Wednesday, October 14

That Suggestion Sure is Mean

Suggestion holds an iron grip over the minds of preschoolers. At no time is it more evident than while watching dance class.

Each week the room full of parents sit with clenched fists and furrowed brows silently willing their kid to not be The One--The One who starts the Potty Train. It never fails, if one kid utters the syllables, "I need to go potty," the rest of the class will be soon to follow. All it takes is for that one short person to break the seal, so to speak, and the power of suggestion will take care of the rest of them. Nobody wants their kid to be The One.

Last week the Potty Train rolled through the class, just like always, but there was a new twist in the events. As the caboose rolled back to class, she turned to her mom and said, "My belly hurts." Every parent in the room suddenly snapped to attention, quickly surveying the premises to be sure that their own kid hadn't heard the evil words.

It appeared we were safe; only the adults had heard the proclamation.

The mom sent the little girl into class with an eyeroll and a shrug, turning to explain that the kid would chop off a finger if she thought it would get her some attention. (I won't even delve into how epically awful that statement is, or the fact that it's probably true.) We all sat staring through the window, willing the girl with the maybe bellyache to keep her mouth shut.

Then we saw it. Time stood still as a room full of parents suddenly were granted the power to read lips, "I don't feel good," the girl said in a super slow motion voice. The teacher suggested she sit in the back of the room and watch the rest of the class.

We all knew what was to come next. One after another, high-pitched voices joined in the Bellyache Chorus. Normally it would be the kind of tune that we would all ignore. We would just shove our fingers in our years and shout, "LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU LA LA LA," knowing full well that it would get real boring to complain about fake illnesses if there was no audience.

But this year is different.

Nobody would admit it out loud, but how could we NOT all start wondering if maybe, just maybe, this time it wasn't a fake? What if they really were sick? What if they were complaining of early flu symptoms? WHAT IF IT WAS THE SWINE FLU?

You'll never catch me wandering around wearing a medical mask unless I'm actually standing inside an operating room or something similar. I mock people who stress out over every little germ. I don't *do* sick. And yet, even I started to question if we should take the proclamations of stomach discomfort seriously. Even then, I kind of wanted to punch myself in the face for even pondering whether or not the complaints were valid.

And then I felt it--the possibility of nausea. Just hearing everybody talk about bellyaches and the flu and pigs was enough. If I would have thought about it for five minutes longer than I did, I absolutely could have convinced myself that I was sick, even though I wasn't.

Apparently Suggestion holds an iron grip over grown-ups, too.

19 comments:

  1. It's interesting, the whole Mexican flu thing. The rest of the world calls it Mexican flu, by the by. Like, the elderly and parents of small children really get wigged out by it, but it's the young adults and middle agers who are the ones dying from it.
    I still chalk it up to the civilized world being over sterilized and medicated.

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  2. I don't even want to think about it. The power of suggestion is too strong.

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  3. I had not gotten worried about this flu thing until yesterday at the pharmacy. They were out of flu shots and people were acting crazy! I started thinking that maybe I was not taking all this seriously! Now I am paranoid! What to do, what to do?

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  4. Suggestion is a STUPID thing, in my opinion. And I hate that it's sucking me and the rest of the sane world right in. One really does have to question every non-malady. Micah has missed at least one day of school every week because of diarrhea. New rules and potty training are now my enemy.

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  5. @Karen--I agree 110%. It's SO out of control. But yet, what if? I kinda hate myself that I've for letting other peoples paranoia get to me. OYE!

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  6. I'm like you - I'm usually laid back and mick the worriers. But it's hard not to worry when 50% of the boy's school has been out sick. Regardless of what the illness is, it's bad and it's highly contagious.

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  7. what if, indeed! i won't go to haunted houses because what if an ax murderer got a job there so that folks wouldn't know he was doing anything wrong and thought it all a big part of the theatrics of the haunted house as he hacked paying customers up.

    i have issues.

    but back to your topic. folks should teach their children not to lie, even about potty and illness. if they lie, punish them.
    (can you tell i don't have kids. that was all kinds of easy. us childless folks can do that. heehee)

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  8. It's been interesting for me this year. I guess I am paranoid more than usual. I don't want to get the H1N1 Vaccine, and yet I watched a story this morning about a pregnant woman going into a 2 month coma because of getting the flu. Freaks the crap out of me. Normally I am like you. I don't *do* sick. I stand by that statement, but I am squirmy about it all the same.

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  9. Ah the Finger Chopper Off'r...we've all seen it. It never gets pretty.

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  10. It is funny--paranoia is really getting crazy!

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  11. Ugh, now I think I feel sick.

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  12. Yeah, suggestion does crazy things. I getting my ticker checked out with a heart monitor and I swear I'm taking my pulse like every 2 seconds wondering if I should hit my panic button. I'm fine, but I think my mind is playing tricks. If anyone gets sick in our house, my husband's response is, "yeah, I think I am feeling a little sick too." He's worse than the kids.

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  13. I think you should have titled this post "Do Not Read This Post If You Are Sitting At Your Desk Eating Lunch." Because now I'm starting to feel a little throw-uppy.

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  14. The power of suggestion can be evil. Yet, it is great contributor to raising kids, so I can't say I'd rather be without it on a global scale. It's just a shame that it can have such negative consequences.

    I, too, don't *do* sick, but like many others, I'm very cautious right now, and pay more attention to illness-related details than may be warranted...but, perhaps it is warranted.

    I like Alexis' expression and lock of hair in front of her one eye in that picture. Is that your billiard table? Is she learning to play?

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  15. @Scrumpy Daddy--Mr. Husband managed to acquire a pool table for his Man Cave. If you do the cookie swap, you'll have to check it out. ;-)

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  16. i was scared you were going to say that the little girl puked all over the place after mom accused her of being a sissy lala attention wanter. THAT would have definitely made time stand still hahahaha

    xoxo

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  17. Boy did you hit the nail on the head! I actually found myself considering not doing some of our usual winter activities for fear of exposing the kids to something more than what they usually pick up. Stupid new for running the swine flu update at the top of every broadcast.

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  18. Your going to be OK. IT's going to be OK. Oh crap. I feel so SICK right now. I have Swine Flu!

    Wait...I did eat some candy...too much candy. That's probably it.

    Ugh. Good...shew!

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  19. I thought for sure you were going to say the kid hurled on the dance class floor and started the puking chain. I remember an time something similar happened in grade school, in the cafeteria, we refer to it as "Sympathetic Puking"

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