But fortunately, I have an almost-4-year-old son. So I get to relive a lot of my childhood while playing with him. The good — the endless enjoyment an empty box can bring, the never-ending wonders of the great outdoors — and the really, really ugly.
Ugly and I had a run-in a few weeks ago. The boy and I had gone to a local park for a play date. We both had fun: him running around and not really playing with his playmate, me getting some much needed adult conversation with a fellow mommy. We parted ways and merrily went about our days.
Until around midnight that night, when I woke up with a horror I had almost successfully buried beneath the years. The itching, the burning ... ARG! CHIGGERS!
For those of you who have never had the (ahem) pleasure of enduring a chigger bite, they're miserable. If chiggers existed in Italy, Dante would have devoted an entire layer of hell to those puppies. You can't scratch them, because if you do, you will actually scratch off all your skin (I'm not kidding ... I may have suppressed the childhood memories, but I still have the scars). And you can't not scratch them, because they itch like crazy and the littlest thing — seriously, I'm talking about wearing clothes — sets them off.
So two or three chigger bites is miserable. But when you're talking about, oh 50 or so, ohhhh my, you're talking about a whole new level of torture. You can't sleep, which makes functioning really tough. You can't comfortably wear clothes, which makes going to work really awkward (here's hoping no one was snapping FASHION FAUX PAS pictures for Facebook!). You also can't accept the sweet, endearing hugs from a loving, snuggly almost-4-year-old boy without cringing.
I tried everything: nail polish (no effect), Benadryl (worked, but made me pass out, which isn't terribly effective for working or keeping up with said sweet almost 4 year old), anti-itch creams (ha ha ha ha ... whose brilliant idea was it to require that you RUB anti-itch creams on?), anti-itch sprays (relief that lasted, oh, about 15 seconds) ... and then I broke out in hives. Oh yeah. It was a fun week.
The only good thing I can say about chigger bites is they go away pretty quickly (although never quickly enough). After enduring that week, I've since recovered. I only looked as though I had been burned multiple times with a cigarette for a few days before those marks, too, began to fade and heal.
But I have learned my lessons:
- Lesson 1: Childhood is overrated.
- Lesson 2: Invest in serious bug spray.
- Lesson 3: Figure out a way to eliminate the entire species of chiggers. Those puppies deserve to die.