The Chicken Pox Diaries

DAY 1: Elliot has had a spot on the back of his neck since he finished school on Thursday. I thought it was a bite and paid it no attention. However, he’s just had a wee and Reece has noticed two more spots on his groin. I ignore them, hoping it’s a bite.

I have a sore throat and feel a bit sniffly, which is just adding to the general malaise of the house.

By bedtime, he’s got this manky weird blister on his forehead and I accept my fate. The pox has arrived.

I realise we have the equivalent of one dose of Calpol left in the bottle and the pharmacy over the road is already closed. (WHY?!)

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DAY 2: The spots are growing in number and some are blistering, which is rank. Reece and I take it in turns to look at Elliot’s back and grimace at each other.

I feel even worse today. I spend my morning crying and my afternoon in the Out Of Hours doctor’s getting antibiotics and coughing up yellow gunk.

Elliot spends the day making Star Wars Lego creations and shouting about how much he loves The Simpsons. He says his first swear word, thanks to Bart Simpson. Crap.

I spend £10 in Boots on some cream to soothe itching I assume Elliot will be suffering from.

DAY 3: It’s Monday. I should be at work. Reece goes to work at 8am and I hold back tears.

I assume the day will be spent watching movies and drifting in and out of sleep. That’s what chicken pox is like, right?

Elliot watches four episodes of Lego Ninjago, three episodes of Captain Underpants and 3 Lego Star Wars films before lunch.

He also proclaims he is 0% itchy all day. I look at the cream on the kitchen side and almost weep.

Reece has to stay late at work and comes in at 9pm. I am desperate for sleep, but somehow end up watching Russian Doll for three hours instead.

 

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DAY 4: Starting to feel like I’m on house arrest. Elliot is re-watching the same episodes of Captain Underpants that we sat through yesterday.

My aunt comes round and sits with Elliot for five minutes whilst I run to the Co-op for essentials: kitchen roll, toilet roll, Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Dough.

Elliot asks for the “sock in the bath” again (filled with oats because it’s apparently soothing) and goes to bed easily, saying “tomorrow I will not watch any telly, I will Just Play.” Alright pal.

I’m wary of how easy this is seeming to be.

DAY 5: Elliot wakes up and announces it is the day of No Telly. About 9am we end up watching The Tempest on CBeebies for the seventy-third time.

I have to reign myself in from obsessively checking his spots every twenty minutes to check if they’re all scabbed and we can finally be on the home stretch. I end up falling down a Google hole of kids with rank scabs on their face.

My cousins come round to play and I suddenly realise how lovely and peaceful quarantine was.

Reece goes on a work night out, has too much champagne and I end up staying up until 1am on the phone to him as he’s drunk and convinced his train is going the wrong way. (He was sat backwards.)

Not even surprised that he is more stressful that the child suffering from blisters covering 60% of his body.

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DAY 6: We have scabbed! I have never cheered at the sight of a scab before but today it’s like Christmas! Scabmas!

I finally feel like we can go outside without worrying we’ll walk past The North Kent Pregnant People And People With Compromised Immune System Congregation out on a stroll and kill them all.

We go around the block on the scooter. Elliot says the sun seems too bright and I’m genuinely in shock  at how warm it is out there! We quickly retreat back indoors. I open a window so he can still get a semblance of fresh air.

Can’t imagine how much money I’ve saved since we haven’t been for a daily half-term wander around Wilkinsons.

Plans to go out with my mum tomorrow are back on now he’s officially Scabbiot. So excited to see other humans!

DAY 7: Elliot wakes up and proceeds to throw all the cushions off the sofa and all the coats off the stair banister and cackle menacingly at me all morning. He’s better.

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How To Parent When You Feel Like Shit

I am so, so glad beginning-of-November Hayley got overexcited about her new laptop and wrote up approximately 6 new blog posts to get me through the month, because as soon as I pressed “schedule” on the the Gift Guide for Dads, I got struck down by a horrible illness, a bit of a cold on steroids. I ended up laying in bed for a few days and I’m still coughing like I’ve smoked 50 a day for the past 20 years.

