Over the last few weeks, I’ve been asked to help run campus tours for the new people auditioning for my course. It’s a great experience, if a little surreal knowing that these people will be starting in September, by which point I’ll already be gone, but it’s fun.
During one of these tours yesterday, I got a phone call that every parent must dread.
‘Hi, Maddy. Can you come and pick her up? She’s running a fever and the Calpol hasn’t worked to bring it down’.
It’s one of those moments where your heart stops, and your head sees its opportunity to burst into life, running through every worst-case scenario it can muster up. Meningitis? What if she has a febrile convulsion? You’d better get her to the doctors. No, wait, A&E. No, wait, call an ambulance. Call in the army! Your baby is poorly, do something or you may never see her again!
Or is that just me? Regardless, my mind was running through all the different possibilities as I tried to hold myself together to have some semblance of a conversation with them.
‘Oh… is she… is she okay?’.
I was literally holding my breath, waiting for them to answer.
‘Oh yeah, she’s still herself, still smiling and chatting away as usual’.
This was supposed to make me feel better, but I’ve heard enough comments about my daughter’s nature to know that it didn’t say a hell of a lot. This girl grins and giggles every time she sneezes when she has a cold, and even when she topples backwards while trying to walk; within seconds she’s back to chattering away (while I hyperventilate and try to resist the urge to call in the troops).
Still, once I’d dropped the auditionees off where they needed to go, I managed to calmly make my way over to the nursery (never have I been so relieved that it’s a minute walk from the studios where we have our classes). I felt like I put on a pretty good cool-as-a-cucumber act, and sure enough, when I walked into the baby room, she was crawling about in the ball pit in just her nappy, and gave me a huge beam when I walked in. Her poor little body felt on fire, but she was so happy, and nothing wrong with her but for a sniffle – I was still more than happy to bring her back with me.
Her fever dropped for a while, and then built back up to 38.4C, and she started refusing to eat, and of course my head started up again, telling me everything that could possibly be wrong with her (when did my head become a medical encyclopaedia, by the way? Is that a parenting thing?). Still, even though it was just me and D so I didn’t really need to pretend, I managed to keep calm, and just worked through all the things we could give her that she might eat. Fish and a couple of chips (bad mother alert) didn’t work, but a Strawberry Petit Filous went down a treat, and then I think we found SB’s new favourite fruit – I ended up sitting there holding pieces of strawberry while she sucked them to death (and bit my fingers a few times, these teeth are deadly!). I was frankly just relieved she was eating something.
She’s in nursery again this morning, feeling much better, and even now I have no idea what caused her fever. D suggested yesterday that she’d faked it, to get out of nursery (after seeing the way she grinned and waved at everyone as she was leaving, I’m inclined to agree). Either way, fevers are my least favourite part of parenting so far.