Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Taming the toddler – a huge victory which still makes me cry.....

One of the reasons that I stopped writing this blog for a while was Freddy’s behaviour.  From when he was 15 months old he started to have these periods of aggression.  I couldn’t understand where they came from – after all I’m gentle so why wasn’t he?  Things got so bad at one point that I stopped taking him to parent toddler groups. I had to apologise everywhere I went.   He spat in the face of baby sitting in a car seat, he hit other children, and head butted his brother in the supermarket resulting a outpouring of blood I never thought possible....

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.

And so....

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.

16 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this story. x

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  2. Oh my goodness that must have been such a tough time for all of you!!! Thank God you found out what was wrong and were able to do something about it. That must have been quite a relief!

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    1. It was a huge relief! It just shows the strength of some of these medications that we give our children.

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  3. i remember when you told me : how horrible ! I know you must regret not having found before but now it's in the past and he is all better :-)
    It was not your fault ♥

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    1. Thanks Mymy!
      Yes, lots of regret but thank goodness we found out.
      I wonder if us mamas we destined to feel guilty about various things for the rest of our lives???
      Hugs to you all
      xxx

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  4. I'm really glad you could find the answer to Freddy's problem. It must have been really hard to deal with it. But thanks God and your love and responsibility as parents could find the way out. Enjoy his cuddles and loving words now and your pregnancy! You really deserve them!!! Congratulations!!! God bless you all. Your friend from Argentina

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    1. Oh how wonderful to hear from you!!!!
      Thank you for your kind words and for not forgetting me!
      Hugs to all the family
      xxx

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  5. Wow that's quite scary how much of a difference it has made. At least you found out what it was in the end x

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    1. Yes we were truely shocked! Its the kind of thing that one might understand as a side affect from an oral medicine but from a cream applied on the skin?? Of course they affect children differently but to have such an immediate difference left us in no doubt as to the impact the cream was having. x

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  6. I just can say that I understand what you had been going through. A friend of mine's daughter has a similar behaviour and it is very hard for her to bear it. My daughter doesn't want to play with her because she hits her. But, in this case, the girl is not under the influence of any medicine or cream, not that I know,at least. I'll tell her about your experience, anyway.
    I'm very happy for you and for how things have come to a victorious solution.

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    1. Hi Cris,
      Thank you for sharing, it must be awful for your friend and for you and your daughter too. I wonder what is causing it. Some people say that food allergies can cause significant behavioural changes in young children, especially gluten intolerance, but I'm no expert.
      I hope things improve for you all soon.
      x
      x

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  7. it's fascinating, the effects conventional medicine can have on our bodies, especially little ones. My son's asthma medication immediately brought on a stutter, we quite using it after a short time. Unfortunately, the stutter comes & goes. Hope you've found some natural relief for the eczema, my oldest has it, as well as asthma & food allergies. Definitely a roller coaster, but we've found lots of of natural relief out there.

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    1. It's so good to hear from others with similar stories as ours - the power of some of these medications is astonishing. I took a look at your site and found it really interesting and useful! I wondered if you had tried raw milk at all? Freddy is alergic to cows milk but raw milk is no problem for him and actually seems to help heal his gut. We are just starting the journey but the natural apporach is our priority now.
      Rachael

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  8. I´m truly shock. So good you coul find what was going on. Enjoy him now!!

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    1. Thqnks Caru!
      So happy that you didn't give up on my blog
      xx

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