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At some point, that wisdom has been replaced by the belief that it’s better still to get them before you’re five, because you don’t want to miss a fortnight of school for them.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.