Livid

I don’t think there’s a word that accurately describes my mood. “Livid” is the closest that comes to mind, but even that seems very tame by comparison.

So, what is it that has upset me greatly?

Ugh! Where to begin…

My little boy has sensitive skin. He always has. When he was four months old, he reacted so sharply to wheat proteins in my breastmilk that he broke out into a terrible rash all over his body. The doctors said the proteins aggravated his eczema, and I was put on a very strict diet. (I later learned it was wheat causing all the problems; prior to this, it was a mystery and I couldn’t eat anything.)

Since he was two days old, I’ve used A&D on his bottom. Before that, we used Vaseline in the hospital (but that was more for the circumcision than anything). And he only got diaper rashes during stomach bugs and teething spells, all thanks to the accompanying diarrhea.

The Boy has also been in daycare since he was two months and six days old. (Yes, I know the exact date he first went to school. It’s permanently etched into my brain.) The entire time he’s been there, I’ve provided his diapers, his wipes, his ointment, several changes of clothing, and, until he transitioned to the Toddler level, his food. (I still provide his proteins on the days they have fish and snacks on days they’re eating oats.)

Ever since the transition to the Toddler level, The Boy has had a diaper rash. Sometimes it’s worse than others, but, just as his doctor says, when I see to it that he’s properly cleaned and sufficiently coated with a thick layer of A&D, the rash clears within days. It’s aggravating (and heartbreaking) to send him to school Monday morning with very little to no diaper rash, only to see it reappear and worsen during the week. This past Friday was the worst. When I changed his diaper on Saturday morning, his bottom was so raw, it was bleeding. He also had a rash on his scrotum, the poor kid. The bleeding was finished Saturday afternoon, and by Sunday evening, the rash was gone from his scrotum and almost gone from his tush. I wrote a note for the teachers (and verbally informed them, too) letting them know that he has a bad diaper rash, and they will need to use extra A&D on him. And, oh, by the way: Here’s an extra tub.

Last night, Cute Husband told me that one of the teachers said I need to start using Desitin on my baby’s bum. Yes, I know it has zinc oxide, and, yes, I know the medication will help soothe the rash. But it’s not going to keep the rash from coming back!

This morning, The Boy pooped en route to school. I signed him in, then proceeded to change him. Oh, what a nightmare.

First, the wipes that I brought suddenly went missing. Last week, I brought in two packs. One was used (I get that), but the other is nowhere to be found. The teacher told me that it must have been used and – didn’t she tell me I needed to bring some in on Monday? Never mind the head teacher told her (and me) that there were still some in the cabinet. I still should have brought in wipes for him. (Note to self: bring new package of wipes each Monday along with 30 diapers and see how long it takes before said teacher tells me to stop bringing things for him.)

Second, the A&D tub I gave them two months ago is still not empty. How is this remotely possible? I go through one of those a month – and that’s if I’m going easy on the stuff! That first tub wasn’t even full when I gave it to them. To be fair, of course, it looks like there’s about a day’s worth of changes left in it. Well, that’s if they use as much as they ought with each change. If they use as much as I suspect they do, it would probably last them another week.

And last – what is it with the Desitin? To hear these teachers go on about it, you would think I was the worst mother in the world for not using it on my child! Never mind that not one medical professional has ever told me that it’s the best thing to use (they’ve never said it was bad, either). I’ve been told Boudreaux’s Butt Paste is a much better product than Desitin (and I’m not opposed to getting this for him, either, since it was highly recommended by two pediatric nurses) – it contains zinc oxide and is much easier to wipe off. But his doctor said A&D is just fine – and a little bit of cornstarch to make sure the skin is nice and dry coupled with a thick layer of A&D is all my baby needs to keep his bottom nice and rash-free.

So, the teachers are going on and on about the Desitin, and one of them pulls out this card: “Do you know Ms L? She’s a retired pediatrician. Talk to her, and she’ll tell you he needs Desitin.”

And I’m thinking to myself, “Funny you should mention her. She was one of The Boy’s Infant teachers, and I still talk to her several times a week.” So, I agreed to speak Ms L, and I silently resolved to do whatever she suggested.

Well, you know what Ms L said when I told her this story? Well, first, she was outraged. No one, and I mean no one, treats one of her babies’ bums like that! She was so upset hearing about his chronic diaper rash because he almost never had diaper rash problems under her watch. And then when I told her that they said I needed to get Desitin for him, she was incredulous. “He don’t need Desitin,” she said in her broken English. “They need change him – a lot – and put Vaseline or A&D.” She shook her head and repeated, “He don’t need Desitin. Don’t worry. I go talk to them on break and say he need clean and change a lot – every hour if need!”

Then she and Ms. A (both of The Boy’s Infant teachers) told me to have Cute Husband occasionally spot check The Boy’s diaper when he picks up The Boy in the afternoons and make sure (a) it had recently been changed and he was clean and dry and (b) they put lots of goop on his bum. And if they don’t? “He needs to speak to the director,” Ms A said, forcefully, “and tell them it’s not right that the baby gets home with a bleeding bottom because they aren’t changing him! The A&D is enough protection and all he needs! You’re a good mom, one of my best here. And he doesn’t need anything else.” Then Ms A lowered her voice and said, “Make sure your husband tells them, because he’s a man and they’ll listen to him. With you, they just think you don’t know.”

I love his old teachers.

According to the sheets they send home each day, it looks like he gets changed frequently enough. But neither Cute Husband nor I think those sheets are entirely accurate. One of my coworkers said I need to take inventory of his diapers at the start of each week and see if the numbers add up. I think I’m going to start doing that. After all, if they’re sending home sheets that say he gets 4 to 5 diaper changes a day, my pack of 30 diapers should only last a little more than a week. And if the numbers don’t add up, well, it means they’re either “growing diapers” (as one of the ladies in Finance says when someone is showing a drastic negative shrink) or not changing him as frequently as they say they are.

If that’s the issue (which I really hope it’s not), it needs to get fixed immediately. In the meantime, I can only hope that they’ll listen to Ms L, change him frequently with a thick layer of ointment, and quit making me feel like I’m to blame for his diaper rash because I’m not using Desitin!

Update (07/02/08, 4:39 PM): Cute Husband called after he picked up The Boy. Apparently, they used just the teeniest bit of ointment and a whole lot of powder at his last diaper change. That’s the complete reverse of what we do at home. Anyway, my husband told them we don’t use powder (true – it’s only used to dry out the skin before putting on the ointment) and showed them how much ointment we use at home. “Oh, I see” was the response.

I’ll give it another week. But if they tell me that I need to be using Desitin again…

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