Tuesday, 27 January 2009


I have locked the doors and painted 'unclean' on the front path, for we are pariahs for the next week or so. T has chicken pox.

I was suspicious when, on Sunday, he was very upset and none of the usual panaceas worked - we tried food, drink, milk (the first daytime feed in a long time, of course I was wearing a dress, meaning I had to basically undress to offer it to him, he wasn't interested), toys, music, rocking, singing, fresh air and cuddling. Even Grandma couldn't get him to stop crying. Yesterday the first spots appeared, angry red blisters in the chubby cracks at the top of his legs, and today the doctor (magnifying glass in hand) has confirmed it's CP. Apparently the spots also appear on all of their internal 'skin' surfaces (on the liver and the lungs for example) which is why he's so upset. I'm trying not to think about that too much, as I'm a little squeamish. I have doled out Calpol and baby biscuits, bought Calamine lotion, and sent him for a nap. Fingers crossed a less grumpy baby wakes up this afternoon.

With two working parents (albeit one of them part-time), a poorly child opens a whole can, nay a bucket, of worms. My husband and I negotiated the early part of this week politely. I would sacrifice today, and he tomorrow. Thursday is a different kettle of fish. I have the second half of a radio workshop for a group of vulnerable adults I'm very keen not to let down, he has important meetings to tie in with something top secret which he couldn't possibly tell me in case I told someone else (no, he's not a spy, in fact he has a similar job to me, just with added intrigue obviously). We both pronounced ourselves utterly unable to take a day off work and sat with our backs to each other, arms folded and lips closed. Well, we might as well have done. Step in Super Grandma! My inlaws, much maligned in these very pages (sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry) have volunteered to do the 500 mile round trip from Essex to look after T for a couple of days and help us out of a bind. It sounds ridiculous doesn't it, and I'm baulking at the environmental impact of my insistence that Thursday's workshop is essential. Of course if T was seriously ill, we would drop everything without a backwards glance*, it's this not-well-enough-for-nursery-but-not-deathly hinterland which causes me to lament my lack of local support network.

Best run ... he's waking.

*Well, perhaps not my husband. This is the chap who was using his BlackBerry whilst I was in labour. I finished one contraction to the breaking news that Jose Mourinho had left Chelsea. Luckily I'd had sufficient gas and air that I was unable to deck him one for being so inattentive!

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