Tag Archives: nursery

Watch for spots of chickenpox

POOR little Bonnie. What a week she had. In her own words, she’s been chicky-poppy.

Yes, the youngest member of the family has finally caught chickenpox, about three weeks after a bout of it started going around her nursery.

It seems the entire town has been going down with it. It sounds terrible, but I’d been willing for her to get it sooner rather than later.

Not only are the symptoms much worse and prone to complications the older you get it, but I was also due back at work. As any parent will tell you, it’s on the day you’re about to move house, be at an unavoidable event or the first day in a new job that your offspring get poorly. Chickenpox is the confirmed long-haul childhood bug – a week at home, at least.

Bless her, we should have twigged that last Monday would be the start, when she was grumpily uncooperative at breakfast. She brightened up as soon as she saw her friends at nursery but by the time I collected her she’d developed three or four spots which the staff had recognised as varicella – chickenpox to you and me.

Some countries actually include chickenpox vaccine in their childhood inoculation programme, but in the UK they consider it a mild illness and most people have had it by the age of ten.

It’s thought that once you’ve had it, you’re immune, but there are plenty of people who’ll say they’ve had it twice. It’s best for pregnant women, new-born babies and those with low immunity conditions to avoid being around chickenpox due to possible complications.

Despite having been through it three times before with the boys, I couldn’t remember exactly what happened next. Do they get tired and go to bed? Feverish? How long do the spots last? Well, fresh from the battlefield, I’ll tell ya.

First the spots are red, then they blister (DON’T pop them, they’ll spread and leave white scars). Then they go cloudy and dry up with crusts (NO picking). Most of the spots appear on the face neck, around the hairline and on the torso, but you can get them everywhere.

Some children get very miserable with a fever, sickness and the spots can get very sore and infected. And the most contagious period appears to be before they even have any spots. Bonnie seemed completely well and was bounding around after the first 24 hours.

However, the spots kept coming. . .


Monday – She went to bed after a spoon of Medised with fewer than ten spots, and woke up with dozens.

Tuesday – I carefully gave her a bath and tried to get every spot covered with a splodge of calamine lotion. She looked in the mirror and said: “I is a ghost!”

Wednesday – spots were appearing in her hair, her ears and even on her gums and an eyelid, poor girl. I gave her some children’s allergy syrup (chemist’s own-brand Piriton) to reduce the irritation. We were both getting fed up of Peppa Pig repeats on TV. She was bored at home and desperate for the spots to go. So bored, that at one point when our backs were turned, she sneaked into our room and painted her face – and our bedsheets – with purple glittery cream eyeshadow and black mascara. Argh!

Thursday – I had an excruciating hour in the dentist’s chair booked, so Bloke took over the morning pox-sitting duties. I understand there was a lot of bribery involved during my absence.

By Friday she was totally crusty, and theoretically no longer infectious, so didn’t miss out on Billy’s eighth birthday party on Saturday. She wasn’t even scratching too much.

Then on Sunday afternoon, inexplicably, unexpectedly, somehow she managed to poke herself in the eye with toy plastic sunglasses. She spent the entire night waking and wailing as her tears made the swollen eye even more sore.

Even as I’m writing we’ve been trying to persuade her – while she’s in screaming banshee mode – to take some Calpol and try a cold compress on it. She’s now tucked up, finally asleep, sprawled across our bed. It’s going to be a long night . . .

. . .UPDATE. . .

Back to school after a week off, and she still has slight fading marks after 14 days. . .

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Swapping childminder for nursery: farewell second mum

 END of an era for the kids this week, as Bonnie left our faithful Childminder Claire and moved to nursery.

The change has come after six years, on and off, of family-home childcare, and it’s a bit of a wrench.

Our older boys went to nursery when just a few months old. Things have certainly changed in a decade.

Back when I had Child 1, if you hadn’t been at the same job for two years then you only got three months maternity leave. Now you can have up to a year off (mostly unpaid).

At one point having Child 1 and Child 2 in nursery cost me over £850 a month. Which was more than I earned. I was £10 a month down. But I did it to hang on to a full-time job and (I thought), career.

Scroll forward to 2003 and time for one year old Child 3 to need childcare. Fees had gone up, while our wages stayed stagnant.

I was recommended Claire through a primary school teacher pal. It was not only cheaper to hire a childminder, but I got a good friend into the bargain.

She looked after Billy full-time until he started half-day nursery at three-and-a-half, then went had him part-time before he started school.

When I was running late she collected the boys from school for me. When I needed holiday cover she took them all in. Naturally, when Child 4 Bonnie came along, I went to Claire for childcare again, although this time I was a freelance, and my hours were much more erratic.

When her own daughter, Leah, came along after two sons, Bonnie had a playmate the same age. The pair of them have been partners in crime ever since. They giggle like, well, little girls.

Bonnie might be older by a few months, but two-year-old Leah is definitely the boss.

But Claire has decided to pack in the childminding, and spend some one-on-one time with her own offspring. So Bonnie is off to the same nursery that her eldest brothers attended.

It was funny and touching when we visited nursery with the boys, who haven’t been there for seven or more years. Lots of the same staff who looked after Jed and Doug as nippers were still there, and recognised them. There was much hugging and cheek-pinching, and bashful delight as the boys were told how tall and handsome they’ve grown.

Bonnie’s started this week, and the early signs are that she loves it. Tables with dough on? Painting areas? Brilliant!

But I suspect that despite all the new friends and excitement, she’ll miss her little mucka. I think we’ll be popping around for lots of cuppas to stay in touch. After all, Claire’s been like a second mum to Bill and Bonn. She’ll be missed.

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