If you’re cradling a sick child, desperately seeking a couple of pointers that will hopefully work for yours, please scroll to the red text…. If you’re in the market for a bit of meandering moaning, read on from here.
How do you explain to a 4-year-old that she can’t go to a school friend’s birthday party because her baby sister has chicken pox – and therefore she might have it too? Once the hysterical crying subsides to a series of sobs, try and communicate that as she can have the present she was going to give said school friend. Every cloud.
As pretty much every 4-year-old is pre-programmed to milk a situation to meet their own means, she then looked up and said “If we can’t leave the house, can we have a party of our own? That’ll feel me better.” Fair play to her.
So, while baby Eva came to grips with a porridge stuffed stocking filtering into her bath…
… we blew up balloons, rifled around the Random Drawer for a spare candle and rammed it into a fairy cake. We then sang a pox-riddled rendition of ‘Happy Birthday to You’ to ourselves before blowing out the candle and left Lara to unwrap and lay claim to her friend’s birthday present she’d been eyeballing for the last week.
Between the pox pixie in the bath, and the pox party festivities underway, everyone was happy, right? Wrong. I was feeling hard done by, if we’re being completely honest. C’mere, I know in the greater scheme of things, we’re blessed as a family. We’ve two healthy kids. There is nothing more important that that – but, fuck it, I was feeling hard done by.
You see, Friday was one day that was allocated for me. It was the first time in a long time that I’d been approached to do something work related, something I really enjoy. The sister was booked to look after the kids while I was to dart into town and be pre-kids me for an hour. For the first time in a long time, I bounded out of bed, hurtled into the kids’ room to get them up, unwrapped Eva from her little sleeping sac – and there she was. Covered in spots. “Eva has chicken pops, mammy,” her big sister declared. “Let’s hope that’s all it is, Lara.”
Many minutes were dispensed, rolling different sized glasses over various body parts for fear these spots were indicative of something more sinister… Work research time was swapped for two hours in the doctors, chicken pox was diagnosed and the fact that the entire family was contagious and should stay housebound was absorbed. Well, kind of. I heard myself saying “But I’ve got a radio slot at 4:30pm, what’s the likelihood of getting into that?” The guilt surged before the words had even dropped out of my mouth. Here was my 1-year-old sick with chicken pox, and I was asking the Dr for a pass to be pre-kids me.
Could the sister still look after the kids? No; unfortunately she’s ripe for a bout of shingles at the moment. Could I afford childcare at the last minute? No. Could the other half take the day off his work? No. Do I active parents or parents-in-law who could jump in last minute? No. Did I have anyone willing or able to tend to potentially two contagious children? No. Is this the first time this the first time this has happened? No. Will it be the last? Certainly not.
To the pointers! Firstly, not all bouts of chicken pox are the same. Some kids are covered with spots everywhere (like, EVERYWHERE – eye lids, inside the mouth, nail beds, every crevice imaginable) and are in OK form. Some kids only have a couple of spots and cranky as a bag of cats. Some kids have spots for the best part of two weeks. Some only have them for a few days.
Eva falls into the latter category. While the majority of pox cases start on the stomach, her’s was contained to her extremities – the arms, hands, feet, legs and face. She had them in her mouth – which was painful for her, so I used Calgel (not available in Ireland because we can’t be trusted with it apparently; if you know anyone in the UK get them to send some over to you, it lords it over Bonjella any day).
Here is what worked for us, hope it’s of use.
1) The Fucibet cream prescribed by the doctor.
2) A cooling gel by the name of ViraShoothe. It helps relieve itching, support natural healing, reduces scarring, and it’s for 6 months plus . PoxClin CoolMousse also comes recommended, and is available from Boots for €15.99
3) Twice daily porridge baths…
Now lots of people go to the bother of blending the porridge oats and having the child sitting in pureed gruel, or you could just stick some in a stocking and squeeze the bejaysis out of it – until it bursts and the child ends up in the aforementioned gruel…
Several split stockings later, I opted for just pouring the warm water through a sieve containing oats.
Maybe all that worked a charm ’cause Eva was spot free after 6 days, or perhaps she just got a mild dose of the virus, either way – PORRIDGE BATHS ROCK.
If you’re wondering why Calamine Lotion hasn’t been mentioned yet, it’s because it can clog the pours and in turn leave scarring. We were recommended Almond Oil instead to keep the skin supple before it scabs over. Yep, it’s all glam.
If you have any additional pointers, please feel free to post them in the comments below!