Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Mumps

Christmas is like a hurricane, sweeping you up in a whirl and depositing you the other side among the debris, not quite knowing how you got there but drawing breath at last.

It smells like Christmas still, Christmas deconstructed, turkey stock simmering as the last vestiges of Christmas feasting are tidied out of the fridge. How can we have got through all that turkey already…and the gammon? Even the jelly is finished. The fridge looks way too tidy and empty.

There are presents still to buy or make but the momentum is gone. Our son’s last minute present making plans were thwarted when he went down with mumps on the Monday before Christmas. Lying on the sofa with a cool pad clutched to his chipmunk cheek he was in no fit state to be stirring lemon curd, or starting a production line of paintings like his sisters. He had just one present made and wrapped.

On the other side of Christmas he surfaced, with a new-found dislike of jelly, as it was the only thing he could eat for three days, and was finally able to make his lemon curd gifts. They are still languishing in the fridge, while he summons up the energy to wrap them and present them to his aunts – the gift-giving frenzy is over, along with the cast off wrapping paper, and the urgency is gone.

Now we are calculating the days until the girls can be expected to show signs of mumps too: +/– three weeks incubation = about when we are planning on going on holiday to the River with friends. So do we go and risk it, packing a large bottle of paracetemol syrup and a week’s supply of jelly, knowing that we’ll be a half hour drive from the nearest town down a bumpy dirt road?

Or maybe they could oblige and get it early next week, so they are starting to feel better by the time we go. Luckily we’ve already exposed said friends to mumps as our son had a sleepover with them just before he went down with it, so we don’t have to worry about sharing the germs!

The positive spin is that it is much better to get mumps before adolescence strikes, so really it’s in the nick of time for these eleven year olds, but our son didn’t find that very cheering while he was languishing on the sofa facing the bleak prospect of a Christmas Day spent unable to indulge in roast potatoes and a surfeit of pudding.

In the end he was able to eat the potatoes, his swollen glands having shrunk to a respectable hamster size, but after four days of not eating he could only manage four potatoes instead of his usual ten!


  1. Oh dear. That sounds very unpleasent. I don't actually know anyone whose had the mumps. In the US we all have to get vaccinated for anything and everything. They are probably working on a vaccine against skinned knees here by now :-) Anyway hope the rest of your kids get it over and done with easily and you all enjoy your vacation.

  2. Hey Kit,

    Sorry about the mumps, hope you guys had a great holiday nonetheless.

    I have to ask... are those glasses in the picture striped on the outside, or are they filled with multi-color jello on the inside? It looks magical, whatever it is!


  3. I had mumps for Christmas when I was 8! I have never forgotten it. I was so miserable to be sick on Christmas! Your poor son. Tell him I commiserate and I'm glad he's feeling better.

  4. He's much better now, thanks for the sympathy everyone. And at least now he is immune for life!

    The glasses are clear, Marcheline, with different colours of jelly in. I always do them for Christmas as they look so pretty!

  5. I love your festive table, (Lindt - YUM!) - especially that huge tree in the backround! I had a similar 'joy' last year with my Wee One doing a double whammy of Chicken Pox and German Measles over the festive season. Hope you have a fabulous time away 'mump' free!

  6. Hey Kit -

    I have the feeling that what you call "jelly" is what we over here call "Jell-o". It's flavored sweet gelatin, right?

    For us, "jelly" is the stuff you spread on your bread and butter in the morning, being different from "jam" in that it has no seeds and can be seen through.

    I was crinkling my brow while reading that your son ate jelly while he had the mumps, as I couldn't imagine eating (our) "jelly" straight from the jar - ew!

    Now it all makes sense.

    Well, whatever you call it, it's gorgeous in those glasses!

  7. Poor guy!! Doesn't sound like a way to spend Christmas... Still, as you say, better now than later.

  8. oh no... poor him! i hope he's not suffering too much. i still remember when i had mumps aged probably 5... in bed with mom for weeks, lots of reading, not that unpleasant at all!


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