Copyright © Louise Bostock 2007-2013. Please give credit where credit is due.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

A plague upon our heads

Zero degrees at 8:30am. But the bright sunshine is warm enough to take our lunch, of pasta homemade with our own eggs, out to the churchyard beside the Chiesa di San Gottardo, where spring thoughts come unbidden and we start to make plans for the garden.

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.

Scratching.

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...



12 comments:

Hanneke Nelson said...

Ah yes, those lovely perks of child care. Haven't seen anything jump yet. Knock on wood. Thanks for stopping by Northwoods Adventures.

ladyfi said...

Oh - you are funny about fleas - and nits! My absolute horror as my daughter has cornrows and very thick curly African hair that just CANNOT be combed with a flea comb! The nightmare scenario would be that she gets lice and we have to shave her gorgeous hair off...

Friends had lice last week - I'm still itching at the thought of it... This post has pushed me over the edge! Chocolate is needed... ;-)

choir girl said...

Loved it Louise - we've all been there!!!

Louise said...

Lady Fi : I can certainly see how fine-combing African hair, corn-rows or not, would be a nightmare.

Choirgirl : Let's hope not to be going there again!

Hanneke : I'd love to hear the story of the wig at some point...

Caution Flag said...

Seeing that itching, awakening to the realization, rushing to the store for the proper shampoos and combs. Been there and now praying never to return!

Will S said...

Don't you just love that crunch they make when you squash them with your thumb nail?

Woodman said...

Brilliant again. What a great way with words. You certainly deserved your degree (1st Class) in English.

Joy said...

Having lived thru all of the above...I can say those early elementary years are rough and boy they come down with everything. Mine seem have developed some immunity now and we rarely have a sick day. As for the lice. We've dealt with that too after summer camp a couple of years ago. I found that Lice Ice (natural remedy vs. chemical) if you can find it there is the best and also using Teatree shampoo as a deterrent. They also hate hairspray so put your hair in a ponytail and spray with hairspray. Our local elementary school is having a time with it now as well. Its because of all the coats and scarfs the kids are piling up together.
always something huh.
♥ Joy

Carol said...

I remember getting nits at school and I couldn't believe anything could be so itchy!! Thankfully I only got them the once but I too remember the pain of that comb being scraped over scalp!!

C x

Sarah said...

Now I itch all over LOL.

It does get better as they get older. I spent the first few years wondering why people thought childcare would make work possible, since I flet like I was constantly off work taking care of a sickie of being horribly ill myself.

bettyl said...

Ah, yes, a memory I don't ever want to relive!

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Oh, lordy, that was a vivid description andd now I'm sure I'm seeing something out of the corner of my eye....

Thursday, 28 January 2010

A plague upon our heads

Zero degrees at 8:30am. But the bright sunshine is warm enough to take our lunch, of pasta homemade with our own eggs, out to the churchyard beside the Chiesa di San Gottardo, where spring thoughts come unbidden and we start to make plans for the garden.

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.

Scratching.

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...



12 comments:

Hanneke Nelson said...

Ah yes, those lovely perks of child care. Haven't seen anything jump yet. Knock on wood. Thanks for stopping by Northwoods Adventures.

ladyfi said...

Oh - you are funny about fleas - and nits! My absolute horror as my daughter has cornrows and very thick curly African hair that just CANNOT be combed with a flea comb! The nightmare scenario would be that she gets lice and we have to shave her gorgeous hair off...

Friends had lice last week - I'm still itching at the thought of it... This post has pushed me over the edge! Chocolate is needed... ;-)

choir girl said...

Loved it Louise - we've all been there!!!

Louise said...

Lady Fi : I can certainly see how fine-combing African hair, corn-rows or not, would be a nightmare.

Choirgirl : Let's hope not to be going there again!

Hanneke : I'd love to hear the story of the wig at some point...

Caution Flag said...

Seeing that itching, awakening to the realization, rushing to the store for the proper shampoos and combs. Been there and now praying never to return!

Will S said...

Don't you just love that crunch they make when you squash them with your thumb nail?

Woodman said...

Brilliant again. What a great way with words. You certainly deserved your degree (1st Class) in English.

Joy said...

Having lived thru all of the above...I can say those early elementary years are rough and boy they come down with everything. Mine seem have developed some immunity now and we rarely have a sick day. As for the lice. We've dealt with that too after summer camp a couple of years ago. I found that Lice Ice (natural remedy vs. chemical) if you can find it there is the best and also using Teatree shampoo as a deterrent. They also hate hairspray so put your hair in a ponytail and spray with hairspray. Our local elementary school is having a time with it now as well. Its because of all the coats and scarfs the kids are piling up together.
always something huh.
♥ Joy

Carol said...

I remember getting nits at school and I couldn't believe anything could be so itchy!! Thankfully I only got them the once but I too remember the pain of that comb being scraped over scalp!!

C x

Sarah said...

Now I itch all over LOL.

It does get better as they get older. I spent the first few years wondering why people thought childcare would make work possible, since I flet like I was constantly off work taking care of a sickie of being horribly ill myself.

bettyl said...

Ah, yes, a memory I don't ever want to relive!

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Oh, lordy, that was a vivid description andd now I'm sure I'm seeing something out of the corner of my eye....