I’ve always considered myself lucky to live so close to Children’s Hospital of Boston. It’s a world-renowned facility and it’s practically walking distance from my house. Until this past summer, I’d never needed to take advantage of our proximity, but then my older daughter developed a strange rash at camp one day. Erring on the side of caution, we brought her into the emergency room. Thankfully, it wasn’t anything serious and we’d practically forgotten the whole thing. Until last night, when the following exchange took place between me and my daughters.
They had been jumping around and somehow, my older daughter (hereafter referred to as A) had accidentally jumped on my younger one (we’ll call her M). M was somewhat distraught, but soon it seemed as though she was milking the injury to prolong bedtime. She was in the kitchen whimpering.
Me: M, are you OK?
M: No, my belly hurts me soooo much.
Me: Uh oh. Do you think you need to go to the hospital?(Note: this is a tactic I’ve employed in the past with her when she’s overdramatizing an ailment – I can always count on the fact that hospitals are naturally intimidating.)
M: (Nervously) Well, what do they have there?
Me: (Surprised by the line of questioning) Huh?
A: (Jumps into the conversation) Oh, it’s so great! They have balloons and teddy bears and the doctors are so nice. You should really go. Bring me back a teddy bear.
M: OK, I want to go. Right now. Take me to the hospital. My tummy hurts. Pleeeeeease? I want a balloon!
Right. So much for intimidating. Now I’ll need a new strategy for differentiating between the sick and the slick.