A few years ago my daughter had a wart on her foot. But warts are like mice - they rarely come in ones. Soon it was a little cluster of warts so we paid a visit to our local GP who decided to use a selection of treatments.
First of all he scraped at her foot with a little instrument that looked like a shaving razor for dwarves. When doctors do things like that it makes me wonder what the big attraction is to studying medicine and becoming a medic. "What do you want to do when you grow up little child?" "I want to scrape dirty warts of peoples feet."
But it didn't end there. He also put some sort of ointment on it and gave her a few of those little homeopathic pebble-like sweets.
Then he gave us both some serious instructions. There were 7 warts on her foot. We were to get a paper bag and put 7 small pebbles in it - not the homeopathic ones, real pebbles. Then we were to leave the bag at a crossroads. Whenever the bag disappeared the warts would also go.
Of all the remedies I thought the latter made the most sense. Because apparently warts go away on their own eventually, and I was sure that if my daughter just believed that the warts were going to go that it might have some sort of influence on the mysteries of the immune system. Needless to say, the doctor we visited was in the West of Ireland.
Despite similar university education, there seems to be quite a difference in cultural attitudes regarding best practise regarding the cure of the patient.
Problem was, though, that my daughter wasn't sold on the pebbles in the bag idea. She wanted an operation, crutches, bandages, plaster paris and a week off school. It never happened, and years later the 7 warts had started to have offspring and I knew if we didn't treat them that eventually these warts would start taking over the family.
So I decided to go the absolute safe medical route. I bought one of those sprays that freeze off warts.
My daughter took a look at the wart spray and screamed, telling me that it would hurt too much. I assured her that it wouldn't, and that the only reason her brother had gone through severe agony whilst I used a similar freezing spray on a wart he'd had on his finger, was because he was the oldest kid and you use the oldest kid as guinea pig to test things on, and that I'd put on way too much by mistake, and that no, I was not going to accidentally burn a hole in her skin in the effort to remove the warts with a freezing spray. I would get the hang of it this time.
We agreed to do it 'tomorrow'.
Then the next day we agreed to do it the day after tomorrow. And then about a week went by.
So I decided I'd have to spring on her when she'd least suspect it.
So as we sat on the sofa, I hid the freezing stuff in my pocket and took hold of her foot to give it a massage. Oh, wrong foot. I took the other one. Also wrong foot.
"Hey, where are your warts?" I asked.
She felt her feet. I felt her feet. We looked at her feet. And there were the warts - gone.
So I decided that buying the freezing tube of stuff had the same effect as the bag of stones would have had, if she'd only believed. The fear of her mother's use of poetic license with medicinal cures, rather than taking careful medical instructions, had just made her warts go away. It must have been the mysterious workings of the immune system.
So here's my advice. If your kids have warts, forget about all the hocus pocus. Just buy some of that aggressive freezing lotion stuff, and then tell your kids you've bought it. If the fear of you using it on them doesn't make the warts disappear, then just go use it.