After all the excitement of a giddy social life the week before last, I entered the environs of last week with the thought, ‘Thank goodness it will be a quieter week.’ I was, as any fule no, tempting fate.
In some respects it was indeed quieter. I went out once on a jolly with my friend Nicky to see David Baddiel’s show about his parents, ‘My Family,’ which was splendid and I highly recommend you see. That was on Friday. By then so many things had happened that I felt like an interesting bit of flotsam washed up on the beach rather than a lady who is keen and ready for anything.
We had a proper, old fashioned week of sickness in our house last week.
I used to be really good at that. Having three small children perpetually grubbing about at floor level means that you have to be. The early years of parenting are largely centred around feeding, mopping and setting up a field surgery in your living room. You live in perpetual fear of all three of them going down with something at once and running out of bed linen. I used to have nightmares where I dreamed of trying to re-make the beds using only tea towels and flannels in a hideous and ever changing patchwork. Then you realise that they will all get whatever it is anyway and is it any better for them to get it one at a time, in a torturously drawn out process, only for the first one to get something else as soon as the third one has finished with this bout? It is truly all about being between a rock and a hard place.
Only the rock usually has nits and the hard place is invariably covered in sick.
In recent years, since they’ve become taller and less prone to eating gravel, licking floors and hanging out with scrofulous peers they will insist on locking heads with, things have become much easier. It has been me that has been perpetually ill with one thing and another. This is inconvenient, but not so much of a crisis, due to the fact that when I am ill, my greatest desire in the world is to be left alone and for everyone else to fuck the fuck off. I also wash out my own sick bowls, and do my own laundry. I am a fairly low maintenance invalid.
So last week was a bit of a shock to the system. We thought that Tallulah had given herself food poisoning with a dodgy sausage roll, she consumed in the pursuit of a rock ‘n’ roll, hedonistic lifestyle (hurtling down the M6 trying to get to an Amanda Palmer gig on time, shards of pastry flying in the wind).
We were wrong. We have been steadily going down with a mysterious, violent and miserable making vomiting bug since the night of the long sausage rolls. I was the first to succumb after Tallulah. For my sins, because I couldn’t keep any food down, I also developed a dehydration/lack of caffeine migraine to go with it. I do wish that a migraine wasn’t my default setting in a crisis. I can’t even send myself back to the shop to be reprogrammed. Toe cramp would be easier to live with. The irony of a migraine is that it makes me vomit, so it was just wall to wall vomit for a bit and then, because I am old and tired and always on the verge of being an infirm, Victorian invalid, it takes me a few days to get back on my feet. I’d say I’m currently at the limping rather than sprinting stage, but getting there.
Everyone is now (touching wood) on the mend. Lots of laundry has been done. I’ve had to dust off the yellow, plague flag and fly it high above the house. I’m tempted to pack it back in the loft, with the nit comb and tea tree oil, but I think I’ll hang on to it for a few days. Just in case.