Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: Complaint Du Jour

Monday, February 26, 2007

Complaint Du Jour

Erik and I returned from a shopping trip to Target. We had a great time being out and about. I purchased some outdoor toys, including a tiny rake, sifter, and shovel. I wouldn't be surprised if he found something of historical significance lying in the dust around our yard, as there is an old military camp across the street. I am looking forward to playing in the dirt with him when things warm up. I also was pleased to see a magnetic drawing board on sale and bought one of those, which he finds fascinating.

Excuse me while I vent now.

I would like to take my son out in public just once without a complete stranger approaching us and telling me how red Erik's cheeks are. Just once! Yes, I know this is a seemingly trivial matter, but please allow me the luxury of venting about something superficial for once. I am weary of having people unknowingly remind me about my ongoing battle with Erik's eczema. It happens on a daily basis. Sadly, I'm not kidding. Yes, I realize he's as cute as a button with his darling red cheeks, but come on, people! I fight his skin problems on a daily basis with prescription creams and preparations that feel and smell like lard. I never really had the opportunity to use all of the sweet-smelling creams and potions made for babies I received at my baby shower or that beckon to me on shelves from their cute packaging at the store. Our creams are located in the geriatric skin care section, and they don't smell like lavender or baby powder. The backs of his arms, while not strikingly erythematous, feel much like the skin of a freshly plucked chicken. His face flakes and turns angry scarlet if I forget to apply hydrocortisone. His legs are covered with more subtle but equally persistent bumps. During the winter I just can't seem to get a handle on this and have halfway given up. A lot of the kids at Erik's school have the same slapped-cheek appearance. Some of them have weeping sores all over their bodies from cases of rampant eczema. In parent group, we often share war stories of our battles with this particular type of mysterious dermatitis. We have tried dietary changes, wet pajamas, oils, creams, and natural cure-alls to no avail. It's aggravating.

Sigh.

It seems like just yesterday perfect strangers were coming up to me and commenting on how ORANGE my kid was. At that time, he had problems with eating solid food and was full of Gerber dinners, which are packed with carrots, resulting in a cheery, day-glo hue. The last time I heard, "Oh my! He must be crazy about carrots!" I could feel the pulsating walls of the arteries in my temples threatening to give way and kill me on the spot. Being a generally polite, nice person, I simply took a deep breath and smiled pleasantly while I stood in the checkout line and indulged in a delightful little fantasy about producing a bejeweled .38 from my diaper bag. In the end, though, I found myself ecstatic when I saw that one morning Erik's Sunkist-orange color had completely faded away.

But for now we are red. Someday when Erik is a normal color I'm sure I'll reminisce about such classics as -- "Oh, my! It must be cold outside! Your cheeks are sooo red! How precious!" OR "I have NEVER seen such rosy cheeks!" I have been tempted to tell them Erik's simply drunk, but I know that wouldn't be wise. Tempting, though. My sense of humor is not for everyone.

Sigh. Yes, I know. They mean well.

On one especially trying morning at the physical therapy office, I actually told one woman who commented on his blush, "Yeah. It's a rash." I immediately felt terrible after I said it, but sometimes I just can't control myself after the second, third, or fourth time in a single outing hearing the same comment about my son's poor, tortured skin!

Hey, at least he's not orange anymore.

11 Comments:

Blogger PASLAY'S FROM IDAHO said...

YOU GO GIRL!

TO BE HONEST... I WAS THINKING BACK AS I WAS READING THE FIRST HALF OF YOUR "VENTING" AND WAS REMINDED OF US SHARING STORIES ABOUT PEOPLE COMMENTING ON HOW ORANGE ERIK WAS AND HOW ORANGE BROGAN WAS! UGH... NOW IT IS THE SHADE OF RED. BRAYDEN SAYS THAT RED CHEEKS MEANS YOU ARE HAPPY AND ALSO HE WAS WONDERING IF YOU KNEW ANYTHING AUNTIE NANCY ABOUT THESE LITTLE BUMPS YOU DESCRIBE ON ERIK'S ARMS.... "FRESHLY PLUCKED CHICKEN SKIN" IS WHAT I THINK YOU SAID... BRAYDEN HAS A WEIRD SKIN THING GOING ON WITH HIS FACE AND ARMS AND IT SEEMS TO GET WORSE DURING THE WINTER. I AM TAKING HIM TO A DERMATOLOGIST IN THE NEXT MONTH BECAUSE BRAYDEN KEEPS ASKING ABOUT THE LITTLE BUMPS ON HIS FACE AND THERE HAVE BEEN THOSE PEOPLE THAT JUST HAVE TO MAKE A "COMMENT" KEEP YOU POSTED ON OUR FINDINGS....


