I always knew that the inevitable chicken pox would come at the most inconvenient time. I booked our weekend holiday to The Yurt Farm months ago, after being mesmerised by the broadsheet buzz about ‘glamping’. The great outdoors but with room to stand up and a wood-burning stove? Perfect. I’d managed to persuade a few carloads of friends to pile in and make it more affordable and we all began counting down the weeks. When the volcanic ash loomed over Britain and nobody could fly, I felt relieved that our holiday didn’t involve a plane. Then Tom got chicken pox, or at least that’s what the doctor said. There were other children in our party and the owners of the site had a baby – it looked as though the holiday was off. I tried to explain to Tom what it meant to be contagious….
“What if my chicken pox aren’t catching chicken pox, what if they’re safe ones?” he asked, as I threw tea together in the kitchen. I was chopping an onion and a tear trickled down Tom’s cheek. “Ooh, I think I’m crying,” he said, “but don’t worry, it’s not a sad cry, it’s an onion cry.”
After tea, I chucked the dishes in the sink and looked out of the window. Everything’s blooming in our tiny yard, which in a way makes me feel more claustrophobic than if I had just left it to be bare concrete. The little cherry blossom tree I bought for Tom’s 3rd birthday is spreading out all over and I think its roots might crack open the plastic pot before long. Sometimes I wish Tom had a bit more space to run around and I had really been looking forward to taking him to the countryside to do that. Of all the weeks of all the months of all the years for him to get chicken pox. I caught myself starting to cry and swallowed it back but Tom doesn’t miss a trick.
“Oh no Mum, have you caught my tears from before? Don’t worry, they’re not sad tears, only onion ones.”
At bedtime, I lined up the Calpol, Piriton and calamine lotion. Tom didn’t wake in the night though. I held my breath as I rolled up his pyjamas in the morning but the rash was just the same. He was fine, but I could’t take him to school and I had to work. At one point I was having to entertain Tom and move around the house to accommodate a gas engineer. He thought it was hilarious that Tom was playing his drums while I shouted out emails as I typed to avoid making mistakes. “You’ll be rocking over that laptop by the end of the week!” laughed the engineer, who was a bit too jovial for my liking.
After three days at home and no development on the rash front, I’d had enough. A different GP confirmed that Tom’s rash was ‘non-specific, possibly an allergy to something’ and gave us the nod to go on holiday. (In the doctor’s, an old note on Tom’s medical record glared out at me from the computer screen: “‘Radioactive snot,” says Mum’.)
We went on the holiday (it was brilliant) but that’s a blog post in itself, which I’ll write soon. Tom’s ‘chicken pox’ never materialised, meaning they will eventually arrive just in time for something very important.