Charlotte Philby's Parental Leave: "I'm not a hypochondriac," I assure my daughter repeatedly

A mother's weekly dispatch from the pre-school fronline

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The Independent Online

"Let's talk about what boobies I'll have when I’m bigger, shall we? I think I’ll have big boobies because that’s what I like," the nearly-four-year-old announces in a voice that has, in the past weeks, started to sound increasingly like a cockney Kermit the Frog.

I imagine this vocal turn is unrelated to the injury that has brought us to the fracture clinic, which is where we are now, within sneezing distance of various protruding limbs. I start to think the GP might have had a point when she said my daughter’s injury could hardly be anything more than a bruise, before pointedly typing her doubts into my child's health records, alongside ‘Has not got reflux; Has not got OCD; Has not got rare congenital disease that would explain unwillingness to eat lentils', and reluctantly handing over the referral letter for the hospital.

"I'm not a hypochondriac," I assure my daughter repeatedly while desperately trying not to contract MRSA. Finally, we're called in. "What happened?" the doctor asks. "Isiah S said I hadn’t seen Frozen but I had seen Frozen, that’s what Isiah S said," the not-quite-four-year-old replies, flicking away an imaginary hair from her cheek. "She fell off a bench at school," I translate.

"I see. Well, looking at this X-ray you can see a hairline fracture of the clavicle..." "It's broken?" I ask.

The child starts to cry: "I'm broken! Oh nooo, why did I break?" "It's not serious," the doctor begins... "But it is BROKEN?" I say, leaping from my seat and taking his hand in mine. "Oh THANK you, that is SUCH good news!"