When a pediatric nurse told Shula Klinger that her incessantly wailing baby boy was “going through a rough patch,” she didn’t realize how prophetic those words would prove to be.

Months of crying jags, rashes, breathing difficulties and ER trips later, Joel was finally diagnosed with atopic dermatitis (eczema). Finally, she and her husband could start to understand what would and wouldn’t help their child, and would gain him – and themselves – some uninterrupted sleep. A bubble bath at bedtime? Forget it – even a few minutes in the tub would cause a horrible itchy reaction. But organic home cleaners, and plain, non-appliqued baby clothes? Those would help.

Now the Lynn Valley mom is sharing all her trial-and-error tips with the rest of the world in a new blog. Says Shula: “A ROUGH PATCH chronicles the day-to-day struggles of an infant with eczema, asthma and allergies. The site is packed with personal anecdotes, tips and tricks for families in a similar predicament.  But it’s not just about the daily rigours (or agonies) of life with these health problems; you’ll also find light-hearted entries, product reviews, interviews, guest essays and recipes.”

Shula will be pulling in international guest bloggers, medical experts, and parents of fellow sufferers in the posts to come, and the blog itself is being profiled in an upcoming newsletter of The Eczema Society of Canada.

Shula is a well-published writer already; after coming to Canada to pursue a PhD in Education at UBC and later developing online curriculum for the BC school system, she turned her focus to her creative life. Her young adult novel, “The Kingdom of Strange,” was published in 2008 and she has also illustrated “Best Friends Forever: A World War II Scrapbook.” She continues to work in print and radio journalism, most often for the CBC.

Shula, her husband Graham, son Benjamin (age five),  Joel (now 20 months) and their “eccentric dachshund, Moby” moved to Lynn Valley last October, where she says they all feel very much at home, despite ongoing home renovations. Shula says her neighbours are wonderfully relaxed and welcoming (Ed. note: They no doubt appreciate Shula, as well – she is apparently a prolific baker!) Other favourite pastimes include visiting the library and taking Benjamin and Joel to the local parks.

Check out A Rough Patch to learn more about this family’s experience with eczema; to learn more about Shula’s writing life, visit her website. Shula invites people with questions and comments to post them on A Rough Patch – she’s happy to be a sounding board!

– Peggy Trendell-Jensen, editor. Photo by Laura Lui of http://www.dolcepics.com / Laura Hana Photographer: http://www.facebook.com/LAURAHANAphotographer