"My tummy hurts."
If your "parenting style" is anything like mine, this is a line that makes you want to tear your hair out.
It tells you nothing useful, like a fever does. "Fever! Bingo! You're sick, get the Motrin, you'll be fine in no time!"
It sounds so miserable, and you know there's next to nothing you can do about it. Sure, you can ply the kid with ginger ale and chicken broth, but you wonder how long before the child figures out you're just playing guessing games here.
It even rouses your suspicions. A 'tummy ache?' Is this about your child's actual physical health, or are we talking 'I don't want to go to school'? And how big a heel does it make you out to be if you decide the kid is faking and you turn out to be wrong?
A few weeks ago we saw the doctor about a tummy ache. After hinting that it was probably all my fault ("this could be a behavioral issue, the child responding to parental anxiety"), the doc concluded, "Kids get tummy aches. Like adults get headaches. It's just one of those things." Which was very helpful.
DIH does not like "tummy aches." She probably enjoys them even less than the little girl who is currently languishing on the sofa behind me. We are going to see the pediatrician this afternoon, and hope this time we get some answers.