Today me and The Boss threw a spotty party for the minxes: spotty cup cake cases; cupcakes with white icing and either red cherry tops or pink smartie spots; cheese sandwiches cut out into spotty circles (as well as the other usual stuff: jelly, breadsticks, veg sticks, hummus, milk). The kids wore all the spotty clothes they could find. Why? Two out of 3 minxes have chicken pox…
The party was to make up for the girls missing their best friend’s birthday party today that they’ve been looking forward to for months. I realised how awful they felt when neither protested when I broke the news 2 days ago that they’d probably still be too ill to go. Still, they perked up a bit at our little party. The Boss even made up a Pass The Parcel with 10 layers of paper and their favourite party tunes on the iPod. Putting a smartie in each layer was a very cunning way of getting some calories in poorly little girls, too!
(I’ll post pics in a later revision to this post – I’m typing it on a very ancient desktop with sticky slow keys and no way to upload photos – the laptop adapter went Phhzzzzt)
I first heard from Midi that one of her nursery friends was off school in the last week before Christmas with chicken pox, but hoped it wasn’t so (she has a newborn baby brother, but hopefully the little mite will still have some immunity gained from his mummy). Anyway, when Maxi started spiking a fever and looking pale on 28th December, I assumed it was over-excitement from another birthday party she’d been to and loved. But chicken pox was in my suspicions. I had it at 15 and remember the headache I got was so excruciatingly painful that I bashed my head on a wall a few times to try to relieve the pressure pain. So, I kind of hoped it was – better to get it over with young – but still dreaded my little girls getting any illness at all.
On 29th, Maxi was white as a sheet, feverish most of the day and very, very subdued; Midi bounced off fewer walls than usual, too. I gave them a day of CBeebies (there’s only so much cake you can bake in a week!!) and checked for spots. Midi had a blister under her right armpit and Maxi had a little blister at the nape of her neck. Hmmmm…
On 30th, Maxi was still poorly and transparent-looking, but had 9 red spots. Bingo! I may not have spent 6 years studying medicine, but I sure recognised the blister spots. I made up Maxi a ‘nest’ of duvet and pillows on the sofa, constantly urged fluids on her, doped the poor child up on Calprofen, and nipped down the pharmacy for anti-histamine, calamine lotion and calamine cream. Alas they didn’t come in a paint pot with a brush – well, if all 3 are ill at the same time, we’re going to need a lot of the stuff…
Maxi’s feverish rants were quite impressive. On 31st she cuddled into my legs in bed and started accusing me of not eating enough cake. Ever since I started walking her to school I’d stopped being nice to cuddle. First my tummy, then my boobies, now my legs. In fact, my legs were hard and bony and tasted terrible. Taste?! Let me feel your forehead… Sizzle… yep, break out more Calprofen and Calpol!
On 31st Midi’s spots started popping out. By 1st, Maxi had maybe 30-40 spots total whereas poor Midi had that many around one ear alone. Mini merrily ran riot, oblivious to what lies in store for her, just gleeful that she can play with her sisters’ new toys pretty much unhindered.
I’ve not been all that concerned about Maxi’s appetite loss, other than to keep providing tempting food. So I’ve been driving The Boss mad with cooking up loads of stodge: macaroni cheese, sausages, steak pie with home-made rough puff pastry, strawberry milk jelly. Craving spicy curries but warming to the theme, he even tried making her baked camembert with breadsticks and broccoli (Maxi’s favourite meal at 18 months). But she’s only eaten a little cow shape of pastry, a banana, a spoonful of milk jelly and half a cupcake over the past 6 days (28th to 3rd). As she’s had around 500 pints of milk, water and apple juice (and even a wee bit of hot chocolate), I’m reasonably happy to leave her to it and not pressurise her to eat. Even though she’s nearly blue-ish white with terrible brown circles under her eyes, and has no energy to even sit up. I just get frantic when my babies don’t drink fluid, but that’s another story.
Poor Maxi has a sore chest and stomach from all the wet coughing and a thick yellow coating on her tongue – no wonder everything tastes awful to her! My gut tells me there’s something else going on, so although the NHS24 nurse said it was fine over the phone, if she’s no better tomorrow I’m bundling her down to the GP’s. I promise to phone ahead and warn them that though she’s no longer infectious (last new spots were on 2nd), her sister(s) undoubtedly are!
Midi’s appetite has been fine, but the spots are driving her bonkers. She has uncountable hundreds. The clusters round and inside her ears and her genitals hurt and itch terribly despite the Calprofen, calamine and anti-histamine. Her hair looks more like Doc Brown’s from Back to the Future than usual, because she scratches at her scalp all night.
I’ve knitted all the girls a pair of long socks each, but there’s no way I’m letting wool near all that itchy skin! It was a knitting marathon. Midi’s not impressed that I took a break from knitting her a jumper to do it. “Why you not knit my dj-schumpa??” she accuses every day. Harsh taskmaster that she is!
So, counting days on my fingers a lot like I counted them when I got pregnant with each minx: if Maxi was infectious 2 days before her spots appeared, then Mini was exposed to chicken pox on 28th at the latest. It takes 10-21 days to appear, so Mini will be infectious 2 days before her spots appear, ie from 5th till 16th Jan. Oh boy – that’s a long time to keep her away from people! I hope her spots come up pretty fast and the wee soul gets it over and done with. I hope she has the spots of Maxi and the general illness of Midi. Please God, not the other way round!
In other news, Mini cut her 11th tooth finally, yesterday: lower outer right incisor. Hooray!