Hey, this may seem like a minor, petty issue but color pencils, markers, crayons, poster colors are overflowing my kid’s play boxes and spilling to dining table tops. But I can’t stop buying them
1. They look so darn nice.
2. They are sometimes on sale.
3. Every new box of coloring keeps my kid occupied longer than an old box, which is VERY GOOD as it keeps the eczema scratching off!
But it’s increasingly becoming a point of contention – are we being materialistic? Is this encouraging hoarding? Is it wasteful? Is this not teaching my kid a sense of responsibility and inculcating frivolous-ism?
What do you think? Give me an honest answer.
Wow, it’s like you read my mind. Have you been spying my daughter’s play boxes? I’ve 3 full boxes of coloring + stamping stuff. Honestly, yes, it’s wrong. No question.
Even more honestly, if you HAVE TO BUY them, buy them. In my usual investigative style, here’s the pros and cons to buying (and keep buying) that color pencil.
1. It makes you, as a mom who likes colors and doodling, happy.
2. It makes your kid happy.
3. It makes you feel like a good mom.
4. It keeps the eczema scratching off double the time with a new set of coloring.
5. It makes you be able to enjoy a restaurant meal with your spouse.
6. It is useful and spikes creativity.
1. It is technically not a good use of money (to spend on stuff you already have loads of).
2. It makes your kid think he/she only uses new stuff.
3. It may make your spouse upset if both don’t see the pros.
4. It clutters your home and creates work when you clean up.
5. The coloring markers may dry up if not used, rendering something useful, useless.
So – 6 pros, 5 cons, go for it.
Checking out the latest cool stationery this weekend,
That’s difficult. Hypocritical to answer if I have not been through the darkest hour. So, I asked MarcieMom:
MarcieMom: There was one night I remembered – one night after many months of waking up in the middle of the night for 2-4 hours to wipe my baby’s skin with chlorhexidine, moisturize again, change new PJs, feed a snack and prep for bedtime all over again. On this one night, the day had been very bad. I had to hold my baby’s hands almost throughout the day, the stress of not taking a second off and feeling alone.
Feeling that God had turned his back on my baby.
Wondering why God had intended for my baby to suffer.
There was no answer.
Yet, in some way, God answered. Within about 2 months, Marcie was tested not allergic to anything and responded well to treatment.
Within 6 months, I started EczemaBlues to help other parents.
Where is God in my darkest hour? He was with me – I did not feel it then but my spouse stood by me and we pulled through.
Bible verses for you to hang onto during dark times:
John 14:1 – Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.
Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Matthew 11:28-30 – “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 – So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Help! My kid won’t stop scratching and it’s getting impossible to keep him from it. Any ideas?
One tired mom
I know! It does get impossible sometimes to stop scratching, many times I feel like I’ve run out of eyes to watch out for it, ears to listen for it and saliva to remind not to scratch. Here are the ‘crazy’, desperate distraction tips that I’ve come out with over the 5 years. Of course, the eczema ought to be controlled too, otherwise it’s kinda unfair to expect the kid not to scratch. So here goes my quirky anti-scratching tips!
Art – You can’t paint and scratch at the same time, that’s why my bag always has an activity book and my home is stock full of them.
Burst bubble – If you’re wary of the bubble (soap) on your kid, use a long straw to burst the bubble instead.
Cloud imagination – this works if you’re out in the park and your kid starts scratching, start spying shapes in the cloud.
Dance – It’s quite difficult to dance and scratch at the same time!
Eat – this is one fav technique of grandparents, not very ideal but to them, it’s better than scratching. I would choose physical activities to burn off the extra calories after.
Force it – If your child is still a baby, you may have to hold her hands whenever you’re able to limit the scratching. There are very few distraction techniques for baby since they can’t engage in as many activities (except scratching).
Go get it – Sometimes I get my kid to get something which works to stop the scratching for a while.
Hold on to it – Same thing – can’t scratch if you’re holding onto something.
Ice – Anything cold – ice cube (works to distract in a restaurant waiting for food) or ice pad work.
Jello – Making jello takes up time, likewise pizza. I like jello though – eating a chilled one distracts scratching too.
