It’s fair to say that I’m not a big fan of the winter months. I can just about tolerate the dark evenings, the ritual drenchings on the school run and having permanently numb fingers and toes, but what I really dislike is the way that, as soon as the calendar flips on to September, cough-and-cold season arrives, here to stay until, ooh, about May time.
The Boy is generally a fairly robust type, and not one to feign illness – although, of course, like all males of the species, he’s prone to exaggerating the common cold to life-threatening proportions. So when he slunk into our bedroom yesterday morning complaining of an earache, I had a fairly good idea of where this was going. Sure enough, despite a prophylactic dose of Calpol, by lunchtime – just as, with impeccable timing, my Tesco shopping was being delivered – I had The Phone Call from school, summoning me to collect The Boy. ‘He’s been in tears of pain,’ the secretary told me disapprovingly. ‘I think you should book him a doctor’s appointment.’
So, as Mr Tesco was slinging my shopping bags across the threshold, I put in a hurried call to the surgery and booked an urgent appointment before dashing to the school to collect The Boy.
Back home, he obediently downed a dose of Nurofen, and spent all of 10 minutes flopped forlornly in the armchair. And then the drugs kicked in. Within the space of an hour, he’d demolished a toasted muffin and three biscuits, built a Brio track across the landing, put all the upstairs shopping away for me and spent a good 20 minutes scraping worm casts off the back lawn. Sick child? Hmmm.
I was fully expecting the doctor to roll his eyes and mark me down as a timewaster, especially as The Boy ran all the way to the surgery and back, but no. The other half took him for his appointment, and afterwards, he burst in through the front door, panting and clutching his prescription, proudly telling me that he had an ear infection.
Needless to say, I haven’t filled the prescription. He’s been back at school today and is the picture of health. The first bug of the season has, thankfully, treated us kindly.
But having made a miraculous recovery, The Boy has generously handed the baton to his sister. The Baby has been grizzly and off her food for the past couple of days, and I’d put it down to sore gums, especially as her first little tooth is just poking through. But today she’s had a temperature of 38.2C and has been uncharacteristically lethargic. Anyone who knows The Baby knows she doesn’t sleep, but today she’s nodded off in the pram, in the car and on my lap while watching TV – a sure sign that something is up. It’s looking very much like I’ll be making another doctor’s appointment in the morning.
I guess this is going to be what life is like with two children. It would appear that they’re going to spend the entire winter ping-ponging germs backwards and forwards between themselves, and that days when both are healthy and well will be few and far between. The bathroom windowsill looks like a veritable apothecary with its ranks of Calpol, Nurofen and Bonjela, and I’m already contemplating drawing up a spreadsheet so I can keep track of who had what medicine and when.
I was going to say that at least The Boy is better (for now), but as I type, I can hear the sound of him coughing emanating from his bedroom. From past experience, I’d stake my mortgage on that cough not disappearing until well into 2012. I’ve already been up to resettle The Baby once, too. I have a feeling it’s going to be a long, long winter.
Now, does anyone know where I can buy Calpol in bulk?