We all know by now that I am not really very Good With Nature. I like it in small bursts away from which I can easily get. I like my concrete and my pavements and my tall buildings, actually. I feel safer on the asphalt. Nature is unpredictable. One misstep and you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere with a gammy ankle.
On Sunday we went Into Nature, not far from home. We saw deer and found geocaches and got fresh air and the weather was delightful and by the time we were done it was too late to go home and make dinner so we had to go out for burgers and chips. (Fries.) (We still say chips. It’s our one victory over our children’s American vocabularies.)
Well, feck nature, I said the next morning, as I plucked a whole bunch of pin-head-sized ticks off my son’s body, and one slightly bigger one off my own a few hours later. Fecking deer. Sod off, Bambi.
Dash is always a magnet for wildlife, and he had been wearing shorts too. That evening I was still combing him – almost literally – for ticks when I noticed he seemed to have met a particularly angry swarm of mosquitoes as well. On his lower back.
That’s odd, I thought.
Then he disrobed for his bath and I found more little welts coming up all over his hips, as if he’d rolled around naked in a hornet’s nest. Very odd. Exactly the opposite of where mosqitoes normally get him, on his arms and legs – though he had a few on his neck and ears too.
By Tuesday morning I was having Other Thoughts about the bites. Like that maybe they were not bites, but a rash. A rash I couldn’t blame Nature for, apart from the regular nature that we have to put up with because it is Us because we are not yet cyborgs. (Oh, how I yearn for those cyborg days.)
I really thought he had chicken pox, and sent him to the doctor, who sent him back with a label saying “Probably Not,” since he’s had all his shots and the rash didn’t look quite right for that. Apparently kids can just get a rash as a reaction to a cold virus, and he had brought a cough home from school last week that we have all come down with after him.
This morning I woke up with a few scattered itchies myself. Since I’ve had chicken pox too (yes, the real thing; they don’t vaccinate for it in Ireland), I suppose this means that it’s very unlikely to be it. Which is good, because I sent him back to school this morning. From a distance, you can’t even tell he looks like a disgruntled mosquito took out his rage all over Dash’s backside.
So I suppose Nature’s off the hook for this one. For the moment. But I’ve got my eye on you, Nature. (Picture me doing that two-fingers-to-eyes movement that indicates menacing watching. I’m like Tony Soprano over here.)