We've all been through several lurgies since school started again: cold, followed by stomach bug, followed by ANOTHER cold. Both began with Joe, who generously shared it with Timmy, who, in turn, gave it to Lily, and then Ray and I... But miraculously NOT Evie!
Then, I made a terrible mistake...
In much the same way as she stopped sleeping through the night the minute I dared mention to a couple of people that we finally had a baby who slept, I told my mum about Evie's strong constitution- after which Evie, predictably, began to get the dreaded cold.
The worst thing about her cold is the cough. A tiny, wheezy "old man" like cough - totally out of place coming from a baby. Every time I hear her (and luckily she doesn't cough that often) I feel myself tense inside as if I'm coughing too; but there is nothing I can do.
Because there was a little 'rattle' to the cough, I took her to the doctors, and - because this is France and this is what they do - they prescribed physio. Physio? I hear you ask! Yep. The physio manipulates her chest and stomach to help free the mucus from her teeny lungs. It's horrible to watch, but apparently doesn't hurt her. I was dubious, but all I can say is she's slept all afternoon afterwards - I don't think she's slept properly since developing the cold. So kudos to the French way!
I've long said that I'm sure most of the Brits wouldn't mind paying our 'top-up' insurance prices (90 euros per month for a family of six) if they got the standard of care we get in France. It's truly amazing.
Lily, meanwhile, had a little vomiting bug which began on Wednesday night. She threw up twice in the night and once in the morning, then was a little weak and feverish. But, bless her, she could have won an Oscar for her performance and the way she dragged this little bug out as long as humanly possible!
I should explain: Lily is normally the strongest and most resilient of us all! She barely misses a day of school and races around with all sorts of germs in her system... But over Christmas she had a bug and lay on the sofa for two days, being pampered by mum.
And I think something about that appealed (God, I'd LOVE to lie on the sofa for a day being pampered by anyone!). So with this latest mild bug, she took on the stance of a feeble woman from a historical drama - hands on forehead, wobbly voice. Literally saying "mummmeee" every two minutes and asking me to take her temperature about every five. I'm not an unsympathetic person, but by this lunchtime (about 24 hours since her last symptom) it was wearing a bit thin...
But I also knew that if it was a little 'overplayed' it was because she wanted attention. Which made me feel bad.
With four children HOW do you give them your all? I have but one lap, and two arms! Timmy and Lily in particular fight over my lap, with one of them plonking themselves down, and the other one trying to push the other off or surreptitiously pinch/punch the other... Joe wanders off with a smile and gets on with his own thing - and poor Evie isn't in a position to join the brawl. I've never felt so popular, or so wretched.
Because I can't cut myself in four.
And hang on, what about part 5. What about meeeeeeeeeee???? Plus, for some reason Lily always seems to land smack on my bladder when she sits on me (yes, I have bad sitting posture on the sofa) and so it always ends pretty quickly with me running to the loo...
Anyway, I played along with her Oscar winning performance, even when she said the fire (which had not been lit that day) was making her even hotter.
Finally, when it wore thin, I simply said that it was a shame she was so ill because I had been thinking about taking her to the soft play centre on Saturday, and that I hoped she would be well enough. Bit of reverse psychology - works every time!
Cue miraculous recovery...!! If only all problems were so easily fixed! Perhaps I'll tell some of the World Leaders that I'll take them to the soft-play centre, but ONLY if they stop being naughty and fighting... Worth a try?