26 Weeks of Muffins, Weeks 4 & 5

I started to giggle as I typed in the title of this blog post.  We’re not even a fifth of the way through the challenge.  On the bright side, last night I threw together a batch of muffins in about ten minutes.  Funny how life offers you the chance to build up your skills in places you never imagined.

For weeks 4 and 5, I did nothing fancy for the muffins for E’s baked milk challenge.  I wanted to be consistent in the recipe so I could keep an eye on any potential reactions after we took a week off to let E’s rashes and GI issues clear up.  I want to say it’s a good thing, even though it’s not, that at the time of her reactions there was a rash going around her day care.  A full-body rash with no other symptoms.  It lasted about three days and then it was gone without a trace.  It doesn’t explain E’s awful bowel movements, but those too cleared up within a week and so far they haven’t returned.  *Knocks on wood until the end of time*

So, next week I’ll be branching out with some new muffin recipes because a mom can only take so many Mt. Sinai allergy challenge muffins before she just longs for something more exotic.

Meanwhile, my kid’s language is exploding.  She knows 85 words and around ten two-word phrases.  She regularly says “daddy’s juice,” which is both Gatorade and Coke, and she likes to differentiate between mommy’s and daddy’s cars and shoes.  She’s starting to help me count and puts her fingers up for the numbers 1 and 5 (but none in between). Every day she seems to learn new words and communicate just a little bit more clearly to us.  It’s the most incredible thing to witness.

We’re also working on time outs.  E can throw one hell of a temper tantrum.  Tonight when it happened because I told her it was time to put the Kindle away, I sat her in a corner of the room and made her sit for one minute.  She tried to walk away once about ten seconds in, so I made her go back and started the timer over.  Unfortunately, it only made her madder and the only way I got her to calm down was to sit her on the rocker in her bedroom by herself with a couple of books.

Clearly I’m not so good at time outs yet.  I’ll have to try a few different methods and see what works best.

One last thing–can I just say I was blown away tonight when E refused to eat anything I offered to her, until I handed her a carrot?  I knew there was a veggie lover deep down inside somewhere in that girl.

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15 Months

E’s 15-month checkup was this last week.  She’s around the 70th percentile for height, weight, and head circumference.  No wonder we’ve had to ditch all of her 12-month clothing!

Her pedi asked how many words she can say that we recognize.  B and I looked at each other and shrugged and said, “Uh, a lot?” She’s said so many new words lately I can’t even keep track anymore.  The doc said they’re happy if the baby knows at least four words by 15 months.  We are totally good.

For the record, here is everything she can say: mama, dada, kitty, doggy, baby, ball, bubbles, more, cheers, this, shoes, bottle, water, that, hi, bye-bye, night-night, and banana.  Right now she uses the word “baby” for just about everything.  It’s her favorite word and we probably hear it 50 times a day.

E has been eating really well lately, thank GOD.  We’ve gone almost a week without a night of her throwing her food onto the kitchen floor.  The Ripple milk also continues to be a big success.  We’re up to three ounces in each of her two bottles a day, so we’re pretty much half Ripple milk and half formula at this point.  She enjoys it, she doesn’t react to it negatively in any way, and my bank account has been much happier.  It’s a win all around!

I’ve spent less time perusing the internet for dairy-free, egg-free, peanut-free recipes, and instead focusing on making up my own dishes.  I tend to cook with a lot of meat and rice, and nutritional yeast has become a staple in my kitchen.  B bought a block of cheese this weekend for himself, and it’s becoming odd to me to see cheese in my own refrigerator.

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No cheese required: dairy-free lasagna makes her a happy girl.

We did have a bit of a scare this morning.  Before we started using reusable pouches, I accidentally bought one several weeks back that contained yogurt.  Thankfully I double-checked the label at home before giving it to E, but instead of throwing it away like I should have, I tossed it up in a different part of the pantry that was separate from where we used to keep her stockpile of pouches.  This morning I came out of the shower to find E walking around the living room sucking on the yogurt-filled pouch.  I said something to B and he swiped it away from her at lightning speed, and poor E stared at us like we’d done the unthinkable.  Have you ever taken a pouch away from a hungry toddler?  Don’t.  Luckily we had a reusable pouch filled and ready to go in the fridge.

