Sunday, December 15, 2013

Oh, Iowa

It's always interesting to me how unique the different regions of our country are.

I was at a friend's house a few days ago when I was struck by the conversation I was a part of, along with several other women.  We were discussing how to get our children to wash their hands, not just because it's necessary for good health, but specifically because it's painful for our children to do so right now.  The air is so cold and dry here this time of year, and our children's skin is so parched and chapped, they complain of it stinging and burning when water is splashed on it, and many of them cry when we put them in the tub.

The conversation then turned to our own hands.  Several of us have open cracks and cuts on our fingers, because again, cold, dry air, plus running a household and being the mother of small kids guarantees your hands are in water for large parts of the day.  There were as many remedies as there were women there:  Use camphor, but only the kind found at this one tiny drug store.  Use Eucerin.  Use this stuff that's actually made for horses but my veterinarian brother swears by.  Use cow udder cream.  Use coconut oil.  The only unifying factor between everyone's chosen ointment is that it's a cream or oil, not a lotion, thus not something that could ever be contained in a pump bottle like common lotion; no, this is the kind of stuff that has to be forcibly extracted from its tub, then not so much massaged as violently rubbed into the skin until it's finally permeated the epidermal layer of your damaged skin.  Well, that and gloves.  Everyone says to wear gloves to bed after slathering gook on your hands.

Just the other day I was helping Cade get dressed when I found a spot of blood on his clothes.  Then another.  And another.  They were fresh, but I could not find the source.  He swore he didn't have any "owies," but I continued to hunt, trying to figure out in what way our young son had been hurt.

I finally realized it was me.  One of my hands was bleeding in two spots, and the more I looked on him, the more I was bleeding all over him.

I never had these conversations in Connecticut, and only rarely in Kansas.  In the latter we talked about how to avoid getting dirt in your eyes, mouth, and every other orifice on the windiest days, but never how to keep your children from crying and your own skin from constantly bleeding because everyone is so dang dry.  I honestly can't decide which is worse, but I am thankful I don't have both at the same time.


  1. These skin cracks are new-to-me as well, from living in northern Illinois. In Michigan it just didn't get this cold. When it first started happening, I asked a nurse what to do. She shrugged her shoulders and said that she and the other nurses just put super-glue in their skin cracks. I find that using some of the Burt's Bees ointments work, but I'm pretty sure anything oily would. Still, you have to reapply all the time, or do all your housework in gloves :-)

  2. I hope your hands heal! Dry skin can be quite painful.

    Sometimes my hands bleed from being dried out, here in Western PA, but not very often. In the winter I use Nivea Extra Enriched Lotion. It comes from a pump bottle. I like it because it is thick and I am not allergic to its scent - that's a big issue for me with most creams and lotions.


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