Mini Pamper Session

Mini Minx’s eczema flared up really badly yesterday – possibly in reaction to a brilliant day out at the swimming pool, possibly because it’s just one of those things. Anyway, she certainly didn’t react well to me approaching her with the big bottle of gloopy moisturiser and corticosteroid ointment!

As I slathered and winced at her squeals, she railed about how it was so unfair that she only got huge bottles of moisturiser while her friends were allowed to wear make-up at weekends and go to beauty salons with their mothers. I took a lot of this with a bucket-load of salt (her friends are only 6 and 7 years old), but it did give me an idea for a cunning plan to disguise my intensive Sort Out The Eczema Fast regime: give her a home spa morning.

Maxi and Midi were packed off to a nearby bouldering wall with their Dad to have some fun while Mini and I prepared my bedroom for her ‘Girly Morning’: Mini fetched her CD player and chose some of her favourite music from Maxi’s music collection (shhhhh, don’t tell Maxi!), while I set up a comfy massage area. I put a pillow on the end of the bed and covered that with a plastic bin liner (really important!), then 2 towels. I used another, soft towel as a cover, and had yet another on hand as a turban for Mini’s hair.

Even though I was prepared for a lot of mess, I tell you, it was apocalyptic. Mini is a delicate, gentle wee soul and I’m not heavy-handed with gunge but it still got absolutely everywhere. So if you’re going to do this with your child too, accept right now that you’re going to have to do an entire full machine washload of towels on ‘hot’ immediately afterwards. Do have a bin within reach and lots of paper towels / flannels / wipes to catch and dispose of all the goop.

The smile was a happy coincidence

First I got Mini to mix up her own hair mask. She has very coarse, dry, brittle hair so Professor Google advised whisking up the following:

  • 1 egg yolk;
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil;
  • 1 tablespoon of honey.

She undressed, then I dampened her hair. I plastered the mask all over her hair then tried to massage it into her scalp. She didn’t like that, possibly because the mix was cold and possibly because the honey made it a bit sticky. Next time I’ll just use greasy coconut oil on its own! Or maybe plain old vegetable oil. The amount listed was just right to cover her head. I then wrapped her hair with the turban, laid her back on the bed, covered her up and instructed her to chill out while I made up her face mask.

Mini complains that her face often gets ‘crispy’ bits on it: little patches of eczema. So based on the fact that she spent most of her babyhood smeared in banana with no ill effects, I mushed up a ripe banana with a tablespoon of honey then gently smeared it all over her skin. It was far, far too much and most went to waste – she only needed maybe an inch or 2 of banana. Next time she can eat the rest! I added the slices of cucumber because even at the age of 7 Mini’s bought into the perception, heightened by media pictures, that you can’t have a proper face mask without cucumber slices on your eyes. So on they went.

As she lay back and relaxed for 5 minutes, humming along to her favourite tunes, I slathered her entire body in handfuls of Epaderm cream. I’m glad her face and hair masks smelled so sweet – they covered up the sour, utilitarian smell of the moisturiser! Mini sighed with pleasure as I massaged her little fingers and hands. The look of that blissed-out little face made the whole shebang absolutely worth every second.

I didn’t want to leave the face mask on her sensitive skin for longer than 5 minutes, so wiped it off gently with a hot flannel. I then shampooed and conditioned her hair over the bath as normal. She snuggled in her favourite dressing gown while I tidied up, gasping in horror at the mess on the towels. The banana splashed *everywhere*, the egg yolk stained the turban, and the coconut oil soaked through 3 towel layers to the plastic bin liner – see? I said it was important! Mini helped tidy up by eating the cucumber slices. WeeeeeelI, why not? They’d only touched food-stuffs and her eyelids! Maybe she’d listened when I’d skeptically said that the masks would probably do her more good being eaten than plastered over the outside.

I blow-dried her hair, then helped her choose and paint on some finger- and toe-nail varnish, which is a special treat only allowed in the long school holidays.

Even an old cynic like me can see that the masks had an effect on Mini’s skin and hair, though. I think they’ll have to become a monthly Thing.

