The snot machine
A cold turned my son into a glazed doughnut. Thank goodness for grandparents…
‘This is wonderful!’ I exclaimed to Roxi. ‘This is why we had children.’
Finn, Roxi and I were in the throws of a Saturday morning session of mis-sung nursery rhymes accompanied by a toy tambourine, a Nigerian hand shaker and a Peruvian wooden flute.
We beamed at our star son who, after a tricky spell at 18 months when he discovered the delights of free will, had emerged full of song and dance. On the eve of his second birthday Finn had turned into the Dream Kid – brimful of loving embraces and a cooperative spirit. We just couldn’t get enough of him.
Until he got sick.
The first sign that something was going to rock our happy love haven, was when Thandi called me at work. Thandi never calls me at work. ‘Sue, I don’t know what’s wrong with Finn! I was feeding him lunch and he started scratching his mouth and nose and crying! But he only ate couscous and vegetables! Nothing else!’
Now anyone that knows us will have heard my lengthy and repetitive description of what happens when Finn eats peanuts. After a positive peanut allergy diagnosis from the paediatrician, I have had to ensure that anyone looking after our precious boy is fully aware of the signs of peanut product ingestion.
Finn immediately spits out whatever he’s eating, frantically starts rubbing his mouth in what looks like an attempt to yank out his tongue, and then bursts out crying. Later he breaks out in a red rash, shortly followed by violent vomiting, at which time he usually returns to normal.
Despite the fact that Finn has had this exact reaction on a few occasions, Thandi has never witnessed this herself. Now, on the other side of the phone, Thandi sounded very close to violently vomiting herself. I told her to calm down and stay put and I’d be there soon. Our house of horrors was luckily only a couple of minutes away.
My heart pounded on arrival as I anticipated finding my nauseas son covered in allergic welts. Instead as I rushed inside Finn walked calmly towards me, the only sign of something amiss being the fact that his face was glistening.
‘Have you covered him in Vaseline?’ I asked the still stricken Thandi as I leant towards his face to take a closer look. I then realised that Finn was simply covered in snot. And that, far from being struck down by an allergic reaction, the little boy had been suddenly hit by a horrible cold, hence the nose rubbing and crying.
I was relieved it wasn’t the peanuts. At first.
But 24 hours later after being clung to by a wheezing child whose nose and eyes ran like a leaky geyser, I was less joyful. Especially since Roxi and I had booked a romantic weekend away the following day, leaving Finn with my parents.
‘Shit. We can’t leave him in this state.’ I said to Roxi accusingly. ‘And crap. What happens if it’s one of those farmyard diseases that’s going around?’
‘You mean swine flu?’ Roxi replied.
And so we did the only thing we could – take him to the doctor who diagnosed him with a common cold and arrived cheerily on my parents’ doorstep the following afternoon.
‘Why does he looked like a glazed doughnut?’ my father asked suspiciously.
‘Sniffles, dad, just the sniffles,’ I replied as I prized solemn Finn from my arms.
They all survived the weekend although Finn has continued to cling, cough and sniff for the past week. Why do babies take such a long time to get better?
It’s been a nasty flashback to this time last August where we spent the month marching 11-month-old Finn up and down in an attempt to soothe him from the pain of a middle ear infection brought on by a cold, until we finally resorted to a grommet operation.
Thanks goodness this long sick month of August is done with.
How do you react when your child gets sick?