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Elyse, the Princess and the Pea

Let us tell you a story…

The story of The Princess and the Pea.

One stormy day, a young woman arrives at a castle. She’s drenched in water and asks the Prince’s mom for shelter. When asked who she was, she tells the Prince’s mom that she is a princess. The Prince’s mom does not believe the Princess but offers her shelter anyways. The Prince’s mom intends to test the Princess to see if she’s speaking the truth. She places a pea under a huge mattress piled on top of 20 more feather beds.

The Princess tosses and turns at night. She can’t sleep no matter how she lays on the mattresses. There’s something there. When she awakes in the morning, she tells the Prince’s mom this and the mother is full of joy. The Princess was a real one! She passed the test. Only a real princess would be sensitive to the single pea under the pile of mattresses. Only a princess would recognize high-quality bedding.

In the end, the Princess marries the Prince and lives happily ever after.

A Princess Named Elyse

The Princess in our story today is Christy Wu’s daughter, Elyse.

When Elyse was a little shy of 3 months old, Christy noticed a rash on her daughter’s face. Thinking it was a normal rash and nothing to worry about, she gently rubbed rash cream on the area and went on with her day.

As time went on, the rash worsened. She started noticing hives on her daughter’s body. Christy began to worry, “What was happening with Elyse?”, she wondered.

Night after night, Elyse would lay beside Christy in her bassinet and scratch herself. The scratching intensified as baby Elyse’s discomfort disrupted her sleep night after night. Every morning Christy would find blood on her daughter’s bed sheets. Her heart was broken.

“Seeing her like that. It’s really tough. You want to do something – something to help ease her discomfort.” But what was she supposed to do?

Eventually, things worsened. She started seeing small bumps all over her daughter’s face. Christy was at a loss and thought that it couldn’t get any worse than this.

But it did. At 7 months old, Elyse was well on her way to starting solids. Then, Christy introduced peanuts and realized her daughter had a peanut allergy because the rashes appeared all over Elyse’s body.

She realized that these rashes were not normal rashes that would come and go. They were eczema rashes.

Every morning when Christy looked over at Elyse’s sheets, she would find them blood-stained from all the scratching. It pained her to see Elyse in discomfort.

Christy wanted a solution to ease her daughter’s discomfort.

She asked her friends and the doctor what she should do. She tried all the available creams on the market that were safe for babies her age. Nothing worked. Her heart would break every time she saw Elyse scratching. Elyse was sensitive to everything she came into contact with and she was not sleeping well at night – just like the Princess from the story The Princess and the Pea.

The Big Ah-Hah Moment

Until one day, she noticed that softer materials against her daughter’s delicate skin made a bit of a difference. An idea came to her mind. “Can I design a sleep suit that would be comfortable enough for my baby with eczema?” And that’s where the idea for Baby & Peas started.

Let’s Go Back to the Very Beginning

When Christy first learned she was pregnant with Elyse, she stayed in bed for three months. She knew that being pregnant was a blessing but she was overwhelmed with anxiety and fear. It was the crippling fear of losing her unborn baby that kept her in bed. She thought that by simply walking, she could lose her baby.

*Trigger Warning* The next part of Christy’s story may be a trigger for you and if you’d like to skip to the next part, please do so. Although there is sadness in this story, it was also the beginning of a miracle - the journey of motherhood - for Christy.

She would always think about the life-changing event that happened over a year ago – her first pregnancy, her first miscarriage. She knew the statistic of being 1 in 4 pregnancies which end in miscarriage too well.

It wasn’t until after her first trimester that she felt better. Christy felt a big weight lift off her shoulders. She started feeling better and couldn’t wait to meet her unborn baby. Every day, she would speak to baby Elyse, who was growing inside her womb every day. The first time she felt baby Elyse kick her, she was overjoyed. It was like her daughter was speaking to her and telling her that she was well inside her mother’s womb. She felt so blessed and happy.

Christy remembers feeling relief when Elyse was first born. The relief of not feeling the contractions but also, finally, her daughter was here, safe and sound. It still felt so unreal. But after eating a delicious Big Mac, Christy remembers being overwhelmed with joy and it hit her that her baby was right beside her.

