The Kid that Cries Wolf

We have all heard the story of the little boy that cries wolf. He falsely cries wolf so many times that when the wolf does come, no one listens to him.

Honestly, I don’t recall reading this story to my children. Perhaps we read it at preschool, or the library. I do know we spoke of the wrongs of lying, and stealing, and good character virtues. There was a poster with a tree on it and a list of 50+virtues from the virtue project, character education.

Preschools and kindergarten classes are full of these inspirational posters. I honestly believe some of these posters should be put up in the downtown core of major cities as a reminder to all. The real lessons you need in life are taught in kindergarten. Be kind. I have heard the littles ones tell people that miss the garbage can, to pick it up and try again. Just as their teacher in class would say. And strangers usually do. Those are the good moments, the ones we smile at and feel the warm and fuzzies inside that our little
one has it all figured out.

If only that were true. Heck, we’re grown ups and let’s be honest we don’t. But at least most of us understand that pretending to be ill is not the way to go. But, what about if you don’t even realize you’re doing it? Is that kid to be treated the same as the kid that just wants attention? And why do they want that extra attention? Are they neglected at home? Or is it purely an innocent young ego developing. These are the things we need to look into.

Our daughter has been going to a pediatric eye doctor since she was 18 months old. The family doctor decided to send her early as her facial development of one eye seemed to make her squint. She would blink rapidly sometimes too. Better make sure there is no ocular issue. The great thing about pediatric doctors is they have tricks up their sleeves to find the real symptoms without the child needing to talk and tell the truth.

Obviously, she couldn’t speak back then. The doctor had puppets and lights and all sorts of toys designed to have the child look in one direction so he could look at their eye, while they were distracted. It was determined she did not need glasses, that she has perfect vision. We were to go once or twice a year as needed for check ups.

As my daughter progressed through elementary school. She started a habit of telling the teacher her hands hurt, she couldn’t colour in her picture today. Or she felt dizzy and sick to her tummy. After a few phone calls, and school pick ups we would return home and she would be fine. I realized she was repeating all the physical complaints I had said as I went about my day. The difference, of course, is that was a fully grown woman diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Fibromyalgia. I was also working part time, running a house with 2 girls, a husband, and 2 girl guide units. So, I complained a bit. Who doesn’t when they are tired and sore.

But Hello! Wake up call. I now had the evidence in front of me. My words were being used by another, Not good. So I have taught myself to keep as much as I can to myself. Now I do realize that in itself is a whole other issue for another time. A good parent puts their children first. So I need to put my daughter on the right path. Positive comments, positive movements.

That is easier said than done. When the elementary school secretary retired I bought her wine. We knew each other’s voice without having to mention names. We talked almost everyday. If we didn’t it was either a weekend or the girls were on a roll! Time to celebrate! And we did. That is when we went to McDonalds or Little Caesars pizza. I tried to follow all the advice from all the lectures I went to. Some really great information out there.

One day my dear daughter comes home and complains more than usual about her eyes. She is doing her squint and blinking thing with much more intensity, so I sped up our yearly appointment with the doctor. We finally got in to see him about two and half weeks after I called. The whole time she has been complaining she can’t see the TV right, her books are blurry, her head hurts, etc.. We are in the appointment. The doctor is doing his thing with round glass instruments popping them over her eyes and talking to her. He casually asks how school is, ’Fine’ she says, the normal response. Then he asks if any other kids have gotten new glasses recently. She beams up at him, Why ,’YES!’ How did you know?’ This is when he winks at me.

In the end she got herself a prescription years later in one eye only. It was a very weak prescription and she only wore the glasses a short time. Until the novelty wore off. I bet she has no idea where they are now. Not even for a new i-Phone. Unfortunately I can’t end this with an all is well. The world has changed so much for this child of mine. She continued with school, and complaints and found the nurses room. It became her safe place at school. Most kids don’t even know there is one. But she did. One bump on the
playground and it became a safe room. Once the hormones hit, things started to change in grade 5. It only takes one comment from one friend that isn’t thinking about the big picture. (Of course they’re not, in elementary school) she was sitting next to her BFF, shorts on, legs hanging over the cement wall. BFF says ”…oh, look, one of your legs is the same size as two of mine.” And that is where her body issues began. The problem was she was the kid that cried wolf. So, it took us way too long to get her the help she needed.

She has since been diagnosed with anxiety disorder, ADHD, and depression. She is 13.

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