So that’s how it happens…

As I mentioned in my last post, Avy has been asking a lot about allergies. Damn the spring! Don’t get me wrong I love spring, my favorite season, but last year and this year it is making the sweet little soul in my life suffer and so I HATE it.

He has been having a very bad case of allergies –environmental- pollen etc now. He eyes swell up every morning, there are red rings around those most beautiful eyes and he keeps complaining too. We give him Claritin in the morning, Benadryl at night and an eye drop to help him. It all works for a while, but not quite as much as I would like it too.

All considered this spring is better than last; at least he sleeps most of the night. Last year I would rub his back ALL night and scratch him gently where he needs, so that he will sleep. This time, he pretty much sleeps through the night, with only the AM itch sessions.

 Also, he is now able to tell us when something bothers him as soon as it does, so the relief is sooner. We wash his face and hands often, changes his clothes often, wash his sheets in hot water and the daily bath cannot be forgone.

It is a heart break everyday to see the pumpkin wake up with eyes stuck due to watering, swelling under his eyelids, hearing whimpers at night which say “Amma my eyes are hurting, make it go away”. Yet we survive. We have pretty happy days, since I am blessed with a child that listens, that understands and makes me want to make everything better.

Since he has been asking a lot about allergies, I ordered this book for him, so as to explain what is happening to him with the help of something he loves- BOOKS.

It arrived two days ago and I had been avoiding reading it to him, not sure why. Somehow I felt I was ‘burdening’ him with all that information. However, yesterday Avy found the book and wanted me to read it. I felt it was time too.

He had been to the doctor yesterday since his allergies were getting worse and so he was in the ‘allergy’ mode. (The doctor gave another set of medicine to change the regimen to see if it will work, and he is much better today without any change in medication).

We settled down in the living room, him on my lap, and I read slowly word by word. In a nutshell, the book is about a cow named Cody, who is allergic to cow’s milk. It talks about how Cody is a regular, cool kid, but he cannot drink cow’s milk. He drinks rice milk and bring his own food substitutes. It talks about how Cody gets sick if he consumes cow’s milk. I made it a point on each page to draw references to what Avy does, like saying “See Avy drinks rice milk too, just like Cody”, or “See Cody’s friends can eat cheese and hot dog, but not Cody, just like Avy cannot eat everything his friends do” or “Avy’s appa and amma can have yogurt, but Avy cannot, just like Cody”.

He listened intently, asked questions.  We reached the end of the page, and that read “Cody may never outgrow his allergies and that is okay, because it makes Cody a very special cow”. This prompted Avy to ask “Is Avy a special cow too?” I hugged him and said “Yeah, Avy is a very special cow”.

Then this conversation happened…

Amma: “Avy, if anyone asks you what allergies you have, what will you say?”

Avy: “Who anyone?”

Amma: “I don’t know, your friends, your teachers…”

Avy:  “I am allergic to cow’s milk”…followed by the same smile that fills my heart with purest joy.

It happened…he understood….just like that…

My heart became a million times heavier and tears flowed and I hugged him. I looked back and Yupa and his eyes were moist too. It was not sad tears. It was tears as my boy is growing up, that my boy understands and that he is able to bear such a large burden with so much innocence.

I explained to him that he is allergic to cow’s milk, egg and soy. Spared the others for now, as I must remember he is just a baby still. We read the book few more times and talked about it and he kept repeating occasionally during the rest of evening that he was allergic to things…and evening ended….

I was in a way happy, the efforts we took to not hide this from him is slowly starting to pay. We eat yogurt in front of him, we eat pizza in front him, every time making it clear to him that he cannot have it but we can, and that he can have something similar instead. He never felt left out, he has never felt deprived and like Cody, it is okay if he never outgrows his allergies, because he is one special boy.