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A pox on you!

A rash has descended on the household, and on my poor son specifically. Having been “lucky” to have missed the usual toddler round of spot-inducing illnesses, he has now been caught well and truly by the bug and is looking very similar to a dot-to-dot puzzle – we’re watching in wonder to see what the final picture might be.

I have to confess to more than a touch of guilty panic when the first spots began to appear. OK, I admit it – I was cr*pping myself.

I have been a conscientious objector to the MMR vaccination program – fuelled almost entirely by the passionate conviction of at least three sets of very normal, sane parents (both family and friends) whose boys are diagnosed in various degrees on the autism spectrum, and who each assert that their boy was perfectly well, healthy and without issues – for want of a better word – prior to receiving the second MMR jab. Having read with trepidation arguments for and against vaccination, we went ahead – with crossed fingers – with the second jab for our daughter and decided against it in our son.

We felt all very comfortable, confident and noble until the recent measles epidemic – or at least the warnings of such – became public in our locale; and, of course, the first crop of suspicious “Koplik-stylie” spots appeared on darling boy’s face a few days later.

Guilt (with a capital G, if you please) in my parenting is an almost constant niggling companion. Am I feeding them the right things? Does anyone else give them their 5-a-day in tablet form? Should they be wearing organic hemp and/or be vegetarian?

As a working mum, Guilt then likes to introduce me to its sinister evil twin -Tinie-Timepoor (geddit? I’m sooo down with the kids) wearing suitable hoodie and bling. Tinie wants me to consider: Am I spending enough time with the kids? Am I engaging correctly? Should I give up money and job satisfaction for parental presence and availability? And the killer punch – was I/am I still selfish to have them and not be at home to look after them?

It’s a nowhere road leading to potential clinical depression and insomnia. I refuse to go there.

Well, this weekend Guilt brought along another friend to deliver the first crop of my son’s spots. This one we shall call Marg-regret. Good old Marge likes to bustle in and question whether I should have had those jabs after all, rather than risk the unpleasant side-effects of measles etc Should I have followed the herd and just gone along with it? Tinie then joins in and suggests that maybe I didn’t give the whole issue enough thought and just took the easy option. Then Guilt sits in my lap, strokes my weeping eyes and says it’s all too late now anyway.

Great – it’s like having the Bee Gees in the room. Barry, Robin and Maurice, all singing their poison into my brain in a strident falsetto and frankly sounding not unlike the cat stuck in the pea-netting again.

Luckily for me, I have been given a convenient volume knob with which to silence them. 24 hours on and we are clearly looking at chickenpox, not measles. Against which we could not have vaccinated him anyway. Which does not cause potential deafness or other such nasties (to my knowledge and a quick Google search). Which is unpleasant, certainly, but not life-threatening.

Thank you, chickens of the world for your innocuous spots and mild fever. A pox on you Guilt, Tinie and Marge! Go back to the deep recesses of my psyche and leave me alone. If measles does come along, no doubt you’ll be back once again to screech “Tragedy” at me in gloating triumph once again. And I will accept it. After all, decisions in parenting are made with the consequences in mind – usually!

Now, the next task is to explain to darling boy that Sports Day next week (his last Sports Day, his last chance to shine in the sprint before leaving primary school this summer) is – er – cancelled due to spots. Now, where did Guilt go? I think I feel a tune coming on…..