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Not to be Sniffed at

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At risk of utterly alienating the very few followers that I do have: I don’t have hayfever.  There. I said it.  I have never had it.  And hopefully I never will because it is awful, and has been particularly bad this week.  Nevertheless, and before you stop reading in disgust, I do have Sister A, a Childerbeast and a Man of the House who do.  And whilst I don’t live with Sister A anymore I do remember when we were little her having to bathe her eyes open in the morning because they had sealed up with goo in her sleep, and I also remember her coughing up pollen balls in a particularly attractive manner, not entirely dissimilar to a cat and a fur ball.

For my own personal viewing horror this week have been The Eldest Childerbeast and Man of the House.  It has been so bad for The Eldest Childerbeast that he has had time off school.  This was causing him particular distress when he thought that he might not be well enough to go on the annual school residential trip.  As far as I can tell the residential trip consists of getting wet and dirty, and near constant eating, so I can see why he would be upset at the prospect of missing out. Meanwhile Man of the House has still been off to the office looking rather like Sir Christopher Lee in Dracula most mornings because unless he were to have something instantly terminal, or I’ve told him that we-are-going-on-holiday-and-you-are-coming-with-us, he always goes to work.

So what to do with a Childerbeast who is obviously poorly, but you do have to try and teach them to cope with something that will probably happen every year?  First, like everyone else in the country at the moment, I went to Boots and bought out their range of hayfever products.  What a time not to be able to find your Advantage Card.  If you need any hayfever medication, anything at all, I’m your woman.  And if I haven’t got it I can guarantee I have a friend who does because her Childerbeast has also been struggling this week as well and between us we have the whole thing covered, probably for the next five years.

My First Parenting Fail of this week was quite late in the week really – Tuesday – in that I tried to dose him up and send him to school. I am the sort of person, like Man of the House is, that sometimes, most times, no matter how bad you feel you just need to get on with your day.  And I mistakenly thought that this was one of those times.  I had just sat down at the hairdressers when I received the call; begowned, my hair parted in that particularly attractive fashion that they do when about to put a colour on your hair, and with a stylist poised with the colour brush. I got up, apologised profusely to my lovely hairdresser who couldn’t have been more charming about it, and I left,  still sporting the cream that they put on your hairline to stop it dying your skin.   Five minutes later with the colour brush let loose and it would have been an even less attractive prospect, so I think we can all be grateful for that.  I was in such a dither driving to collect him, that I went around a roundabout twice.  I think that is because whenever I had a call for emergency childcare when I was in paid employment it never went down well at all and that was always made very clear to me.  The lowest point was when the nursery was being closed in the snow and I had to challenge my boss to let me leave the office to collect my child.  That is to say, if they had continued to say no, I would have just had to walk out because that was the position I was being put in. I tried to remind myself that this was not the same situation, there was no one effectively making me choose between my job and my child, and I did not have to react in the same way.  Also, if I kept going round the roundabout, then all it was going to do was make me dizzy and delay me further.  I got to school, got a reminder from the Eldest Childerbeast not to cuddle him until he was in the car, and popped him on the sofa under a blanket.

Second, we ditched the school thing and tried the range of hayfever products and paracetamol whilst lying on the sofa watching ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy and eating popcorn.  That worked rather well.  If nothing else the sight of Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn always serves as a healthy and pleasing reminder to me that I am married, not dead.  But it was not doing anything to get rid of the headache that had been making The Eldest Childerbeast feel so poorly.

Third, fruit.  Well it was okay, probably an ego boost from virtue if nothing else, but no discernible improvement.

Fourth, junk food  Not bad.  Helped.  A bit.

Fifth, a HEPA filter.  Every year I say I’ll buy one and every year I don’t.  This year I did.  Expensive.  But frankly I would have paid a King’s Ransom at that point to have a child who wasn’t so distressed. He believed his room to be pollen free.  I wasn’t going to tell him otherwise.

Sixth, a headache cooling patch.  That was good.  I recommend.  Not sure why I hadn’t thought of it before but I hadn’t.  Neither a long term nor practical solution for the young discerning tweenager about town.

Seventh, finally, and in desperation that he wasn’t going to make his trip, we went to the doctor.  Or The Prodders as they are called in our house.  The Prodder did indeed prod the Proddee.  There was nothing seriously wrong with him (I knew that but sometimes I need a medical professional to tell me) and she prescribed a steroid nasal spray.  The instruction to The Eldest Childerbeast was to stuff it up his nose and give it a big enough squirt so he can taste it running down the back of his throat.  That sort of disgusting instruction from a doctor was met with considerable enthusiasm.  The same enthusiasm with which he happily drank a bottle of ginger ale that he had won on the bottle stall from a vase that one of his friend’s had won on the tombola at the church fete last weekend.  And so it begins…..

Last night, after twenty four hours of snorting (medically prescribed) steroids, he was running around the house and shouting.  So much so that after the start of the week when I had that panic that you always have when your child is ill, I was more than happy for him to bugger off for four days.  Five would have been fine by the time he actually went to bed.  When he came in at half past four this morning to chat, I decided that a week would have been better and made a mental note to mention it to the Head when they get back.  Assuming that it is not my child who deliberately capsizes her kayak like someone apparently did last year.

