I feel like Master C has been dodging chicken pox since before he was born. His sister had them whilst I was pregnant with him and I remember all the mad googling about what the risks of chicken pox were to an unborn baby. It was all fine though as I’d had them myself as a child (still have the scar to remind me) and there was no risk to him at all. But when you’re pregnant you do just worry anyway.
That was nearly four years ago and ever since then he’s managed to be exposed to the pox loads of time and never caught them. Playdates with friends who came down with it the next day. It going round his nursery twice and his pre-school twice and still not a spot on him. Until last week. Until two hours before six of his sister’s friends were due to come round to our house for her sixth birthday party. Yep, that’s when he decided that it was time for him to have a slice of the poxy action. Brilliant.
As any parent knows, hosting a birthday party is scary stuff. Hosting a birthday party in your own home is pretty stressful. Spending the two hours before your child’s birthday party frantically trying to reach all the other mums to ask them if their kids had had chicken pox or not, and if not if they minded being exposed to it takes the stress up to a new level. Especially when you’re trying to make sandwiches, fill party bags and organise craft activities at the same time and you have a little boy asking if he’s going to have to miss the party he’s been looking forward to for months.
The good news is that the party went without a hitch. All the kids came – with one mum actually quite excited of the prospect that her kid would finally pick up the pox so that she could get a week off work finally to look after her son. Having my sister and her husband to stay that weekend was super helpful. Whilst it was lovely to catch up with them both, just having extra pairs of hands to help with everything saved my sanity those two days.
Of course, as we don’t do things by halves in this family the following day had me running a 5k race, Mr C running a half marathon and LMC and myself then doing a 1.5 mile fun run! Again H & R were able to look after Master C and keep the grumps at bay. Most of the time anyway.
By Monday morning the spots were coming thick and fast and I had one very grumpy little boy on my hands. The news that he couldn’t go to pre-school was met with anger and dismay – it seems the prospect of a week at home with him mum simply wasn’t exciting enough. By lunchtime he was high on a diet of Octonauts and Chuggington and determined to eat all his sister’s birthday chocolate for lunch – not something I was prepared to allow, even in the worn down state I was in. A stand off ensued which resulted in him storming off to his bed having shouted that he hated me. I hadn’t realised that chicken pox could turn three years olds into teenagers!
It was a long old week. One in which I watched more Octonauts than is healthy for any woman. I also learnt that the realisation that spending only a pound in a charity shop can bring you the luxury of new episodes of Bob the Builder can be a wonderful feeling when you’re low.
In typical male fashion it seems that Master C doesn’t do being ill very well. Or should I say he does it far too well. The sight of him laid on the sofa wailing “I’ve got chicken pox. Someone help me!” was both amusing and slightly heartbreaking. Much to my annoyance he refused all offers of playdates with children who’d already had the pox and the delightful summer weather meant that even playing in the garden wasn’t an option some days. Whilst it was lovely spending so much one on one time with him it was tough too. He loves being all independent and seeing his friends every day at pre-school, and if I’m honest my patience was pretty thin by the end of the week. All the extra cuddles on the sofa were lovely though and I will miss his cute little face appearing along with the gorgeous line of “can you cuddle me better please mummy”. I mean, how can that not melt your heart every time?
Sanity for the week came in the form of good friends who offered school drop offs, chats on the phone and lots of messages of support when I was losing my mind at home – thank you all of you. It really made me realise just how much I value that little bit of time I get each morning to be on my own with peace and quiet, as well as occasional gossips over coffee somewhere. Being able to meet up with friends in London on Tuesday night was an absolute dream. Not only was I getting out of the house to somewhere other than school, a train journey’s separation between me and the pox did wonders mentally. A lovely evening out forgetting everything going on at home was exactly what was needed and I returned home feeling so much happier. A feeling that then managed to carry me through the rest of the week. A WI evening with The Tantrum Club was also perfectly timed.
There’s nothing quite like taking all your stress out on a car tyre with a baseball bat. Although apparently you’re not supposed to do it so hard that you break the baseball bat. Whoops!
By Friday we were waiting for one final spot to scab over and so braved a trip out. Just getting out of the house was such a feeling of relief for both of us. Fresh air and a good cup of tea in the cafe also worked wonders for both our moods – even if he decided I wasn’t allowed a piece of cake since it was nearly lunchtime. Maybe he does listen to me after all?
A week on and the relief of sitting outside pre-school waiting for the door to open was so great this morning. It may have been tipping it down with rain and I was soaked to the skin, but Master C was so excited to be back with all his little friends and if I’m honest I was just as excited about the prospect of going home to a silent house and a hot uninterrupted cup of tea! Funny what small things you miss.