In our front yard is my favorite tree. All winter long, I watch the oranges grow and wait anxiously for them to be ripe enough to eat. We pick them straight from the tree and eat them fresh and still cold from the outside air. This winter alone we had about 50 oranges, all delicious and juicy and sweet.
Rohan loves oranges. He begs for them. He plucks them from the ground and asks us to 'open' them. He picks slices out of my bowl and sucks the sweet juice off the pulp.
He breaks out in a red, blotchy rash.
He begs for more.
His diapers after he eats oranges result in a red, angry rash.
He begs for more.
I always give in, reasoning that many kids are sensitive to the acidic juices of an orange.
This morning we went to visit my father in law. We sat in chairs on his back patio, peeling oranges and savoring a beautiful morning. We watched the kids run wild through the backyard, throwing a ball for the dogs and collecting pecans they asked us to break open so they could eat them straight away.
Within minutes, Rohan's skin around his mouth was red and raw. We washed it with warm water, dried it with a clean towel, and put some sensitive skin lotion on his face. He continued to ask for more. We said no. He went about his morning, falling asleep in the car after lunch and a run through a park.
He woke from naptime more red and raw. And by bedtime he was fussy. He woke twice, crying out for me. I got him back to sleep once, and the second time Darrick brought him into our bed, hopeful that a snuggle would be enough to soothe him back to sleep. I heard his cry get more desperate. I went up to him, armed with Benadryl (we now use this instead of the prescription histamine blocker he used to receive). He fought the medicine, crying and moving his head away, saying no. He curled onto his side and pulled his legs up to his body, sobbing. With Darrick's help, I got most of the medicine in his mouth. I pulled him to me and shushed him and, sandwiched between us, he fell back to sleep.
I don't want to deny him his oranges. His love for them runs deep. But I fear oranges may go the way of kiwis for him: on the no-go list from here on out unless we're in the mood to watch him suffer.
Sometimes, I think his Masto is so minor, I allow myself to forget about it altogether. Sometimes, I get mad he can't enjoy the simple pleasure of devouring a freshly ripened orange, straight off the tree.