Kiss – Kissing is distracting too! Be careful of your saliva irritating her skin though.
Lie – this one is tricky! But sometimes I tell my kid to look at this or that when there’s nothing special, then think of something special about it.
Monopoly – A board game that requires to keep moving the token, getting title deeds, counting fake money and engages the brain.
Noodles with chopsticks – This one is challenging and maybe the fingers get too tired to scratch after!
On the light, Off the light – Worked for me for a while when my kid was a toddler and amused with the car light.
Play dough – This is fabulous, not too dirty but be sure the child understands not to eat it.
Quit saying stop scratching – At different age, you may want to actually stop saying that and watch if your kid still scratches when you’re not paying attention to it. Read about reinforcing positives, instead of focusing on what not to do here.
Relax – Stress can be ‘caught’ by your kid, so relax and see if it helps.
Sing – Sing a funny noise, skin-related or not. Make up songs of My Little Pony, Frozen or about anything!
Tickle – this one always works!
Unite – whatever distraction tips (somewhat equal parenting style cos there’s so much time devoted to distracting an eczema kid), you and your spouse must be united and agree.
Vacation – many people have improved skin during vacation, we don’t really know why. But hey, with more new things to do, a vacay may just work to snap out of the routine scratching.
Waste some toilet paper – Maybe get lower quality ones for tearing! (Potty training an eczema kid is a whole different ball game.)
Xtreme measures – my own extreme is having to secure, swaddle, tie (is there a more politically correct word?) my baby’s hands for a minute, while I make her milk. It was a very difficult period of time.
You – don’t forget TLC for yourself.
Zzz – Only if prescribed by doctor, you can try antihistamines to help your kid sleep better (not knock him out!).
Coffee. I have a love and fear relationship to it.
Not love and hate. It’s impossible to hate coffee. I would sign off with ‘Chill with (Ice) Latte’, ‘Toast to Latte’ instead of XOXO. I’d rather sit in silence with my coffee than talk to my husband, so it’s totally untrue that women need to speak 20,000 words, maybe if they don’t have coffee to sip.
So on Jan 20, there’s a study published in JNCI (Journal of the National Cancer Institute) that if you drink 4 or more cups of coffee a day, you’re 20% less likely to get malignant melanoma (skin cancer). So does this conclude coffee is good for skin? Not so fast my fellow coffee drinkers, #SkinishMom knows coffee is diuretic and starts fearing when even a well-known doc said she’s cutting coffee. So, #SkinishMom is here to investigate coffee and SKIN.
Top Question – Is Coffee Good for Skin?
No. It’s diuretic, meaning it makes you pee more and takes water from your body, including your skin.
No. It inhibit nutrient absorption, including magnesium, calcium, vitamin B & D, folate, and iron.
No, its effect on cellulite is temporary. If you’ve read about caffeine products making puffy eyes or cellulite go away, it’s mostly due to temporary constriction of fat cells. Nothing has really changed. (this is from Dr Jessica Krant’s interview and read here for her interview with MarcieMom on face washing).
Coffee has so many biologically active compounds, it’s a lot more than just caffeine. There’s polyphenols, antioxidants, chlorogenic acids, caffeol, phytoestrogens and diterpenes. No one yet know how each affects our body.
This brings me to the next question – what Type of Coffee are we talking?
There’s a HUGE difference between espresso coffee and instant 3-in-1 coffee. The latter is likely mostly unknown chemicals with sugar and trans fat (partially hydrogenated oil) topping the ingredient list, promoting inflammation. And given that per cup, instant premix has less coffee than brewed coffee, whatever anti-inflammatory benefits you think you drink from the antioxidants likely get wiped out by the inflammatory sugar, glucose syrup, frutose syrup and trans fat.
Lastly, this one is no-brainer. Just because something may have protective effect doesn’t mean you go out of your way to do something to test its level of ‘protection’. If an insurance agent tells you you’re covered for critical illness, you don’t go out of your way to eat junk food (or do you?). Here’s the sun protection you should take.
Finally, remember. This study is not a clinical trial, meaning not cause and effect. It’s association. Lots of things are associated with other things.
