"Yes, yes, let Edward see as much of Jamie as possible - let him get chicken pox and get it over and done with". So, approximately, went my side of the conversation at Christmas when the youngest cousin came out in spots on Christmas Eve.
On Sunday 8th January spots appeared. By Sunday evening he was a bit restless, and difficult to get to settle down to sleep. At 6pm or so we gave some calpol; at 9 or 10pm he woke up and came downstairs, hot and bothered, to fall asleep on David while I finished some work on the computer. Once I had finished I took him upstairs to sleep next to me in bed, David following. He refused water and another dose of calpol and was also slightly sick. We even did the glass test to check that the spots were blanching and I checked what the other symptoms of meningitis were, just in case (he didn't appear to have them, but was running such a high temperature that I was worried).
He was hot and would only sleep on one of us: I took all the coverings off him apart from over his feet, which were cold, but still he slept badly. At one point he woke and did drink some water; then at about 4a.m. he woke again, absolutely baking hot. I picked him up to sit on me and he started spasming, and crying: alternatively a sudden shout of distress or a high pitched cry. I was about to try to get some more calpol in him but having woken David saying 'this isn't right', we decided to phone NHS Direct - in fact David was all for my immediately calling 999. The upshot was the same: NHS Direct didn't want just one of us driving to hospital in case he got worse, and yet one of us had to stay here with the other two. By the time we had got through the various stages of the phone call and were waiting for the ambulance he was no longer having spasms, thank goodness, but was still amazingly hot.
After what felt like ages but was probably only about 15 minutes the paramedics arrived, and took Edward's temperature - about 39.7 degrees C! The paramedic told him it was the highest temperature he'd ever seen (I'm not sure that was true) and they took him and David off to the Cumberland in an ambulance.
The other two by now were awake and in tears. I have to admit I was close to tears myself but consoling them helped me to be less emotional: I knew logically they just had to get Edward's temperature down, and I know febrile convulsions can happen even with a post-innoculation fever (and he didn't have lasting convulsions so much as intermittent spasms). Even so I was worried and wished I could have gone in the ambulance as well. I took the other two back to bed with me for a cuddle - I'm not sure who was consoling who! - but Isabella kept talking and Alex kept playing with his torch, so at 6a.m. I told them to get up and watch television. I think at that point I must have fallen back to sleep as I'm pretty sure I was dreaming when the phone went at 7a.m. - David to say Edward was now fine (well, ish) and they needed fetching.
That was a relief - so a quick battle with Alex and Isabella to get them dressed and out of the house as soon as possible and off to the Cumberland Infirmary to pick up David and Edward. It was strange driving back there: it's just over a year since I was last there, walking out of the doors with a newborn in my arms. And so much for chicken pox always being a mild disease in children: Alex had a very mild form; Isabella's was worse; but Edward's has probably been as bad as an adult's (like a sort of spotty flu). He's been quite sleepy and wanting to cuddle up to either me or (yesterday) David and not had much appetite, though each evening he seems to have been better. Numerous spots in his groin area don't help: changing his nappy really upsets him at the moment. Still, a few days and he'll be his usual self again. Meanwhile I've reverted to 4-7 month old purees as I think they're softer in his mouth: though he also keeps asking for digestive biscuits... (what bad habits his father is getting him into!).
Just as you think you're back into a routine something always happens to upset it!