That’s my interpretation

Parents were the invited into school today to help the kids make an ugly bug costume for an ugly bug ball tomorrow. Anne wanted to be a ladybird. Her ladybird also required a mask — a strip of paper with eye holes poked out.

So her costume is a ladybird dressed as a ninja turtle.

The post about living with and managing atopic dermatitis, aka eczema

I have never neglected my weblog for this long. Ever. My only excuse — and family and friends know this — is that Eliza’s been struggling with eczema for a number of months, and her misery (therefore my lack of sleep) has contributed to my not posting a thing here. Although I’ve definitely missed it.

eczematous cheeks and chin
Those poor cheeks and chin were sore, weepy, itchy, and infected

In short: Eliza has inherited a tendency to flare up with eczematous skin from Neil, as well as a predisposition to lots of allergies from me, including Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS), an offshoot of allergic rhinitis, or hay fever1. She’s certainly won the genetic lottery2. We saw our GP a number of times, who prescribed steroid creams, but told us we had to stop applying the cream after one week at the most. Every time we did what he said, the eczema would flare up again, get worse, and spread.

A paediatric dermatologist we ended up seeing in Singapore suggested she might have food allergies (cutting out soy while in Singapore made a big difference, which meant no yummy Chinese food for the poor girl, just plain rice), and now that it’s springtime, hay fever is kicking in.

Tangent: I never realised I suffered from hay fever until my mother said I did. Now I feel it so much more. Thanks, power of suggestion.

We tried loads of moisturisers and emollients. The things that didn’t work were Doublebase, Aveeno, Oilatum, Aloe Vera, Epaderm, and Weleda. The prducts currently helping to manage her skin include a daily oat and coconut oil bath, Fucidin H cream (or a combination of Desowen lotion and fusidic acid ointment), sunflower seed oil, and Atopiclair. A friend has loaned us some Scratchsleeves, and we have seen some effectiveness with her wearing DermaSilk garments — although she’s figured out how to pull off the face mask, the little shit.

One unintended consequence of such frequent moisturisation of Eliza’s face and body is my normally-dry-because-I-wash-them-so-much hands are soft and smooth. Er, yay?

1 The first time she ate raw tomato, her lips swelled up so much I worried about anaphylaxis, and subsequent research led me to learn about OAS. She also reacts strongly to raw nectars / syrups. She seems okay with some raw fruit, thank goodness.

2 We worried that Anne had also inherited eczema, but on reflection, she had some dry skin. And no allergies. Lucky, lucky bam.

Pulling it together

You know your love for your children is unconditional when you switch to drinking coconut milk (instead of cow’s) to take a possible trigger food out of your baby’s diet — and you despise coconut.

(Having looked into the other plant-based alternatives, the plan is to alternate between that and homemade almond milk.)

Edited to add: after an allergic reaction at a restaurant, I suspect Oral Allergy Syndrome. There go my usual lazy weaning options: fresh fruit and salads.

What we do before bed

I think Anne’s starting to feel insecure in her position as The Boss. She insists on sleeping with me every night, and Neil has been consigned to sleeping in her bed (she has a double, it’s not exactly a hardship). I like to read before going to sleep, it’s the way I wind down — assuming the book isn’t too exciting — and Anne usually asks me to read to her as well. Lately she’s started picking up another book I’ve left on my bedside table and ‘reading’ with me.

reading before bed

As Neil commented right before he took this photo, it might be more convincing if she held the book the right way up.

(She’s thumbing through The People’s Act of Love by James Meek, I’m reading The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer.)

Wonderful news

Tean’s chicken curry paste is quite spicy when cooked according to the printed directions. I used double the amount of coconut milk, in the hope that Anne would not find it too spicy. It was still pretty spicy, but as I didn’t give her any sauce, just shredded chicken, I reckoned she’d cope.

And how. She kept asking for more, more, more, until she said, “My tummy is feeling quite sick.” And she drank one and a half bottles of water. Then, er, filled her nappy.

Heh.