Valentine’s Day is tomorrow!! My husband and I have not had a date night for 4 years (and counting!!). We don’t have a babysitter because it’s too difficult to brief someone (and trust that someone) when my son has eczema and allergies. But I REALLY NEED TO DATE this V-Day! I’m feeling more and more like a mom (and maid) and less and less like a wife! How can I have a date with my husband this V day?
Whoa! If I live near you, I would help you babysit. Come to think of it, moms of eczema kids should seek out each other and form a play date. After all, we are the only ones who know how to take care of our eczema babies.
Back to solving your date issue, you can still have a date even if you can’t find a babysitter. To me, I think bottom-line I want to feel loved by my spouse and that feeling can come in more ways than being out at a restaurant that’s charging exorbitant price for special valentine’s day menu.
To feel loved, first you have to let go of negative feelings. Calm yourself. Don’t be fixated that you have to date on Feb 14th. You can have a wonderful date any day. If you’re anxious over Feb 14th, your husband can be showering you with TLC that you don’t even notice.
Make your man feel special and let him know you like to have a date. This is the part we sometimes skip to our detriment. It’s impossible to have a nice date if things are forced. (Same for sex.) Just because having a date is a must and number 1 on your wish list doesn’t mean your spouse thinks the same way. How would he know? Especially if everything is like everyday and the past years where you just do your work, your housework, your skincare-for-child work. TALK to your husband, let him know you find him very good, supportive, strong for the family despite the eczema, the career workload and say, ‘I think it’s a good idea to have a date.’
With both husband and wife ‘conspiring’ for a date, it’s almost like the date has already started! So here are 8 ideas of dates without finding a babysitter.
1. Choose Friday night, both of you wake up after your child goes to bed and watch a movie at your laptop and get cosy.
2. Order food from your favorite restaurant and serve it like in a restaurant. Get new sets of coloring pencils and toys for your son to play on his own.
3. Choose your child’s nap time to connect with each other. And do so over wine, chips or ice-cream.
4. TV/iPad is a necessary evil (babysitter). An hour of screen time can be just the time you need to date your spouse.
5. Making dates during office lunch hours, when your child is in school.
6. Pay for your child to be in a safe, fun-filled indoor playground while you shop with your husband or sit down for coffee after family meal. Indoor playgrounds can be quite expensive – 20 bucks per hour, cut back on cake and safe 10 bucks already!
7. Make breakfast dates before your son wakes up. It’s a good start to a day to be with your loved one.
8. Ask your parents or nieces/nephews to help out for an hour. It can be an extended family outing but the two of you go off for a coffee while your son is playing with the rest.
Media, restaurants, movies, everything is putting too much focus on making that valentine day special. The more pressure you put on it, the less likely you’ll feel that it’s special. The best dates are the ones that are relaxed, without feeling reaped off and lighting up that love you have for each other. It all starts with the heart.
I came across this study ‘Higher Sweating Rate and Skin Blood Flow during the Luteal Phase of the Menstrual Cycle’. Simply put, sweat and skin blood flow was higher from Day 14 to Day 1 of the next period.
This got #SkinishMom investigating when do we sweat more? Maybe if we can avoid the circumstances when we sweat more, we’d feel more confident about our armpit smell and look more radiant!
Wait, to be sure, our sweat from all the eccrine sweat glands all over our body is odorless. Our sweat from apocrine sweat glands in our scalp, armpit and groin have an odor. But the real ‘body odor’ comes from the sweat mixing with the bacteria on our skin.
Here are when we sweat more:
1. Exercise – Never plan or agree to a jogging date.
2. Fever – It may be cute if your guy takes care of you when you’re sick, but not cute when he smells you!
3. Strong emotions – Here’s when playing cool literally works; too excited, angry or anxious, you’re likely to sweat more.
4. Stress – BFF is for stressful time, so is shopping, ice cream but not having a date (plus chances are you’ll complain of the stressful circumstances, and that’s just not cool!)
5. Alcohol, Caffeine – Sip these if you absolutely have to drink it during your date. Alcohol, soda, coffee, tea stimulates your gustatory sweating.
