Bud stayed home from school today and after a couple of days of taking it easy, he seems to be back in good health. This evening he had two things on his mind: 1) Was there any possibility that he could parlay this into another day off?, and 2) How had poor Mrs. Nee fared without him today?
I cleared up the first concern quickly: He was better. He was going to school tomorrow. The end.
I had to be a bit more delicate with the second.
"Mrs. Nee misses me?" he asked.
"Yes, I'm sure she did miss you, Bud," I answered.
"She said, 'Oh, where is Bud?'"
"Did she cried? She said (sob, sob, sob) I miss Bud."
"Well, no, honey, she didn't cry."
"She missed me?"
"Well, I'm sure she missed you, honey. But she didn't cry. She knows you're coming back, just like when she's not at school, you know that she'll be coming back. She knows you're coming back, so she's not sad."
While he processed that, I changed the subject and let him know I'd made an appointment for him with the eye doctor, because his pediatrician thinks he might need glasses.
Bud perked right up and said, "And Mrs. Nee will say 'Hey-ey-ey-ey... you look GREAT in those glasses!"
The boy may have a lot of challenges, but self-esteem is certainly not one of them.