Our five-year-old daughter Lily is hobbling around the house today with an injured ankle.
She didn’t get hurt at the park.
She didn’t fall off her bike.
And she didn’t even hurt her ankle while playing Just Dance 3 on the Wii — although I have suffered a variety of injuries while attempting to play that game.
Instead, Lily has a swollen ankle thanks to a mosquito bite from Tuesday afternoon. The bottom of her left leg has swollen to the point where you think she was the target of a Nancy Kerrigan-style plot.
If you think I’m exaggerating about the swelling, check out the photo that is accompanying this blog. That’s a picture of Lily from two summers ago, when she got a mosquito bite on her eyebrow while we were in Alberta. Her face looks like she went two rounds with Mike Tyson in his prime.
We were so worried about her eye that I took her to the children’s hospital in Calgary. When you walk into a hospital with a child whose eye looks like that, you can’t help but feel self-conscious as a parent. I figured I would be accused of being the ringleader of a Kiddie Fight Club or something.
But to my amazement, the registering nurse took one look at Lily and said, “That’s one heck of a mosquito bite.”
So apparently, this is fairly common with kids. They swell up like Martin Short’s character from Pure Luck for a couple of days and it’s not really a big deal. The doctor told me not to worry when our kids react like this to mosquito bites. We could give them some children’s allergy medication to help control the swelling, but there was nothing we could really do to prevent this from happening again in the future.
She also suggested we use calamine lotion, but that never really seems to help our kids. They still complain about being itchy — with the added benefit of looking like they’ve been horsing around with an open bottle of Pepto-Bismol.
If there is one advantage with our kids’ sensitivity to mosquito bites, it’s that they have no interest in going camping. We went with them a couple of years ago and after they were eaten alive by the bugs, they have flatly refused to go camping again. And speaking as a guy who does not like brushing his teeth next to complete strangers in a bug-filled comfort station, this was a terrific turn of events for me.
So from my own selfish perspective, it’s not a bad thing that our kids can’t handle mosquito bites.