We have had a shocking afternoon. Annelise wanted to play outside in the tiny bit of snow we have after lunch in her new snow pants. Totally fine. She decked herself out from head to toe - boots, snow pants, coat, hat, & gloves. After about 20 minutes, she walked back in the door, laughing about getting snow on her face...and my jaw hit the floor. Her face was almost purple and covered in bumps. So was a tiny strip of skin on each of her wrists b/t her gloves & coat. I expected her cheeks to be icy to the touch - nope: they were ON FIRE!!!
I asked if her skin was itchy or hurting; she said no, but after about 10 minutes, she said it felt like her face was burning. I still don't know if I would have put it together, had I not had the doctor tell me I was probably "allergic" to the cold last month and then my mom tell me about my aunt who literally breaks out in a rash when she gets too cold. Annelise has had a massive reaction to snow!
After about an hour & a half of being back inside, the bumps were finally gone and Annelise's cheeks were back to normal pink & cool to the touch.
I am swirling with emotion...
I feel stupid. Stupid that I didn't put this together sooner. She never really played in the snow until last year when she started school. Her (wonderful) teacher Ms. Basia & I tried forever to figure out what was making her face break out then, as well. I even wondered if there was something that had touched shrimp (her only food allergy) at lunch. [Nope.] We finally thought it was her scarf irritating her face & ditched that...but then it didn't snow, again. This shouldn't be a surprise. I have extremely sensitive skin (I can't even get facials; sensitive skin ones burn me) and Will does, too. Even when we lived in mild Georgia, when I'd carry him from the car to the dance studio just across the parking lot in winter, it looked like his cheeks had been severely slapped. When we moved north, his skin went nuts with full-blown eczema that looked like measles. We had to slather him in ridiculous amounts of goop whenever he'd been outside. Even at school last year, we had to coat his cheeks with stuff. I just can't believe none of this clicked until now.
I feel angry. Angry I put my instincts that this is NOT "just how it is when you live up north" on the back burner. And really angry at every rude know-it-all who tried to make me feel like a dumb, pathetic, weak Southerner who wouldn't give winter a chance when I talked about how hard the cold is on me & my kids. I want to scream in their faces, "LOOK AT THESE PICS!"
I feel justified. Justified in knowing what's good for me & my kids. I had a little panic attack yesterday morning when we woke up to the snow. My chest got tight, it felt like someone was sitting on it, and I had to really concentrate to catch my breath. I had to stop everything and pray for a few minutes, "God, I know that I can handle this with Your grace. Please help me not freak out." It's no secret that I hate snow, cold, & winter...but I almost feel like the extremity of these emotions is a natural mama survival instinct - my kids & I are not healthy in this type of weather, and some mama instinct deep inside knows this & wants me to protect them from it. There's a reason it freaks me out. Of course, I don't want to wallow in misery all winter, nor do I plan on doing that whatsoever!!! I will keep praying, and God will help me to keep dealing...but I do feel very justified in my extreme aversion.