Hi everyone, I thought this week I would pass the blog to Grandma as she has done a huge amount of the childminding from my son’s very young age and can give a different perspective which will be familiar to a lot of readers.
Grandparents nowadays help in so many ways and we tend to forget how their ways of child care are very different to those of today’s parents. So a big pat on the back to those who help us so much, we really do need them!
First let me say that I chose to help look after my grandson, I was not pushed, pulled or coerced in any way. I thought it would be a doddle, as with the rest of my semi-retirement, I would still be able to enjoy cooking, gardening, taking the grandchild to friends to show him off etc, etc. Oh dear!! How wrong I was.
The day begins early and I am not the best at this time of the morning. At 7.15 the baby is dropped off at my house before Mum and Dad rush off to get the train. I am faced with two or three large bags, nappies , wipes and creams: food for the day: a few toys and inevitably the large bag of creams, ointments, potions and the occasional antibiotics.
I have a list for feeding, including time and what to eat or usually what not to eat, sleeping times (how hopeful we are) creams for different parts of the body (please do not muddle them up) and any other little thing like picking up the shopping, prescriptions, Dr’s visits -you name it. I re-named myself “Super Gran”.
I start with the first feed of the day, which used to be Goats Milk but is now is now Soya Milk, as there was an intolerance, to cows milk. We also have foods that had to be sourced which were soya based. This is not easy and it can be expensive, all the time aware that the eczema, can suddenly flare up at any moment. So far so good.
We then start with the creams and ointments again (because this has already been completed once before he arrives to me) I have to colour code the tubs otherwise I get confused as to what goes where. I am told that if the face is sore I put on one cream but if it is very dry but not sore I put on a different one. There is another cream for the body and something else for the raw bits. By the time I have done this its me who needs the sleep not the baby! I also look like a bag lady, my new top has smears of cream which is very greasy and hard to get off, the baby needs a cuddle and who am I to refuse, but more stains and marks. When my children were small I had to change THEM before I went out, this time its ME.
I then assemble the pram (who thought of these things) I push, pull and fiddle with all the bits until eventually it looks like a pram and feels relatively safe. I place sleepy (I hope) child into it and set off to pick up the next lot of Eczema prescriptions. I rush to the pharmacy who now knows me very well and am given a carrier bag full of his goodies (essential to the child with eczema) with apologies for the amount the NHS has to give me. The baby falls asleep just as I arrive home but is fretful and scratching the itchy spots, even as he sleeps.
It’s just about lunchtime by now (his not mine) so I check that I am not giving anything which might aggravate the condition. So no orange, strawberries, or anything acidic, good plain, bland food. How boring! More bits get added to the clean clothes I changed into, so the pharmacist didn’t think I was a total slob. So here we go again.
He then has a little nap of about 20 minutes, still scratching in his sleep but he is now wearing his Snugglepaws sleepsuit or top, so that the fingernails can’t scratch at the sore bits, so that is a godsend, as it shouldn’t become infected. But of course scratching in itself cannot be stopped whatever they wear.
It’s then an afternoon of play and stimulation – but not too much in case he gets over excited and scratchy again. I try not to put on the TV and did succeed until he was almost 18 months, so think I did quite well really. Time for more feeds, creams and maybe another sleep. I juggle with the nappies, trying to ensure I put them on the right way round not always correctly. Well as any grandparent of my era will know, we had terry nappies and apart from sticking the pin through our finger, it was relatively simple.
By this time I am mentally exhausted, its time to sort out my evening meal as well as feed the baby even more milk and food, and I haven’t even thought what to do as I forgot to get things out the freezer. I don’t even think I had lunch – so that’s the way to lose a bit of weight – forget a proper diet.
Its coming to the end of the day, time to pack up the in-house pharmacy, bottles, toys and whatever else I find and head off into the sunset for Mum and Dad to take over.
I love this child beyond belief and his Eczema is very distressing for him but also for anyone else involved with him because no matter what you do it only seems to ease it for a while. I can’t tell a child to stop scratching when he is only a few months old, he doesn’t know what I mean. If I do go to visit a friend I get stressed out so we muddle through until the next day, and as for the gardening, cooking etc – Forget it.
This is Monday, I still have Tuesday and Wednesday to get through then I have a day off – not sure what I will do then – probably just collapse in a big heap. Just kidding I wouldn’t miss it for the world but it makes you realise how difficult it is for a child who has a skin problem and how much effort in time and money it takes to keep it under control. I never underestimate the commitment parents have to give and that includes grandparents too.
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