Finding Elyse Comfort At Night

After realizing that she could help her daughter find comfort at night, Christy set out to make it happen.

She started designing the first concept of Baby & Peas’ sleep suit. Today, when you sit down with Christy, you quickly learn that Baby & Peas was made just for Elyse. From the cute peas on the sleepsuits that Elyse loves to eat to using Elyse’s favourite colour, peach to the entire Baby & Peas brand was all inspired by her daughter.

The sleep suits and sleep bags designed by Christy are soft enough to soothe her little one’s itchy skin and provide enough comfort for Elyse to rest through the night. Not only does Elyse get her rest, so does Christy and her husband.

Christy has chosen the ultra-soft bamboo material blended with cotton for her sleepsuits. She embellishes them with a drop-crotch design to make it easier for diaper changes and a 3-way zipper to ensure little ones like Elyse stay safe and comfortable throughout the night.

After finally getting some rest, Christy was inspired to share her secrets with parents with babies and toddlers with eczema who had been struggling like her and her family.

But what is really inspiring is how Christy manages to do it all – be a full-time mom, build her business, and take care of herself.

Can A Mom Do It All?

Being a mom is a 24/7 job. When you’re not “mommying”, it can feel like you’re doing something else for the family. Add in the COVID-19 crisis and many women like Christy have not been able to access childcare.

When asked about how Christy has managed to start a business while being a full-time mom, she replies, “Once you push yourself, you can do anything. That’s what I’ve learned from being a mom.”

It is clear that her ability to manage time and perseverance has been key to her success in both roles as a mom and entrepreneur. She reminds us that having a supportive partner is an important part of a mom’s mental health. After dinner, her husband spends time with Elyse while Christy exercises for her physical and mental health. “After becoming a mom, I started to think about what I enjoy more. Because I don’t have a lot of time to myself, I need to think about what I want to do with my free time and use it wisely. For example, the type of music or exercise.” Christy tells us.

Then, when Elyse falls asleep, she takes some time to catch up with her husband on each other’s day. Afterwards, Christy works on her business until the wee hours of the morning. This is Christy’s time to be creative and pursue something outside of being a mom. Something that is important to her. “I know that I need to be the person I want my daughter to become. I need to be her role model. I want to be a better version of myself for Elyse.”

She tells us that it wasn’t always easy. At 18-months old, a toddler, Elyse went through a peak of separation anxiety. This was an emotional time for the both of them. Elyse would cry when separated from Christy. During the day, she would explore her boundaries. Instead of sitting in her high chair, she would sit on the table. When asked to sit on her high chair, she would have a meltdown. Christy remembers that this was a tough time for her. She didn’t feel like a good enough mom for Elyse.

She sought the help of a psychologist. This helped her realize that she needed to set boundaries with Elyse. She started giving Elyse options to avoid meltdowns during the day. She would let Elyse know when she needed to do things like exercise to take care of herself because it allowed her to be good mom.

No Longer Baby Elyse

At 26-months old, Elyse is no longer a baby but now a toddler. Christy and Elyse enjoy their mid-morning walks together. Elyse explores the world around her differently now than she did a year ago. Every day is different in her eyes. The world is still a place of so much wonder.

In the afternoons, Elyse loves playing at her pretend kitchen and blending items in her play blender. Christy and Elyse enjoy a playtime meal together. Sometimes, Elyse “cooks” alongside her mom. She is a mini chef who enjoys watching cooking shows. Her creativity is endless. These days, Elyse enjoys drawing with Christy.

At night, Christy’s husband, reads Elyse the story of The Princess and the Pea, a favourite of hers to wind her down for the night.

This is Christy’s motherhood journey so far. When asked about what motherhood is to her, she says, “I need to be brave and grounded. Having a child with severe eczema and allergies is not easy on you as a mom. I get worried about which foods might trigger an eczema flareup and so I’m extra careful. But I don’t want to show Elyse my stress so I need to be brave and grounded at the same time to face this for her.”

Today, Elyse cooks her mom a soup of tomatoes, lemons, and chocolate and life feels just right. Baby Elyse is two now and growing into her own person. Christy hopes that Elyse will grow up to be a positive, brave girl like the mom Elyse has made her to be.