Family: Janet Christie’s Mum’s the Word

PIC PHIL WILKINSON.TSPL / JOHNSTON PRESS''JANET CHRISTIE ,  MAGAZINE WRITER
PIC PHIL WILKINSON.TSPL / JOHNSTON PRESS''JANET CHRISTIE , MAGAZINE WRITER
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When nice is just sick

I love you mum.” “You’re the best mum in the world,” and “You’re so kind looking after me and being my slave, and never getting nippy at all, all week long.” Yep, Youngest is ill. And going by the sweet, grateful, kind things she’s saying to me, seriously ill. Our usual hostilities have been put on hold, and an armistice is in place. The problem is I’m too worried to enjoy it.

Yep, Youngest is ill. And going by the sweet, grateful, kind things she’s saying to me, seriously ill. Our usual hostilities have been put on hold, and an armistice is in place. The problem is I’m too worried to enjoy it.

I’m even more worried when she starts fretting about what she’s missed at school and asks me to call them to find out.

“No problem,” says the teacher, “I’ll see and get back to you, but tell her to get better and not worry about it – it’s almost the holidays!” His voice rises to a demob happy cheer.

Meanwhile Youngest spends a lot of time sleeping, curled up next to me, and I’m even allowed to stroke her head and annoy her with tempting treats when she wakes, none of which she manages.

Finally, there’s an improvement and she’s able to make it out of bed, as far as the garden, then the park, and finally, agrees to a quick trip to the shops for new trainers.

“At last,” I say as I drive, “those ones you’re wearing need a good boil wash.”

Out of the corner of my eye I see her flinch at the word ‘boil’. That’s a good sign. I was hoping for a “For God’s Sake, Mother!” but baby steps…

“Joking, I’d never do that,” I lie. I’ll do it when she’s asleep. What they don’t know...

Same with my proposed deep clean of the boydults rooms – I’ll be doing that when they’re at that festival in Spain, and in the meantime I’m corralling paint and materials in the shed out of sight. And throwing away the occasional item here and there as I go.

“You’re not chucking that!” says Middle Child, catching me about to recycle Mr Gum and the Biscuit Billionaire. “That’s SUCH a good book.”

“If you’re aged 7-11,” I say. “You’re in your twenties.”

“So, it’s still a good book. And the illustrations...”

“OK, keep it. But a tiny clear out never does any harm,” I say.

“Mum’s right,” says Youngest. “I’ll help.”

Nope, she’s still not well.