Abe’re preschool orientation was a few weeks ago. We walked in and the first thing I saw was the bounce house. So many germs. The second thing I saw was the buffet. A big Jewish buffet. So many carbs.
If I had a xanax I would have taken one.
Abe immediately climbed into the bounce house, out, then back in, then back out again. He never really went inside, just climbed in and out. I considered letting the Bounce House Bouncer know that Abe was special and would probably never be like other boys and girls, but I stopped myself when I considered how very convincing I can be.
I swallowed my organic pride and made a huge plate of food, all things he never gets to eat at home, and proudly presented it to Abe on his way back out of the bounce house. The prince ate cereal, cereal bar, cinnamon bun, bagel with cream cheese, and fruit. It was a gluten-free mom’s worst nightmare.
The next morning was his first day of school and he woke up with a weird little rash on his chin. I thought nothing of it and figured if it hadn’t gone away that afternoon I’d think about worrying.
That afternoon, it had not gone away. It was exponentially worse. And it was on his legs and arms now, too. My mom was in town and she validated my fear. This was something to worry about.
We got home and I checked his temperature. 100.3. THIS IS DIRE.
I began inspecting his bumps and splotches more closely and announced, “CHICKEN POX. HE HAS CHICKEN POX.”
“OH MY GOD,” my mother shrieked.
“I know, Mother! CHICKEN POX! AND NOW WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE.”
“Didn’t he have a vaccine for chicken pox?” my husband asked.
Oh yeah. Damn.
So I took to my Google Doctorate in Pediatrics Degree and started sifting through pages and pages of rashes. It sort of looked like Impetigo, or maybe Psoriasis? Oh please God, no, not the heartbreak of Psoriasis. Then, I saw it…
HAND, FOOT AND MOUTH. HE HAS HAND, FOOT, AND MOUTH DISEASE.
Every picture looked EXACTLY like the bumps he had all over his body. Now, granted, they were in the complete wrong areas of the body for a positive HF&M diagnosis, but no matter. I have a doctorate. I know what I’m talking about.
I called the pediatrician the next morning because, for whatever reason, my degree didn’t come with a prescription pad.
“Was he around a lot of other children recently?” the nurse asked.
(HUGE GASP) “YES! HE WAS! AT SCHOOL!”
“Well, it’s certainly possible. Hand, foot, and mouth is very contagious. Probably best to bring him in.”
“Yes, of course I will. It only seems best to get a second opinion after my very well-educated fifth diagnosis, just after Melanoma.”
We made it to the doctor’s office and we had to sit in the sick room. This feels like the room for failed mothers. We all just stare at the well-baby room where moms are sitting pretty, all happy with their healthy babies. Oh, we’re just here for PREVENTATIVE care which is why our babies never get sick. You stay over there where the other failure moms hang out with their sick babies. Failure mothers.
After waiting an amount of time only someone without children would make someone with children wait, the doctor finally saw us. She asked me a bunch of questions and I nodded knowingly as I answered. It’s hand, foot, and mouth. I Googled it.
“This actually looks more like an allergic reaction to something. It’s systemic, all over. Has he eaten anything recently that’s out of the ordinary?” she asked me.
Oh God. The Jewish buffet.
“Um, yes, I mean, it’s possible. He’s in school now,” I answered sheepishly.
“Has he ever had an allergic reaction to food?”
“When he was young once he got a mild rash from some cinnamon I put in his…” (HUGE GASP) “CINNAMON!”
“Oh, did he eat cinnamon in something recently? Like on some sweet potatoes?”
“Um. Yes. Yes he did. It was…it was on sweet potatoes, right.”
“I’m guessing that’s what this is. It will clear up on it’s own. If he’s not uncomfortable, I would just keep him lotioned up. You’ll see improvement within a few days.”
“Ok. Yeah. Thank you. And no more of that cinnamon in his sweet potatoes, amiright, doc?!”
Not what Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease looks like.
Horrified that all that research was for nothing, I brought my little dot-covered son home and covered him in coconut oil. He was fine within a day. And just so you know, hand, foot and mouth disease actually only exists on the hands, feet, and in the mouth. I know, I know. I wouldn’t have guessed that either…