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.


There have been various learnings since my last post, both for myself and the little man. 

He’s been picking up the words to various songs and nursery rhymes at a steady rate lately. A couple of his current favourites are Baa Baa Black Sheep (“baa baa baaaaaa”) and Row, Row, Row the Boat (“rooo rooo roooooo”). 

He’s also picked up some bits and bobs of Twinkle Twinkle and he knows most of the actions to The Wheels on the Bus. But one that he has not quite got to grips with just yet is Heads, Shoulders, Knees & Toes….partly because half way through his attempts at learning it, he developed a bout of a horrendous and little-known disease.

If you don’t already know about Hand Foot & Mouth disease, it’s most likely because you either a) had a mild case of this as a child but were too young to remember, or b) you managed to escape it’s cruel and evil clutches. Until now, at least…because it turns out, this is NOT just a baby disease. 

It is important to point out that this is NOT the same disease made famous by the 2001 outbreak of Foot & Mouth, despite what some people may try and have us believe….

The outbreak all began during a work trip to Berlin at the end of October. (work trip for me, not Marley).

I received a photo message while there, which showed a few spots on his little hands. He’d had some trouble eating that day and seemed to have a bit of pain in his mouth. 

Hand foot and mouth, my wife was told. Stay away from nursery. 

I returned home a few days later, and Marley seemed fairly happy. The spots were disappearing, he’d got his appetite back. Everything was getting back to normal. 

Marley and I moments after I got back from Berlin

Or so we thought.

Day Two back home. I notice a couple of dry spots on my hand. What’s that?

Must be the cold weather coming in, I think. Nothing to worry about.

Day Three. They have got worse. Red spots. On my feet as well. And what is that by my mouth? Some small, red patches…..oh, God…..

Day Four. The itching has begun. When I look back now, I don’t remember it being that bad. But then my wife reminds me of what I said during the night of Day Four:

“I want to cut my hands and feet off”. 

Day Five. My mouth is on fire. I can’t eat. 

On Day 6, thankfully things started to get better. So by Day 7 I had my appetite back and things began to gradually improve. It was another full week before the skin on my hands and feet healed and I was able to actually see other people without risking giving them a bout of this horrific disease. 

Speaking to a friend who is a GP, he advised that the disease can often be much worse in adults than in children. He also said that in some cases, the disease can return (please God no) but this is very unusual.

Anyway, the moral of the story is that if you hear of ANYONE with Hand, Foot & Mouth disease, whether they are children or adults, stay the hell away from them!

In the meantime, we’ll go back to teaching Marley some more nursery rhymes. 

Here goes, Marley:

“Heads, shoulders, hand foot and mouth…..hand foot and mouth……”