It's been an interesting month here at Camp Underground.  I feel like I've been just going through the motions as I take children from one appointment to the next. What was I thinking with all those lessons at Christmas?!?  I now understand the freedom my parents must have felt when my brother and I finally secured our drivers' licenses. Freedom to sit on their behinds at home and let me go to all my many weekly meetings, lessons and rehearsals on my own power must have been sweet, indeed.  I never really thought it was a great idea to let kids get a drivers' license before age sixteen, but now I'm considering moving to Idaho just to make that happen a couple of years sooner.

I did play a concert a couple of weeks ago, which was interesting in that I almost didn't actually go to the concert. A couple of hours before my call time, The Caterpillar was goofing around with her sister and playing dress up - parading through the room in one outfit after the next - when she next to me on the couch and I noticed what looked like a mosquito bite on her leg.  I thought to myself, "That's odd, it's like eighteen degrees out - where did the mosquitoes come from?"  Then a few minutes later, when she had asked me where the backscratcher was three times, I decided to investigate.  

"Hey, come here for a minute."

"Why, Momma?"

"I just want to know why you're so itchy."

And I lifted up her shirt to find her entire back covered with red, raised welts:

What the what?

Within about twenty minutes, it had spread to her entire neck and torso, arms and hands:

We're not a household that tends to see a lot of allergic reactions so this was totally new to me - especially how fast it hit.  Why do kids always get sick between 6:00 Friday and 8:00 Monday?  I think they plan it.

We peppered her with questions about whether she could breathe, took her temperature and listened to her chest dozens of times but it seems like the only real thing that was bothering her was the fact that she was itchy.  The really weird thing is both girls had been using the dress up clothes interchangeably and we'd all eaten the exact same thing for lunch, but The Dormouse showed no reaction whatsoever. So I gave her a bath to remove whatever it was that might still be on her skin, filled her with antihistamines and rubbed cortisone cream all over her torso while I searched in vain for a bar of Fels-Naptha Monica had given me back in the summer should I ever need it.  I was certain I had put it in a "safe place" which apparently was so safe I could not find it until a week later when I was looking for a spatula in the kitchen.  So, you know, an ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure and stuff. 

I also took a sharpie and drew Lewis and Clark's map on her back because I couldn't figure out whether it was continuing to spread and we needed to visit the ER or whether the antihistamines had done their job and it was receding.

Fortunately, either the Benadryl or the cortisone cream, or both, did the trick and by the time I had to leave for my concert, the welts had gone down and we could see the red patches receding somewhat.  So I decided to go ahead and not leave that empty chair in the violin section and left her in the able care of her father, but obsessively checked my texts at intermission and immediately after the concert anyway.  Just to be sure, I made The KingofHearts put her to bed on the couch next to him so he could hear her if she started having trouble breathing.  By the time I got home just before 11:00, she the rash was almost completely gone and all that was left was my sharpie map on her back. 

That was fun explaining to her teachers the next school day.

The next day I threw out all the dress up clothes they were using. 

Still never figured out what it was, but on the bright side, it was a good way to clean out a drawer in their toy bins.