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The only problem is – I would have loved to lay in that bed all day and all night. I craved the kind of poorly where you forget what day or what time it is, and you just stay in bed with the curtains shut, festering and watching re-runs of your favourite programs under the duvet until you can speak again. Unfortunatley, I was only able to fester between the hours of 10am – 2pm because I still had to parent around feeling like shit.

Elliot has also been under the weather, he sounds like he’s been twos-ing my 50 fags a day to be honest. So it’s been easier as we come home from school and lay on the sofa under blankets until it’s time to go to bed.

It’s Winter so I know everyone is going to feel like this at some point over the next few months, so here are my tips for getting through the slog of parenting when you feel like dog-shit.

Take it (as) easy (as you can). Give instructions from your bed. I literally called Elliot to my bed of a morning with a whisper to go downstairs and eat his breakfast and then come upstairs and get dressed please. He’d then wander off, eat a banana that I’d give him and then come upstairs and get dressed whilst I laid on the bed and tried to build up the energy to put a bra on. Everyone in the playground that week was lucky I turned up looking half human as there was a definite chance I’d been asleep 20 minutes before each school run.

You don’t need to do shit. I’m going to be real, my house was disgusting when I felt ill. I didn’t do any washing, dusting or cleaning at all for the whole week, I just either laid on the sofa or on the bed (or, one morning I turned our sofa into a bed and really treated myself to a luxurious episode of Homes Under The Hammer). Elliot ate sandwiches for dinner every day (God bless school dinners!) and generally plodded around by himself whilst I was tapped out. I did start to feel guilty towards the end of the week so we did read a few books together and had one painful game of Monopoly that I conceded because I couldn’t actually speak the words anymore.

Surround yourself with everything you love. No, I don’t mean your cousins and grandparents around your bedside holding your hands. I mean, get yourself a cup of tea, and biscuits if you can manage to eat them and settle down in your favourite pyjamas and slippers and watch your favourite shows. We’ve all got comfy shows, I think, that we watch when we’re feeling rubbish. Mine are oddly police dramas so I’ve spent a week watching Luther and Whitechapel on the sofa, but it’s each to their own. Unless you like The Big Bang Theory, in which case I’m going to judge you hard.

Pick your battles. There is no point in arguing with your child about what socks they are going to wear when you feel like you’ve got razorblades in your throat. They want to watch Boss Baby on Netflix for five episodes in a row? Let them go for it. The other 51 weeks of the year when you’re healthy I’m sure you’d do some wholesome activities and as long as you croak out their spellings on a Friday morning then I’m sure everyone will forgive you for the lack of banana bread you made this week. (This is legit from personal experience, as I was getting ingredients out to make gingerbread men on Sunday afternoon and then thought “no. I feel too shit for this” and the world did not end. We just put the My Little Pony Movie on again and Elliot had a jammy dodger instead.)

Don’t be a martyr. This is literally a note to myself as I battled through the week when I was poorly and should have stayed in bed. I went on a bloody school trip to the library, ffs. I went back to work when I wasn’t very well and ended up giving the lurgy to someone I work with and I’ve still got the horrible cough three weeks on. It’s knackering and I wish I’d taken the chances when Elliot was at school when I felt proper dreadful to actually rest. But it’s like when kids are tiny and all the advice you get is “sleep when baby sleeps!” and you laugh it off like “haha! sleep? I’m fine, I have so much to do I’ll sleep some other time” and then three days later you end up crying into a jacket potato at 11pm because the baby isn’t sleeping and your life has fallen apart. Just take my advice, go to bed. Lay on the sofa during nap time, don’t rush around getting jobs done when the kids are at school. Just rest. You’ll feel so much better so much quicker and it saves a lot of hassle.