My older kids had the chicken pox at the same time, when my son was 3 and my daughter was one. Like my memory of most things from many years ago, the specifics are fuzzy now. The pictures show me that my daughter was badly afflicted, and my son not as much. I really only remember the last few days of my daughters case, when the pox had scarred over and she was feeling much better I decided to take her and her brother and my best friend up to Strawberry, Arizona for the annual Strawberry Festival. We had a mostly lovely time, but toward the end, my daughter had had enough, and had perhaps not been ready for such a tiring day trip. A picture I snapped once we had piled back in the car and prepared for the long journey home shows her red faced, pox ridden, and just exhausted. I feel guilty every time I look it, the poor thing.
I do remember the oatmeal baths and the calamine lotion. So, when Rafe was in the shower one morning last week and I noticed a few little red dots on him and, for about the 6th time in as many months, proclaimed it to be chicken pox. It was the first thing I thought of, “Where the hell am I going to find calamine lotion in Britain?” After inspecting his spots closer and confirming that they were, in fact, the characteristic blisters of Chicken Pox, I made a mental list of everything I’d need to see him through, even considering emailing my mom and asking her to send me a bottle of calamine lotion. I quickly scrapped that idea however, it takes the combined might of Royal Mail and USPS two weeks to deliver a freaking Christmas card. By the time a bottle of calamine lotion arrived I’d probably open it and think “Why in the world is mom sending me calamine lotion? Has she gone loopy?”
Rafe was not feeling well at the beginning of last week. He complained of his tummy hurting, he had a fever, he seemed lethargic. I worried for 3 days about it being appendicitis. When I discovered the pox, I thought his illness of the previous few days was just the beginning and was panicking. I needn’t have worried. True, Rafe was very tired by the end of the first day, and true the next day he was very tired and spiked a fever, but by the 3rd day I was wondering if I really could justify not sending him to school. He was fine. In fact, the last 6 days have been a holiday for him. He spends his days playing the Wii, building structures out of his legos, going to the park, making cupcakes with mommy. Even his spots had healed 90% by the 4th day. I tell him not to scratch, but I think only because it’s traditional. When they do bother him, he rubs them with his palm.
I’ve kept him home the last two days because despite most of his spots having already disappeared, I have noticed a few new ones popping up. Chances are he’ll go back tomorrow.
Rafe is a lovely child, with an amazingly sweet temperament, and he doesn’t get truly sick to often. But, he is also a child who throws up when we move to a new house, and when we go on holiday. He spikes a fever regularly, for no apparent reason, and obsesses over every scratch he gets. After a normal day, he falls asleep within seconds of us turning out the light and closing the door. So, I thought chicken pox was going to hit him hard. Fever, no appetite, lying in bed the whole time. I’m so glad I was wrong. I’m also glad that we decided, for unrelated reasons before the pox, to move his big birthday party up a week, he would have been so sad if we’d had to cancel it.