Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Some Things He Left Behind...

You can read all the parenting books out there - and you might think you really know "What to Expect" - but I've always said the best parenting teacher out there is your first child.

And Gavin was just that for us - he taught us everything we needed to know.  And then some.
There are times when I have questions about how I should handle things - like Brian's skin issue - but then remember that Gavin left the answers behind.

And there are times when I watch Hope in amazement as she discovers more and more of the world around her.  And I remember how grateful I am that Gavin left behind for me a deep appreciation for every developmental stage.

Today we had a pretty major snowstorm that cancelled Brian's school and kept us in our pajamas all day.  I decided that today was the perfect day to try a new skin remedy on Brian's poor legs.  (We didn't end up going to the pediatrician today)  
My other remedies - all that I learned over the years due to Gavin and his eczema flare ups - haven't worked for Brian.  I use coconut oil a TON - for a lot of things.  I've used Crisco, which is actually an awesome moisturizer.  Liquid Glycerin.  Aquaphor.  I also don't bathe the kids every day.  Brian and Gavin - unless they got messy - only got baths 3 times a week.  And I only use soap (mild, homemade goats milk soap or Aquaphor liquid soap) on their hands, feet and private parts.  We don't do anything scented, either, as scents can trigger eczema flares. 
But one thing I haven't ever tried - that I learned was an amazing lotion for eczema - was A&D Ointment.  Yes, the diaper lotion!!  I bought a tub and pulled out old sweat pants and a ratty shirt and slathered Brian's entire body this morning.  I re-applied in the early afternoon and by bedtime, his skin looked great.  I'll repeat the process tomorrow and let you know how it goes.  He told me he felt great today and barely itched at all!!
Brian was stuck inside with me and Hope all day.  He was so happy when Daddy got home from work and said they could go out in the snow to play!!
Daddy was definitely the hero tonight!
He even got down for snow angels!!  
I watched from inside with the baby in my arms.  And I got a little choked up when Brian paid a little visit to "Gavin's Tree" on the back deck.  We bought this tree this year because we knew that Gavin would have loved it.  It twinkles right outside our kitchen windows and every time I look at it I can picture Gavin pressing his face up against the glass enjoying the lights.  I can't bear to take it down just yet.
Gavin had to work hard for every single thing - big and small - his entire life.  Every time he reached a developmental milestone - even the tiniest one - I would celebrate.  It took a long time for Gavin to reach out and touch a toy.  Here he is at six months under a baby gym - which he only enjoyed with his eyes.  
He couldn't make the brain - hand - toy connection just yet.  That was a lot of planning and processing!!

For the past week, Hope has been really enjoying her baby gym.  She is seven weeks old.  She especially loves the little octopus and has been intentionally reaching out to touch and bat and even grab it.  Every single time she does this - I think of Gavin.
Because I know all of the motor planning involved in these seemingly simple events, I don't at all take them for granted.
Because of Gavin - and how hard he worked - I learned to appreciate every part of his siblings' development.  Everything Brian did on his own seemed miraculous to me.  Holding his head up... using his hands... sitting up... it was all so beautiful and made us feel so grateful.

And now - everything Hope does we feel just the same. 

Actually - her mere existence is a miracle to us.  


  1. That octopus became a family member for us. We named him Eddie. I very much enjoy reading your blog!

  2. Have you ever considered maybe a food allergy or intolerance could be causing the eczema? Dairy is often a major culprit, but it could be other things as well. My daughter is 14 and I think dairy might be the culprit as she was extremely sensitive to me having dairy when she was breastfed and I had to eliminate it to continue to breastfeed her. We introduced it back when she was a little older and she was better with it. But I think it contributes to the eczema and acne problems she has now. It is difficult however to convince a 14 year old to give up dairy. Just something for you to think about as a possibility.... You are a great momma and I LOVE your posts everyday :)

