Wednesday, 5 February 2014
Taming the toddler – a huge victory which still makes me cry.....
I stopped all playdates and missed the regular contact with other mums some of whom I thought could have become good friends.
When he was being aggressive Freddy seamed to almost not be aware of what he was doing – a bit like a zombie. No matter how many times I talked to him nothing seemed to register with him that there was anything wrong with fighting. He would just calmly walk up to another child and push them over – almost seeming to want to see what would happen.
He also seemed quite emotionally detached. He never ever cuddled me or wanted cuddles and a kiss was completely out of the question – these things can be hard for mamas!
I didn’t want to put this into writing in case it somehow formalised it as a part of his personality. Feeling like a failure as a parent was an understatement.
We even enrolled him in a local nursery (a truly wonderful one that I will talk about another time) in the hope that he would learn to play nicely and not fight. He continued to fight at school and was often unhappy. The teachers said that he was quite and didn’t participate much and we didn’t want to force him to go to school so if he didn’t want to go we didn’t make him. I think he missed 6 months nursery in one year.
We even started to wonder if he had some kind of autism or behavioural problems. I am absolutely certain that if we had taken him to a conventional doctor and explained his aggression he would have been diagnosed with something and perhaps even prescribed medication to manage it.
Then something happened which changed our lives....
We noticed that Freddy’s legs were becoming hairy (bear with me, this will make sense). We were suddenly horrified to realise that the topical steroids that we had been using to try to control his eczema was causing physical side effects. Until that moment we hadn’t questioned the use of topical steroids and thought that they were our only option to control his flare-ups apart from a strictly controlled diet.
Without giving it a second thought we stopped the steroids immediately. I have since learnt that this wasn’t necessarily the right thing to do especially as his creams were quite potent in terms of their steroid content. But thats what we did anyway.
Within 2 days of stopping the steroids Freddy said “I love you”. He was immediately calmer. The “zombiness” disappeared and he started giving cuddles. All of this was within 1 week of stopping his eczema creams. How could this be possible?
Within weeks the teachers at his nursery started asking what had happened to cause such a big change in his behaviour. It’s hard to explain just how much happier he became. He started to empathise, he started to interact with other children and all in all he was just completely transformed.
Now I am not saying that he never hits his brother any more but I would no longer say that he is anything other than a normal child.
I cannot emphasise enough how glad I am that we stopped his steroids and I am absolutely certain that we will never use them again. The amazing thing is that without making any other changes his skin is no worse than it was before. I would even go as far as to say that his skin is better now.
Did I mention the fact that he has not had asthma or used any asthma related medicines since we stopped his steroids 5 months ago (compare this with 3 or 4 hospitalisations and countless uses of his inhaler in the 12 months before).
I then started researching side effects from steroids and found many other mothers describing similar experiences to ours and whilst I would never criticise anyone for using steroids on their children I just wanted to put our story out there in case it helps anyone else.