Drained and pained from a fun-filled, action packed two weeks of Easter holidays, I was geared up to the max for the return to school and the general routine yesterday, all except for one key element I hadn’t factored in – chicken pox! I love having extra, routine-free time to spend with my two gorgeous children, but as many parents with empathise out there, school holidays are exhausting! Some mums I know just cannot get enough of them, others dread them with a passion. I’m on the fence somewhere in the middle, simply due to the demands of balancing work and home with a huge dose of all day children entertainment.
Now, I’m very fortunate in that my eldest son is football obsessed and he goes to football training lots of days in the holidays and loves it. Couple that with a childminder for my youngest a two days a week who is also one of my best friends and I’m doing pretty ok. But we still have those other 3 days plus weekends to find suitably stimulating pastimes to while away our days. I’m not a particularly effective crafty mum, I’m a bit OCD and control freakish, (hey, I’m working on it!) so although I go through the motions of make and create days, I always end up taking over a little too much and making the project my own, but hopefully I’ve managed thus far to disguise that as helping and honing!
Thanks to Pinterest & Google, I’ve managed to come up with numerous quick craft fixes and virtually mess free, child friendly bake ideas over the past years of school holidays. Plus, granny excels at all that so when she comes to visit, she is charged with setting up craft central and she creates the life out of all my boxes of glues, tissue paper, pipe cleaners and various other bits and bobs. So two weeks choc-a-block of days out, football, making, baking, picnics, parks and a little London overnight stay later, we were good to go back to the old routine. Until…..Saturday afternoon, Dominic, who has just turned three, started suddenly having leg pains, discomfort and getting very easily distressed. We had gone to the supermarket. Schoolboy error on two counts. Firstly, going on a Saturday is a huge no-no at the best of times, but I chose today, without the back up team of his brother and Dad in tow. And, the day he was going to come down with the dreaded chicken pox!
I book a home delivery or opt for click and collect, as I simply don’t have the time anymore to meander distractedly up and down each aisle, adding too many tempting items into my overstuffed trolley. In addition I can’t bear taking the children, it far too stressful and a waste of precious time. However today I only needed a few essentials and a couple of luxury items so thought it was safe and we could make it fun! Boy was I barking up the wrong tree!
Twenty minutes later, I went from enthusiastic mum, encouraging my son to count the items we chose and asking what the various groceries’ names began with, to stressed-out, mortified mum and he screamed the store down in inexplicable distress and punctuated these wails with inconsolable sobs! Hastily we made our retreat with me juggling a hefty 3 stone something boy in one arm and haphazardly manoeuvring a very strong willed, over stuffed wonky trolley in the other. Not the most refined impression I’ve ever made on my local supermarket but hey-ho I was just glad to get out of there. Finally got my boy to the car, packed it all up and within seconds he was fast asleep. I heaved a huge sigh of relief and put my confusion and worries down to him being extremely over tired. Unfortunately when we arrived home and I took him indoors I was filled with dread as I saw a few red spots on his face and I instinctively knew what was to come.
Overnight, as I kept a regular eye on him, I kept hoping it was a random rash and would be gone by morning, but instead, they had multiplied tenfold and we were in the midst of full on pox. I know people actively encourage chicken pox by pairing their children with others infected, but I’ve never been one of them. I certainly don’t subscribe to the theory that’s it’s better to get it over with, although I understand this sentiment, and I’ve been so relived that he has managed to escape it so far. Despite various outbreaks in our village,I presumed he may have natural immunity. The reason for my dread of this particular disease is that my eldest son had a very severe dose of it when he was only a few years old and it was so distressing and awful, I’ve feared a repeat performance ever since. So once reality hit, it was down to practicalities and we immediately scrapped our family Sunday plans and switched to plan B. The little guy didn’t appear in any way to be suffering this first spot-filled morning, so that was a bonus, but quarantine had begun! So my husband took Harry out for the day and Dominic and I settled down for a day at home, the first of many required, and got on with it.
Currently we are on day 3, and after negotiating the school run, after school activities and trips for supplies, without involving the one with the lurgy, we are hoping for onset of scabs any day now! The nights have been surprisingly stress free, with my boy sleeping mostly through the night, aided by some Neurofen and Piriton. Virasooth has been my go-to cream of choice, it works wonders on a sobbing child, scratching away crazily at the infernal critters.
My best tip however, has been one which I’ve often seen mentioned in mummy forums and wondered how effective it could actually be. Porridge oats in the bath. Yes, really. Not sprinkling them in like bubble bath as you run the water, but actually getting a thin sock or some tights, filling the foot part with the oats, and running it under the tap along with the water. It forms a lovely milky consistency and colours the water white, and makes for a luxurious, home-made, Cleopatra style moisturising bath. It’s heat reducing for the spots and soothing to the skin, giving some welcome relief to the inflicted child. Plus my boy loves squishing it like a stress ball once he is actually in the bath. Double whammy! RtThe hardest part of this for me is looking at his handsome little face crease up in pain and discomfort and seeing these angry red welts where his happy smile, most of the time, resides. Temperatures, uncontrollable itching, lethargy and general discomfort and unhappiness are all part and parcel of the recovery period. I can’t wait til this is done when he crusts up and life can return to normal. Thankfully Granny is coming to stay for a few days so that I can get on with some work rather than watching movies, playing in the garden and doing crafts, badly all day. Will keep you posted! Do you have any chicken pox remedies you can recommend? I’d love to hear them!