It’s Christmas therefore I must by rights succumb to the winter lurgy. I was doing fine till Monday. Daughter two was sick last week and spent her sister’s 15th birthday meal slumped against me in Pizza Express. Daughter three has also not been well and daughter one was sniffling a bit. My partner announced this morning that he is not feeling at his best. That leaves only son. The bounciest member of the family, who is in tip top condition and wants to play. I have tried to enrol him in nursing activities, which he carries out with some gusto. He has just fetched a toy hoover and clamped it to daughter three’s stomach saying he is doing an x-ray.
On Monday even my hair hurt, but I had agreed to drop daughter two at her friend’s house for a sleepover so I had to haul myself up. Her friend lives on the other side of Essex, approximately one hour and 10 minutes away. We left slightly late as is customary and at that point I was alternating between feeling extremely cold and extremely hot. The paracetamol kicked in soon after, but it did not totally cover all symptoms. Only son was singing One Direction at the top of his lungs in the back of the car. He wanted the same song again and again. Daughter two was trying to read my directions. My writing, being a journalist, is not very neat. “It says something in Spanish,” she said. I glanced over. I had written ‘exit at junction 27’. Miraculously we made it to the sleepover address without getting lost and heading for Ipswich. We couldn’t stay long as daughter one was waiting to be taken to band practice. By this time only son and daughter three were hungry. We found a McDonald’s drive through and headed home to the sounds of One Direction. About halfway through the journey, somewhere on the A12, daughter three and only son needed the toilet urgently.
I dragged myself through the rest of the day until the cavalry arrived in the form of daughter one and my partner. Then came bedtime. Daughter three had a migraine and wanted to be cuddled up. Only son complained that he too needed cuddles if he was going to go to bed. “Who is going to cuddle me up?” he asked over the top of daughter three, looking somewhat perturbed. I hauled myself out of daughter three’s bed and cuddled him up. About half an hour after I got downstairs daughter three came down, looking slightly out of it. “I’ve got another migraine,” she said. My partner was beginning to succumb by this point and went to bed.
By morning time, only son was assuming full nursing duties. “You’ve got chicken pops,” he diagnosed and brought me a bottle of water and a phonics book. In the old pre-children days, being sick at least meant you could collapse in front of daytime tv. Now it’s Dinosaur Train, which is not really the same thing, although it has a certain hallucinatory quality. My partner felt a bit ill, but decided that the office might be a better place to recover. Daughter one is still in bed. Daughter three is making her third round of Christmas presents for all the family and has disappeared with a wine glass and a tin of blue spray paint. Only son is connecting all the furniture in the living room with something he calls medical rescue tape, but which I can see with the one eye I can open is Christmas sellotape. Hopefully I’ll be on the mend by tomorrow.