I waved him off.  He even let me give him a kiss in public.  And as they departed my friend and fellow hayfever medication stockpiler asked me if I was okay.  I blamed the watery eyes on the hayfever that I didn’t think I had.  Apparently she had just the thing for it.  Turned out it was taking me to another’s friend’s house for a cup of tea and a biscuit.   They said it was too early for gin ūüė¶

 

 

 

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Tea and Cake

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Afternoon tea is very in at the moment isn’t it?¬† Or it certainly seems so.¬† Not that it ever really went out of fashion.¬† The idea of tea and cake becoming unfashionable seems to me to be very odd indeed.¬† Perhaps with the advent of ‘Friends’ and the rise of the Starbucks and Costas of this world, the unthinkable happened and the popularity of¬†tea wained slightly in England.¬†¬†Well I am pleased to see that it is back, and so is gin apparently. ¬†Yippee! I need to do more research on the gin before I am able to write with any authority on that particular subject.¬† And I also suspect that you might also need to do some more research before you are able to see whether or not you agree with my views on gin whenever I come to express them.¬† So let’s agree to re-group on that one in the future.

Yes, so afternoon tea.¬† Imagine my friend’s delight when she was invited to afternoon tea with a group of friends.¬† This is my friend who openly admits to never having met a cake she didn’t like, so she was very happy indeed.¬† I am not sure she has met a gin she didn’t like either.¬† Nevertheless, she womanfully presses on with trying to find either a cake or a gin she isn’t keen on.

Unfortunately the date of the afternoon tea fell on a day when her significant other had to go to work, and she was going to have to take her (very well behaved and older) children with her.¬† I’ve been both in and out with these children on many occasions,¬†not only are they very well-behaved,¬†they also entertain the other children,¬†which is a win-win situation as far as I am concerned.¬†¬†In the meantime,¬†my cake/gin loving friend had another friend get in touch with her who was having a childcare nightmare on that day;¬†she and her partner had to work and there was no one who could look after her child.¬† My friend agreed to help out, because that is the sort of person she is.¬†The child happens to have a severe food allergy.¬† My friend checked it out with her parents, the restaurant where the afternoon tea was to be taken and also happens to be trained in the use of an epipen.¬† All was in hand.¬† Everyone who needed to could go to work.¬† And everyone else was having cake.¬† Marvellous.

I need to declare an interest here.¬† My son has a food allergy. Several actually.¬† Thankfully none of them are life threatening, but if he has an allergic reaction it is pretty unpleasant for him.¬† He gets hives on his hands and his face, his lips swell, he can find it hard to breath and eventually he throws up.¬† He usually feels rather ill for the rest of the day.¬† He has medicine, which he usually throws up as well.¬† I discovered his food allergy when he was eight months’ old.¬† I won’t bore you with the details, but after about six months’ of carefully noting what I had prepared and a process of elimination, I had nailed it.¬† The hospital confirmed that which I already knew.¬† My son is pretty wonderful about it – he has never let it put him off trying new foods or eating out.¬† And I know that many many children have so many more serious things to worry about.¬† Most people have daily shadows lurking in the back of their mind when it comes to their children, that is one of mine.

Back to the story.  After having taken every precaution, my friend then notified the afternoon tea organiser of the additional child.  Down to the last exclamation mark, this was the response she received:

“Seriously!!!! I thought she had a severe allergy!!! Don’t want to put you off but it’s not a risk I would take!!!! I’m there to have a giggle with friends not stressing about someone’s allergy!! Sorry if that sounds harsh but I do panic about these things ūüôā ūüôā ūüôā ūüôā (: (: (: (: ”

My friend asked me if I thought this rude.  I thought it exceptionally rude and told her so.  In addition, I have a few comments in response because my friend is far too polite to say them, nor does she have a blog:

  1. Yes, you do want to put her off.
  2. You’re not stressing about anyone’s allergy, you don’t want the child there.
  3. It¬†doesn’t sound harsh, it is harsh. Couching it with a ‘sorry’ at the start does not make it less so.¬†¬†Besides, you’re not sorry. And you don’t panic either.¬† You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.
  4. A sarcastic person might suggest that it must be very difficult for you spending your days stressing about the food allergies of other people who are not in your care.

Now we all know what is really going on here. ¬†And I agree with what is the main thrust of the women’s response is that children can be a pain,¬†particularly one’s with allergies. But that’s life. ¬† It very rarely fits neatly into boxes.¬† Children certainly don’t.¬† Suck it up.

We don’t really get to choose many things in life –¬†our looks,¬†our intelligence,¬†who we fall in love with – all of these things are outside of our control, however much we like to think that they’re not.¬† But there two things that we can choose. ¬†The first is that we are sufficiently privileged in this country to be able to choose to have children. ¬†For me, having children meant that however they were to come to me, they were mine to care for, come what may, until the day I die.¬† And when our friends have children, they become part of our lives too. ¬†And the second,¬†for which I am grateful every single day,¬†is that we can choose our friends.¬†The one who will be pissed off if my son happens to be ill in spite of carefully checking everything?¬†¬†Or the one who will hold my son’s head whilst he is sick on her shoes?¬†¬†Hmmm…tricky….The one with the barf-spattered trainers please. I choose that one. ¬†But I promise faithfully to replace the shoes.

 

 

 

Photograph courtesy of OneManOneShed on etsy.com/uk