Testing, testing, testing - sometimes you want a positive result - Janet Christie

Testing, testing, testing

Mum's the Word
Mum's the Word

It’s all I ever do these days - PCRs and lateral flows. Not for me but for Youngest Child.

“It’s because you’re so good at it,” she says.

“Why thank you. Like I’m good with the washing machine and the baked potato and the car and the shopping and the mortgage.”

“Yes. Exactly.”

Hmph. I should be good with the Covid testing, I’ve had enough practice. With her holiday/clubbing/being pinged by work and friends I’ve become a dab hand with the dabber around Youngest Child who can’t bring herself to self-administer.

“Don’t you find it disgusting,” she says. “I do.”

“I’m a parent. I’m immune. There is no body fluid that I can’t handle,” I say as I swab the back of her throat.

“Euwww,” she says, making that strange noise that is an indication of disgust and results from watching too much American TV, or maybe I caught the dangly thing at the back of her throat.

“But when we were sick, didn’t you feel like being sick when you had to clean it up?” she says.

“Nope. Even now it doesn’t bother me, but thank you for stripping your bed and doing a wash immediately after your shenanigans out clubbing yesterday. Very thoughtful.”

“Yeah, well, I wouldn’t want to have to do that kind of thing for YOU.”

“Well you’ll be on the rota with the boys when it’s time to look after me.”

“No, I don’t think so,” she says firmly. “I think the boys will handle it better. They’re kinder.”

She’s always been squeamish, despite the piercings and tattoos with which she’s adorned herself. Happy to be harpooned but runs a mile at the sight of a bare foot. Even her own. And especially mine, coming over all Victorian at the sight of my toes: “Mother! Cover yourself up!”

She seals up the test for the post and returns to her laptop.

“Emails,” she mutters.

It’s exam results day and I’ve been dying to ask, but I let sleeping teenagers lie, so it’s already mid-afternoon and anyway I’m feigning “chill”.

“Yay! I passed, with merit. So I got in to uni.”

“Yes!” I rush over for a hug.

“Stop!” she cries.

“It’s OK. We’re allowed, daftie!”

“It’s not that. I think there’s still sick in my hair.”

This is really not how I envisaged this moment, but I’m a parent, I’ll take it.

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