This morning, our usual routine ensued, and after breakfast I raced upstairs to throw on my running gear while reminding F that she needed to come brush her teeth. The dog started to get excited because he knew what time it was: WALK TO SCHOOL time, which is his favorite time of the day. And while it wasn’t always mine, lately I’ve been loving our long (over an hour round trip) walks to and from school in the mornings – I even crave them. So I slapped on sunscreen, put my hair into a ponytail, put on my jog bra… then realized F hadn’t moved off the couch downstairs.
“Time to turn off Scooby Doo and come brush your teeth, NOW…” I said loudly.
“But MOM, my legs hurt! I can’t walk.”
“F. You are going to be just fine. Please come upstairs and brush your teeth, we need to leave in 10 minutes.”
“MOM. I CAN’T WALK. MY LEGS REALLY HURT!”
She took a nasty fall off her bike a couple days ago and has big scrapes on both knees. I saw it happen and she did land hard on her knees, poor babe. But she’d been walking fine since then… although I did remember her limping when she came in our room first thing this morning. Hmmm.
Long story short: we ended up driving to school. I struggled with what to do, but felt like I would be a jerk if I forced her to walk all the way there and knew it would be a battle, even if she was exaggerating. So I walked the dog quickly and then drove her to school, and she seemed to walk from our house to the car and from our car to the schoolyard just fine. Hmmm.
So here’s my question: how do you know when your child is telling the truth about how they are feeling? Maybe she just didn’t want to walk to school today? My gut told me that her legs could legitimately be aching (when I said she went down hard off her bike, I meant hard enough to have me hoping for a split second that she hadn’t broken a knee or something), but then when she walked just fine off to her classroom, I wondered. Had I been duped?
I decided that I didn’t care, either way. She’s a pretty honest kid and even if she was just fishing for an excuse this morning, I think I am ok with the fact that I went with it. What would you have done?