Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Spot the difference

The Littleboys have chicken pox. Well, strictly speaking, Littleboy 1 has it, but Littleboy 2 is almost certainly brewing it. (I have no illusions about him not catching it from his brother - particularly since last night in the bath I caught him scrubbing his toothbrush against his brother's spotty back and then putting it in his mouth....)

In truth, it wasn't much of a surprise, as two of the cousins had it at Christmas, but these things never happen at a 'convenient' time. The Doctor has chosen this week to print out the final version of his thesis - a task that seems to involve buying copious amounts of special photographic paper, frantically ordering ink cartridges and laying pieces of freshly inked paper precariously out to dry on the dining room table. Meanwhile I am working on a complicated feature with a looming deadline - whereas in a couple of weeks' time I will in all likelihood have no work at all. So we could both do without a small boy at home, bored, because he's not allowed back to nursery until the spots have crusted over.

Having said that, Littleboy 1 is putting a very brave face on it, considering he's covered in spots, even on his - ahem - dangly bits, which must be pretty excruciating. And he seems to have slotted into the 'off sick' role very well - cheerfully waving his brother off to nursery, demanding to watch Madagascar at 9am, and coming into the study to show me his spots at regular intervals and tell me firmly that he won't be going back to to nursery any time soon.

Of course, as my friend Nota Bene keeps reminding me, people used to have chicken pox parties so that their kids could get it over and done with; but as I tell him, times have changed. These days, working mothers are so paranoid about their children getting sick and having to be off nursery or school that they will do anything to avoid it. (Put it this way - I know plenty of parents who send their kids to nursery in the full knowledge that they are ill, having dosed them up with Calpol and knowing that they will 'last' until lunchtime. Then they don't have to explain to their boss that they are yet again having to take a day off work, and can leave quietly at 3 pm). So, as most of my mummy friends work, having a jolly little chicken pox get-together is about as likely as letting the three year olds sit down to watch Reservoir Dogs.

But truly, the whole thing seems a bit ridiculous. Chicken pox seems to be the last mild childhood disease that is deemed serious enough to be off nursery but not serious enough to be vaccinated against. So perhaps, either we should just accept that all children get chicken pox and let them go to nursery regardless, or there should be a universal vaccination (at the moment, you have to do it privately in the UK). Then, anyone who is really at risk (like pregnant women who haven't had it, or people with low immunity) should in theory, have either had it, or been vaccinated. Instead, everyone goes around behaving as if it's the plague. Chicken pox amnesty, that's what I say.

To change tack slightly, I've just realised that it's a YEAR since I started the blog, so I thought it might be time for a little retrospective. I began by trying to take a satirical little sideswipe at Nappy Valley life with this but the following week managed to lose my pram and then find it again, revealing me for the slightly crap mummy that I really am, and setting the tone for lots of future confessions......

15 comments:

Bush Mummy said...

My full sympathies although on the bright side it doesn't seem to affect them other than the spots does it? We were due to fly the day after Senior got it and were forbidden to board due to risk to cancer patients or people with low immunity - highly dangerous apparently.

Lucky for you it's not sunny. I plonked Mini in a rockpool to get some salt water and sun on her spots - result.. she is scarred for life.. whoops. Bad mummy.

Good luck with the calomine!

BM x

Potty Mummy said...

Thinking of you with an itchy boy. Being married to a doc, you probably know this already, but apparantly piriton is recommended to calm the itching these days...

And congrats on the anniversary!

Jaywalker said...

Ah, the pox. Eldest was two, youngest four months, we were in Paris and I thought it might actually kill me. THEY were fine.

Poor you. Sending sympathy from one plague house to another.

Audrey said...

Ugh. My oldest child had a terrible case and was up all night for three nights with chicken pox. When my younger two were offered immunisations in the States I jumped at it. For some reason, it's a very expensive vaccine which probably accounts for it not being mandatory in the UK yet. Chicken pox itself isn't dangerous but can cause complications that result in fatalities at a rate of 6 per 100,000 infections. Not high but still worth the immunisation I think.

Laura said...

Happy one year anniversary!

My eldest got the pox for her first birthday and was totally unphased by it. I have gone against the grain and would allow my youngest (the 2 year old) to lick any child with the pox to get it over and done with.

