Not me, that’s for sure.
Drew had been whining and fussing for about a day, his complaints accompanied by a fever and bucketfuls of drool. And you know what ol’ Dr. Candy’s diagnosis was, right? Yup, “Oh, he’s obviously TEETHING,” I sighed. Because any time a child between the ages of four to eighteen months seems under the weather or acts out in any way, parents have carte blanche to blame it on teething.
“Say, um, YOUR KID IS EATING MY CAT’S TAIL.”
“Sorry ’bout that. He’s teething.”
So I performed all my requisite teething duties, helping manage his fever with medicine, tag-teaming with Mr. Candy to rock him back to sleep at night, offering him plenty of cats’ tails to gnaw on and making fun of his melodramatics on both Twitter and Facebook.
“Taking his pain like a man,” I laughed in my usual sympathetic way.
Then Drew’s lips swelled to duck-like proportions that would make even Lara Flynn Boyle gasp with horror, the fever ravaged his little body and his whines escalated into non-stop screams. Non. Stop.
“Look in his mouth,” instructed our pediatrician when I called her in a slight panic this morning. Mr. Candy obligingly pulled Drew’s lip down to reveal a ton of white spots.
“Sounds like hand-foot-and-mouth disease,” she informed us, adding that he may also develop blisters on his hands and feet, become dehydrated because the mere feeling of water upon his blistered lips will send shivers of pain down his tiny spine and, oh yes, be highly contagious for up to a week.
“DON’T KISS YOUR BROTHER!” I yelled at Skye.
“Okay,” she shrugged, then suggested I give her medicine because we are raising a Tylenol junkie.
Sadly, there’s pretty much nothing else we can do for the poor guy except continue to dope him up and shovel ice cream in his mouth — and, worst of all, I can’t even share the spoon with him.
I think we can all agree that’s the real tragedy in all of this: NO ICE CREAM FOR ME.
Friends had warned me about this dreaded ailment, writing ominous words of warning about their sick kids’ misery on Facebook; however, much like all ailments and parenting woes, you can’t appreciate just how dreadful it is until you’ve experienced it yourself. I mean, “hand-foot-and-mouth?” Sounded more like the lame follow-up to “head, shoulders, knees and toes” than a real illness. Pssshhh.
Again, my capacity for empathy knows no bounds.
Well, I’m here to tell you HF&M (as those of us in the know call it, as of… now) is real and it does suck. My apologies to Drew for mocking him on Facebook. I promise I will never, ever do that again… without checking for blisters first. Because that’s the kind of caring, compassionate mother I am.