Caring for any baby, your baby especially, is an unique experience. Mothers do have shared experience though, being mom and going through pregnancy, child birth and caring for a baby who goes through the development milestones. Mothers of eczema children have even more in common, as the struggles of caring for a baby who has rashes all over, experience constant discomfort and itch can only be understood by those who’ve been through them. This series by MarcieMom, are letters to you, with words of encouragement and sharing of her own parenting struggles.
Dear Daddy & Mommy,
I hope your family life has got easier as your child turned 2-3 years old – I remembered this was the time when we went to Singapore Botanical Gardens for the second time to watch a free outdoor concert. At the end of the concert we were thinking ‘Wow, did we just finish watching a concert without much scratching, had some fun on the grass and a decent picnic?’. This was especially poignant as two years ago we went for a similar event at the Botanical Gardens and had to run off the event, in anger and frustration, with our baby’s hands tied with the swaddle cloth due to the scratching and the blood.
Bedtime still comes with scratching for me, as I believe for many parents too. Idle hands, too dry air, or too warm, rising body temperature and for reasons no one knows, bedtime seems to be punctuated with scratching throughout the night. Having deal with eczema for 2+ years, most parents may have figured out a bedtime routine that seemed to be correlated with the least scratching. For us, it’s shower close to bedtime, air-conditioning, a little of bedtime reading and co-sleeping. I got so used to co-sleeping that I fall asleep pretty easily with an increasing weight on me.
Daytime is much better now with so many activities to do. Be careful with playdough with sparkles or playing with bubbles, either make it quick and wash hands quickly after or wear gloves (we used the first method but parents have told me gloves worked). iPad sometimes save the day, but we try to limit that. Activities that are carried out in non-air conditioned room continue to be a problem, like gym in non-airconditioned area. Marcie scratched a little but I saw an older child with eczema who really couldn’t carry on with the class and just sat on the mat and scratched and scratched. Gym or teachers of classes are not equipped to manage eczema so don’t expect them to. We ended up choosing ballet as that is always air-conditioned and wearing light clothing!
I wonder how your child’s eczema is or whether other allergic conditions start to affect your child. I wonder if your child is attending a preschool that he/she is nicely settled in and the teachers have already known how to care for your child. Marcie enrolled in Columbia Academy and the teachers are very kind and understanding – reminding Marcie not to scratch and getting her to moisturize. As children these days seem to be so much more alert and active, I recommend choosing a preschool that has many activities rather than idle time – the activities (be it reading, writing, drawing, dance or music) really help to distract an eczema child from scratching. Also, I’m thankful that the teachers are strict and very mindful of teasing, calling names or bullying – which can happen to an eczema child.
Finding alternative caregiver is still difficult – my parents took care of Marcie after full day preschool but every time school’s off or Marcie is sick, we will still take leave. Most of our leave were spent caring for Marcie and a short holiday. Packing for holidays is almost like moving the whole house as I always pack for 2-3 change of clothes within a day! We were very thankful that we had very enjoyable family time during this period and pray that your family gets many lovely moments together, despite the eczema.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him”