A Mother’s Nightmare

It was pre-school registration day. Dressed in an exercise outfit, a gym bag in one hand and a bouncing red-headed 4-year-old girl on the other, a trim, frazzled mother burst through the office door.  “Oh, I am sorry I’m late—my exercise class ran long—you must be the nurse. I am Mrs. Anderson and this is Kristin. I guess I have to fill out her health forms for pre-school.”

No problem. Have a seat and I’ll get them for you. Kristin, maybe you would like to sit on the couch. I have a book you might like.”  I retrieved the forms. Mrs. Anderson grabbed them from my hand, stood at the counter, threw her gym bag down, took a pen from me, and started to write. “I hope I can do this quickly, nurse.  I have a hair appointment at 11:00.” I assured her there wasn’t much information needed.

  I sat on the couch with Kristin and handed her a book. She put the book down and proceeded to remove her white sandal. “Nurse, I need to show you my ouchie.”  She placed her bare foot on my lap and pointed to a small blister where a strap had rubbed. I looked at it and asked, “Maybe I should fix that up for you, do you think? Would that be all right with you, Mrs. Anderson?”  Distracted briefly from the forms Mom looked up and nodded.  I cleansed the blistered area and applied a colorful band-aid.

 Kristin said, “Thank you, nurse. You are so nice—even if you are fat.”

  Immediately, Mom—who looked panic-stricken—lifted her head and shouted, “Kristin!”
Hurriedly I said,“Oh, Mrs. Anderson. That’s OK. Kristin just made an observation.”

Mom looked back at the forms and I returned my attention to Kristin who looked up at me with a serious and curious expression. I knew she wasn’t ready to leave the topic.

 “Nurse . . . just WHY are you fat?” 

Mrs. Anderson put down the pen, picked up her gym bag, stuffed the forms in a pocket, and looked even more flustered.  She waited as I answered, “Well Kristin, when we eat more than our body uses up, we hang onto that food as fat (I patted my tummy). This is what happened to me. I have eaten more food than my body uses.
Kristin nodded, “Yes! I guess you did, nurse!”

By that time, Mrs. Anderson, with Kristin in tow, ran for the door as she called back, “I’ll bring these forms with her on the first day, nurse.”

“See you then,” I called as Kristin turned around to smile and wave.

I laughed as I made my way across the hall to share the happening with the school counselor. We rejoiced together in the honesty of little ones—confrontational sometimes, but beautiful.

Published by Susan Flemr

Retired former nurse and former Lutheran pastor. Happily living with her husband of 53 years in Des Moines Iowa. Two married sons and their beautiful families in Nichols, IA and Colorado Springs, CO.

3 thoughts on “A Mother’s Nightmare

  1. Sue,

    I think I might know who that one is. Thanks goodness we were here for “Kristin”. I think I had her in first grade and ran into the same kind of thing with our preschool conference. If it’s the one I think it is, there is a real story about this “mother.”

    I look forward to these every Sunday!



  2. Wow! Kudos to you for your honest reply to an innocent but rude question…I hope the mother would have had a talk with Kristin about politeness…but I have doubts about that..


  3. Sue, you handled that moment very well. Children are innocently honest. I can imagine the mother’s discomfort at hearing her little girl’s question. Do you remember the afternoon TV show which Art Linkletter hosted? I think he called the segment “Kids Say the Darnest Things.” This reminds me of that show. My mother and Grandmother watched it. Grandma laughed about one of the kid’s remark that his teacher leaned over and her ” lungs” fell out!

    Maybe you know that Diane’s husband, Frank, is very sick with Covid-19. He is in the hospital and on a ventilator. The hospital which Diane just came home from had no ICU beds open so they took him to another hospital near St. Augustine. Florida is really paying for all its gatherings. Carolyn wrote last evening to tell us that her Mom got a call from the doctor preparing her for the worst. It is so sad, it didn’t have to be this terrible. The death rate could have been less if Trump had let the experts lead the direction and not confuse many people.

    Lots of love to you two and be very safe, Jo


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