Sonny boy was over the worst of the pox on Wed. I mean to say that he was over his fever, which is a apparently a sign that there will be no more new lesions making their appearance. PHEW! With them boils making an appearance all over his back and front and neck and face and even his wee little willie, it is quite a relief-that.
The first couple of days, he did not see any on himself, since the lesions had confined themselves to his neck and back. But the 3rd day, when after his bath, I was putting Calamine on all the spots, he was busy pointing out all the ones I missed, and then when his whole body was spotted pink, he said in wonder,
"Amma, I never sawn so many chickens!"
I laughed in commiseration at that, and said that I had never 'sawn' so many either.
A colleague of the Acha had sent in neem leaves in plenty and Sonny boy's eyes widened when he was told that these were for him to scratch himself.
"With leaves only, Amma?"
And then I told him that Goddess Durga (Amman)was in those neem leaves and she would help fight the pox off for him. We had a Amar Chitra Katha comic of Durga with us, so that night,I told him stories from that. He looked at the picture of Durga created by all the Gods and asked,
"How many hands Durga has?"
"One thousand," I replied.
"But I can't count thousand in this picture..."
"Well, the artist couldn't draw thousand arms here, but she does have thousand arms."
A thoughtful pause.
"I never sawn thousand arms before."
He looked up at me. "Even FourArms has only 4!" he burst out.
"Aah! Durga is stronger than FourArms," I said.
He looked down at the comic with renewed respect for Durga.
And immediately ran off to the puja room to check out Durga there!
The days were pretty ok, the tv was a blessed source of distraction, and for once, mother and son sat together for HOURS and watched cartoons. Sonny boy was quite delighted with the change in routine.
But the nights were a different matter entirely, with him starting to itch all over.
"Amma, its itching, eetching, eeeeeeeetching!!!"
Mon night, the husband went off to bring the Ammamma and I was alone with Sonny by. I had the neem leaves strewn all over the bed, and he saw them and his face was a picture to see. I told him that he was to sleep on the neem leaves and it would help the spots to heal faster.
He looked at me questioningly, then remembered the 1000-armed, more-powerful-than-FourArms Durga and climbed gingerly onto the leaves. And then was after me to have him covered with the neem leaves. He would keep tossing and turning and would want the neem leaves to toss and turn with him!! Now since the leaves wouldn't do that on their own, Amma was expected to help them do that. I did wish I hadn't been so emphatic about the neem helping his spots to heal. The first half of the night was spent fanning him with the neem leaves, then second half putting wet cloths on his forehead to bring the fever down. By dawn, I was exhausted, and told Sonny by that he could fan himself everywhere that itched, except for his back.
A sleepily vehement protest was met by an equally vehement denial and Sonny boy soon had the neem leaves in his hand and was fanning away his stomach and legs to glory. Yeah, I was a mean Amma, but right then, all I wanted to do was grab some shut-eye.
After some time, he gave the twigs back to me with a peremptory "Now your turn!"
And Amma was back to square one. It is simply amazing, how alert sleepy, sick 5 yr olds can be- the minute my eye drooped and my hand faltered, a voice would sound- Amma, don't stop!" and like a sentry being caught sleeping, Amma would start and get back to work.
In the morning, in a woebegone tone, "Amma, this chicken is not fun at all"
Amma agreed with him whole heartedly.
14 minutes ago