Out of the blue, Boy-Child came at me with some hard-hitting questions about something I care deeply about. He has a bad habit of doing this, and I’m always less than prepared.
Boy-Child: Mum. Can you tell me about chicken pox?
Me: Chicken pox? That’s a serious illness that used to affect lots of children. You’d get very itchy sores all over you and feel like you had a terrible cold. Sometimes it was very bad and people stayed sick for a long time or got infections, or had permanent damage to parts of their body.
Boy-Child: But doesn’t everybody get chicken pox?
Me: No! Not anymore. There’s a vaccine for it now, so kids hardly ever get it these days. Remember when you and your sister went to see the nurse, and got those needles?
Boy-Child: YES! And ice-cream!
Me: Yes, but the ice-cream wasn’t the important part. The needles had special medicine in them to protect you from some nasty illnesses. One of them was chicken pox. So most kids have had those needles now and won’t get chicken pox anymore.
Boy-Child: Have you ever had chicken pox? When you were a little girl in the olden days?
Me: Yes. Thanks for that. I did, and it was horrible. I remember having to stay in bed for nearly two weeks, and being itchy all over, and having baths in calamine lotion. (Side note: It was probably even worse for my Mum, now that I think of it. Three of us were down with it at the same time, and I can’t remember whether she was pregnant or had newborn twins. Either way, stressful).
Boy-Child: deep thought… But I thought everyone got chicken pox in the winter time. Doesn’t everybody just get them?
Me: No! Not anymore. It used to be that way, but hardly anyone gets chicken pox these days because of those needles.
Boy-Child: more deep thought… But I’ve had chicken pox, haven’t I?
Me: No mate, not you.
Boy-Child: Yes I have! I’ve had chicken pox lots of times!
Me: No, darling. Even if you’d had chicken pox one time, you wouldn’t catch it again. And I’d remember if you’d had chicken pox.
Boy-Child: deepest of deep deep thoughts…Oh! That’s right! I remember now. I’m thinking about GOOSE pox. That I get on my arms and legs when it’s cold.
Me: Ahhh! Yes, those would be goose BUMPS. Different kind of poultry altogether. Far less unpleasant.
Boy-Child: So, when do I get my needle to stop me from getting goose pox?
Needless to say I reassured him that the potential sequelae of goose pimples are pretty minor and there isn’t a vaccine at this stage, despite the condition being rife in the community throughout the winter months.
Love that kid.