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.

Kew Gardens with the grandparents

Although the seemingly endless days of 30°C we grew accustomed to over summer are now a fading memory (and Marley’s crab-suit has been packed away) the sun has still been out in force for autumn.

So it was perfect weather for Marley to take his visiting grandparents out to Kew Gardens at the weekend.

It’s a pity for Marley in some ways, living so far from both sets of grandparents – not to mention many of his aunties, uncles, cousins – so it’s a treat for him whenever they visit.

He is at an age now where it’s very apparent what’s on his mind – and the fact he’s also an incessant talker (good lad) makes it twice as clear what he’s thinking.






After just a few hours of them being here, the only words he seemed to be shouting were “GRANNY!” and “GRANDDAD!” at the top of his voice, which is really lovely.

And he had an especially great day out with them at Kew.

We spent a few hours there and probably still only managed to walk about a quarter of the grounds and visit a few of the glasshouses.

It’s all a feast for a toddler’s eyes, packed full of amazing colours and thousands of trees, plants and flowers, not to mention a few squirrels, geese, parakeets and other wildlife.

There’s even a tree-top walkway where I tried to get Marley more familiar with heights. 

It’s tricky, trying to teach someone not to be afraid of something that you yourself are a bit afraid of! 

Romesh Ranganathan summed it up beautifully in his interview with the Observer at the weekend:

“I’ve tried to tackle my fear of spiders because I don’t want my children to have that phobia. It hasn’t worked because they now realise that if a man sits rigidly still with a single teardrop rolling down his cheek, and he’s soiled himself, he’s probably scared of spiders.”

Thankfully, grandparents are immune to these kind of phobias – so they are more than welcome to come back down and visit any time we find a giant spider in the house…

After they left to travel back to Edinburgh, Marley was still asking where Granny and Grandad were the next morning.

A little reminder of how significant family is to little ones and their development…..and how important it is to enjoy the time we get to spend all together.