Life was simpler then. My parents would call up school to report my absence. Then keep me warm in my bed. I grew up, got a job, and did my own calling in to report sick. Curling up after under a warm blanket, box of tissues on hand, sipping on warm honey and lemon water as I drifted in and out of bland daytime television dreams.
There has been a paradigm shift since I decided to be a full-time stay-at-home mother after the birth of baby J a little over three years ago. Now there is nobody to report my sickness to. Apart from the OH, who decides the cold is not crippling enough to justify his carer leave. And my snotty-nosed three year old, who decides this is the day of all days, the day when his mother has all but lost her voice, when he will wake up at three in the morning and cry himself hoarse to be allowed into my bed.
Ever wonder how these crippling colds always seem to make an appearance at the beginning of the school term. And how your child becomes snot-free only when half-term approaches. They need to have some sort of quarantine in place for school children, to protect their poor parents from these rather virulent viruses that seem to go round in circles around school playgrounds, mutating as they get passed from one snotty nose to the next, exploding in all their fury only when they reach an unsuspecting adult.
For heaven forbid, if that unsuspecting adult is a stay-at-home mum with no nanny/grandma/child-minder/neighbour/friend to turn to in her hour of need, she will be left fighting her cold battles all by her own lonesome.
That will precisely be the day the OH will work long hours. That will invariably be the day her child decides to fall in a muddy puddle five minutes before the school run, so that she is left wiping her nose with one hand while trying to pull soggy clothes off a squirming little boy with the other.
It will be the day when, sneezing and spluttering behind the wheel of her car, she struggles to find a parking spot near the school gates. So she decides to park further along and walk some distance on the pick-up run. Only to discover that the child has drawn up picket lines and is on the verge of staging a sit-down protest in the middle of a very busy road over being denied the pressing of a button at a pelican crossing.
Even the Rain-Gods have aligned against her on this of all days. The cold rain lashes down on her unprotected head. By the time the umbrella is unfurled in all its B&M glory, her teeth are chattering in her head.
Back in the warmth of her home, she dreams of a hot cup of tea and the comfort of her sofa. Alas, it is not to be. As if sensing her indisposition, the child is on the warpath. Tears and tantrums lurk around every unsuspecting corner even as she waits for the clock to tick over the long minutes of the last few waking hours of the day before the child is safely ensconced in his bed and she can finally nurture that crippling cold.