Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Growing up we didn't celebrate Halloween. The first time I dressed up was in college. Why didn't we celebrate? I had a very proud father who would say "if you want candy, we will buy it for you. There's no need to go begging for it." You can't miss something you never had so it never really bothered me. And while it's typical to carry on family traditions, this is one that we may break.

Last year my friend invited us to TOT in her neighborhood. It was held the Saturday before Halloween and we had a blast. I do have to admit that it did feel weird "asking" for candy. Sometimes I had Danielle do it. I felt a lot more comfortable taking him to the Halloween parties at the library and Barnes and Noble than going door to door.

This year at the last minute I decided to make his costume. We went to the party at the library and the zoo last week. However, he missed TOT with my friend on Saturday because it was snowy, wet and cold. I was totally unprepared for the snow and there was no way I was sending him out in the cold in only a Fall jacket. So we stayed home.

I was all set to carve pumpkins last night but I think because I bought it several weeks ago at when we went to the farm that I couldn't cut it open. So we settled for stickers instead. What better way to start our Halloween celebration off this morning than with pumpkin and raisin pancakes and apple sauce for dipping, playing outside in the leaves, Halloween stories, coloring, and right now...a nap. Later he will help pass put candy to the 10 TOT we get each year.

It's like pulling teeth to get him to look at the camera these days.

So surprised that he ate not only a bite but all of the pancakes. Yay!!!!

If anyone ever needs a toddler bib recommendation, I highly recommend the baby bjorn.

Giddy up cowboy! Making his outfit was so much fun.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Discovery of Peanut Allergy

A few people are curious about how we discovered that my little guy had an allergy. Over the summer, when he was about 14-15 months old, I gave him some Jif With a Touch of Honey Peanut Butter on crackers as a snack. I did this about three times and he didn't react. We ran out of the PB and a few weeks later while I was in Whole Foods, I picked up a jar of their organic brand. Once again, I gave it to him as a snack on crackers. This time around he reacted. His eyes became red and itchy, he broke out in pimples, and his face turned red and splotchy. He couldn't stop rubbing his eyes. I made the decision to give him Benedryl which he had never been given before and the only reason we had it in the house was because our dog had a reaction to shots the year prior. It did the trick. In the meantime, we had called our Pediatrician but when they called back it went straight to voicemail and because we had his symptoms under control we never called them back. I just figured we would avoid peanut butter.

During his 18 month check up, I added this to my list of questions. I wasn't sure if it was a brand issue or an overall allergy issue. She said it had nothing to do with the brand. She suggested blood work to see if he would test positive and he did.

The Allergist said that because he was exposed and reacted at a young age (<2), there's a likelihood that he can outgrow it. I'm not sure what the theory is behind that but in the meantime, we plan to just stay clear of nuts. He also said that there is a significant increase in peanut allergies among children compared to years ago when we were younger.

We stopped off at Whole Foods today and it was one of my first times shopping since learning of the allergy. A lot of packages indicate if the product contains nuts or is processed in a plant where products containing peanuts and tree nuts are processed. I ended up putting a lot of things back. It's a really difficult decision to make. Do you put the items back or do you get them? For example, I've bought Preston Nutrigrain bars before. Whole Foods had their own brand on sale today but the package said it was processed in the same plant as other nuts so I put it back. The rational part of me wanted to buy it thinking he's had a similar product before but the other part of me said, if he gets sick, I will be ridden with guilt because I knew the warning on the package. On my way home, I decided that I'm going to live by the rule that if he's had it in the past, I will buy it.

I'm starting to see how it may be easier to make my own goodies for him. At least I'll be more aware of what's going in to it. I've been inspired to make my own pumpkin pancakes from scratch this weekend. We will see how that goes!!!

Warning: Peanut Allergy

Last week my little one was diagnosed with a peanut allergy. It's not the worst thing in the world. God, I could think of a million things worse. However, it has definitely added a curve ball to the world of eating and if you read my previous post about food, this just adds another element to the mix.

