Our family has two distinct branches.

There’s the Chris Branch.

Chris does not recall a time when he had a run-in with any poisonous-plant-caused rash, and does not have the pleasure of experiencing bug bites of any kind. Sometimes he feels a bug on him and is annoyed by the biting sensation, but does not swell or itch or react in any way to the bite thereafter. More often, though, bugs don’t even bother to perch upon him.

Then there’s the Rachel Branch.

I spent most of my childhood and parts of my adulthood afflicted by the rashes of multiple poisonous plants, and am the best insect repellent money can buy, because if I’m with you, every living thing within 25 miles will be feasting on me as if I’m the main entrée at a party thrown by pre-prison-days Martha Stewart.

It appears, after much analysis and hiking, that Ali is a descendent of the Chris Branch, and Noah is a true prodigy in the Rachel Branch.

The poor child can get bitten by anything anywhere regardless of whether he is lacquered in bug spray and/or the surface area in question is completely hemmed in by tight-fitting garments.


He’s the Taco Tuesday of the mosquito world. The Avocado Toast of the ant world. And the Double Fudge Brownie Milkshake with Sprinkles and a Waffle Cone Straw of the spider world.

And furthermore, his reactions to said bites can be rather…intense.

Which explains how his penis swelling like an overextended water balloon last week was totally standard for him.

It wasn’t his first rodeo.

(And when I say rodeo I mean the kid was walking like he’d just dismounted from a large bull.)

But he was calm, he was knowledgeable, and he fell right back into Protuberated Penile Procedure.

Noah-Ice-Packs-Spider-Bite“Put one ice pack in the pants, get an extra ice pack to swap out, and oh by the way this whole operation is easier if I wear gloves.”

He took it all with the casualness of a sore throat, as if carrying around an oversized package is something that is common to everyone’s daily experience, not just the UPS and FedEx men.

…Or at least, he was nonchalant until he was half asleep that night, when he meandered to me about his feelings about the situation.

“I’m sad. That my firehose is swelling. But I’m glad that my bottom isn’t swelling because then it would be huge. <slaps his own butt> Because it’s already big.”

(Nobody wants to be a spider-inflicted Kim Kardashian.)

If that had been his only bite, he wouldn’t have even gotten a doctor’s visit out of it. I had already looked up my last blog post to ensure we were waddling through all the recommended treatment steps.

But it was the one on his neck that was troublesome. Because the next morning, it had turned into The Dreaded Target.


THAT’S the sign we all have nightmares about. THAT’S the one that should send you to the doctor the minute you see it. Or at least those of us who live in a territory of Lyme Disease.

Noah, however, was becoming more preoccupied with his other still-growing issue.

“I’m tired of walking like this. But I can’t walk normal because my firehose feels gross. I HATE IT!!”
“I’m sorry. Hopefully the doctor can help that, too.”
“As long as it’s not a shot right HERE. Because that would really hurt.”

He’s not wrong.

As expected, our Pediatrician inspected the lower issue and said “Yup, looks like last time. It’ll be fine with ice and Benadryl.”

But the neck issue…whether or not it was what it looked like it was, it’s ALWAYS best to treat for Lyme if it could be a possibility. It was most likely a spider bite gone dramatic, but just in case…

As she looked up his dosage of antibiotics and steroids, Noah told her in no uncertain terms that he’s never even tasted a lime. Clearly she was mistaken.


Mansplaining starts early these days.

Noah was concerned as to his level of boredom during his recovery. He could not walk. He could NOT run. And he even made sure to tell Chris specifically* that he ABSOLUTELY COULD NOT swim. I mean the kid had a freaking millstone hanging around his…well you know.

*Chris tends to be an authoritarian ruler when it comes to regularly decreeing family fun at the pool.

What could a boy do who could not use his body from the waist down??

While we wandered Walgreens waiting on his prescriptions, God shined down upon us and led us to a couple sets of Minecraft papercraft boxes that were on clearance ($4.49 a set, currently on Amazon for $15-20.)


This blessed craft party ended up being the ideal weekend time passer while waiting for one to be able to walk without a waddle. With the added benefit of my house now being covered in a thin layer of a Minecraft empire.

IMG_1007 2

So at least the road to genital recovery has treasures along the way.

Epilogue: Noah is back to normal now, except for the extreme maniacal laughter and hippity hoppity effects of his steroid. I actually really like this kid on steroids. Can I get a long-term steroid prescription to treat chronic whininess? Because it’s totally working.

11 thoughts on “On Being Absolutely Delicious.

  1. Good to finally know what my condition is called: I am from the Rachel branch :(
    Luckily there aren’t as many pests in northern Germany.
    My only advice (for the non gigantic ones): get one of these
    (I can get them for $20 here, so you might want to google a better price) it’s hurts only briefly and really helps with the itching.
    All the best

  2. Poor Noah! My husband and youngest girl are from your branch, bugs love them and so I have to make sure that we have the good bug spray, the one with as much Deet as possible because nothing else works. I may be poisoning them but hey at least they wont be itchy!

    1. I don’t know! There is a term called Bama Bangs that is similar but for frat guys. I’ve been wanting to change it for a while but can’t figure out how to. His hair refuses to part. It just falls like that. I’m always combing his bangs back and they won’t stay. Barbers have tried to cut them so they will and it never works. I guess I just need to get them to cut it way closer to his head. I’m not good at giving barber instructions! I should do a blog post asking for help in barberese.

      1. Haha, I mean don’t get me wrong he is adorable. maybe if you cut it really short like a buzz or a Mohawk.

  3. Apparently I’m not so tasty, but bugs love my kids — especially River, and no amount of big spray helps entirely. What’s much worse, though, it that he scratches the bites until they bleed (and then stain every bedding set we own) and scab over and he looks like he has a horrible skin disease. I am seriously embarrassed that he’s starting school next week with what looks like open sores all up and down his legs. And of course, it’s too hot to even suggest pants, I love summer, but I won’t be sad about the first frost that kills the mosquitoes..

  4. Wow I am totally jealous of your husband’s bug-repelling abilities! My husband is way better than me, but we all still get bit all over. Nothing like Noah though! Poor guy! That sounds absolutely horrible!

  5. I’ve always been Rachel Branch–bugs love me. A few years ago, I stayed with someone who (unbeknownst to them) had bedbugs, which is pretty much the Nuclear Scenario for anyone with bug bite problems. I swelled up so much and was in so much pain that I saw the PA at my dermatologist, who said I have Extreme Arthropod Bite Reaction syndrome. It’s cumulative, so, with every bite from a mosquito, spider, bedbug (shudder), etc…the reaction gets worse. My bites look very similar to the large one on Noah’s neck, so maybe that’s what he’s dealing with, too. The only thing I’ve found that helps is to not scratch them, and douse them as soon as possible with witch hazel.

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