We have a red cross upon our door. You don’t need to quite abandon all hope if ye enter here, but frankly we are not far off.
On Monday morning Trulove called, ‘..er, Vic..’ in his fake-calm voice which always strikes a stake of fear through my heart, ‘can you come here a minute? I don’t think Pickle’s very well,’ I casually dashed to see, and there was Pickle’s little pixie face obliterated with dark red blotches from hairline to chin. I managed to smother a screech. Luckily Pickle was still perky enough to be interestedly investigating Ziggler’s nose cavities or we’d’ve whisked her to A&E.
In the doctor’s waiting room everyone was doing that staring-but-not-really-staring thing people do at facial disfigurements. Life must be tricky if you have a permanent one. Even the doctor, who must see a billion oozing sores a day, did a sympathetic clucking noise. She diagnosed impetigo, gave us some medicine and some cream, and told us to stay away from everybody for a week. Ziggler, she said, can go to nursery if she is not showing any symptoms.
I had to ask Sausage if impetigo is something we should be embarrassed of, like a cockroach infestation or Gonorrhoea. Her non-committal reassurance told me that yes, we should. So I am a bit, because I am more kippers-and-curtains (as my late Grandmother would say) than I care to admit and also because whenever one of the children is ill, I feel guilty because surely I should have done something to prevent it.
There is nothing more pathetic than a baby with impetigo. Pickle is generally all right and still chatting nonsense and chasing the cat, but she has developed a new sob that sounds like Mutley off Whacky Races’s laugh and she is specialising in an expertly dejected, blotchy (and now crusty) facial expression. There is nothing more pathetic than a baby with impetigo unless it is her nearly three-year-old big sister who pretty much cannot bear all the sympathy and attention the baby with impetigo is getting. Ziggler is at once a bit worried about Pickle, intensely bored and restless because we can’t go out, and trying every trick in the book to be more worth of a cuddle than the poorly baby. She is whimpering, clambering on mummy’s knee when Pickle is already sitting there and demanding Octonauts on loop (by the way, Dear Iplayer manager, I hope you are well. Please could you add at least a couple more Octonauts episodes to your list before I go completely insane? I am now dreaming about the Lost Lemon Shark. Thank you very much and yours sincerely, thismothersday.).
So, day three in the house. Although we have all been scrutinising ourselves and each other for signs of The Scourge at the slightest itch or tickle we seem to have, so far, escaped. Pickle slept barely a wink on Monday night and Trulove was poorly so he stayed at home yesterday. I took Ziggler out to playgroup. I felt a bit guilty (again) about enjoying myself when my baby is afflicted as we dawdled and jumped in puddles in our wellies on the way home. And when people asked where Pickle was I made sure I said, quickly, ‘she’s at home with impetigo but it’s ok the doctor said Ziggler could go out as long as she didn’t have a rash and you can see she doesn’t’ just so nobody thought I was an irresponsible member of the community.
Poor little Pickle slept soundly and long last night (apart from a pleasant little interval when we remembered we hadn’t given her her medicine before bed and had to wake her spotty, sniffly self up). She’s still blotchy but a bit crustier and therefore, I think, a bit better. It’s still heart-rending to look at her. She’s still not allowed in public for a couple of days. We are, of course, all a bit squabbly and cabin feverish. We’ve run out of milk and I’m not sure when I’ll be able to nip out and get some. If you don’t hear from me in at least a week, I’ve probably been axe-murdered by Ziggler in a jealous crime de passion. Otherwise we’re probably just about all right.