Occasionally and thankfully rarely, my kids do something that makes me worry. They say something (or a string of somethings) that piques my concern. I am not a helicopter parent. In 17 years, my oldest child has been on antibiotics once in addition to the dose he got when his appendix was removed. We went home 3 hours after the offending organ was removed. I will pamper and protect my kids but I don’t suffer whining or feigned weakness. If they are sick, they’re sick. Barf or spike a high fever and you get my attention otherwise…..walk it off. And because of that, I can clearly tell when things are off. The delineation between “I’m sick,” and “I don’t feel good.” are very clear. My kids know that sickness isn’t a FEELING. So when they say, “I don’t feel good.” or “I feel bad.” it’s their feelings that are bruised and hurting. And that kind of boo boo needs a different kind of medicine. It needs time, quality time and attention. And so, while he had a low grade fever, my Ginger Kid really was just having a very bad day. And her emoted and he is not an emotive child. Emotive behavior is a GIANT red flag. It makes me yank the emergency brake and halt all things because he is not a child to fling himself down on the floor and be petulant. And given he has a mother who – in extreme situations – can be a petulant brat, he lack of demonstrative flailing is significant. So….we took a mental health day. And I gave him time. A whole day, just he and I. We drove, we talked, about his crap and about Syria. We listened to NPR and he ranted about politics and hyper-religious people and why he dislikes Speaker Boehner. At the end of the day, after the sun had set and he had helped me assemble some furniture, he was smiling and back to himself: confident, happy, snappy and sarcastic. I can’t roll him up like a baby burrito anymore and my attempts this morning to hug him were met with a stiff arm and briskness. I knew it was what he needed but he’d have none of it. So, I swaddled him in another way, in the way that is his true love language: TIME. I’d give him all the time in the world if he needed it.

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