My poor 11 year old has come down with chickenpox. It’s such unfortunate timing for him as he only has another two and a half weeks left at his current school before saying goodbye to many of his classmates and starting at secondary school in September. It’s also a very unfortunate illness for him in particular as he already suffers from acutely itchy skin from eczema and hay fever. But on a more positive note I don’t have the school run and I get to spend some lovely snuggly time with him; it’s a great excuse to forget about work too!
We haven’t had chickenpox in the family for 15 years. That time my second child had a mild case the week before the February half term and then very kindly passed it on to the rest of us including me who somehow, despite my mum’s concerted efforts, had refused to succumb to the virus as a child. So we had a housebound half term week: my 3 year old who was completely better and full of energy, my 5 year old who had been looking forward to a fun packed holiday from school, my 18 month old and me, six months pregnant with my fourth child. My husband was between jobs at the time but, true to form, seemed to remember various meetings he needed to set up which would involve him staying away from home. To be honest it was just as well as he was never terribly helpful at times of illness and was always a trifle (??) on the impatient side when it came to children crying or making the slightest fuss about anything. From starting off feeling as if we were going to have a miserable week we actually ended up having a lovely time together and it is a week that we often look back on fondly. Our chickenpox week also became known as the week we became part of Pontypandy, home of Fireman Sam. In between making cookies, playing with play dough, painting pictures, reading stories and having long baths to alleviate the itchiness, we watched episode after episode of Fireman Sam. We must have watched each episode several times over as I’m sure we only had one Fireman video but it didn’t matter as we needed to absorb every last detail so that we could then re-enact each episode ourselves. That week I became Bella Lasagne, the rather scatty Italian owner of Pontypandy’s cafe and the owner of Rosa the cat. I played the role to the full and ended up speaking in a broken Italian accent for the majority of the week. Even now 15 years later I still find myself becoming Bella if I need to cheer everyone up or distract people from meal time squabbles. I doubt if any of us will ever be able to watch an episode of Fireman Sam without thinking of that week, incredibly itchy, housebound and isolated but full of fun, laughter and jollity.
So I am going to view the next few days as a chance to do some fun things with my youngest child ahead of the school holidays. We can play in the garden, read our current book, do some crafts, bake and watch some films together. Hopefully he too will be able to look back on his chickenpox week with fond memories that will stay with him forever. Which character should I be this time?