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I got a phone call from my daughter’s nursery on Monday afternoon, “Meri has a bit of a temperature. Is it OK if we give her some calpol?”

Ever the fan of the Lazarus-like abilities of that sweet, sticky spoonful, I agreed.

However, about half an hour later, I got another phone call, “Meri has just been sick after her tea. Can you come and collect her?” As it happens I was already on my way and when I got there, little Meri was looking a little sorry for herself. She had bright red cheeks, her usual bounce at seeing me was missing and all she wanted to do was have a big cuddle.

I took her home, dosed her with more calpol (she had thrown the last lot up) and tucked her into bed.

The next morning, I went into Meri’s room to get her up. She was as bright as a button. She beamed at me.

“I had a big sleep and made myself better,” she declared and she wasn’t wrong.

On Wednesday, Clare was feeding Arun, my son. She felt his forehead, “He’s got a bit of a temperature,” she said. I too felt his forehead and she was right.

Arun followed the script to the letter. He threw up on Wednesday evening, went to sleep and woke up the next day singing and playing in his bed.

Come Friday morning, I woke up feeling a little odd. Weak, clammy and a little fuzzy round the edges. I felt my forehead and predictably I now felt hot. Clare checked too and yes, I had a fever.

By Sunday night, Clare was slouched in front of Downton Abbey. “I think I’m going to get a lemsip,” she said, “I don’t quite feel right.”

I love that my children love to share. Obviously, they don’t share things like cakes, the chores or their joy of life. No, mostly they like sharing their bugs, illnesses and fevers. However, because they are young vibrant creatures who have no responsibilities and sleep for twelve hours a day, they bounce back from their illnesses quicker than a Tigger on springs. Their mother and I, however, are both a little longer in the tooth and run around like headless chickens all day and for much of the night which means that we bounce back like overcooked cabbage.

Before I had children of school age, I was pretty much bullet proof. In the ten years of work that preceded Arun starting at nursery, I missed less than five days through illness. Since then, the wheels have come off. Now, the fact that this decline coincided with me turning forty is apropos of nothing. I’m blaming my children and that’s that.

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