Foot-and-mouth disease (Aphthae epizooticae) is an infectious and sometimes fatal viral disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals. The virus causes a high fever for two or three days, followed by blisters inside the mouth and on the feet that may rupture and cause lameness.
This, my readers, is what Learner Dad solemnly told Li’l Fatty he’d get if he didn’t stop sucking his toes.
And I don’t mean ‘no, seriously, he actually said that’.
I mean ‘no, seriously, he actually thought that’.
Well actually he thought it was called Foot IN Mouth, which is obviously what had got him confused in the first place.
“You can blog about it all you like,” he retorted when I teased him.
“Do you even know what it is yourself?”
“I’ll google it to check exactly but I know people who have it aren’t walking around with feet in their mouths,” I said.
“I tell you, it’s an infection that’s passed from the foot to the mouth,” was his answer.
To be fair to Learner Dad, there is actually a human condition called ‘Hand, Foot and Mouth disease’, which does affect babies and children.
But, rather than from sucking his own toes, Li’l Fatty would only get it if he sucked on the snot, saliva or poo of an already infected child.
He would then end up with lesions on his hands, feet and, you guessed it, in his mouth.
There is of course very little Li’l Fatty can do wrong in his glowing father’s eyes.
But one thing that gets Learner Dad every time is the sucking, be it hands or feet.
“Take your fingers out of your mouth,” he’ll order crossly, while Li’l Fatty sits, smiles and continues to slurp in response.
It took both my mother and Learner Dad’s mother to convince him it was actually quite harmless and certainly normal for babies to suck ferociously on their digits.
Li’l Fatty’s hands are probably better off in his mouth anyway – prevents him from smacking himself around and winding up with ‘Slap Cheek’ syndrome.
Sorry Learner Dad, I couldn’t resist.
But on a serious note, I must away and pack up our baby’s little toy farm.
I wouldn’t want him to contract mad cow or chickenpox…
Ah, it’s good to be back.