When Parenting Reality Kicks In

‘Baby soft skin.’ At least, that’s what they’re meant to have. Ours didn’t though and at three months old she was diagnosed with eczema.

‘Not to worry,’ we thought, unperturbed by such a common ailment and, accordingly, the condition was soon beating a hasty retreat after a brief course of steroid cream.

That’s that little problem over and done with then. Only, weeks later, those angry red patches were back. Surely that had been treated? A trip to the doctors’ led to the same diagnosis as before.

It went. And then it came back. Infected this time. Our hearts sank as we saw our baby’s skin inflamed and raw. This time, as we were given a course of antibiotics and cream, we were more pessimistic than before.

We were right to be. After just a few short weeks, time we spent watching our baby’s skin anxiously, the eczema did, as expected make an unwelcome return. And this time it brought an unpleasant side effect.

‘Don’t scratch darling,’ we’d say, covering her little hands with scratch mitts to stop her burrowing at her skin with her fingernails. ‘Don’t scratch.’

She ignored us. Even if she could understand us, I doubt she would have done our bidding. But fortunately we had the scratch mitts to stop her doing herself any harm.

And then, one night, she worked out how to pull those mitts off.

We got to her before she could do any real damage but her cheeks were still marked with bloody little scratches. If she was in pain though you wouldn’t have known it; in fact, she tried to have another little burrow at her face. We had to hold onto her determined little hands to stop her, much to her fury.

As we drove to the doctors’, back from our brief holiday, we started to realise this was a real problem. And even with another course of antibiotics and cream it was a problem which didn’t go away.

‘Don’t scratch, don’t scratch, don’t scratch,’ we’d beg, to no avail.

It would break our hearts to see the relief in her eyes if she ever managed to get a sneaky (constantly trimmed) fingernail to a place where the eczema…

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