Jennie Walker
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Momming Big Style

When Changing Your Name from Mama to Nurse Seems the Only Sensible Option...

You know you've been "momming big style" when the first things you notice after opening your eyes are a sick bowl, nit comb and bottle of CALPOL. It used to be a random high heeled shoe, empty wine bottle and sparkly dress. Yet, if someone could tell me why my head still feels groggy and I'm having post event flashbacks, I'd be ever so grateful!

Like one of Harry Potter's horcrux, each of these item holds part of a parent’s soul and most definitely elements of my once robust sanity. Added together they paint a picture of a 43-year-old woman on the edge, who over the last three months has shepherded her two lambs through more ailments, infections and viruses than you could shake a medical dictionary at.

On a rolling basis for approximately 14 weeks I have been nurturing one precious monkey through his/her respective medical episode only to find that they have tag teamed their sibling who then takes up the challenge the following week with an utterly different affliction. And some of these are so random and "out there" that you honestly couldn't make them up!

In no particular order we have had vomiting bugs, heavy colds, nose infections and dehydration not forgetting suspected pneumonia and very early onset puberty (not I agree something normally considered to be a medical incident, but seriously in this case you had to have been there!) We’ve had exploding bowels followed by extreme toddler constipation and a nasty creeping blood infection that warranted six hourly doses of the strongest antibiotics known to man. And when I say "six hourly" that involved waking my eight-year-old up at 4 AM for five days straight to cajole and plead with her for half an hour to swallow bright red liquid that looked like syrup, but tasted like rattlesnake venom.

I know there was more I could relay, but my bunny in the headlights brain has had to ditch some of the lesser incidents to make way for the bigger and I gave up letting people know how everyone was after we notched up our fifth.

The ironic thing is though, the one that nearly finished me off was the invasion of head visitors, no not a team of CBT trained Dr’s or shrinks (although by then I really needed them), but when my daughter caught nits.

Over her five years at school and nursery we had managed to dodge the nit bomb on many an occasion. So often in fact that I had started to get a bit smug about the whole thing. Reaching into her school bag I would pull out the crumpled photocopied piece of paper warning parents that head lice were once again rampant and I became accustomed to the feeling of "not on my watch" sensation which normally followed. So when I clocked my little girl peering into the freezer section at Tesco’s while maniacally scratching, I did a double take and made a mental note to do an ad hoc head check later that evening. What I saw haunted my nightmares for days afterwards. Rather than "setting up camp" the little blighters had built an Olympic village complete with athlete accommodation and "happy just to be there" volunteers.

You see the problem is that just like me my daughter is blessed and, in this case, cursed by the thickest head of hair in the universe. Thankfully it’s not coarse and unruly, but if you were to take the hair follicle quota of your average woman, add it to her sister’s and best friends then plonk them on one head, you’re getting the general idea.

The NHS website mockingly informed me that it should take around 30 minutes to comb through a child’s hair with a fine-toothed nit comb. I gave up checking my watch after four hours.

Naively, I also believed their fairytales about random checks a few days later and how this would ensure "none had been missed." After nearly five weeks and a veritable molotov cocktail of remedies we were finally nit free, but by then I was dreaming about them whilst twitching and itching. I still haven’t forgotten the memory of my beautiful girl climbing out of the car on the way to school and seeing one literally march across her hairline in the school carpark—not 24 hours after I had made one of many declarations that she was now sans la lice!

The annoying thing is looking back all of this is connected, you see if I hadn’t been stressed out, sleep deprived and three sheets to the wind due to the afore mentioned medical predicaments I wouldn’t have forgotten to liberally spritz my daughter’s hair with her detangling spray after her regular shampoo and condition. Likewise her hair went for a while without being braided and plaited every morning for school and was worn down a little bit more au natural for speed ... What a mistake-a to make-a!

Thankfully we are off that particular hamster’s wheel and firmly onto another, as is normally the way in parenting phases, but some habits are hard to drop. So, if your planning on popping by, don’t be embarrassed just give me the nod and I’ll have my cavers light strapped on my brow, nit comb in hand and checking your barnet for unwanted squatters before you can say "nit safari!"

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