A couple of weeks ago, we took Marley out to get chickenpox.

Sound harsh?

Well, yes, I suppose it is a bit….but we had actually been due to visit his chickenpox-ridden cousin anyway, even before we found out he was right in the middle of the most contagious phase.

We basically came to the conclusion that Marley – now that he is 2 and a half – is at as good an age as any to get the virus, so we took our chances.

It began about two weeks after that visit for Marley. And he was fine for the first couple of days; in good spirits and as happy as usual, no sign at all there was anything wrong except for a couple of little spots.

Monday and Tuesday were much the same, a few more spots maybe, but he was still pretty content and although he wasn’t allowed to go in to nursery he was more-or-less the same us usual.

But then there was Wednesday….

Marley was up most of the night – so WE were up most of the night.

We dabbed at his pox with calamine lotion regularly, we gave him anti-histamine to try and help with the itchiness. (One funny Marley Moment was when he made a funny face after having his medicine, so my wife asked him if he liked it and he replied: “it’s not the best!”)

We also plied him with about as much Calpol as it’s legal to give a toddler, but still he was boiling hot.

He was grumpy as hell because he was so incredibly itchy, rolling around like a dog to try and itch the pox on his back.

Basically, all night long, he was just miserable.

So in the morning, I escaped to go to work (I had a webinar I had to run and couldn’t get out of it – I promise!) but I was getting regular WhatsApp updates from home.

“He’s really uncomfortable and sad.”

“He’s miserable.”

“He didn’t eat breakfast and then he wanted porridge for lunch….and then he didn’t eat it.”

And when I got home, he was so fed up with it that he ended up just slumped over the coffee table with his head in his hands, wailing: “I’VE GOT CHICKEN POX!!

And still he itched….

We tried to find other reliefs for him. We got some gel that’s supposed to help, and we even gave him an oat bath – the aftermath of which reminded me of the end of an especially heavy night on the sauce….

Ultimately, it’s really hard to know what works and what doesn’t for chickenpox. Thankfully, by the time Thursday morning came round he had started to feel a little bit better.

The itching had relented. The pox went from being little red itchy things to larger crusty scabby ones (sorry for that little detail).

And after another oat bath – strained oats this time, after advice from friends on how to avoid a pukey-looking bath – he slowly got back to his normal self.

Chickenpox – check!

Another milestone reached for Marley….time to dance on the table.

Am I “spoiling” my child?

I took Marley to get his haircut last week. And since it’s an experience he’s still getting used to (he usually hates it) I thought it would be nice to treat him with a little toy afterwards, since he was such a good boy this time.

The truth is that when you step in to Trotters (the kids’ hairdresser/shoe shop/toy shop in Clapham) it’s almost impossible to leave without buying something anyway, such is the array of colourful shiny goodness on offer. Marley’s eyes light up the second we’re in the door.

I know I would have been an absolute nightmare in that shop as a kid!

Afterwards, as we walked home and Marley played with his brand new little toy helicopter, it occurred to me that I may have planted a dangerous seed that means he will now expect something new every time he gets his haircut. 

Or worse, maybe even every time he is a “good boy*”.

*He called his mummy a good boy the other day, which made me
laugh way more than it should….

To help me with this conundrum, I thought I would reach out to the blogger-sphere to see what other mum and dad bloggers thought, and see if they had any suggestions about how we avoid “spoiling” our children. 

This is the first ever guest post to appear on my blog, so thanks very much to my guest bloggers.

Here’s what they had to say:

Segilola Salami, mom blogger@iyayetunde1 |

I personally do not believe in giving rewards for the sake of it. I do believe in giving my daughter treats every now and then. Treats tend to be special and gives her something to look forward to. When she gets a surprise it makes her soooooo happy that she’s literally dancing around. 

On a day she’s not being compliant, I ask her: am I a good mummy? do I look after you very well? I then say “well if you know that I am a good mummy who looks after you very well and doesn’t do anything to intentionally hurt you, then you should know that me asking you to do [insert whatever action] is for your own good” she thinks about it and does what I ask.

