As the other day's sudden onset of Pool-Time Deficiency Syndrome demonstrated, my son's "symptoms" can indicate unmet needs wants. Once in a while they can mean he's bored or doesn't like what we were doing.
Sometimes, several of a child's physical complaints in row are on the safe side of the reality-fantasy divide (which divide toddlers and preschoolers find virtually undetectable). Then, just when you think it's safe to assume the next symptom is more mind than body, the following — an old incident that recent events recalled — happens.
I was with Benjamin at a café, and he started saying his stomach hurt. Given his then-recent history, his mood, and other factors, I was fairly certain he just wanted to go home. With that certainty, I chose to finish my conversation with a friend before leaving. I chose wrong.
There is a high price to be paid for making a wrong judgment on this front. That day I learned that this price can be as high as a father and son, stained (shirt and pants) with vomit (out in public where people are eating) and with no clothes to change into.
The upside of this tale is that most of the consequences fell (literally) on me that day, not on the heart (or the person) of Mrs. OccupationDad. Therefore, there were was no marital peace lost.
And the moral of the story: "The boy who cried 'wolf!' he may be, but if he has a full stomach, take heed!