Happy Tomato: Explaining Hives to My Child
Have you ever asked yourself how children are looking at chronic hives? I'm asking this question because my daughter and myself were laying in a small bed, she was in the hospital, and we were talking.
I needed something to distract her from her pain. I was laying next to her in the hospital bed and at a certain point she had something at her finger with the red light so that they can measure her heartbeat, her oxygen and stuff like that. I put my finger on her finger and I told her let's switch. I'm going to take away your pain and you can take my hives.
She told me OK I'm going to take your hives and you're going to take my sickle cell. My daughter has Sickle Cell Disease type SS. We were transferring our health conditions to each other, and she asked me “what are you feeling?” and I told her I feel a lot of pain. And then I asked her “what are you feeling?” and then she told me “ooh I feel like a tomato!” “Like a tomato?” I asked her. And then she said ‘yes mommy you always look like a tomato when your hives are coming up’.
It was so funny to see how she is looking at me when my itchiness comes. She was also trying to make these faces that I make when my body is really itching, and it was not beautiful to see her face expressions which I believe were exactly like mine.
We laughed a lot, time went fast, and it was a beautiful way to distract her from her pain.
Officially tomato mom
When we drove back home the conversation continued. Now I’m officially her tomato mom. Thank God she loves tomatoes.
My little princess is my energetic sunshine. And she is always ready to do something fun and I love that. But sometimes in the middle of doing something fun, the feeling of being extremely tired just hits me.
And after a couple of seconds/minutes you can see them coming. The tomato is growing and glowing. And when that happens, I always tell her, mommy feels so tired, please give me a couple of minutes to charge. In the future I will tell her: “Mommy has a tomato moment.”
I really believe that we need to teach our kids at a very young age what uncomfortable situations look like. Because it’s so difficult to pretend that you are ok, when you are not ok. And I’m not saying that you need to share all the adult stuff with them, no! But you can share some small pieces, so they can understand when you are sad, upset, irritated, tired or frustrated.
It may sound crazy, but I was so happy that I have an uncomfortable health condition. To make my daughter feel comfortable, I used my own experience and frustrations, so she could use me as a mom as her example.
And I know….you can’t compare the conditions with each other, but you can teach your kids about acceptance, coping with the situation and most of all, distract your thoughts when needed.
You are not alone
For me as a mom it’s important to let my daughter know that she isn’t alone. And at the other side, for me as a mom with chronic hives, it’s good to know that I’m not alone. Because my daughter is watching me.
She looks at the way I’m coping with difficult situations, how I am dealing with tomato moments, how I use my medications, and how I’m trying to keep a healthy balance between my health condition and daily life.
It’s a journey, where we are keep growing, learning and at the end of the road we have a purpose in this life. As a parent we need to lead by example.
How well do you feel you manage your chronic hives?