    1. My son also had eczema before we removed dairy and gluten. We just had a major infraction as we were travelling and guess what happened? Big rash all over his face and neck. I'd remove dairy first and if that's good, great. Otherwise, keep going by removing gluten too. Do it for a while, then challenge and see what results you get. This is a bit hard given you have a newborn, so you may wish to wait. If you need help figuring out what to cook, go to http://www.tacanow.org/family-resources/recipes-database/

  3. That's so wonderful!!! Prayers still go up often from me to you Mom. Take care ;) (((BIG HUGS & LOADS OF LOVE, TOO)))

  4. I am so happy that you found something that helped!! I think Gavin's tree could also be an "Easter tree" the lights (at least in the picture) look pastel. Hope is just beautiful. Thank you for sharing with us. I look forward to all your blog posts, even the ones that make me cry!

  5. you are amazing. no words can explain how strong you are and how inspirational you are. I guess little Gavin is living on inside his mommy. God bless.

  6. <3 as an OT I truly appreciate this posting~ keeping you in my <3

  7. LOVED the pics of Brian and Daddy playing outside!! It is amazing how much you can see both of the boys in Hope. From one angle you see Gavin and from another you see Brian. Best of both worlds :)

  8. I wonder how many of your readers decided to have another baby because of Hope. She's just completely beautiful.

  9. I make a cream that is 2 parts shea butter, 2 parts cocoa butter, 2 parts coconut oil, 2 parts olive oil and 1 part bees wax (I use the pastilles, so much easier). It's actually a recipe for a cloth diaper safe bum cream but it works AMAZING on eczema. Seriously. Clears my kids up in a day. My kids regularly ask for the baby's "chocolate cream" as it makes their skin feel so much better. But be warned, it makes them all chocolatey smelling (from the cocoa butter). You may want to eat your children! I bet you could find something like it on etsy. I personally think the reason it works well is because of the butters and the coconut oil.

  10. My first and third daughter have terrible eczema. I have found that aquaphilic with carbamide in it works really well for them. I give them a bath and when they are still a little damp I put it on. Doing this 2 -3 Times a week helps their skin. I never thought of diaper rash cream working. Definitely something I will keep in mind if I ever need to change things.

  11. Thank you for the skin care tip! I have a son who has a peanut allergy, which goes along with chronic eczema flare ups. We keep it mostly under control with hydrocortisone, but will definitely try the diaper cream next time.

    I love reading about your little miracles. Thank you for sharing them with us.

  12. I love reading your stories. My son adored his octopus and had particular tentacles that he enjoyed munching more than others. My husband and I are thinking about trying for baby number two (our son has spina bifida) and reading stories like yours makes me hopeful about the future.

  13. Have you tried using breast milk on Brian's skin? My pedi told me to use it on everything: cracked nipples, dry skin, cradle cap, and minor cuts/abrasions.

  14. Hi Kate, I have a 4 yr old son with eczema on his legs too. I've tried everything from a dye free detergent, to organic scent free soaps too. This winter we went to a more humid city where our parents live and my mother massaged his toes and tried to press on pressure points to reduce his fever. His eczema then fully disappeared, it lasted weeks. It was strange and i was reluctant to believe that reflexology is what solved it. I thought maybe the humidity and water made his skin better. We live in Vegas where there's dry weather and chlorine in our water. We came home and sure enough the eczema was back. My other child got pneumonia and broke out in hives once and we had to take her to the hospital, I asked the nurse if they had any cortisone to ease her itch but instead they said they couldn't give me that since it had to be prescribed and gave me a cream to try that is used on patients with incontinence as a "diaper rash cream" within hours the itch subsided and the rash was gone the next day. I took the tube home that the nurse gave me and tried it on my son's legs, and his eczema is gone. It works just like A&D a diaper cream, but better!! Should you consider trying it, the product can be found online, at the hospital pharmacy, or medical supply store. THE PRODUCT IS CALLED CRITIC-AID clear barrier ointment by coloplast. It is a white tube with a purple label and it goes on gritty but absorbs clear and the grittiness goes away. Please try it. I wish I could send before and after pics. You can do some research on the product as well. But, from a personal similar experience ..it works...and better than A&D , I use it for a bad diaper rash cream as well :) Thank you for sharing, I love hearing and seeing Gavin's beautiful photos still. And love the snow, it looks so fun! .. the babies are beautiful as always. Take Care :)