LOVE YA AND THAT GREAT SENSE OF HUMOR!!!! SIMPLY THE BEST!

5:53 PM  
Blogger kathi said...

I'm sorry. I'm glad you vented with us, that's what friends are for.

6:21 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Auntie Cinnamon -- Sounds like Brayden has eczema, too. I wonder if they call a lot of unidentified rashes that when they don't have another answer. Hmmm. Let me know what you find out.

Kathi -- Well, I wasn't horribly upset about it but needed to tell someone. I have had a strangely-colored child for 2 years now and people are starting to get to me. As for the chili...not sure about the tenderness of the turkey, but it sounds delish. Watch those spices if you are sensitive. Mine turned out caliente! Brian raved about it, though.

7:17 PM  
Blogger Kerry said...

Vent away!

I have many standard answers to "Wow, he's really small for his age" as well for Brady. My girlfriend did tell me the next I hear that to put a horrified look on my face and say, "Oh my God! HE is?? I didn't realize! I need to take him to the ER right now!!" I have been pretty close a few times... ;) Maybe you should do the same and say you're color-blind and THANK GOD they said something because nobody has! ;)

I know you've always dealt with the eczema with Erik, and excuse me if I already asked this, but are food allergies ruled out with him? Having a food allergy kid also, it is the other thing on my mind.

9:17 PM  
Anonymous Micah said...

Oh how I feel your pain Nancy!! My Luke has eczema too. It's such a pain in the arse! We have to do the "lard" creams as well. But what is worse is the comments I get on his birthmark (hemangioma) on his arm...I get "OH MY! What happened?!" or the beloved "What in the world is on his little arm"...I have been tempted many a time to harshly lash back with "Oh, I just burned him with my curling iron..." but have had to hold back due to them probably NOT getting my sense of humor either. It probably wouldn't be that funny to me after I say it....but the nosey little intrusive comments aren't really making me feel any better about it either. So, like you, I bite my tongue, explain in short that it is merely a birthmark and then go on coldly ignoring them the rest of the time I am in the stranger's presence. I have, however found a way to keep his eczema at bay...but it involves lots of that lard cream and vaseline.

10:25 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I know what you mean about people and their comments.

Although my son suffered from eczema as a toddler it never was on his face so we didn't get comments from that particular problem. We get comments when our children are out on a hot summers day a get bright red from the heat. All of our children have very fair skin and like me turn red from just being outside. We were at Sea World one time and a lady came up to me and said "Did you not put sun screen on your children? They are all badly sunburned!!" I had to explain that yes I had put sunscreen on them, several times, but that just happens to us when we go outside.

I understand the concern of these people, but it is definitely annoying when you have to explain the situation time and time again!!

11:29 AM  
Blogger Nicole said...

It sure gets tough putting on the fake smile and answering politely. I am slowly finding my way through all of this as Emerson starts to get more comments when we go out in public.

I laughed out loud about the orange coloring. Both Ella and Emerson had that distinct orange tinge. I always thought someone was going to accuse me of putting self-tanning lotion on them. :)

1:18 PM  
Blogger Teresa & Shawn said...

We battle eczema here on Jamie. It's so not fun. We used to use this hemp product from the Body Shop. Worked great, but we always got interesting looks from people as to why our son smelled like hemp... ha ha ha... I think you should tell people Erik's drunk! At least shock them into silence!

1:22 PM  
Blogger kathi said...

Babe, I love hot! I always order triple spicy when we eat out.

4:23 PM  
Blogger Miss 1999 said...

I don't blame you for being angry, and venting! You know, people can be SO rude! There's no sense in all of these people constantly pointing out this, I mean, hello, it's not like you're his mother, and this is the first time you've ever seen it. It's just ignorance on their part, I'm just sorry you have to deal with it.

8:07 PM  
Anonymous Aspen said...

Vent away sweet heart! Luckily, Daven doesn't show any signs of eczema. Thank goodness...because that child could/would be in the water 24 hours a day if I let him. Bring on the drunk comments. I love it when people have that shocked look on their face and gasp for air. HA! Serves them right...

8:45 PM  

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