Wash, Wash, Wash

Still clearing out 92 (!) unpublished drafts. This one’s from Feb 16. I think it was waiting on photos – maybe later, maybe never:

We moved most of the kitchen and living room into the bedrooms for Midi’s birthday party on Sunday. Re-messing the place back up again afterwards, I realised that the girls’ dolly stuff was filthy. Last year I terrified the neighbours by washing and pegging out all their dolls clothes (“4 little girls? Another baby Trout?! That’s it – we’re moving!!“). So I really only had to wash things like the dolls pram, cot and buggy fabrics, play change bag, that kind of thing. Half a washing machine load. How bad could it be? So I put it on a sports clothing cycle, 30degC wash. Within 5 mins the detergent suds were a grimy brown. Ewwwww!

I wonder if cleaning these will have any affect, whether good or bad, on Mini’s skin? I think I said already that she’s had a huge flare-up of eczema. It flared as the same time as mine, around 17 December. Whilst Mini’s always had dry skin, she’s never had eczema. And I only get it on my fingers and occasionally my eyelids. This was over my entire torso and down my arms; hers was all over her body. I tried to discover the culprit (food? new wash-powder? new fabric conditioner? new clothes? swimming pool?) but couldn’t. Whilst mine mostly died back over the next 6 weeks, hers hasn’t, just coming up and down in waves.

I took her back to the GP on Friday to see whether it was actually eczema. The GP agreed with me that 2 round discs on Mini’s legs looked fungal rather than eczema, but said the rest was eczema. I was advised to change to non-bio washing powder. I kept my opinions on this to myself (the UK is the only country that sells the stuff; what’s so special about our skin?!) but took the point that Mini’s inflamed skin didn’t need any additional irritants that she’d normally cope with. Hmmm. I’m mystified.

Edited To Add:
I kept using the same old washing powder I’ve been using since before Mini was born, but I do now routinely give all washloads an extra rinse. Mini’s eczema still seems to have no obvious connection to anything. In a past life I was a reasonable analyst, and I do think pretty logically. Even so, sometimes she goes swimming with no flare-up, other times her skin explodes; sometimes she plays under the dusty beds with no itching, other times the itch is intense; the cat doesn’t seem to cause flare-ups; we can’t find any triggering food; milk isn’t a trigger; lack of sleep and stress seem to play no part, either. She needed antibiotics for something else in April, and that seemed to calm her skin right down for nearly 10 days before it came right up again. She was referred to a dermatologist then, and I’m still waiting to hear anything (it’s now end June) – all we got was a letter saying she was on the waiting list. Poor thing – it really disturbs her sleep.

Just posting a bunch of non-published drafts…

April 3: I was up at 4.30am this morning. Sometimes persevering with sleep is pointless. Mini came in to our bed first at about 1am, then Midi at about 3. Mini slid in carefully, gently patted my cheek and kissed it, then twisted and turned till she’d snuggled into my own contours, and fell fast asleep. Midi, however, thumped and bumped up the bed, stood on The Boss’s head, elbowed me in the stomach, claimed to have had “The worst nightmare ever. Ever! EVER!!” then star-fished the night away. It’s the first night of the Easter holidays so I don’t mind having a sleepless night muddled up in Minx, but The Boss has one more day to work. Tackling the A90 numpties is best done with some sleep at least. So I got up to plot more recipes to teach the nursery kids next term while The Boss and Mini snored on (Midi was persuaded to shift back to her own bed).

Mini’s blood test to maybe find out what caused her skin to explode in head-to-foot eczema was fine. It took a couple of attempts, but the nurse was kind and gentle with her, and I do a good line in distraction (I parked my nose at the end of hers and demanded an incessant stream of “Mini, how many freckles have I got? How many wrinkles? Which is my deepest wrinkle? How many red bits in my bloodshot eyes”). The Magic Cream made the inside of her elbows flare up in bright red eczema immediately, but a bit of Eumovate sorted that out. Pity about the other red patches…