The sweet little angel’s eyes constricted, turning into tiny black dots. Her eyes glazed over and she began to scream. The transformation was gradual; gradual enough so it took me a while to realize the cause. She wanted me to pick her up, hold her, make it better, but when I reached for her she would arch her back and scream and squirm. It didn’t feel good for me to touch her skin, or so it seemed to me. She lay on the floor thrashing and screaming. And I sat on the floor wondering what in the world was wrong. I offered snacks; grapes, apples, nuts, bananas, raisins. Nothing worked. I offered a bath. To which she shook her head. I got up and went to my bathroom, since she didn’t want me to touch her anyway and she screamed harder; following me in her tantrum. I came back and sat with her. She stilled screamed, but I didn’t try to touch her. I smiled at her every time she looked my way. Somehow this seemed to calm her. She tried to sit on my lap, but instantly her back arched and her arms flailed and she slid off my lap.
She lay on her back, her bare belly facing me with its red scribbly marks all over her round tummy. She had been coloring with a red pen at the table next to me and inevitably the pen ended up on her skin. Red pen. On her skin. Could that be it? The red dye in the pen? I got up and got out the baking soda, a small sippy cup of water and mixed 1/8 of a teaspoon into the water. I put the lid on the cup and tried to offer the liquid to her. She pushed it away. Several times. I finally had to force some into her mouth 3 or 4 times before she took it on her own.
Gradually her pupils began to normalize. She climbed onto my lap and lay there, stirring occasionally. After a few more minutes I was able to touch her skin without her pulling away from me. I rubbed her back. The baking soda began to work through her system and she passed a little gas. She smiled and it reached her eyes and she giggled. Her eyes were clear again.
The symptoms are not completely gone. She still fusses for no apparent reason; but I KNOW the reason. But she is sitting quietly watching Blues Clues. I can breath and step into the next room. The hour has passed, but I won’t forget. The red pens will disappear.
Food dye sensitivities are real. And the sensitivities do not stop with food. They can be caused by pens, markers, clothing and other fabrics too. It makes me want to run out and buy everything in white! LOL!