Miss Fab (a.k.a.Princess) is lying on the couch in her pyjamas. It's 10.30am on a Tuesday morning. School has started but Miss Fab is not there - because she is poorly.
Scrag is conked out in his cot. It is only 10.30am in the morning but he is not rambling around kicking balls and riding trikes. He is nighnighs, because he is also poorly.
Whether you're puking your guts out, running a fever, have a ringing headache or just "under the weather" - you're poorly.
Thankfully we don't have any puking, just fevers and ringing headaches. Little children off their food, and preferring to lie around and sleep than play. Definitely genuinely Poorly.
Of course Dash didn't want to be left out. Oh No. When he realised that his sister was going to be staying home today, he began coughing and sniffing, limping and complaining.
Was I convinced by his theatrics?? Nuh-uh. No way.
Hypochondriacs?? I can smell them a mile off.
Because... ahem, I know all the tricks. Because... ahem, I used to be one.
(Used to be??? I hear Mr G snorting in my ear.)
OK, well there was the time I was about 11 years old. I really really wanted a day off school but by this time my mum was wise to my theatrics, and sent me off to school despite my best efforts. I was riding my rickety old bike down the road when my devious mind conceived a brilliant plan. I would race back home, throw my bike down on the driveway, race into the house heading straight for the loo and proceed to fake-puke. This would surely convince mum I was sick...
Bingo! The plan worked to perfection. Mum knocked on the toilet door as I was flushing it, and said all concerned - "Oh dear you'd better get back into bed."
Within 10 minutes of snuggling back under my blankets, my tummy started gurgling, and actual nausea set in. Suddenly I found myself dashing to the loo and puking my guts out for real.
I don't know what caused it. God's idea of a practical joke? "You got what you asked for..." or just a coincidence??
Whatever, it freaked me out enough that I never tried that trick again.
I didn't give up the theatrics completely though.
School in my early teens was rough for me. Any excuse would see me trying for a day off. A general feeling of blah-ness would be amped up and turned into complete weakness and inability to walk as I dramatically collapsed on the floor to show mum I really couldn't go to school.
Mum was not impressed but she sometimes gave in with great annoyance, slamming my bedroom door shut after she vehemently laid down the ground-rules: "I'd better not see you out of bed today... Don't think you're going to get up and watch TV... If you're sick, then you stay in bed all day and stay out of my way!"
No sympathy there. She was a hard woman in that respect. Now I sympathise with mum. This was her only kid-free time. She didn't want some pesky hormonal teenager lurking around making demands. I get that.
But I think part of my hypochondria was because I wanted to be fussed over and nursed. (As well as the fact that I was being picked on at school and had no friends - What can I say I was a lonely nerd-bookworm!)
So I try to be kind and sympathetic and soft on the kids... when they are actually sick. I try to be the kind of Mummy-nurse that I wanted when I was a kid.
Maybe that's why Dash is a bit of a Drama Queen, faking being poorly. Maybe my softy softy ways make staying home a bit too attractive?
Whatever, my career as a hypochondriac has equipped me with a nose for genuine illness and a built-in alarm for fakers.
All it took was a promise of a Lunch Order and off Dash went to school, happy as a Clam.
After all, I did feel sorry for him just a teensy bit. See? I'm a softy.