Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Autumn leaves and sick children

Beautiful autumn day with a blue sky of startling clarity behind trees in the last ebb of autumn leaves. The mornings are getting colder which is bad news given our heating system is looking decidedly dodgy and in the interests of safety we decided we should probably have it serviced before we turn it on. However despite what I hoped was a winning tone rather than a downright pleading whine, the earliest date for a service was June 13th. Keep your fingers crossed for a warm spell, otherwise we may be forced to turn it on regardless, in which case Pluto the dog could have a new canary like role in testing for carbon monoxide.

State primary schools in our area take their school band and orchestra programmes very seriously. DQ No. 3 plays saxophone in the school band and has to attend two forty-five minute practices a week with a professional band master. At this time of year things start getting a bit serious, as all the school bands compete in the Yamaha Festival in June. As part of the build up, the two school bands and the orchestra go off for a weekend to get in some serious and concentrated practise. Band camp is a major undertaking, involving over eighty children, seventy parent volunteers, lots of music tuition and practise interspersed with child amusement activities. The highlight as a volunteer parent is sleeping in a children’s cabin – basically my annual bunk bed outing.

True to form when I picked DQ3 up from school on Friday ready to ferry her up to the camp, she was clutching her head and stomach simultaneously whilst moaning piteously. In order to put things into context, DQ3 could be renamed Lupine Girl as she cries wolf so often and is the past master of the sore tummy/headache technique, so my sympathy was limited; wrongly as it transpired.

After ten minutes at home and much jolly parental encouragement she decided that actually she was fine and able to attend the camp and I gaily deposited her there. I should have know better, she immediately called my bluff and I got a phone call at 7am on Saturday morning to say she had thrown up during the night.

She has been looking interestingly pale and gently loitering on the sofa ever since. I’ve spent a couple of nights cuddled up with her in the spare room but it is like sleeping with a bush pig. She grunts and snuffles and grinds her teeth with an unnerving vigour.

Drama Queen no.1, ever sympathetic to sibling illness, is now driving me insane by asking me if I think it is hygienic to have sick people in same room as a food. One of my many mistakes this year was allowing DQ1 to select psychology as an elective subject at school. This has given her a whole new perspective on her family and enables her to diagnose all of us as suffering from numerous mental problems.

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