A 3-Year-Old's Story
Dear NEA Scratch Pad:
I’d like to share my wish with the Scratch Pad readers.
A Mother’s Wish: Every morning, I try to start the day positively for my daughter’s sake regardless of how much sleep we didn’t get the night before. Today was no exception. I woke her up at 8:25, only three short hours after she finally fell asleep, after the usual night-long restless tossing and turning, scratching, crying, and scratching some more. We were already running late for her big day.
Today, I took my 3-year-old daughter to her first day of preschool, telling myself “she needs this, she will have fun.” My husband and I want her to have a ‘normal childhood’; we don’t want her to feel “different” from the other kids. Reality hit quickly as I watched in circle time: my daughter struggling not to scratch, then pulling her pant legs up and scratching her legs until one bled, and then scratching her back, her arms, the back of her neck as if bugs were crawling all over her skin.
As the other children removed their long sleeve shirts/jackets/sweaters as it got warmer, my daughter stayed in hers. My heart sank as the other little girls ran to the playground in their sundresses and tank tops, bare legs, no redness, no flaking, no peeling, no rashes, no itching. I looked over at my daughter in her long sleeves and pants, still scratching, trying to scratch a spot on her back, as she watched the other kids run around, figuring out where she fits in in all this . . . and I know she’ll figure it out. She’s a smart kid—a sensitive one—and like most children, more resilient than we tend to give them credit for.
As the school day came to an end for my daughter and we were getting ready to go home, we watched the other children getting ready for their nap time, eagerly pulling out their sleeping bags and pillows, arranging them on the floor next to their little friends. My daughter looked up at me and asked why she wasn’t taking a nap at school. I wondered to myself if my daughter would ever be able to take a carefree nap at preschool, or even at home, like the other kids. Probably not.
I don’t wish for her to be the smartest kid, or the prettiest, or the fastest. I just wish SO much and pray every day that just for one day and one night she can feel “normal”—she can know what it feels like not to itch incessantly, what it feels like to sleep through the night without being tormented by the Scratchy Monster and to have her skin burn and itch, what it feels like to climb into the bath tub without asking, "Mommy, is this going to burn?" I wish I could trade places with her and take all this from her so she can be happy and carefree like children are supposed to be. This I wish for her.