Dear Natalie: Week 45

[Note: yes, this is last week’s letter. The Happy Helmraths are recovering from being the Exhausted Helmraths and should be getting back on track shortly.]

Dear Natalie,

I’m afraid I don’t have a more formal portrait of you this week, because you’ve been feeling under the weather. You have Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (which is, despite the name, not at all like “Foot in Mouth Disease,” something that afflicts your mother all the time) and are definitely not yourself.

We thought you were working on tooth #7, because teething and the onset of Hand, Foot, and Mouth are extremely similar: fever, crankiness, a dip in your appetite, and the DROOL. Oh my word, the drool. But then small red spots appeared on your lower lip and within a day spread to the backs of your knees,  your hands, the soles of your feet, and other areas that I won’t mention here.

Definitely not teething.

For three days we medicated you with Motrin, because you were a complete mess without it. You fussed and cried and only napped for thirty minutes at a time. Diaper changes were a nightmare, since putting you down on the changing table made you wail like we’d abandoned you on the side of the road. Since that was clearly going so well, your dad and I opted not to subject you to a photoshoot.

You’re definitely starting to feeling better now. Your appetite has returned with a vengeance, you’re sleeping better, and you seem much more like you. It’s so tough for all of us when you’re sick, because we just want you to get better. We miss our happy girl and hate seeing you in such abject misery. Sometimes the misery makes you do really cute things, like sighing and resting your head on my shoulder, but I’d trade that any day for the squirmy girl who is too busy exploring her world to sit with mom.

Love always,


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