Illness

Just keep it in Beatrice!

One of the disadvantages of working from home is the fact there’s no escape from family drama. If I worked 9-5 in an office, I wouldn’t have spent half an hour this morning scrubbing vomit off the hall carpet. I suppose though, I’d scrub vomit from the carpet for half an hour every day to avoid working 9-5 in an office.

This was Beatrice’s vomit by the way – that’s daughter number two. Flora (daughter one) woke her up ludicrously early this morning – 5.45am – and they were running around downstairs like a pair of howling banshees for about an hour before I could be bothered to go down, make a cup of tea and express my severe displeasure at their pre-dawn chorus.

I brewed the Tetley, poured a cup of milk for each of the monsters then retreated to my bed to try and relax for another 10 minutes before starting the day properly.

After two and a half minutes, Beatrice came upstairs dragging her duvet and promptly puked all over it. It was a very milky puke though and we dismissed it as caused by over-exuberance and early rising.

She then went downstairs again and found herself a small box of raisins. They appeared again on our bedroom floor reasonably quickly. Then, against my advice and all rational thought, Jessie gave her breakfast – a large, oaty and fruity breakfast. I had the pleasure of cleaning up this breakfast’s second coming while Jessie took Flora to nursery.

The problem is, we’re supposed to be going out tonight so we’re in denial about the whole thing. We’re just trying to brazen it out, blaming it on anything but a nasty bug.

“It’s because she’s exhausted having been up so early,” I said.

“Yes, that’s surely it. Just one of those toddler things. Remember Flora used to get them…”

Now we’re debating how long we can leave it before calling off the babysitter.

“I think she’ll be fine after a nap,” said Jessie

“Oh yes, she’ll be right as rain.”

Small children are ill pretty much all the time and it’s hardly surprising. They catch all sorts from the little tykes they run about with at toddler groups and nurseries: rubbing snotty noses with a hand before picking up the “Pritt Stick;” rolling about on the floor coughing on each other: dribbling on a cheesy Wotsit before passing it on. Let’s face it they’re just not au fait with the concept of personal hygiene.

The worst are those soft play centres. Can you imagine the cocktail of gruesome bacteria lurking in one of those ball pits? Just dip in a big toe and you’re guaranteed to be bed-ridden for two weeks.

It’s a real bind because, if the kids are ill 85% of the time, it invariably means that you’re ill for 85% of the time. I went to the doctor a little while ago because I thought my immune system was failing – I’d basically had a cold for six months. Her first question was, “do you have small children?”

She said that, as a young adult you pretty much steer clear of illness, you’re just not exposed to it that much. Then, when you have kids, they bring the germs back into your life and your body has a bit of a paddy trying to deal with them all. That seems about right. I can count on the fingers of one hand how many times I caught something nasty through my early and mid 20s. Over the last few years I’d need an abacus to work it out.

I’m still refusing to accept this one though. Beatrice will be fine in a couple of hours, I will not be ill. I will be able to go out tonight and drink copious amounts of lager, I will be playing the winter Stableford at my golf club tomorrow and I will not be scrubbing any more vomit from the carpet. Who am I kidding?

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