, maybe play some video games, watch television, and Dad will make you whatever you want for lunch.”

She seemed unmoved. Today was gym day. And my nine year old does not want to miss gym day. Ever. To her, gym is the only redeeming period school has. But the boy insisted. “You don’t look good. Dad, does she look right to you? You might even want to take her to the doctor.”

OK. Enough of this. “What’s going on?” I asked him.

He gave me his best “whatever can you mean” face but I wasn’t buying it. “Why do you want her to stay home?”

“Well,” he said. “For two reasons. One she has a cough and two I can’t find my sweatshirt so I want to borrow her sweatshirt.”

Ah. Such kindness.

Still no word on who left the crayons on the heating vent. Lots of suspects but nobody’s talking.

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