My son has just been sick for the third time. I heard him wretching in the next-door room, but instead of rushing to his side, I carried on reading other people's blogs. My daughter screamed for me to come. 'Just a minute!' I shouted back casually, in time to take in a couple more paragraphs.
I'm no monster. There was a time when the merest sniffle would have had me hovering anxiously at my children's side, desperately trying to 'be there' for them in their pain. But years of mothering have hardened me. I'm now about as sympathetic and nurturing as Nurse Ratchet or the infamous 'matron' (ooh matron!) at my school - whose answer to everything was a dash of Witchazel (is that how you spell it?).
I blame it on too many false alarms, too many overreactions and far too many hours wasted in A and E. But I'm beginning to worry that it's pushed me a little too far the other way. When my daughter broke her thumb, I wrote it off as a sprain and took her to football practice (well, she could move it!); when my son announced that he was going to be sick in the car - I shouted "NOT NOW! Hold it in till I get beyond the roundabout!" (he didn't, he caught it in his lap poor lad); when my daughter put her hand through the downstairs window, I 'made' the right noises but cursed under my breath that once again we'd have to grace the corridors of our local hospital; and whenever I hear a scream from the trampoline in the garden I positively ignore it - so far, there's never been a real injury, but one day there might be.
The actual impact of my hard-nosed attitude towards illness in others hit home the other day when my daughter described just how irritated she'd felt towards another child who was crying during PE because her foot hurt. "For goodness sake!" she said "It wasn't even broken!"
What have I done?
I'm posting this blog in a rush, not to tend to my ailing child of course, but because my mother's coming to stay tomorrow and there's no telling whether I'll get a chance to blog in between mopping up the vomit or tending to my demanding guest - that is if I even survive the trauma.