That’s why I feel that communication is key. Instead of thinking of ‘spoiling’ (whatever that means) we should work towards improving our communication skills and empowering our children. 

Neil – One Dad’s View (dad blogger) | @One_Dads_View |

The term spoiling can be very wide reaching and mean a lot of different things to different people. It’s all relative to the individual family. That being said I can relate the subject to my own parenting style.

I think a lot of it comes from your own experiences as a child. My family wasn’t wealthy so I couldn’t expect the latest “new thing” whenever I wanted it growing up. That didn’t stop me asking though. My Mother was a great believer in teaching me the value of money and whilst I know I didn’t appreciate it at the time it’s stood me in good stead going into adulthood.

As a Father I try to reward good behaviour but at the same time I try to teach my Daughter that just because it happened the once, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen again. Treats are treats for a reason. I’m also firmly in the camp of “no means no”. I have used threats (no ice cream etc) when disciplining her for naughty behaviour and I make sure I follow through with them. This has led to a few trying moments but I hold my ground and I get past them. It works for me and my Daughter and I think our relationship is stronger as a result. 

The Twiglets Dad (dad blogger) | @DadOfCrazyTwins |

To me the “spoiling” of children is a difficult subject. 

Not because I think there is a right or wrong way to do it but because I genuinely think it is none of my business. If someone I know spends £2000 on their child for Christmas, takes them on 3 holidays a year and spends every weekend doing expensive activities then that is their choice and nobody should judge them for it. 

I’m not one of those parents but I would say that I do spoil my twins…just in a different way. I don’t spoil them with materialistic things but spoil them with things that they love and that feel special. For example, we may be having struggles at bedtime so if they go to sleep with no bother every school night for a week I’ll reward them with a “midnight feast”. For this I let them have pizza and some treats in the living room whilst watching a movie and let them stay up a bit later. I was always going to feed them but this way makes it feel special and, in a way, tricks them into good behaviour. 

So that would be my advice. 

Don’t stop rewarding them or spoiling them but instead just be clever with it. A reward doesn’t need to be a £20 toy or an expensive trip out. It can just be something you ordinarily do but just tweaked to give it a little something special that is unique to you and your kids which they will always remember doing


I think we can all agree, it’s OK to “spoil” our children (and ourselves) every once in a while**. 

**The fact that i’m writing this on a family holiday in the south of France, with a swimming pool only about ten feet away from me, is none of your business. 


Little people have to learn to be incredibly adaptable. 

Marley’s environment is an ever-changing one, his surroundings constantly shifting from place to place; from home to nursery, from supermarkets to friend’s houses, and from shops to cafes, pubs, buses, trains and all the rest. 

It’s difficult enough for us adults (“adults”) to adjust to those kind of changes, but at least we are usually in control of what we do and where we go – little Marley has absolutely no say over any of it. But nevertheless, most of the time he actually adjusts superbly. 

He takes in his surroundings, he absorbs all of what is going on around him and he very seldom complains about any of it. 

Unless he’s hungry or tired, of course.

But there are also other exceptions. 

He doesn’t take too kindly to seeing his Mummy or Daddy hugging anyone other than him, for example. Even if we are hugging each other! It’s usually cut off by a stern “NOOOOO” coming from his direction. 

And coupled with that frown. 

He does it with a smirk some of the time, especially when it’s only Mummy and Daddy hugging, so we know it’s not really upsetting him. But he does seem to find it difficult to handle affection being channeled in any other direction other than towards him.

When he started out at nursery, he was one of the youngest ones there. In recent months, he has become one of the more senior figures in his group, apparently often taking a leading role in whatever is going on and stamping his authority on it, which is lovely to hear. 

But one of the nursery leaders told us this week that whenever her own children visit the nursery, Marley has a bit of a hard time accepting seeing her with them and showing them affection. So much so, in fact, that her 8 year old daughter this week suggested wearing a disguise the next time she visits, to avoid Marley getting upset! 

I’m sure he’ll grow out of it soon – but in the meantime I wouldn’t advise hugging me in front of him!