Our school nurse decided to stop documenting Olive's visits after one or two trips a day, every day, for the past two weeks.
"What now?" I ask when I see Olive walking down the hall with the giant yellow nurse pass around her neck.
"My head feels hot."
"I need ice for my knee."
"I need a bandaid," she points to a well heeled scab. No blood in sight.
"My stomach hurts"
"My back hurts."
"My lips hurt."
"I have a pokey thing in my tights." And when I offer to help find the pokey thing, she says, "No, I need the nurse to check it."
I've been trying to figure out if attention or avoidance fuels Olive's frequent cries for first aid. Does she want to get out of class or does she want to spend one-on-one time with Nurse Leanne? I dont blame her for either one. There's a whole lot of sitting criss-cross with a bubble in our mouths in kindergarten, especially for an active kid, and Leanne is one of my go-to people to visit, she's kind-eyed and a good listener with a warm smile.
Nurse Leanne also offers kids "magic water" for headaches and chapstick for dry lips, with an endless supply of colorful bandaids and lost tooth necklaces.
My guess is its a little of both--attention and avoidance-- and though I don't mind Olive visiting the nurse, I dont like her faking ailments.
Nick and I have both talked to our daughter about the boy who cried wolf and the fear of staff not believing her when she honestly feels injured or sick.
And yet still, every day, I see my little pixie prancing down the hall with an impish look and "a problem" that Mom can't fix.
The other night as I helped Olive after a bath, she danced around her room naked, lean and strong, and wiggled a pull-up over her hips.
"Olive, its time for you to be done with pull-ups."
She stopped dancing and put her head down. "Ok," she said in a small voice.
"Your body knows how to use the toilet, Olive. Most of the kids in your class are done with nightime pull-ups."
"But I like them." She sat down on her rug, legs crossed, and I knelt before her.
"Sweetie, you dont need them though. Your brother is different; he can't feel when he has to go. You feel it here and here," I said, patting her. "Your brother doesnt feel it. He can't control his body like you can."
"But Mom," she looked me in the face, "I want to be like him."
Oh, my heart.
"Oh Olive, I love you. Know how you can be like your brother? You can be curious like he is and ask lots of questions. You can have a sense of humor-"
"You can laugh a lot, like you know how your brother just laughs when he falls down."
"Yeah, remember when I laughed when I fell down..."
And just like that, we are on to another topic, but my heart still sings with Olive's desire to emulate Elias.
And suddenly I see Olive's trips to the school nurse under an illuminated light.
But I want to be like him.
I want to be like him.