I first noticed them sometime on Friday as I was getting ready to head out to a soccer game. Little ~A~ followed me back to the bedroom as I was getting changed. "Da-dee! Da-dee!" I had only briefly seen him in the past couple of days because of the commitments of coaching ~D~’s soccer team. I just barely got home from work and had to run out again 5 minutes later. Not quite the environment for quality time with my 18 month old.
As I was doing the home-from-work-out-the-door-in-10-minutes routine, little ~A~ tagging along. His pant leg had slipped up over his thigh and there it was a red mark. It looked like he had been sleeping hard on that part of his leg. When I ran my hand over it, it was cool to the touch–not inflamed or anything. And as I was in a rush, I left him in my wife’s arms 10 minutes later waving "Bye bye" as I ran out the door with ~D~ and ~K~, on our way to the soccer games.
Saturday morning came and I was changing a diaper and noticed the mark again. There was another similar one on his inner thigh. The kind of mark that looks like someone had slapped him, but the wrong shape and size.
Hmmm…Cool to the touch, not inflamed. Weird. I couldn’t explain it, and thought, "Maybe it’ll just go away."
Repeat the same scenario, later on in the day. I’m starting to get a little concerned and starting to think of doctor visits and those strange creams and ointments that they prescribe for diaper rash and such. The thing bugging me was:
I know what diaper rash looks like.
This didn’t look like diaper rash.
I didn’t get to ask my wife until Sunday lunch time: "Hey hon, have you noticed those red marks on ~A~’s leg–"
"…And his thigh?" she said, finishing my sentence.
She started laughing.
Back up to the previous Saturday.
We purchased a new highchair because the 14 year old one that we had been using broke. It needed only to last a few more months–maybe another year–but it decided instead that I was too abusive in the way that I handled it. So the tray broke off in a frustratingly unrepairable way.
"New" for this new high chair is a relative term. It was at a consignment shop for the delightful price of $15. A Cadillac high chair compared to our Yugo. But one frustrating flaw was that you couldn’t get a tight fit between the tray and ~A~’s belly, so all matter of food ended up in his lap after a meal. His manners and motor skills are less than ideal (although pretty good for an 18 month old) and so he misses his mouth as much as he hits the mark.
With a minimized high chair tray gap, this lack of skill doesn’t matter much as most of the food ends back on the tray or in his bib. But with our new Cadillac high chair, it’s tray gap allows ~A~ to drop an entire meal in his lap–discoverable only when you try to get him out of the chair.
"Boy with the big appetite" becomes "boy with a huge mess in his lap."
My wife explained what the red marks were: "They’re red Jell-O."
Apparently she had served ~A~ some red Jell-O and he was feeding himself. More of the Jell-O got into his lap than in his mouth and by the time my wife got him out of his seat, it had liquefied and soaked through his pants. Nice.
The red marks finally went away…after ~A~ got a bath.