"Mom, I just don't FEEL very GOOD today. I ATE too fast and now my TUMMY HURTS!" He is walking on my heels as I am lapping the hallway, gathering diapers and socks and hoodies in the final push to get everyone in the van for carpool. "I have a TUMMY ACHE! And I don't WANT to go to SCHOOL! TODAY!!
I stop rushing and kneel down to look at him. "Silas, honey," I begin. "Sometimes tummy aches tell us that our hearts are anxious, not that we are sick." He blinks at me and fidgets. "I know you don't want to go to school today. When I was your age I used to get tummy aches when I had to do something I didn't want to do too. But ..."
"Hey Silas, come to the kitchen!" Brian calls from across the house. Silas, relieved to have an out, runs to his dad.
"When I have a stomach ache, I drink a Coke. Do you want some Coke, son?"
Now this is more of what Silas had in mind.
"Okay. Take your glass of coke and go to the van. And cheer up. You only have two more weeks of school anyway."
Satisfied, Silas takes his cup of Coke and runs out to the van.
My friend Nikki said it best. There's a time for connecting to a child's heart, and there's a time for high fructose corn syrup.