6. Spicy food – Don’t arrange for a date at Sichuan restaurant or Indian cuisine.
7. Smoking – Nicotine releases your body chemical acetylcholine that stimulates your sweat glands. Quit smoking is good for your health and your pockets.
8. Antidepressants – Causes excessive sweating in about 20%; hopefully your date will help with the depression!
As a safe measure, always use antiperspirant – it works and it’s not a cancer risk (that will be for another post!)
I read last week that we’re right to think that raising eczema kids is tough. But what about parenting them? Seriously, the amount of advice on ‘naughty corner’, helicopter parenting, attachment parenting, spanking, tiger mom is driving me nuts. Can I just forget the whole parenting thing since the skin thing is already such a headache?
The short answer – Yes. You have a right to choose whatever you think best for your child, family and home.
I believe in not parenting too (Shh…) but it’s a taboo to say that out loud.
I imagine if you outright say ‘I Won’t Parent’, responses will be
‘What! You don’t parent! You have a responsibility, you know!’
‘How could you not be bothered with disciplining your kid? They need it to thrive, flourish, grow to their best potential.’
I bet you won’t find one that says ‘You bet. They grow up anyhow. Who picks nose and eat it as an adult?’
Here are my Top 5 reasons to justify not parenting:
#1 – You will turn into a screaming monster if you try to parent.
#2 – You will allow blame, resentment to fester and overwork your in-built calculator on how to divide parenting work between your spouse and you.
#3 – You will spend endless hours deciding on your parenting style and boundaries with your spouse at the risk of a marriage break-up.
#4 – You believe your kid will grow up good and mother’s intuition is never wrong.
If it’s all too much to read up on parenting, here’s an interesting article on Professor’s Scott Napper’s view on how being a booger eater will boost your immunity, so you’re covered even if you can’t parent your kid out of eating boogers.
I feel that it is so tough raising a baby with eczema – the scratching, the sleepless nights… Some days I added comments like ‘I’m not having another child cos raising one with skin problem is so tough’ or ‘Do you know how difficult it is?’ but most of the time, I feel that I get back response like ‘They all grow up’ (from my in-laws) or ‘Yeah, I’m tired too’ (from my husband). I’m starting to wonder if I’m wrong to think I have it tough? Why doesn’t ANYBODY think so?
Now, back to your question on Why Doesn’t Anybody Think So?
My guess is:
1. Your other half knows but it’s not humanly possible for him to respond lovingly for 15 minutes every time you bring this up, especially if you’re bringing it up 3-5 times a day.
2. Your in-laws know nothing if they are not staying with you and part of the ‘village’ that’s raising your kid. So, best advice, ignore.
3. Nobody is thinking about anything. Therefore, they can’t respond thoughtfully.
4. Nobody is able to wrap their brains around what you’re telling them. Therefore, they can’t respond in the manner you hope they would respond. Particularly true if you’ve gone into so much detail about parenting eczema kids that are confounding and a mystery except to those of us with eczema kids AND you’re telling them so many things but hoping all the time they answer with a simple ‘You have it tough, poor thing’.
Best bet? Tell yourself you have it tough and you deserve to chill. Right now.
Want to know if something is huge business? Check out Google Ads.
You don’t need to read statistics or wordy reports, a quick way is to type in ‘Skin Whitening’ and viola, count the number of ads that appear. Where I am, there’re 11 ads on the first search results page. For the fun of it, try ‘Skin Bleaching’ and there’re 10 ads. One of which caught my eye – Anal and Vaginal Bleaching.
It’s real – women do bleach their vagina and there was an advertisement by an Indian cosmetic product Clean and Dry Intimate that caught the attention of website Jezebel in 2012. The video had been taken down but basically, if you have a fairer vagina, your husband will ignore you no longer.
I don’t judge. Especially for so many women who risk severe side effects for fairer skin in developing nations, why do they do that? I couldn’t find a report with statistics on whether life after skin bleaching improves but whatever the motivation, it is driving over 70% of Nigerian women, 60% of Togo women, 60% of Indian women, over 30% of south african women to regularly use skin whitening product. In the black market, products are not regulated and even injected into the skin when it is to be applied topically.
