In his head

I know I shouldn’t, I know the theory may not be true, but I often find myself trying to get into my little boy’s head.

It’s around the time his eczema is giving him the worst trouble. It’s a hot day, he has just played heaps and been very active. Come home time he is at the cusp of overstimulation. At home, with the noise of a large family which doesn’t stop, the cup is full and he cracks. Screams and yelps for help permeate my every moment after I’ve picked him up from day-care. It isn’t a quiet whimper either, it is usually full-blown top of lungs screams and cries.

Whatever I say, whatever I do, is highlighted with another scream or a “You KNOW what, mum!”

Well, I can not get angry or frustrated, I get sad and disappointed that I can not help him. Yes, here I am with a 5 year old abusing me but I am not about to smack him, or admonish him. I have tried, believe me, but to no avail. I have now looked at him and I think I know what is going through his head.

It starts with “I’m itchy.” so he scratches. When he scratches, the itch goes away for a little while but all too soon, he realises it only works when he is actually scratching. So with the greater part of his being now concentrating on eliminating the itch, his head goes into neutral mode. That is when any extra information, be it by word or action, makes him itch even more than he was before.

So when I say “what do you need?” instead of those words going into his ears and him understanding what I asked him, he is “hearing” his own dialogue,  “I need to listen, I need to understand, I want to try but I can’t I’m so itchy, mummy my skin is itchy I want it to stop! I’m itchy! I have to scratch but I want to listen but I’m so very itchy!”

When I repeat the question, he hasn’t processed the last one yet, his scratching inflames the itch and he gets even itchier and instead of an answer like “I need Zyrtec” he only manages a “Help MUM!”

If I don’t understand, or give him a hug instead, his already overstimulated skin actually hurts him. He screams at me to stop touching him because I am hurting.  I probably am too.

Have you ever had an itch? A bad one, that when you scratched the comfort of that was only for as long as you scratched? How much of your concentration was on there? How easily were you able to converse with anyone? Even if you haven’t an itch, what about a head-ache or migraine? You can’t have a conversation let alone think about anything other than trying to get rid of the pain. And there it is, my 5 year old with an itch….

The hardest thing for me is that I cannot hug and comfort my child when he is in distress. The zyrtec helps, it takes anywhere from between 20 minutes and an hour, but it is so good when it kicks in.

All of the sudden, I have my little boy back. He is happy, he is friendly, still won’t have a cuddle (but then, would you with your skin red raw from scratching?) but he is mine again.

So, I may not be correct, I may just be theorising, but in the end, isn’t anything better than the heart-break of not being able to understand your child?

With Love & support

Tarja Kelly

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1 Response to “In his head”


  1. 1 Albertina 23/11/2013 at 4:50 pm

    Hi there, all is going sounmd here and ofcourse every one is sharing information, that’s in
    fact good, keep up writing.


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