Thursday, August 21, 2008

The attack of the fuzzy green caterpillar

We had a scary midday at the park today. We were sitting there on our blanket, socializing with other moms and babies when Leah started crying inexplicably. I tried to console her to no avail. Then I made her a bottle and while positioning her to feed her I realized she was kicking a lot and rubbing her ankles together. And lo and behold there was a big fuzzy caterpillar on her ankle just at the end of her pants.

Of course I got the caterpillar off and threw it to the side. She continued her frenzied kicking and I found that there were all these little yellow-green hairs stuck to her foot and ankle. I commenced brushing them off with water and a burp cloth and eventually resorted to picking them off with my fingers. They didn't hurt or anything, but shortly thereafter I developed a rash on my arm. I gave her a bottle to calm her and then had to hold her to keep her calm. She wouldn't return to playing with her toys. Finally when I put her in the stroller she calmed down.

Not sure if she was in pain or what. The rash on my arm had a sort of prickly itchy stingy feel. Not terribly painful or anything but definitely uncomfortable. So I decided we ought to just come home and take a bath to get all the caterpillar hairs and whatnot off. There was also a green ooze on the blanket and her pants, so I'm not sure if that contributed to the skin irritation or not.

Anyway, we're both fine. By the time we got in the tub Leah was happy again and she's been napping for over an hour and a half. My rash faded slowly over the past couple of hours and is now pretty much gone.

I've done some research and found that the caterpillar seems to be an American Dagger Moth. I found anecdotal things about kids playing with them and getting rashes, but nothing that seemed too scientific. In any case, there was nothing about it being poisonous or anything, so I'm sure we're both fine and I can stop worrying.

But it was a frightening experience. And I felt so bad that it took me so long to find the source of Leah's discomfort. I'm sure she'll forgive me.

This is the actual caterpillar - another mom scooped it up on her toy mirror:

And this is how cute and happy Leah looked pre-caterpillar attack:

No comments: