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Legitimately ill, or a case of Hot Earlobe At Bedtime Syndrome?






My kids have always been healthy, touch wood. The usual coughs, colds, stomach bugs and one Christmas, a memorable case of hand, foot and mouth disease. Ho ho ho.

Occasionally though, it seems they’re afflicted by ailments which neither the medical profession nor Google can explain. I wonder if it’s their diet? My diet? Too much One Direction?

Here’s a summary of the most common conditions that strike my otherwise thriving children. The Mamamia community is a supportive one, so treatment suggestions would be welcome. There may even be variations on these conditions you wish to share.

Quite frankly, I won’t be surprised if this post ends up the basis for an article in The Lancet or similarly regarded medical journal.

1. HEABS: Hot Earlobe At Bedtime Syndrome

Symptoms: Child will complain about going to bed. Overheated extremity may also manifest itself as a burning toe, aching elbow, shivering hair.

Treatment: Child will ask for drinks of water, another round of Where The Wild Things Are, parent getting into bed with them (symptoms will then mysteriously transfer to parent’s back or neck which may in turn require physiotherapy), being allowed to watch My Kitchen Rules. However, there is no known effective treatment. Except sleep.

Vegetable Induced Lethargy. Always dangerous.

2. VIL: Vegetable Induced Lethargy  

Symptoms: A child planning to set a world record for trampolining is suddenly overcome with sleepiness at the sight of peas. Carrots, corn, mashed pumpkin, beans and broccoli will often have the same effect.

Potatoes have this effect less commonly – especially if served in chip form. The child will sway and yawn. She may gag before saying all she wants to do is have a bath and go to bed.

Treatment: Interestingly, the bath can result in relief of symptoms but parents should be wary as they  may reappear again at bedtime.

3. SOSR:  Sudden Onset Sandwich Revulsion: The researcher who can find a cure for this one deserves a Nobel prize.

Symptoms: Child has happily eaten chicken, lettuce and mayonnaise sandwiches for years. Without warning, said sandwiches return from school, untouched. Child says chicken sandwiches now make her mouth ‘feel furry,’ and she may request, ‘Something smooth … like Nutella.’

Treatment: Opinion is divided and inconclusive. One mother I know (me) has told child to sit and look at the uneaten sandwich and think of the mother’s love that went into making it. This treatment has so far proven ineffective but research is continuing.

4. LCC: Limited Chewing Capability

Symptoms: Child (commonly aged 4-9) will refuse to eat a slice of apple or a lamb chop because of age-related dental issues ie wobbly teeth. Oddly, child will have no difficulty with Minties or similar chewy confection.


Treatment: Nine out of ten dentists advise withholding Minties until apple and/or chop is consumed. The tenth is a wuss.

5. HACUT: Headache Appearing At Clean Up Time

Symptoms: Headaches (also sore eyes, aching calves, ringing ears) commonly appear on Sunday afternoons soon after a parent declares the house is a tip needs to be tidied or the week will be a nightmare before it’s even started. Symptoms can also appear immediately following a child’s own birthday party.

Child will often  suggest he requires a little lie-down, possibly with cool cloth on forehead. Somewhat surprisingly, headache is unaffected by loud noise, such as from a vacuum cleaner, especially if appliance is being operated by parent.

Treatment: Opinion is divided. Some experts (my mother in law) suggest threatening to throw favourite toys into wheelie bin as quick and effective cure for this affliction. Others (my friend Lou) says a whingy child is no help anyway and recommends sending them to bed, closing the door and doing it yourself before pouring a large gin and tonic.

I’m with Lou.

Do your kids make up ailments? What ‘illnesses’ did you suffer as a child?