A cold, wet Sunday. We were feeling lazy and deprived of our old life. We bundled up AJ, packed too much into the baby bag and headed into town. Sundays were once spent idling through stores, having long coffees, late lunches and had an incredible sense of lightness. We dared to feel that again.
The pram came out, AJ went in, blankets snuggled him up like a bear and off we wandered. AJ was in awe of all the lights. We were in awe of him. Just maybe, life was coming back again.
Without intention we found ourselves at Max Brenner and thought a hot chocolate would be a perfect way to end our afternoon. The smell of sweet, thick chocolate was overwhelming. We ordered our hug mugs, our thick waffles and strawberries and settled in. Hubby couldn’t wait to give AJ a taste of the froth from his hot chocolate. A tiny taste. The smallest of dips into the froth. AJ loved it. We gave him more.
Before I could even scoop up the tiny waffle balls at the bottom of my hot chocolate, AJ was screaming. His face was bright red and he was hollering. Scratching, red, frustrated and insane. We were both stunned. Shocked. This came out of nowhere. To others sitting around us, we must have looked crazy. One screaming baby is his pram, and two parents just staring at him, dumbfounded. What had happened to our perfect afternoon?
I pulled him out of the pram, maybe he was too hot? So I uncovered him and tried to cool him off. Still screaming. Maybe he was hungry? Out came the boob and I tried to get him to feed. Still screaming. Maybe he needed to burp? Up onto Hubby’s shoulder, trying to pat out a burp. Still screaming. Maybe he was tired? Back in the pram, let’s try and walk him to sleep. He settled ever so slightly.
We walked back to the car and thought that going home was best. All buckled in and only five minutes down the road and the screaming started up again. We had to pull over. Something was very wrong. It was Flemington Road and we were across from the Royal Children’s Hospital. Neither one of us thought to go in. I snuggled him again, fed him and he seemed content to only whimper the rest of the way home.
He cried and whined and scratched and itched for the next few days. We tried gripe water, paw paw cream, warm baths, cold baths and everything in between. It wasn’t anything obvious. The books were useless, my mum and mother in-law were all out of ideas. Off to the GP.
The visit to the GP was the start of a very long journey. A journey we are still on to this very day. AJ had allergies. AJ had eczema.
My battle as a mother, trying to help my son, in a place where I felt alone and isolated, is one I want to share. I want to share the anguish of soaking his night-time romper in warm water, dripping wet and putting it on AJ – so he could sleep and not scratch. And how that actually worked! I want to share the anguish of cutting out wheat, rice, eggs, soy, all dairy and nuts from his diet (and mine!). I want to share how AJ is now 5 and he doesn’t eat. I want to share how we are all still learning.