Screecher Creature No. 2 has stigmata. But not on all of his limbs. Only on his right hand. Under his fingers. Actually it’s really just a little bit of scar tissue that’s not quite healed yet. The real story? He fell over one day as is his flair and did himself a nice little injury. So it’s not really a sign of future divinity, merely a scar from ripping a hole in his hand. I just like hearing him stumble over the pronunciation of the word stigmata. I returned home from town one Sunday afternoon and I had barely removed the keys from the ignition when Screecher Creature No. 1 wrenched the car door open. He was dying to impart the latest disaster. “Mammy,” he intoned breathlessly with just a little too much excitement, a dash of relish and the right amount of solemnity. “Mammy, it’s not a good day.” He proceeded to tell me Screecher Creature No. 2 had fallen and got a thorn stuck in his hand and “daddy is trying to dig it out.” I could hear the screams before I opened the front door. It sounded like someone had indeed fallen and gotten a thorn stuck in his paw but Androcles, aka Mister Husband, had first removed the hand with a blunt instrument in order to “dig it out.” I prepared myself for a small tweezers and a single plaster scene. Nope. Yet again Screecher Creature No. 2 had managed to hurt himself and put 100% effort into it. There was a gouge in his hand with a little triangular flap of flesh creased into a heap on top of it. The blood. The screams. The fekin tweezers! It wasn’t a thorn. Screecher Creature No. 2 had fallen onto a pile of broken slates and opened his hand. This child will never win the Oscar for Best Patient. There was nothing Mister Husband or I could do to appease his misery. He wasn’t checking out of the world of hurt he found himself flung into any time soon and the fire engine screaming lasted for quite a while after. The telly did help to distract him, but maybe a bit too much. At the risk of it working altogether, he would give himself a little shake as if to remind himself that he was supposed to be dying, and the roaring would start up again. We finally managed to get a plaster stuck onto the wound but he refused to let us change it for a couple of days. It became black and filthy and eventually it fell off. He was persuaded to let fresh air do its work and after a while, he remembered he had full and proper use of his right appendage and life returned to normal. Then he went and dropped a rather large and heavy iron bar on his head, almost concussing himself. I was not too far away from him when it happened but the baby had my full attention as he was trying to climb out the window of the bubble car so I didn’t witness Screecher Creature No. 2’s latest catastrophe. He did that thing when the pain is so intense your face is making the sound your vocal cords should be. His hands were also clutching his head. I added the Play the Game actions to the dull thunking sound I heard prior and realised what happened. He was still crying silently. There was a big inhalation and his pain was released. Next door, Rex and Rosie, the two labs, streaked past in a caramel coloured blur as they dived for cover in their kennel. I was up on my feet in a trice and on reaching him I managed to pry his hands away from his crown, fully expecting to see his brain. I mentally debated dialling 999 first or just throwing him in the car and scorching off to A&E. But thankfully, for such a large iron bar, there was the smallest cut with blood just clotting in his hair. The blood didn’t get any worse but he wouldn’t allow me to apply a bag of frozen peas, a cold cloth or help him in any way at all. He was going to have some headache after a clang like that so I filled a syringe and pumped Nurofen into him. Then the possible after effects started to gnaw at me. He took a nice bang, there was a little lump but he wasn’t dizzy or disoriented. No vomiting. Not that evening anyway. No, the vomiting began a couple of nights later while the blood was still dried in his hair. That same day he brought home from Montessori, samples of his spring art work and a vomiting bug. Later that night I was roused from my bed three separate times with Screecher Creature No. 2 complaining of a sore tummy. Then I heard telling wetness hit his own bed. A panicked Screecher Creature was not entirely sure what was happening to him as a couple of litres of fluid left his body and soaked into his pyjamas and bed clothes. An hour or so later the sofa bed he was sleeping on took the hit. It was bright outside and I didn’t get much more than a full hour of sleep all night so I accepted defeat and we watched a bit of telly. So far no-one else has fallen foul of the virus. Sunday we attended the Dragon Boat Race in Athy and I made pretty dam sure Screecher Creature No. 2 was kept well away from the river’s edge. I can handle torn palms, bashed in skulls and even vomity happenings, but there was no way I was leppin’ into freezing cold, brown murky water to fish him out if he took a tumble. Mister Husband reckons I’m being fanciful with the stigmata theory. Illusions of grandeur, he claims. According to him it’s most likely the stamp of the devil.