There are two unrivaled purveyors of medical hysteria in the world that I know of. WebMD and our 10-year old son, Michael.
Whereas you or I would need to spend a solid 30-40 seconds browsing WebMD before discovering that we had contracted a rare illness previously only known to affect tree sloths in the jungles of Borneo, Michael only needs his imagination. Oh, and for his heart to stop beating.
My wife and I did such a great job of getting the kids into bed early for some long overdue personal time tonight. But, as any parent can attest, the pheromones released by an anticipatory couple will immediately trigger insomnia in at least one child.
Just as I was about to channel my inner Mr. Peepers and lay down some mad lovin’, I heard the unmistakable pitter-patter of an invasive child.
I was hoping it was Kamryn because she’s easy to coax back into bed. “If you don’t go to sleep I’m going to have to throw away all the ice cream in the whole wide world.” With that, she’s asleep ’til Tuesday.
But as soon as I heard the impromptu fake sniffles, I knew it was Michael, our resident drama king, queen, jack, and jester all rolled into one. Everything is a Shakespearean production with this child. Drop a pea in his milk for some laughs and he’ll abruptly stand with one hand on his chest and the other raised high above his head, and bellow:
“Why oh why hath thou foresaken my bovinial nectar! For there ’twas my drink. My sourceth of merriment! And yet…and YET o’ father of mine, you hath done spoiled what was to quench these weary bones on this eve of ‘morrow.”
He’ll then kneel with his head down, pause, and slowly rise with an exasperated, “…annnnd scene.”
Or something like that.
I couldn’t wait to hear what horrible ailment he suddenly came down with that required him to sleep in our room, and just as it never has, tonight’s exchange didn’t disappoint.
Michael: “Something scary is happening to my body.”
Me: “Oh yeah? What’s that?”
Michael: “I keep trying to feel my heartbeat but it’s not there.” (crocodile tears are also in full effect by this point)
Me: “Your heart stopped beating?”
Michael: “It keeps stopping! And now I can’t breathe good. My nose is stuffy and my mouth won’t let me breathe as much as I want to.”
Me: “Sooo…we should make arrangements then?”
Michael: “For what? A doctor? I think you should. I think it’s all my hormones.”
Okay, in all fairness, I tried my best to withhold laughter because mocking a recurring condition known as Frequent Death would be cruel, but come on! A statement like this isn’t even fair.
Me: “Ok, so do we tell the doctor that your hormones are trying to kill you?”
Michael: “Dad!” (huff, puff, huff, puff) with hand on heart, “This is serious.”
Me: “You’re fine Michael. If your heart stopped beating you wouldn’t be in here telling us that your heart stopped beating. Go to bed, okay?”
Michael: “Call the doctor in the morning. I might need to see him.”
Me: “Doctors who specialize in killer hormones don’t work on Saturdays. Can we wait until Monday?”
Michael: “Fine. But when you call tell him I blame the hormones.”
Me, turning to Heather: “I swear this is you talking.”
Michael: “Good night. See you in the morning.”
Me: “Well, we’ll see.”