Received Wisdom

I’ve noticed a thing.

When I was a child, the received wisdom of the time was that it was much better to get your traditional childhood illnesses before you were about eleven, because lots of them (I’m thinking of mumps and chicken pox, particularly) were much worse if you got them when you were older.

At some point, that wisdom has been replaced by the belief that it’s better still to get them before you’re five, because you don’t want to miss a fortnight of school for them. Erm, is it me, or are children under five particularly vulnerable to all kinds of things, and best protected as far as is humanly possible from as much disease as possible?

Admittedly, there’s only really chicken pox left – Daisy’s been vaccinated against almost everything else. But really, why on earth would I want my toddler to be laid low with chicken pox at such a young age, if it could wait till she’s eight, and a bit more robust?

My theory is that it’s tied in with universal childcare. People always did console themselves with the statement “It’s better that they get it now…” What they haven’t quite noticed is that children get all these things in nursery at 18 months of age, now, and that there is a lower limit beyond which it’s not better. The only thing worse than a sick child is a sick baby – and even if it’s not serious, and won’t do them any long term harm, it’s a miserable thing to have to deal with, for both the child and the parent. And maybe, just maybe, the rare complications of chicken pox will hit this particular toddler when they’re still too vulnerable to handle it.

3 thoughts on “Received Wisdom

  1. You sound like someone who is repeatedly being “got at” recently, as if you are having to defend yourself against the world and it’s opinions on child rearing – or is it the hormones? You just have to do the best you can without pondering too much on the what ifs………life’s too short – enjoy Daisy for the here and now because all too soon it’s gone, and your baby will be 20 and then you will have to wonder “how did that happen”??? I really feel for you
    love WSM xx

  2. I wouldn’t quite say that – I mean, I’ve not been having stand-up rows with people. I’m just constantly challenged by the way that some of the basic and fundamental things that I believe in about children and parents seem to stand out as abnormal in society.
    There’s not a profound difference between Daisy’s life at the moment, and mine at her age, but staying at home with your kids was normal, then, and there was a lot less opportunity/pressure to be out at toddler groups and things, if your kids were under about three. I’m having to think quite carefully about the whys and wherefores of the same decisions that my mother and grandmothers didn’t think twice about.
    As for pondering… it’s what I do…

Comments are closed.