Remember being five? I remember loving being five. I had soft leather Mary Janes that were a deep maroon and I wore them everywhere. I taught myself how to read and tie my shoes (and surprised mom). Kindergarten rocked and I was friends with everyone.
The biggest thing I remember about being five is NOT being at all conscious of my body. It was all about experience, learning and socializing, as it should be.
This is key because I am trying to help my five-year-old this week as he has lost this magical ability to have out-of-body experiences. Two weeks ago, Ben had allergies and was congested. The congestion was followed by an ear infection (as it so often is with him). This led to a course of yucky tasting antibiotics which, after a week, was thankfully gone with the ear infection. But two days later, he started getting itchy and upon closer inspection I found him to be covered with hives. When I say covered, I mean they were just all over his little body.
Lo and behold, a Sunday morning doctor visit (because don't these things always show up in the middle of the night on Saturday?) revealed that he is not only allergic to penicillin (which we knew) but now allergic to cefdinir as well. Oatmeal baths; Benadryl; cool cloths; give it a week. Right.
Clearly the doctor has forgotten what it is to be five. This week, Ben has been the most physically challenged as he has ever been in his short life. He can't sleep. He's constantly itching. His eyes are swollen. He hates the medicine. He hates the baths. And through it all, his parents, big brother, grandparents and counselors keep telling him, "don't scratch." Are you freaking kidding me?
I am not lying when I say Ben has been a model and truly inspirational example of self-control. He isn't whining, he's really trying not to scratch, and is grudgingly taking his medicine every four hours. And I'm repeatedly telling him what a great job he's doing.
But as amazing as he is, I am still sad, because this week I have been missing his smile. When I picked him up from camp yesterday, he sat in the back seat wide-eyed, brow slightly furrowed, mouth set in a straight line and just looked at me. He wasn't scratching, he wasn't talking. He looked a bit sleepy, but said nothing. For Ben to be saying nothing, especially after the first day of camp, speaks volumes. He may be dealing with his lot in life right now, but it's changing him.
I can only hope that by being supportive and encouraging, helping to ease the symptoms and giving him lots of hugs that I am helping him. Maybe, if he ends up on the therapist's couch in 20 years, this will be one traumatic life event that he won't attribute to me. But more than anything, I hope this whole thing passes quickly, and isn't followed by some OTHER ailment. I hope within a few days, Ben will be once more out of his body and smiling, a happy five-year-old again.