  15. I am glad you are keeping up the tree, it is gorgeous! I enjoy seeing your photos, because I swear I can see angel-Gavin's smile next to each of yours! ...I hope that doesn't sound too weird, me being a stranger and all, but it is something I see in my heart when I look at your photos--especially the ones in front of the Christmas tree. I feel so inspired by Gavin, Brian, Hope, Darcy, Ed and you--and I thank God for you all! Thank you for sharing your story!

  16. A&D Ointment is a cure-all for sooooo much! My mom, an RN, used it on us as kids for everything from minor burns and minor cuts and scratches, to chapped lips, hives, dried out scaly feet, dry skin from winter, uber hand moisturizer....the list goes on and on. I recommend it to all my friends. They think I'm crazy, but I'm such a lover of the stuff. You have to use the brown OINTMENT in the tube, NOT the white cream. It's messy and oily feeling (so soothing on dry lips), but if you use it at night, it soaks up and leaves the skin wonderful feeling. Slather your hands and feet at night and put on sox and cotton gloves and be amazed in the morning. So inexpensive too, given all the products on the market for skin conditions. So glad to hear your son got relief! I use A&D ointment on my kids all the time. Sheesh, you'd think I work for the company or something! LOL

  17. My daughter had eczema as a baby/toddler that was getting worse. We found out she had an egg allergy (which has resolved now), and while removing the egg helped, the rash on her face and hands, it didn't seem to help it on the rest of her body. I then researched some more and discovered that a lot of folks have problems with detergent-based products (like laundry detergent - even the hypoallergenic ones). When we switched to a soap-based laundry detergent (I make mine - very easy and inexpensive), her eczema cleared right up. I Don't believe it is the cause of eczema, but in our case, after we removed the cause (eggs), the detergent in our natural laundry detergent, was still bothering the eczema that was already there. When that was removed, it cleared right up. She is now 7 and is not as sensitive, but if I get lazy and wash in detergent, her skin dries very quickly and she starts itching. Might be something to check out. I was so surprised! Here is where I read about it: http://www.solveeczema.org. It is written by a lovely family, just sharing their success story (no products sold). May God bless you and your sweet family. Thank you for sharing your story, it increases my faith as a result!

  18. Hope is a lovely baby, I think it every time I see a picture of her! I just thought I'd share another eczema ointment that works great for us, in case you need to attack it again. It's called Calendula ointment (not the lotion or cream, those don't work nearly as well!). I buy it on amazon in a three-pack (here's the link, if you want to take a look: http://www.amazon.com/Boiron-Calendula-Ointment-1-Ounce-Pack/dp/B001G7QGPE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1390410758&sr=8-2&keywords=calendula+ointment) I'm glad the A&D helped Brian! Have a blessed day.

  19. I LOVE Gavin's tree...don't take it down, and I love seeing Brian & Daddy playing in the snow. And such a warm & cozy scene you describe with Mama and baby Hope watching from the window! I still have our Christmas tree up inside because it makes me sad thinking about taking it down. Our son is 15, non-verbal with autism, and just started really "getting" Christmas and being excited about it the past few years, so I like to S-T-R-E-T-C-H the Christmas season as far as possible for him!! And I can sure relate to those milestone celebrations, no matter how teeny, tiny they may seem to the outside world...they were so HUGE to us. I hope Brian's rash continues to improve and keep the kiddos adorable photos coming! Thank-you so much for sharing with us.

  20. Holy cannoli, Hlope is getting more beautiful by the day...how is that possible? :P
    Brian looks so big in comparison...how do they grow so fast? And when is someone going to invent something to slow that down, every once in awhile???? You got lots more snow than we did...I am jealous...cuz a snow day would have been MUCH appreciated! Teehee!
    Hugs to the Leongs from the Johnsons!!!

  21. Homemade goats milk soap? How do you make this?

    Crisco? Really?


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