Elma got the pox. The first spots appeared just as we released Kitty back into the wild, sorry, allowed her to return to nursery, and the quarantine gates clanged ominously shut again. It’s been a long month.
Chicken pox is a horrid little disease, and the onset is astonishingly fast, you really could have sat and watched spots appearing all over my beautiful girls. As their Mama it just killed me not to be able to wave a magic wand and fix it; I wanted to take a bar of soap and a face flannel and scrub away Kitty’s spots and make it not have happened.
I think Kit rather expected some maternal magic as well, after a couple of days of rapidly increasing polka dots in which Mama could offer nothing more soothing than a Calpol/calamine cream/bicarb of soda bath cocktail, she transferred all of her affection to H, I suspect on the basis that whilst he has no more pharmaceuticals, he has a readier access to chocolate, and spent an entire weekend lying on the sofa cuddled up with him alternatively snoozing and watching Disney films.
Fortunately Elma’s case was much more mild, and she barely seems to have noticed that she’s had it; it’s just those tell tale little pox marks which I’m hoping and praying don’t scar either of my twosome. It helped too that quarantining a tiny baby is a lot easier than persuading a two year old that she doesn’t really want to go to the park, or the shops, or her ballet class, or, well, you get the picture.
We’ve played kitchens, and made pinwheel flowers, baked bread, made a princess castle tower out of duplo, and painted and playdoh-ed, and danced circles. There have been cuddles and giggles, and tears, and acting up, and occasions where I’ve had to shut myself up in the conservatory to take a few deep breaths, to regroup and to carry on.
The truth is that parenting isn’t easy; it can be tremendously fun, and rewarding and some of the very best moments of my life, and then there are times when it’s just hard hard hard, and you feel as if everything you are striving for isn’t working, that you’re failing your children (because clearly it’s your fault your children caught chicken pox; yes my inner critic has been a little addled by sleep deprivation lately), and you’d give a good deal for ten minutes in which no one pulls your hair.
I know I’m not the only one who edits as they blog; after all we all edit our lives just in everyday conversation, even before you bring social media into the picture. This is my happy space, it’s a record of crafty things, and of our family life, but it is the highlights. After all, who would want to read about the mundane minutiae of every day (although if anyone’s interested I can tell you all about how my washing machine sounds more and more like a jet engine taking off with every wash). And if everyone is doing that then Twitter and blogs and forums all sweep up together into a crazy council of perfection parenting, perfection housekeeping, and perfect overachieving.
How can we possibly live up to that?
So in honour of the girls and I finally being free to come and go as we please, I’m happy to tell you that Kitty spent a good part of today wearing a variety of pyjama trousers, and resisting all attempts to brush and plait her hair, and that I was so tired by supper time that the planned roast potatoes turned into sort of roasted sort of jacket potatoes because I couldn’t be bothered to peel them.
On the other hand, making a ‘castle’ out of the shade tent and all the quilts and painting crowns for every member of the family, Mama and Daddy included, is definitely a red letter day.