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Benadryl Baby

I am allergic to poison ivy. I mean,
really allergic. I mean, a shot of cortisone allergic.

Lucky me, we’ve got a thoughtful back-yard neighbor who has
trained it to grow over our back wall and it cascades luxuriantly
down, intermingling coyly with our English ivy. This year’s
crop is especially lush, spanning a good ten feet and sporting
roots as thick as Brian’s forearm.

I try to avoid the stuff, but since a few years ago when I had to
get two cortisone shots in four months and my dermatologist tersely
ordered me to not get within 20 feet of that $#@# (his word) wall,
I really try to avoid it. Mostly I just stare and seethe.

But since Maddie’s become mobile that poison bouquet just
taunts me. I’m paranoid a stray leaf will blow towards the
lawn and my baby will be miserable for weeks. And now that
we’ve got two kids and a wading pool, I decided enough was
enough. It was gonna be me, or that stupid poison ivy.

And by me, I mean my husband.

Yes, a week ago I sent my poor husband
back there with some chemical gloves and a large trash bag as I
cowered in the house. To add insult to injury, I insisted on going
out and checking to make sure he’d done a good enough job. Of
course I found a few stray baby plants coming in, and I gritted my
teeth, willed my heart to slow down, dragged on Brian’s
gloves and pulled them out myself. Suit up, girl, I told myself,
and get a grip.

Of course, we both got hit with a rash.

Brian’s got a huge silver-dollar size spot on his leg, and a
random streak across his nose. I received a tiny brush on my arm,
which raised one baby dot. Unfortunately, on me, that dot turns
into a body-wide polka-dot festival very quickly. So as I saw the
one dot become five, I called the pediatrician and asked if I could
take Benadryl while breast-feeding. I was hoping the anti-histamine
would slow down my reaction so I wouldn’t need yet another
stupid cortisone injection.

Sure, she told me, no problem. Just be aware that the Benadryl
might make Cora drowsy.

Really? Can I buy the jumbo-sized box?

Since I’ve never taken Benadryl before, I started with just
one pill. And promptly fell over in my soup bowl. Slight
exaggeration, but not much; I truly don’t remember much of
anything about the 12 hours after the pill. I was knocked out.
Unfortunately, Cora was not.

Here’s a fun trivia fact: in a very small percentage of
babies, Benadryl doesn’t act as a sedative. It acts as a
stimulant. I read that twelve hours after I’d taken the pill,
while Cora screamed and hadn’t slept for any of those twelve

Yes, lucky me, my child’s in the privileged few. For almost
24 hours she ran a low fever, refused to nap for longer than ten
minutes at a time, and screamed suddenly at random times during the
day. By the time I figured it out the medicine had worn off –
wish I’d known that sooner.

So we won’t be taking any Benadryl oh, ever again. On the
upside, I haven’t needed the cortisone shot and neither girl
shows signs of a reaction, so I think we’re out of the woods.

On the downside, does anybody want a jumbo-sized box of


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