... but then I go out to work and husband works from home. Hmmm, wonder what he would think!

Iota said...

I think you have a very good point. I think chicken pox kids are kept at home because of the danger to pregnant women and tiny babies, but it's not terribly logical. Perhaps it's because they do look so really horrible, if they get a bad case of it. We've all become rather squeamish in modern life.

I thought my 2 year old had the pox, took him to the doctor who said, no, it was infected eczema. So a few months later, he had similar symptoms, and I merrily took him along to nursery saying "this isn't chicken pox, this is infected eczema", and guess what, it was the pox after all (well, I suppose all those years of medical school must count for something!) My GP was adamant that I'd done everyone a favour though - much better to get it young, was his theory. Which rather bears out yours, actually.

Happy anniversary!

nappy valley girl said...

BM - the calamine makes it look so much worse! Bad luck re your flight, happened to another friend of mine who had to cancel her whole 2 week holiday last summer. As I say, it's very unsatisfactory - why doesn't everyone just get vaccinated?

PM - we do indeed have Piriton. (or at least the Boots' own brand version..) But his itching seems beter now.

Jaywalker - that's the frustrating thing. They are fine, and full of beans, wanting to go to places like soft play where I couldn't possibly take them (unless I smothered them in make up..)

Audrey - agreed. If that's the risk, then we should vaccinate.

Laura - I guess it depends what work he does. I work from home and it is hellish having a small child running around while you are trying to do phone interviews!

Iota - v amused by your eczena story, but agree that you did them a favour - it's apparently much worse if you catch it later in life.

Nota Bene said...

So I guess 'spotted dick' is off the menu tonight?

A year of blogging...and every one a gem!

Mom/Mum said...

congrats on the year anniversarry. just read those pram posts and had to laugh. Sorry!

Sorry also to hear of the pox infesting your house. we got the boys vaccinated here, and am jolly glad I did. There seems to be enough to contend with in parentland without the dreaded spots.

I have an award for you over at my place...x

Expat mum said...

They offer the vaccine here (not free) and my doc explained that it was more to prevent shingles later on. My friend's mum currently had shingles and she says it's the worst thing she's ever had.

Mud in the City said...

The pox: I had it twice. That isn't supposed to be possible!

And congrats on the anniversery - you have provided me with much amusement since I found your blog!
x

nappy valley girl said...

NB - v funny. Oh dear...

Mom/mum - that's OK, you were meant to laugh at my stupidity....thanks for the award, I'll put it up soon!

Expat Mum - now that's odd, because The Doctor tells me you can get still get shingles if you've already had chicken pox...apparently it's a reactivation of the same virus.

Mud - see above - there seems to be a lot of confusion about chicken pox! Thanks for your kind words about the blog - we aim to amuse.

Home Office Mum said...

You're right - our lives are virtually interchangeable. Two small boys. Chicken pox. Videos. Working from home. Jobs that need doing but are being interrupted with 'I'm hungry', 'Look at my spots' and 'I need more medicine'. My son has had way too many sweets, way too many videos, way too much calpol and way too little attention from me, but if it's not chicken pox this week, it'll be hand foot and mouth the next.

Even our jobs are similar - only you're a journalist and I'm in PR. We've probably crossed paths in real life.

Glad to know I'm not alone in the chicken pox misery though (and we too have spots on the dangly bits which makes applying calamine lotion interesting - although calamine lotion does nothing other than remind me of my childhood.)

nappy valley girl said...

Home Office Mum - how spooky. And I've worked in PR too, so even spookier.

Update on the pox - it's now crusted over, so he went back to nursery yesterday in a state of high excitement. Two hours later I get a phone call saying he's cut his head open and did I want to come and take him to Casualty...

A Confused Take That Fan said...

Ooh, if you had a pox party, I wanna come! My eldest had it at 2 and a half courtesy of nursery, I worked three days a week at the time, she caught it on the wednesday and didn't go back til a week later, I missed the equivalent of nearly two weeks of work...
Now I am a housewife I want baby number 2 to get it sooner rather than later. If there was a vaccine though, she'd have it! Why go through a week to two weeks of whinging?? Poor things...
Also just read your first post, made me laugh, especially the name thing. We went to see Santa in West London with a Rollo, Clarabelle and Portia...