Ill II

I appear to be playing a game of pass the pathogen with my boy. After slipping him the common cold, which he re-imagined as throwing-up everywhere, he kindly handed it back to me as a cold, yes, but one with knives sticking out of it. At some point my wife joined-in but she didn’t quite get the rules and only savoured the horror for a day or two.

I, on the other proverbial, took possession of the malaise for a further week. Just as I was about to give it up we were awoken in the wee hours by a noise akin to Darth Vader attempting to shit away three cheese burritos and a litre of cookie-dough ice cream. On entering his room his little face was obscured by a veritable river of oily mucus that ran from his chin like busted guttering. The better half gathered him to her bosom where he was fed, but it was obvious from the horrific rasps that he was having problems breathing and eating simultaneously. Ten minutes later, at 3.25, he threw up all over the bed and us.

For the next three days he’d keep nothing down, just as you thought he’d turned a corner sick happened in a variety of disturbing situations. When he did finally keep something down the other end, which had been dormant throughout the sickness, kicked-off. If you’d told me a year ago that one day I’d be overjoyed to change an overflowing nappy would I’d have vehemently spurned you, that’s how much I hate seeing him puke.

Fortunately, he’d stopped throwing up before nursery day but downstairs it was business as usual. The evacuation he had after his breakfast, about fifteen minutes before I was due to drop him at nursery, was so bad he was transported to the bathroom on his changing mat and rolled into the bath still clothed.

The boy’s nursery is located in a notorious council estate in East London; it resembles a prison complete with buzzing security gates and razorwire. The estate in question is a lot calmer than it was a decade or so ago and the nursery itself rated ‘outstanding’ by people who rate such things, so this aspect of the grim weekly trek to drop him off isn’t an issue. My concerns revolve around, primarily, leaving him in the care of strangers, how much it costs for the privilege of doing so and the fact that the staff refer to him as ‘bubba’.

From what I can glean from Wikipedia (not that I’d trust that crap, especially after being commissioned to write an entry by my wife’s brother-in-law) and other slightly less salubrious sources, ‘bubba’ is an Americanism that derives from ‘brother’. Of course, a word can occupy two (or more) different meanings at once, so in addition to meaning ‘brother’ in the USA, the definition of ‘bubba’ in the UK is ‘baby’ whilst awkwardly retaining its American derivation. I’m sure some of the more rural parts of Norfolk and Gloucestershire think that’s fine, well I don’t. ‘Bubba’ gives me the bloody willies.

On the plus side, the word ‘bubba’ has helped taking the sting out of dropping him off at the nursery. By focusing on how much it annoys me I’m able to pass my son to a member of staff, turn away as if stopping myself from complaining about their referring to my little boy as ‘bubba’ and mentally pretend to ‘storm off’.

Now I’m down the corridor and on my way without having to turn back and get all upset as he watches his crazy dad preparing himself to return to his flat scattered with silent toys, small clothes and bits of shredded wheat that have become glued to the wall.