In sickness and in health

It’s only been two days back at school/work and sickness has struck. It’s a kind of comforting thing at the beginning of January with months of cold stretching ahead to go back to bed and pull the covers up and ignore the world. Of course, that would be in an ideal world where you didn’t have to struggle into work at some point in the coming weeks.

With three children, the possibility that you might be off work indefinitely when one gets sick is a real one. This week hippy guitarist daughter is sick. I was anticipating another bout of the norovirus, but this time she has some other mystery virus [it could be a cold]. She had a very high temperature and had to be put in a cold bath, which felt like we were torturing her, but the Calpol wasn’t doing its usual miracle work. This means that a) the other kids could get the mystery virus/cold later this week b) I could get the mystery virus/cold later this week c) the norovirus could arrive at the end of the week meaning the children and I get it by early next week. With the advice currently being shouted from the rooftops to stay off school/work for two days after symptoms stop, we could be looking at a fortnight off work. Most employers are alright about the odd day off sick, but two weeks?

In past encounters with the norovirus, I have struggled into work – sometimes after enduring the last “symptom” only two or three hours previously – for this very reason and in the what now seems mistaken belief that I was no longer infectious. I won’t be able to get away with this this time due to the massive publicity. I have delighted this time in boring all my colleagues with graphic descriptions of having all three children in the bed vomiting in synchronicity with me. They looked appalled and my boss handed me a memory stick in advance and told me to stay well away if I so much as burp. The only solution to the norovirus situation is to develop some sort of technology for reproducing a healthy version of myself or to work from home. I have to say that I am totally fascinated by the norovirus. I have never projectile vomited before and it is quite spectacular. I am in awe.

In the same way, I am fascinated and, according to my partner, obsessed by the nits. No venceran. This morning due to there only being the one of me, I had to bundle sick daughter in pjs and coat into the car and drop the other two at school/nursery. For the rest of the week, I have had to call in multiple favours. I spend my life calling in favours. Favours from bosses, favours from friends [which must be repaid], but most of all favours from my poor mum. She should be spending her retirement travelling the world and is definitely from the new generation of grandparents who have a life of their own. I feel extremely guilty calling on her and I hate being beholden to anyone [she taught me to be independent after all], but what is the alternative?

I also had to speak to sick daughter’s teacher about bullying. She only let slip this weekend that a boy in her class had been picking on her, pushing her down, etc, and that she hated him and it had put her off doing football club. I immediately acted like a responsible parent and asked for his full description. That boy is a marked man. Anyway, it is a hard thing to negotiate – she didn’t want any fuss made in case it made things worse. I have reassured her that if it gets worse that she should tell me and I will make sure it gets worse for Marked Boy, much worse. As you can tell, I am trying not to overreact but the lioness instinct runs deep. Also, spent a lot of the weekend trying to teach her – before the virus hit [perhaps this tipped her over the edge] – long division and adding decimals. Are parents supposed to do this stuff? Also spent time doing reading with bonkers daughter who just memorises everything and doesn’t even look at the page or either runs off laughing or does a somersault to show her bottom off. She and the toddler one have developed a very close relationship forged in madness. They have a blast though. Yesterday they were using lollipop wrappers to squirt water at each other in the bath. I am not sure that it is altogether wise for the bonkers one to have so much influence over toddler daughter. I can see signs of bonkerdom developing in her too between the foot stamping tantrums about not being allowed to cook the food, toast the toast, drive the car etc all on her own. Maybe I do need some time in bed before the end of the week…

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