After getting the b/w results, his pediatrician referred him to an Allergist who said no peanuts, no tree nuts, and no chocolate. Wowzer!!! The last two are just a precaution. His rationale was most places that process peanuts also process other nuts and we don't want to risk cross contamination. The same with chocolate. Most places that process one kind of chocolate bar process ones that have nuts in it. He said he sees a lot of cases where cross contamination is the culprit of a nasty reaction. He even talked about a woman he saw before seeing my son who went to get a smoothie and because the machine was used to make one with pb earlier that day, she had a reaction and had to administer an epi pen in the food court. He talked about a kid whose school provides peanut free cookies at lunch but directly after eating one he had a reaction and was taken to the hospital. So the really frustrating part to all of this is that no matter how cautious I am about not exposing him to nuts, something as simple as as the smoothie incident or a factory not thoroughly cleaning their equipment could lead to a reaction. He's not in the care of others very often but I have visions of him going off to preschool in a year or so and how all of this will play out.

I'm trying to make a conscious effort for this not to rule our lives. But the reality is we are now going to be reading labels for one addition piece of information, being mindful of cross contamination, letting caregivers know pb&j's are off the menu (not that he would eat it anyway- see food post), and asking if foods are cooked with peanut oil when going to restaurants. Yes, it will be a challenge but we will make the best of it.


I've checked out two blogs tonight that talked about bento boxes for their toddler aged children. They look like a neat idea and something I'd love to try out with Preston but here's the problem... my kid won't venture outside of a select list of foods. You don't know how painstakingly difficult this is for me. A person who identifies herself as a foodie, a good cook, a lover of all yummy things. I love to try new foods. I'm always preaching about trying something first before ruling it out so at least you can make an informed statement when you say that you don't like something. And here I have this kid who is very particular about food.

I have all of these great ideas for lunches and he won't eat any of them. I made the fluffiest eggs for him the other day, toast shaped like an elephant and he refused it. I made homemade mac and cheese with a homemade cheese sauce and he refused it because he won't eat pasta. My kid likes unsalted crackers, fruit, veggies, and if you can make it in to a soup he's all for it. So I find myself making soup a lot. Homemade chicken and vegetable or beef and vegetable soup only for the simple reason I know he's getting protein, veggies, and grain in a meal. Now if i separated all of those thing and put them on a plate, he would only eat the veggies. I'm seriously looking forward to the day when he will eat what we eat and I'm not making a separate meal for him.

Do you think it's wise to stop being a short order cook and only present to him what we eat? Sometimes, if we are eating something, he will come up and ask to try it. We always give it to him (if it's something appropriate) but he lets his tongue touch it and it's like if he doesn't like the texture, he spits it out (i.e. he asked for the mac and cheese so i gave it to him. He put it in his mouth and as soon as he felt the pasta, he spit it out). Now if I could somehow put it in the food processor and puree it, he would eat it. So I don't always think it's the taste, I think it's the texture. My doctor doesn't seem concerned and I have to admit that over time, he has increased what he will eat so I'm sure this is only a blip on the map but geesh!

Baby Fever

I couldn't even conceive the idea of wanting another child until a few weeks ago. The idea of having two children scared the crap out of me. Not that I don't love children but I worried that time would be taken away from my son and I also worried where I would get the energy from to care of them. However, lately I've developed a terrible case of baby fever. I see a baby and get all warm and fuzzy and wishful. But at this time in my life, it's just not a good time to entertain the idea.

I wonder what it will be like to ttc again. Will it be as difficult both physically and emotionally? Will it take as long? Now that I'm two years older, will I have more challenges? Sometimes I think back to monitoring my cycles, peeing on a stick and it all feels like eons ago.

I'd love to give Preston a brother or sister. I'd love to give him one close in age. My brothers are 7 and 9 years older than I am. They were great to have around but hardly playmates for me. So on one hand there's motivation to entertain the idea but on the other hand it doesn't seem like the right time for me for various reasons.

