But not on me. On Son #1. Oldest Child who puts his hands into everything and then into his nose, and for the finale, into his mouth. Nine-Year Old who is clearly made of snips and snails and puppy dog tails and anything else that crawls around on the ground.
At first it looked like a scratch on his face, on his right cheek. Then it started getting bigger. This is his second battle with ringworm. The first time I was grossed out because of the name. I wasn’t concerned about getting it myself. This time, I’m frightened. I don’t want to lose mat time!
“Don’t come near me!” I find myself screaming scaredly as he hurtles his body at me, a jumble of arms and legs, no telling which of his body parts will make contact with me first.
He crawls into bed with me every morning before sunrise, but now I kick him out.
“You’ll get ringworm on my pillow!” I say forcefully, but not loudly enough to wake Husband, shattering all images of me as that unconditional-loving mom, hugging her child whether he has a skinned knee or lice are popping off his head. I do not want to lose mat time!
Son #1 is disappointed at my hands-off policy. “But Mom, how did I get ringworm?” he asked dolefully. Really? I think to myself, How did you not? You are like a sewer rat! Instead I said,
“Well, honey, perhaps it’s your tae kwon do. Ringworm can be spread on the mats.”
“No, Mom. That can’t be it.”
“My face doesn’t go on the mat! Only my feet.”
“Really? You never sit on the mat?”
“Well, yeah, I do.”
“And do you pick your toes on the mat?” I already know the answer to this question.
“And your feet touch the mat, right?”
“And then you put your hands, which have just picked your toes that have been on the mat, to your face, and possibly into your nose and mouth?”
“Mom, I don’t think that’s it.”
He may be right. He may have gotten it some other way. He was not a martial artist for his first bout of the old r-w. (That was near his ear.) But I am not passing up a chance to give him reasons to keep his hands out of his orifices.
Tonight at the church potluck, the barbecue chicken legs came out and Son #1 ran over to them and stuck his ringwormed face in the dish, millimeters away from the drums, hair brushing barbecue sauce. “Ack!” I scream. “Get away from the legs!”
“But I want to smell them!” he insists. He grabs a leg and takes a big bite of it, then smears the sauce across his face with the back of his hand to “clean” his mouth. When Son is finished, his face is covered in barbecue sauce, and his fingers have been licked clean and wiped on pants (or passersby) countless times. Husband sees Son’s messy face and moves to wipe it. He cleans away the sauce from most of Son’s face, but strategically leaves the sauce covering the patch of ringworm. Nope! No ringworm here! Only barbecue sauce!
If I get ringworm, I don’t think I’ll be able to use the sauce trick to keep me rolling. Until Son #1 is fungus-free, I will keep The Bearer of the Ringworm at a safe distance.