Fairer skin is sought in developed nations too. Check out products in stores and many of them have some whitening element to it. Does fairer skin really give us better life? It is accepted that good looks get you further in life – this article ‘Do good looks get you further in life?’ on Courier Mail explores many facets of it. There’s a funny part that says productivity increases when you feel you look good or when you are around good looking people, so we can’t totally disqualify good looks from getting a pay premium.
My take is
1. Avoid direct sun, apply sunscreen – not just to be fair but for protection against skin cancer. Sunlight exposure ages skin too, so quit getting a sun tan then go looking for products to make you younger. Btw, on having to sun to get Vitamin D, you need no more than 15 minutes. After that, it’s sun burn all the way (whether you see it or not).
2. If bleaching your skin is to
a. Make you love yourself more
b. Make someone love you more
c. Make you more successful in life
these are likely voids that will not be filled even after your skin is fairer. Instead, apply Matthew 6:33 ‘But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.’ (I know I sound preachy, but I believe it.)
Finally, I can’t assume everyone reading this will take my word for it. So, if you still want to whiten your skin, avoid the following ingredients.
1. Mercury – it’s no brainer right? Since young, we are taught not to go anywhere near the broken mercury thermometer and you should never clean it up with bare hands. Mercury causes rash and psychiatric, neurological and kidney problems. It is banned.
2. Hydroquinone – Used to be very common but banned now or limited to 2%. It blocks the production of melanin, which gives the skin its color. However, its side effects are blue-darkening effect of skin, causing an untreatable skin discoloration Ochronosis. More here on DermNetNZ
3. Glucocorticosteroids – It doesn’t make sense that we are so steroid phobic when it comes to our kids but use skin whitening products with steroids. Steroids give the impression that skin has whitened as the blood vessels are constricted after use.
4. Topical retinoids – This causes skin thinning, sensitivity under sun and is a risk to pregnancy.
Hey, if fairer skin works to get your husband to love you, he’s not worth it at all.
My son has eczema and it’s quite obvious on his neck and joints. I get unsolicited advice all the time – some of it are outright wrong, like to make sure I wash his skin thoroughly with soap! Soap! The one thing not to use on eczema skin! How should I respond – I so feel like telling them to f* off but I know it’s so wrong to do so.
I totally understand – the frustration (at getting tips all the time as if we are stupid and can’t read EczemaBlues for the right advice), the complete waste of time to pretend to listen to tips which we either already know or know it’s useless and the difficulty of how to get the person to stop giving advice without sounding offensive. Here are what I suggest, use at your own discretion:
1. Take Your Brain Elsewhere – We all know it’s hard to practice being present at every moment. Now is the chance to actively practice not being present.
Best part? Doing this will fend off dementia.
Harvard Health Letter’s executive editor Heidi Godman wrote an article in April 2014 “Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills” and it gave me the idea – when you don’t want to listen to the person, but feel obligated to pretend to be, do (i) Memorize something (for me, I would run through bible verses) and (ii) Fidget like you need to pee. If you are munching dark chocolate at the same time, you are on your way to a healthy brain from diet, exercise and brain training. If the person stops and asks if you’re ok, say you need to pee and really got to go, ciao!
2. Stop the Talk before the Talker Gets Going – Take it from me – I give advice all the time and once I start, I can’t stop (evidently!). So, the trick is to stop the talk before it gathers the momentum that will snowball you.
Of course you ask, how do I do that? State as it is but trick the person’s brain – ‘Gosh, don’t get me started. There is so much to do for an eczema child which reminds me I got to find that hypoallergenic detergent. You don’t want to hear how difficult it can be, got to run!’ See, how diplomatic it is – the ‘me’ and ‘you’ reversed without hurting anyone’s feelings.
