We have not been very well. And by that I mean the whole family, not just the Royal ‘we’. Amy Jane has been the last to crumble, not least because she is the strongest of our merry band, and refuses to let something as trivial as ‘flu get in her way. In a previous life I am sure she has swatted the plague aside with the same irritation.
I however, would have succumbed to the plague but fought on as I was too busy to stop, until it grabbed me by the throat and fought me to the floor. This was pretty much how the ‘flu got me; twice in three weeks. I think I didn’t lie down enough the first time so it whipped round with a slow-motion mid-air karate kick and got me again when I wasn’t looking. This time it took nine year-old Finlay with it, so the two of us ended up bunking up in the spare room like a sweating Eric and Ernie, and slept solidly for two days and nights. He’s quite sweet to share with, he doesn’t snore or fight in his sleep, which is good news for any future girlfriends.
In a strange way it was nice to spend some time with him. Unless he is talking full pelt about his latest favourite film, or funny moment in I-Carly, he tends to get swamped by Amy Jane, who is more vocal. And more physical. To be honest, she’s more scary, so it’s easier to keep her preoccupied than risk her wrath, so sometimes I know Finlay can get overlooked. I listened with my eyes closed while he rabbited away about why The Last Air Bender was better than Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief, and how worried he was about not getting his homework done because he’d been ill. This from the boy who forgets his reading book almost every other day, and wouldn’t know his 7 times table if it jumped up and bit him. It was a lovely bit of bonding time, and I quite missed him when he decided he would rather spend the following day on the sofa watching SpongeBob than lie next to his rather smelly mum.
That night Amy saw her chance and dived in. I was still in the spare room, as Steve was now fighting the flu (obviously a much deadlier, painful and noisier strain…) so in the middle of the night I woke to find her sprawled next to me like a floral-clad starfish. I was too busy peeling off yet another saturated pair of pyjamas and turning over my pillow to the ‘dry’ side to put her back. I just budged over a bit, and tried to forget my latest fever-induced stress dream involving trains that never run and a work appointment that can never, and will never be met.
She woke up at her usual time; about 5am.
“Hey, Mummy. I’ve got a joke”
I tried to pretend I was still asleep but she was having none of it. She prodded me until I gave in.
“Mummy! I’ve got a joke!”
“What is it?” I mumbled, hoping like any aspiring comedian she’d recognise a hostile crowd and bow out early.
“Jack’s on the phone, you’d better answer it!”
She roared laughing. This is my Dad’s joke. His name is ‘Granda Jack’, and our dog is called Jackson, and he must have made that joke up over a year ago. I had no idea why it had suddenly popped into her head.
“I’ve got another one! Knock knock!”
I sighed quietly and painfully. “Who’s there?”
I knew what was coming. My Dad used to tell us this joke when we were Amy’s age, and carried on telling it until he found someone who laughed at it. Thirty seven years later he found that someone in Amy Jane.
“Is a bell necessary on a bike?”
She squealed with laughter.
“I’ve got another one! Why did Tigger look down the toilet?”
“I don’t know…”
“He was looking for POOH!”
Still. It was a better way to wake up than being hit with something, or shouted at for not letting her drive the car, as I have been in the past. “You won’t let me do ANYTHING!” she roared one morning, as I opened one eye to see her standing dishevelled in her pyjamas by the side of the bed. “You won’t even let me DRIVE! HUH!”. And she flounced out, bunny dangling from her right hand, swinging apologetically.
“I’ve got one” I said, and she looked at me in surprise.
“Did you hear the one about the little girl who stayed in bed all night?”
“Me neither!” I giggled and gave myself a mental ‘high five’.
Amy looked at me confused. “That’s a rubbish joke Mummy. Don’t tell any more. Let’s go downstairs and watch Peppa Pig”.
So I did. As ever, the joke was on me.