Some day I suppose and if it doesn't happen...well I already got my wish and I will do everything to make his life as a single child the best I can.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

18 month stats

Baby boy is now 18 months old. His favorite thing to say this week is "where are you?" it's quite adorable. He's calling for Mama more often but when we answer he doesn't have much to say if anything at all. I think he's just testing it out.

Temper tantrums are starting to happen on a daily basis. Luckily they are not severe. We usually try to ignore them although he's added head banging to the mix. The doctor recommends that we ignore that too instead of me holding my hand there while saying nothing. The head banging usually happens in his high chair while he has to wait for his food to cool down. I know he's frustrated so I dont get too upset by them. Although arching his back and pelvis while trying to buckle him in to his car seat is not fun and makes getting in and out of the car to do errands undesirable.

At this age, he loves books and I love to see him with one or two in hand. He can be often settled by a book or sometimes I'll leave one in his crib while he sleeps and he wakes up and looks through it which buys me about 15 minutes of extra sleep.

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

No more nursies

My boobs slightly ache and yes, my heart slightly aches too. There are some days he doesn't ask to be nursed but when he does, I have a lot of guilt redirecting his focus. It's hard for any parent to deny their child of something especially when it's readily available. He looks up at me with those big brown eyes and signs "more milk" and it feels awful telling him "no nursies this morning. You just had milk in your sippy." However, my little guy is at an age where I feel pretty comfortable ending our breastfeeding relationship. I will definitely miss snuggling up with him in that way or having that one on one time that is so distinctly different from any other quality time spent with him. This week we went three days without nursing and then one morning out of sheer guilt I caved and now we are back to 2 days without.

Thinking back, I was incredibly worried about not being able to nurse. I did a lot of reading beforehand and attended a breastfeeding workshop at my son's pediatrician's office. It was something I wanted to provide to my son and with the help of a local breastfeeding center which is adjoined to my pediatricians office, as well as his doctors (some of whom are lactation consultants), and some other nursing moms, I feel very fortunate to have had this experience.

I remember the absolute joy I felt when I first nursed him after giving birth. The nurses were supportive and helpful in the hospital as I fumbled with getting him to latch. I remember being incredibly stressed in the NICU the following few days while I waited for my milk to come in, learning to use a breast pump, and having only a 30 minutes every three hours to nurse him when he was removed from the isolet for that very reason.

Coming home from the NICU was a whole other experience. I remember asking Danielle to support my wishes of having just the three of us at home because I really wanted to focus on breastfeeding and didn't want the stress of entertaining or having to leave the room. Nursing was definitely challenging in the beginning. I can't remember if I read it or if someone told me that the first two weeks are the hardest and to keep trudging through no matter what. I was never tempted to give Preston formula but there were times I was tempted to give him a bottle of pumped milk. In the end I never went that route and just like that after two weeks it was much easier.

The first bump in the road months and months laer was flying home after seeing my parents. I was nursing Preston on the plane and he bit me. I remember removing him from my breast and telling him no. Later that night he refused to nurse. I was devastated and heartbroken. My kid had never refused the breast from the day he was born. I was worried he would never nurse again. I was hurt when Danielle offered him a bottle of breastmilk which he took without hesitation. I remember crying that same night because I wasn't ready to end. Needless to say I over reacted because around his 2am feeding he latched on. Even at a young age, he was communicating his unhappiness with my response to his biting. Note, he's bitten me about a total of 3 times his entire life and about twice were done purposely after he was done nursing and was testing the waters. I know a lot of people quit at the sign of the first bite but if neither of you are ready to end, this truly is not a reason to give it up. People also assume just because babies get teeth, it's time to stop, it's not.

At 12 months I was happy with making it that far. It was my plan at birth to stop around 12 months but when we got to that point neither of us were ready to stop. At 14 months we revisited it but continued and it wasn't until around 17 months that I felt we were both getting to the end. Nursing had reduced to the morning when Danielle brought him in and sometimes out of boredom during the day but it felt it was done more out of routine than need.

So here we are, 2 days shy of his 18 month marker. I can finally buy new bras because my breasts won't fluctuate in size. I'm looking forward to snuggling with him in bed without him asking to be nursed. It's a new chapter.