As all mothers know, the first few terms in the kindergarten hothouse for microbes are a litany of sickness. If it's not a cold it's the 'flu, if it's not the 'flu it's a tummy bug. From about October well into the following spring (okay, summer) everybody in this family has been for the last two years either sickening, sick or sicker. And sometimes all three at the same time. And more so since I took the rather rash decision to say 'yes' to the school board's kind request to introduce Cannobio's under-6s to my own mongrel language, which clearly also includes doing the business with 30 dribbling noses and a box of Kleenex.
But a week or so ago, there seemed to be a pause in the frantic round of temperature-taking, food and drug administration, disinfection of vomit-spots and all those secret pleasures of motherhood. It was as if an angel had passed over, raising a shining hand to still the storm, and Mama looked around the kitchen, slightly mystified. Two children, four Carmine cats. No coughs, retches, sneezes. No floppiness, no hot foreheads, no flushed cheeks. No aching limbs, no deathly pallor.
I was just starting in on the biggest sigh of relief I could raise, and thinking about opening a bottle of crémant du Jura to celebrate, when out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of something disturbing. There it was again in another part of the room. And again...and, oh my God, again.
B., eyes glued to Cinderella was scratching the back of her head vigorously. The Big Cat, Trouble and the Girl Cat were all in various yoga asanas, scratching, gnawing and nibbling.
Bugger! Dammit! And blast! Because Mama was doing it too - just the scratching that is (the yoga is next year's New Year's resolution).
So, Mama headed off to the herbalist for Paranix spray (recommended) and declared a girls' night in with B. The first ever, considering that Mama isn't very girlie, and B is only three. We ponged out the bathroom with ylang-ylang, we sprayed and waited. We shampood and we lathered, lathered and rinsed. And we finished off Mama's stock of fancy Joe Mallone shampoo to celebrate being female and to help us forget the ambient air temperature in the bathroom was 4°C. And then came the fifteen minutes of B-torture with the fine-tooth comb. And about an hour for Mama, whose hair is again longer than it ought to be for a woman of a certain age.
Soon, the itching had stopped and the scratching abated. And now all that remained was for Mama to spend a couple of days lurking around the village like a Stephen King loony-lady with a syringe full of anti-cat-flea serum. Not that I'm casting aspersions on the cats, I just thought I might as well get the little jumpy-jumpies that were bothering the cats as well while I was in the mood. Oh yes, and the other thing that remained was the mountainous plague-pile of clothes and bedding waiting to be laundered at 60°.
Phew. Panic over. As you were. Mama saves the day again.
Yesterday, I turned up at my first kindergarten class of the week and was greeted by the usual group of little bodies hurtling towards me for a welcome hug. As I leaned down, my loose hair brushed several little heads. Inwardly I smiled with nit-free contentment as I worked through our weekly flashcard contest to start the morning off, when out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of something disturbing...