Nobody likes to see their children sick.
Be it a snotty nose, a sprained ankle or a pretty bad dose of chicken pox as my three year old Amelia had recently. All you want to do is take their pain/discomfort away.
Amelia really managed to put this theory to the test recently though.
Advice ranged from: Don’t give them Nurofen as apparently it can cause an adverse skin reaction; PoxClin and baking soda paste are the new calamine lotion.
Or even the intriguing suggestion there’s nothing more relieving for their skin than putting a sock full of porridge oats around the tap of the bath and letting them bathe in the oaty, milky lotion.
What all these helpful pieces of advice didn’t prepare me for (in fairness maybe the other parents hadn’t had this experience) was that although the patient could be considered bearable during the daytime, bedtime was a nightmare.
There were five torturous nights in a row of minimal sleep while she painstakingly pointed to one or two of the hundreds of scabs which were itching and causing her discomfort.
She would then insist I rubbed whatever solution I had handy onto them to alleviate her itch.
I really wanted to say “Are you having a laugh, I just did that cluster?!” but I was terrified her demanding shrieks would wake the other children.
I have never been so relieved to hear the alarm go off at 5.30 a.m.
I happily handed over massaging duties to my husband so I could escape to work.
At midday, I’d return to take over caring duties and to wean her off the TV- she’d watched the entire Disney collection in the first few days of being sick.
I struggled to find things to do with a child that was still covered in unsightly spots and looked upon by parents in a leper-like way when I took her out in public.
You can only do so much colouring and card making. The arts and crafts book got a hefty going over but we always seemed to be missing something absolutely essential from the equipment list, like pipe cleaners or glitter glue.
But then I came up with a genius ‘help Mamma with her jobs’ idea.
Basically it involved her following me round as I tidied and sorted out the house.
We covered and decorated an old shoe box in colored paper for her to use as her loot depository and she gathered bits and pieces I didn’t need anymore while I cleared up.
She loved my old makeup, scarves, accessories and general bric-a brac, all of which she’d rapidly lose interest in. Even still, it bought me a precious two hours of activity time.
I had spent most of the nights during that week cursing the fact that we hadn’t got the chicken pox vaccine. I simply never got round to it.
It didn’t help that two injections were €200 a pop!
But by the end of hanging out with Amelia while she was off school for a week I was sort of glad we never did get her the vaccine.
If I had a penny for every person who when they see me struggling with the children in public says “enjoy every minute of it, they grow up so fast” I’d be a millionaire.
Normally I smile back through gritted teeth and curse them from a height, but every so often though I’m inclined to agree.