3. Reverse the Situation – Try this only if you have plenty of time. See (or think!) giving advice never work. You’d know since you are precisely trying not to listen to the advice without even hearing it. From Professor Thomas G. Plante on Psychology Today, he wrote “research using reactance theory informs us that whenever someone tells us what to do and how to do it, we respond with a defensive defiance because we want to maximize our personal freedom and decision making.” So, if you start giving advice and sharing your eczema skincare knowledge on sensitive skin products, staph bacteria and skin pH, you may be at the receiving end of an excuse to run off!
Wait, should I really listen? Yes, if that person is a dermatologist (not just any doc).
Why should I wreck my brains to find a way to excuse myself? That’s additional work for me that I don’t need!
Practically, it is better for you to use some brain cells and be diplomatic about not listening than outright blowing the person off. 1st, you use your brain. 2nd, you save the agony of worrying that you have been rude and 3rd, you come out feeling good about how cleverly you’ve handled the situation and celebrate it for at least a few hours after. Maybe even boast to your spouse. (But keep the boasting short, you want to impress not nag.)
Put simply – Fertile women electrify the skin of men (and other women too!)
Wait a minute, why would women be attracted to women? It’s got nothing to do with LGBT but Dr Melanie’s interview response in The Telegraph was “Women, on the other hand, may get a competitive advantage from detecting the fertility status of other females.’’
What’s all this to do with Scarlett Johansson? Well, she has a deep, supposedly sexy voice, attractive enough for Theodore (played by Joaquin Phoenix) to fall in love with (Samantha, the intelligent OS) and we all listened in for 126 minutes of the movie Her.
So, what’s Not About Scarlett Johansson? You see (or rather feel), tingling is more likely due to medical condition than physical attraction. The ‘news angle’ when this study came up was female voice, fertility and reproduction. But Skinish Mom’s focus is on skin. Surely, there’s more to skin tingling than mating. Here’s a list of the possible medical conditions:
Anaesthetics attack – There are studies of tingling after local anesthetics’ use, especially in dentistry. Btw, epidural also results in paresthesia in up to 20% of patients, well, I’m the lucky 1 out of 5.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Transient ischemic attack (TIA) aka mini-stroke
You get the point, it’s not about Scarlett Johansson. There’s no need to list a full possible list of medical conditions, though if you are experiencing tingling and fear it’s more than the passing pins and needles, read PubMed Health.
Educational note 1: Tingling is medically known as Paresthesia, defined as an abnormal body sensation, such as numbness, tingling, or burning.
Educational note 2: Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) is the measurement of skin electrical conductance.
Side note 1: I really like the movie Her from beginning to middle but find it too boring to reach the end. So I never knew the ending!
Side note 3: Why would anyone study women’s voice? Well, everyone’s interest is different and that’s how our society progresses. We can’t all be the financiers who brought down Wall Street. Dr Melanie’s interest is in evolutionary psychology and her other studies were on yawning. Yawning induces brain cooling and thus linked to medical conditions affecting cranial-facial blood circulation. Gotcha (yawning).
This year, Friday’s post will be a column from The Skinish Mom – who is she and what’s the column about?
The Skinish Mom is
A mom who loves the QUIRKY facts about skin – she loves to get the skinny on the skin!
A mom who is absolutely BIAS towards eczema kids’ families – she knows life’s never a breeze for them and she’s heroic in holding the storm off for them.
A mom who doesn’t JUDGE – but she has tons of opinions (otherwise she won’t be writing a column!). What she doesn’t judge is another mom’s parenting, after all, she would rather chill with a latte than to discipline kids.
A mom whose God is the God in heaven, who sent Jesus to die for her and whose Holy Spirit dwells in her – in essence, a CHRISTIAN.
#SkinishMom Column is all about
The Skinish Mom – she writes what she cares about, namely skin, life with eczema, parenting and sometimes, being a christian. She doesn’t care much for politics or world view, it’s simply not her genre.
You – You ask your question and she picks one to answer every Friday. Send in your questions via comments on this column, or vent on Twitter or G+ with #SkinishMom – if you vent with #SkinishMom, expect her to be checking in!
Nope, that’s it. The 3rd is NOYB because it’s about The Skinish Mom meeting targets set by her boss, MarcieMom, owner of this blog EczemaBlues.com
#SkinishMom doesn’t have a day off, her first piece is right here.