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To be a parent is to be a nurse

Posted by Esther Walker
Esther Walker
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on Tuesday, 07 February 2012

There is no time in parenting more claustrophobic or suffocating than when a child is ill. And they're ill an awful lot. No-one ever told me that. No-one ever said "By the way, to be a parent is basically to be a nurse." Vomiting and diarrhoea is the worst, as it's not only claustrophobic but smelly and requires an awful lot of laundry. Well, I say an awful lot, I mean even more than the normal gargantuan lorry-loads.


I took Kitty to the library the other day, that was my first mistake. It's a cheerful and welcoming place, the childrens' section of the library, and Kitty loves it. But clean it is not. And discerning about the health of the children it lets through its doors even less not. I saw more than one green and peaky face but tried to suppress my hateful bourgeois preciousness about preserving Kitty's health. "She needs to get ill," I try to tell myself. "If not now, then at nursery, ten times worse." But when I saw a four year old standing in the corner by the Harry Potters, coughing on and on, greenly, phlegmily, foully, for a full five minutes, I wrestled Kitty into her buggy and made a bid for the High Street.


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