What The Pox Taught Me

Image by Myriams-Fotos from Pixabay

Well it has been a while hasn’t it? I have been prompted out of my blog semi-retirement (okay, not retirement, more like a really really long holiday/gap year) by something that happened last night. I’d written a blog on The Motherload entitled ‘Five Parenting Phrases That Need to be Banned‘ last June – I remember it attracted a few funny comments at the time on the group, but randomly CBeebies HQ shared it on Facebook yesterday! I’m not gonna lie, it was pretty exciting watching the likes and shares creep up and seeing some of the hilarious responses. And it made me feel a bit sad that I hadn’t blogged in so long!

My issue has been dual fold and involved both time and motivation. Bizarrely I haven’t really felt compelled to sit down in front of a laptop for a non-work reason, and I didn’t want to force myself to write – that doesn’t seem productive in any way.

Anyway we are where we are. I used to feel compelled to apologise when I’d been away for a while (I used to write three times a week back when I was pregnant for the first time, can you believe it? But then I also used to nap most days and I’d never seen an episode of Paw Patrol so…)

Life updates:

The last few months have been full on to say the least. Who’d have thought having two toddlers would be tiring?! WHAT. Other than the day-to-day ups and downs of life with two (no longer) under two:

  • Alexandra, who is still referencing her birthday ‘next week’ (end of August) approximately every three hours, got a place at our first choice primary school. I wasn’t one of those parents up at 2am frantically refreshing my emails to see if the offer had landed yet, but I was pleased as we really like the school – and by we, I mean Alex as well as I was keen to involve her in the decision despite her being so little.
  • The baby turned two. It’s been a bit of a stretch calling Max a baby for a while, but now he’s definitely officially a toddler and there’s no denying it. Remember that advert from ages ago where the drunk teenage jumps off a building thinking he can fly? That’s like Max day to day without any alcohol involved. He has zero sense, zero fear but he also runs up and gives me the biggest kiss ever if I tell him I love him – a toddler of two sides.
  • For a long time we’ve been watching the first four series of Paw Patrol on Netflix, then we discovered that Amazon Prime has five and six for free too. Alex calls it ‘new Paw Patrol’ and we have now watched each episode approximately 37647568 times. Last night, Dylan and I had a serious discussion about why Jake isn’t actually such a cool guy as well as ranking the pups (Rubble is Dylan’s fifth favourite…which is clearly absolute BS!)

And lastly, as you maybe gleaned from the title of this blog, THE POX invaded. I feel like pox needed to be in caps because it’s such a big household event – you’re sort of primed for the fact it’ll happen at some point as your kids grow up, but you have no idea when. And then it hits! So here’s five things I learned from both Alexandra and Max having the pox:

  1. People will feel really bad when the second one gets it (Max’s spots appeared 15 days after Alex’s – incubation can be up to 21 days according to the NHS website so there can be quite a gap between the two). But actually you feel slightly relieved that it’s going to be all done and dusted in one go, so you don’t have to worry about it again (and the side effects are meant to be less severe the younger they are?).
  2. They might surprise you – the children that is, not the pox. Alex doesn’t normally like too many cuddles and kisses, but she became really clingy on the days where she didn’t feel well, wanting me to stay with her in her room. I was expecting Max, my already much more cuddly child, to be the same or worse; but actually he sailed through pretty much acting as normal.
  3. Being inside sucks! I’m someone who doesn’t mind being at home a fair bit, but having spent most of the month of April stuck inside, I started to feel a bit twitchy. Last week, Dylan offered to pop into Asda for the bits we needed on his way home and I practically begged him to come home so I could go instead – those 20 minutes were the highlight of my day.
  4. You’ll muddle through. The week Alex had hers, the plumbers were in fitting our new bathroom so we had no access to a bath to help soothe her pox. They appeared on a Monday (the pox not the plumbers) and by the latter end of the week I felt so behind with everything in the house and work, but somehow we got back on to an even keel and no spinning plates smashed completely, despite being a little chipped in places.
  5. Life is mean – I’ve never had pox so my major worry has always been that I’d get it at the same time as the kids which would present difficulties if I wasn’t well enough to look after them. So far, nothing has happened but I did manage to get a horrible bug just as Max was starting to recover from his. Thanks life!

The spots are healing now, and the horrible all-over itchy feeling I’ve had for the last four weeks despite not having it myself has almost gone! So here’s to May and good riddance to the pox and the month of April!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Kids’ TV

Apparently this is how we watch television.

Apparently this is how we watch television.

Up until quite recently, we’d managed to quite successfully avoid exposing Alexandra to much television. Not that I’m judging people who do, I just severely judge kids’ TV itself! She’d seen her fair share of films when she was a tiny and used to stay downstairs with us until we went to bed and also watched the first series of Man in the High Castle with us (never too early to teach them a bit about Nazis!) but as we don’t normally watch much TV until later in the evenings we hadn’t really had it on when she was awake once she slept in her own room.

Then we got to this stage where firstly I’m working from home during the day so there’s inevitably some time where she needs to amuse herself and secondly she’s worked out how to operate the TV! Hiding the remotes is no good as she then uses the buttons on the screen itself (I didn’t even know there were buttons on the screen!), trying to block the way to the TV with toys is no good because she then climbs over them to reach it.

This is a problem in two ways: one that our TV/stand is constantly covered in grubby handprints no matter how many times a week I clean it, the other that I’m then forced to listen to what she’s watching!

We don’t have it on that often but when we do I find myself getting overly worked up about how ridiculous it is. Today I saw a boy walking to the park with his granddad. Why is this television? The worst of it was they were walking holding hands and the camera clearly wanted to focus on the boy’s face so it was at an extremely awkward height for the granddad and us viewers were treated to plenty of crotch shots. Grim.

Topsy and Tim irritates me no end, mainly because of their names. Who has twins and calls one a ‘regular’ fairly common name like Tim then plucks Topsy out the air for the other one? Plus I really want to know what’s happened to their dad but don’t feel like there’s ever going to be a ‘the day mom found out dad was having it off with his secretary’ episode (correct me if I’m wrong, I haven’t watched any of the past episodes).

Then there’s some weird programme about a granddad who shrinks himself using a magic hat. Somehow their parents (who seem to think it’s fine to ‘pop’ out for the entirety of the episode even though granddad goes ‘for a nap’ leaving the children to fend for themselves) don’t notice a tiny version of the old bloke running around, flying toy planes etc. Even though the boy is talking to him for the whole time?

Don’t even get me started on the presenters – definitely all on drugs (allegedly. If I learned one thing from my journalism career, it’s add the word allegedly on to any claim you make!)

Harriet and Alexandra x