When Playing in the Woods Turns Ugly

This is a sideways panoramic photo of The “Candelabra Tree” at Henry Cowell State Redwoods Park. (No, this is not in my neighborhood. We did visit it this week, though!)

A couple of months ago, a new neighbor moved in. They have a boy Caleb’s age, and a girl in kindergarten. We’ll call this little boy New Friend and his sister New Friendette. Creative, I know.

New Friend and Friendette have a glorious treasure of elementary school childhood right in their backyard. A thicket. Actually, it’s a large thicket that runs down our street a piece, so we call it “the woods.” Joshua, Caleb, and their new friends have spent hours over the last few weeks playing in the woods. Their joy has just been overflowing.

My joy level was pretty high the other day, too. I stepped out on my balcony, and I could have sworn that I saw someone move in the woods. I stood very still for a long time, just thinking and praying. I love looking that way, because beyond the woods, the elevation slopes down, so there’s a small glimpse of ocean.

As I stood there, perfectly still, a “lots of points” buck rose up out of the bushes in the woods. Then his whole herd rose up around him, and I just stood there in awe. I HAD seen something move!!  It was the deer, ducking out of sight, at my sudden entrance onto their scene. They just stood there, munching on leaves, or whatever they eat, probably poison oak or something.

I can’t tell you how that uplifted my spirits that day!

And then Wednesday came. On Wednesday, Joshua and Caleb stayed in those woods, building, imagining, and socializing for two hours, which I hope they will look back on fondly some day.

On Thursday morning, Joshua woke up with a red rash on his face and itchy arms. Thankfully, he was not having breathing difficulty at all, so we didn’t have to rush off to the Emergency Room. We weren’t sure if he had poison oak or a mild reaction to nut exposure Wednesday night. We fed him lots of Benadryl, and we kept a close eye on him.

Friday morning he woke up broken out on both sides of his face. 🙁 I started researching poison oak a whole lot more.

Did you know it takes 3 weeks to get over poison oak exposure?

Did you know that it may not show up until up to 72 hours after your exposure?

Did you know that you don’t need to seek medical help unless the poison oak is in your eyes, private areas, or covers more than 1/3 of your body?

I found a bottle of Prednisone with about 3 teaspoons in it, left over from his great cashew reaction of 2014. I gave him a dose of that on Friday.  That took care of the left side of his face pretty quickly.

Unfortunately, by Saturday, Joshua had poison oak on the corner of his eye, all over his right cheek, forehead, and chin, and little red dots popping up all over his body. Off to the ER he went. He now has a good, two weeks’ supply of Prednisone. He still looks pretty rough.

I feel sooooo badly for him. He’s handled it really well, though.

Did you know that unless the oil from the actual plant is still on your skin, a person with poison oak is not contagious? I did my research on this.  However, the sight of Joshua would probably scare most folks, so he will be staying home with Nonna tomorrow.

By the way, we have had some great field trips/adventures this week to the Redwood Forrest and the Monterey Aquarium. That aquarium has found a new fan in me! Alan and DaddyO got to go kayaking too!!  I can’t wait to get all the photos uploaded to share on my next post!

Super-friendly young sea lion! More pictures like this to come on the next post!


Click it…you know you wanna! 😉




  • Poor Joshua! He doesn’t look for trouble, it just finds him! Jacob is very allergic to poison Ivy (that was growing up a tree and on the side of our house). He broke out on just about every part of his body just by brushing it with his arms. He was miserable. Hope Joshua feels better soon! Love ya, Amber

    • Did his last the three weeks like all these articles say? I’d really like to take J out, not looking like a public spectacle.

    • haha! Oh! and I just had to chuckle about the trouble finding him part! You’re right. he doesn’t look for trouble. It finds him….except that whole penny swallowing incident. How do I even explain that one? lol

      • It lasted for about 2 1/2 weeks I think! It spread to his face,neck, waistband, arm pits, backs of his knees (everywhere he had a fold basically) it was pitiful! I now have a big jug of round up poison Ivy killer in my basement! LOL about the penny! I still laugh about that. I miss those boys!

  • Daddy-O

    “Measles make you bumpy
    And mumps’ll make you lumpy
    And chicken pox’ll make you jump and twitch
    A common cold’ll fool ya
    And whooping cough’ll cool ya
    But poison ivy, lawd’ll make you itch!!” The Coasters 1959

    Praying for you Joshua through this tough time. ~Daddy-O

  • jimfinn2000

    You have unusually good talent to write. I write much every day but am way behind you in natural talent. I love to at times read your stories concerning your boys. Since God has given you much talent and you are a Christian, in my opinion I would love to read stories from you concerning Salvation to accomplish 2 things. 1. To reach the lost. 2. To get Salvation more clear to other Christians who sometimes or often operate in a fog. Your fan, Jim Finn

    • Thank you for the compliment, and thank you for the challenge too! I will do my best to rise to this challenge. As a Christian blogger, I’m always wanting to find ways to glorify the Lord with my blog. I had not really thought of writing more stories of salvation, and salvation can be a very confusing things to non-Christians. You are right. I will work on this. Thank you for the ideas.

  • As a native Californian and mother of five boys I feel it my duty to pass on two important words: Fels Naptha. You can get it at WalMart. It’s a bar of laundry soap that should be applied to body and clothes with cold water every time your boys are playing near poison oak. Sorry they had to learn the hard way. But you are Super Mom. You can handle anything. Funny post that left me itching just thinking about it.

    • OH, we will be buying some of that pronto! Thank you so much. I have never heard of Fels Naptha before!!! And thank you for encouraging words, too! I always enjoy hearing from my fellow mom of boys in the trenches!!

  • oh that poor baby! Hope you all get some rest soon and he stops itching 😉

  • queenmommyjen

    Oh no poison oak!! At least now they know what it looks like, right? Or is it everywhere and unavoidable when playing out there from now on? I am so sorry!

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