The Snot Monster

It’s been a sick house at Mole and Hedgehog Associates this week. I blame the Autumn cold weather.

First Mole got the streaming nose, then Hedgehog followed. Mole specialises in doing noisy and dramatic sniffs before wiping her nose on her sleeve. Hedgehog prefers the permanent candle sticks coming out of the nose, in blissful unawareness of what is happening on her face. When the candlesticks reach down to her lips, her tongue comes out and explores this unexpected tasty treat, which is when I start to gag and reach for the wet wipes.

For about a week the cold lurked in my veins, making itself known by slightly achy muscles and a slightly sore throat, but I popped enough vitamins and drank enough water that I thought perhaps this one will pass me by. But no. Early one morning the drippy nose on the pillow started, resulting in numerous night time trips to the bathroom for vigorous nose blowing. I eventually installed the bog roll next to the bed, and stuck the tissue paper up one nostril to serve as a sort of plug, which Mr M&H found very amusing.

Wednesday was truly, truly awful. Mole has her swimming lesson on a Wednesday morning, so we dutifully went along with a plan of dropping her by the pool side with teacher, then retreating to the café where Hedgehog and I could watch her lesson through the glass. This did work, but with a nose dripping like a tap, a temperature like a volcano and too many swimming bags and coats to cope with on a short fuse, I would not call it fun.

The more relaxing part was sitting in the café, chatting to a fellow mum, with a berry smoothie for me (vitamins) and a banana milkshake for Hedgehog. Oh, and watching Mole have her lesson. She paddles up and down the width of the pool, holding onto a noodle, a float or some other buoyancy aid, taking it all very seriously and hanging on the teachers every word. I get a bubble of pride every time.

That afternoon, after recovering with lunch and naps at home, determind not to be defeated, we headed back out to the local library, as it was Roald Dahl day, and they were doing some crafty Dahl related activities. This turned out to be a bit old for Mole and Hedgehog. After about five minutes of sticking coloured bits of tissue paper onto a twits beard with prit-stick, they announced that they were bored and bounced off to the kiddies corner to find some books. I admit I was quite relieved as this meant I could sit on some comfy cushions in the corner and stare into space in a cold induced stupor while Mole and Hedgehog read to me. Maybe I could even have a quick nap.

So basically, Wednesday was a misguided attempt to function as normal, while my body was being held hostage by the snot monster.

It was then that I realised that perhaps laying low and cancelling all engagements until the end of the week would be a more sensible plan, even if it would probably involve using the TV as the babysitter for most of the day. So (bad parent alert), that is essentially what happened.

The DVD’s came out. “We’re going on a bear hunt” got played on repeat and they never seemed to get tired of it, while I slept like a defeated whale upstairs. From time to time they would come into bed and jump on me, or snuggle down next to me, and demand that I read to them, which I did in a feeble and croaky voice that sounded very much like the witch in Hansel and Gretal. It was like our own personal fairy tale. I half expected them to trot up the stairs with some gruel for me.

By the weekend and about fifty hot toddies later, the snot monster was on the way out, and normal mummy service was resumed. I learned some valuable lessons during my incarceration:

  1. Sometimes hunkering down and having duvet days is the best thing to do.

  2. The children will be alright. They really don’t care what is going on as long as they have you.

  3. TV is a great temporary babysitter for emergencies.

  4. Locking them in the garden for their daily dose of fresh air also helps. Give them lollies and a sandpit.

Some new bed ridden activities also came into their own, which was actually really nice. We did some great hair dressing sessions in bed together. I had gone for plaits all over my head, (I did this as a teenager too, it’s my standard sick look). Mole adopted this look, and for the first time in her entire life is now asking me for pony tails and bunches. It is a happy development, and a new quiet, meditative and bonding activity that we’ve discovered together.

We did some experimental cooking and among other things, baked some rosemary and honey soda bread (I know!). This was inspired by an Iron age village that we visited in Wales last month where they were making bread in one of the roundhouses. I learned that in the Iron age they did not use yeast, hence the soda bread. Plus we were out of yeast, so it was just as well.

Here are some more Mole and Hedgehog improvised, tried and tested recipes of the week, which are perfect grub for runny noses, we loved them:

The hot toddy

  1. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into a large mug

  2. Add a tablespoon of runny honey

  3. Pour on boiling water to two thirds full

  4. Top up with cold water to make instantly drinkable

  5. Stir with teaspoon

  6. Add a drop of brandy (optional)

The winter warmer

  1. Place a large pan on medium heat

  2. Coat the bottom of the pan in olive oil

  3. Fry one onion, four carrots, four parsnips, two beetroot, and a handful of radishes (chopped)

  4. Add boiling water to cover the vegetables

  5. Turn down the heat to simmer

  6. Add two vegetable stock cubes and some mixed dried herbs

  7. After simmering for 20 minutes, take off the heat

  8. Blend with a handheld blender until the mixture becomes a thick and beetroot red soup

  9. Pour out into bowels

  10. Add a dollop of crème fraiche and some basil

  11. Serve with bread and butter

Now Mr M&H has at last succumbed to the snot monster, so it looks like the hot toddies and winter warmers will be continuing into next week. I’ll be taking Mole and Hedgehog out for some fresh air though, there is only so much Peppa Pig one can handle.