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You’re an old lady who destroys fun!”

is what Jack shouted at me. I was making him take a bath and get ready for bed. It’s Week Two of me having him during the school week. We’re starting to get on each other’s nerves. Last week, Jack was sick. He had a mysterious tummy ache that lasted for days. No fever, no vomiting, no diarrhea, just non-stop tummy pain that kept both of us awake until 2 .a.m. watching “family” movies on Netflix.

“Mommy, they always make sequels to ‘Talking dog’ movies,” was one of Jack’s more astute observations.

Earlier that day I used my mom’s old trick: “Go to school and if you still feel bad, call me and I’ll come and get you.”


And then I got a message from the school secretary: “Jack has a stomach-ache and would like to be picked up. He said his tummy was hurting him before he came to school.” Yeah, yeah, I get it.

It lasted all day, but then he got better and then it got worse. Finally on Thursday, I took him to the doctor’s (after dragging him with me through snow squalls to a mammogram appointment and an audition for a web series). The doctor sent us downstairs to get an X-ray.

 “They close at 5pm so go right down and get one now,” the doctor tells us.

We get there at 4:40 p.m. and the receptionist at the desk tells us it’s too late, and that we need to come back the next morning. The waiting room is empty.

“But it’s not five. Aren’t you open until five?”

“So sorry.”

“There’s no way you can do it now? He’s in a lot of pain.”

“No, sorry.”

“Can you just ask and make sure?”

She can tell I’m not going anywhere. I can smell BS a mile away. She goes to one of the rooms and comes back. “Sorry, they can’t do it. They have people in there already.” I don’t move; it’s a stand-off. My sense of entitlement and U.S. upbringing comes in handy at times like these. Finally she says, “There is another place at Bloor and Sherbourne. They’re open until six.”

We find free parking because it’s just after 5 p.m. when we get there. The man who takes Jack’s X-ray is thorough and kind, and he asks us all sorts of questions. It’s Jack’s first X-ray and he looks so delicate in his shark underwear, listening intently as the man tells him to stand very, very still. We see his x-ray and it’s clear that he’s … (drumroll, please) just really, really constipated.

Even though he’s been doing his business, no problem, there’s a blockage. The next morning our doctor calls and tells me to buy stool softener and we’re off to the races. He’s been feeling better. I’m utterly relieved. When he is sick we spend lots of time together, and it’s bonding and crazy-making all at the same time.

Kind of like parenthood in a nutshell.

Precious Chong is a writer and actor living in Toronto. She’s also a professional stilt walker and is the daughter of cult movie hero Tommy Chong. She writes about co-parenting for Bunch.

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