It was a long, long day yesterday, with our 2-year-old running a high fever, refusing to eat or drink anything, but worst of all, absolutely clinging to us and crying a hoarse, wailing cry we had never heard before. He was even drooling alot. I thought about epiglottitis; about taking him into the ER for IV fluids; about cancelling our trip abroad this weekend.

My husband went out and bought all sorts of tempting liquid treats: popsicles, Jello, puddings, juice. We cut up popsicles and tried to get him to taste; we opened all flavors of Jello and pudding and tried to get him to try even a little bitty spoonful. We kept pouring juicy cups and adding ice cubes. Heck, we tried sticking ice cubes in his mouth.

Towards the end of the day, way past his bedtime, as I sat on the couch holding him, he pointed to the kitchen and grunted. This seems to be a signal, sometimes, that he’s hungry. On the counter was all the array of melting popsicles and open Jellos and puddings and juicy cups. He pointed to a bowl of squishy popsicle. I tried to pick up a piece for him, but it fell apart in my hand. I got his little spoon and brought some of the sticky syrup up to his mouth– and he opened. He took it. He thought about it, then swallowed. And he pointed at the bowl, for more.

I spooned some more up to his mouth and watched in amazement as he ate that too.

“Honey, come look,” I called to my husband, “LOOK!”

He came in with the baby, and we both had tears in our eyes as our boy took baby spoon after baby spoon of melty popsicle.

From there he sat in his high chair and spooned the rest up. Then another one fresh and icy from the freezer, which he mashed until it was also good and melty. Then he sipped some juice. Then he wanted Goldfish crackers. Then he wanted saltines with jelly. Then he wanted just jelly. He ate and ate for about 30 minutes straight.

And for awhile, he was his usual self. Even though it was after 9 pm, we let him play. He ran back and forth from the Tv room to the kitchen, giggling. he made funny faces at us. I kept tearing up.

We got him to sleep finally. This morning he woke with another high fever, but he took juice. I had to go to work, but we had a babysitter for Babygirl, and Hubby took Babyboy to the Pedi.

There, it took two people to hold him down, but they did, and they made the diagnosis: 8 to 10 ulcers on the back of his throat. Coxsackievirus. There’s an outbreak of it going on.

Classic. I remember this from medical school. Summertime, time for enteroviruses like coxsackievirus, which commonly causes herpangina and hand-foot-and-mouth disease. The usual stuff of childhood. I remember admitting kids with herpangina for IV fluids. But Babyboy is going to be fine.

Now if we can just keep Babygirl from getting it…