The story of the past month was both of us contracting hand, foot and mouth disease, or HDFM.
In our first couple weeks with your new baby brother, we kept our activities low key but still made it to the zoo and a few parks. At one of those venues, you picked up the highly contagious disease. You first signaled something wasn't right with your mouth because you started complaining when eating. I'll never forget the look and scream you made when you tried eating grapes. It was painful to watch.
You also suddenly ran a high fever, so we put you on medicine overnight to keep the fever down.
We did what every concerned parent does: We searched on Google.
The results of our intensive online research in parent forums were inconclusive. We took you to the doctor. The spots inside your throat were the easy giveaway for the diagnosis of HFMD. Like the doctor said, we started seeing other spots on your hands and mostly feet.
The disease made us a divided house to try and prevent it from passing to Matteo. I took care of you, and your Mom took care of him. After a day you started eating easier, but your feet looked worse. You had a great spirit and still wanted to play and mostly have a normal day. You slept a little more and still had a fever bouncing around. After a few days you were really back to your normal self.
And that's about the time I started showing HFMD symptoms.
The adult version was way, way worse. First, I picked up a sore throat for a couple days, which felt like strep throat. Then the fever came. Then my hands started to burn and itch and eventually showed a lot of spots. I was very tempted to cut my hands off at certain hours of the night. My feet never had spots, thankfully, but swelled so I couldn't put on shoes. I still needed to continue to take care of you and stay away from Mom and Matteo, but I was helpless. I couldn't sleep and couldn't comfortably eat or drink. It was a long week, and I'm very thankful that your Mom and Matteo never got sick and that your Mom put up with both of us.
We're now a couple weeks on the other side of HFMD. Your feet are still peeling from the blisters and so are my hands. Gross factor: high.
Now that things are somewhat back to normal, your Mom and I are able to see how some crankiness, or what we call "being a crank pot," wasn't HFMD. It's an early symptom of the Terrible Twos.
You have a strong opinion about everything. You want to decide what you wear, what you do, when your diaper should be changed, what you eat, etc. You're so keen to give an opinion, when I ask if you want something like a drink you say, "Yes, no, yes, no, yes." I only know what you mean by the very last word you say.
When you reject direction, Mom is quick to barter. "If you want to watch Elmo, eat five more bites of pasta," she'll say. Sometimes you'll take the bait. Sometimes you fight it but eventually give in. You still rely on Mom or I to manage the TV remote, so the house always wins.
Your ability to form an opinion combined with picking up on your Mom's bartering skills may serve you well later in life. You sound like a lawyer in training, which was always a profession that intrigued me.
But right now it's a little exhausting. The defense needs to rest. The prosecution needs to learn how to go to sleep on time and without demanding to watch Elmo. Deal?