It’s just another reminder that we have to be so careful.  We know milk only causes her to break out in hives, but it could just as easily have been peanuts or peanut butter.  Oof.

In less than two weeks, we’ll be taking E on a trip to see my family.  The first day will be a 7-hour car ride, two days later will be two 3-hour car rides, and two days after that will be another 7-hour ride.  We’re stocking up on DVDs, good snacks, and good music to dance to, but E doesn’t sleep in the car much and I’m looking for ideas for keeping a 15-month-old occupied on a long car trip.  Any ideas?!

Oh hi, remember me?

I’ve been MIA and I don’t even have a good excuse.  [Hangs head in shame.]  Okay, fine, I have a good-ish excuse.  For the past eight weeks I’ve been battling vertigo and I was finally diagnosed with a vestibular disorder after having an ENG/VNG test done, which is a nice way of saying I was tortured for three hours.  Anyway, I’ve started rehabilitation therapy and I’m feeling much better physically and emotionally.  So I’m back, yay!

So what’s new with E?  Well, for starters she’s WALKING.  And…RUNNING.  And…SAYING ALL KINDS OF FREAKING WORDS.

Basically, she’s turning into an actual “kid” and it’s beautiful and exciting and scary all at the same time.

E had her first dentist appointment, and she smiled through the whole thing.  It took me by surprise because whenever we tried to brush her teeth, she grew ten extra arms and threw the mother of all tantrums.  Ever since her appointment, though, she brushes her own teeth and she LOVES to do it.

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Not that I have to worry about cavities, because my daughter hates sweets.  She eats her weight in fruit every day but she doesn’t like cookies, candy, cakes, NONE of it.  Which is a good thing because a) sweets aren’t healthy and b) sweets are almost impossible with food allergies.  Still, sometimes I wish I could offer her an Oreo or a Peep or some other vegan goodie and see her lose her marbles over it.

We’re making a lot of progress on finding E-friendly foods she will eat, but we’re stuck on the milk part.  She’s still drinking 14 ounces of Nutramigen daily because she doesn’t like any of the milk subs.  I just learned about Ripple milk (pea milk) so we’re going to give it a whirl this weekend.  I’m changing up my strategy. I’m going to offer it to her first by adding it to a bowl of Cheerios and trying to get her used to the taste with something she loves before I pour it into a cup and expect her to guzzle it down.

Being an allergy mom is ALL about strategy.

Also on my list of new things to try is reusable puree pouches.  E is gaga over those pouches but at two bucks a pop, they’re killing my budget.  It’s one of the only ways I can get her to eat her vegetables, so I’m not giving them up (TIPS, MOMS?  I’m losing it over here!).  After reading approximately 907 reviews on Amazon, I settled on some ChooMee reusable pouches and I’m going to make my own purees to fill them with.

Lord, help me to overcome my procrastination.

Last update for now:  at 14.5 months old, E’s hair is finally long enough for a bow.  BOOM.

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Scares and Steps

Let’s start with the good news first:  E took her first steps!  It was just a few–twice–and it hasn’t happened again in the past four days, but it was refreshing to see that she’s gained enough confidence to try to do it on her own.  Now she walks simply “holding” my pointer finger, and by “holding” I mean barely touching and not realizing that she’s actually walking on her own and I’m not doing a thing to help her.

The not-so-good news:  we had a major allergy scare the other night.  B was working a bit late so E and I had a makeshift breakfast for dinner: cashew butter toast with a side of hashbrowns.  It was nothing E hasn’t eaten before and there should have been zilch to worry about.  Halfway through the meal, though, a dark red rash spread across E’s face in a matter of seconds.  Hives began to pop up everywhere and then the same thing happened to her hands, and then her collarbone.  My first thought was Oh shit, somehow a peanut was ground into the batch of cashew butter.  My heart began racing and my whole body was tingling, and in the midst of a full-blown anxiety attack I completely shut down for half a minute as I tried to determine my next step.  I finally came to my senses enough to give her some Benadryl, and then I watched closely for any difficulty breathing.

Half an hour later, I finally began to calm down.  We were in the clear.  The Benadryl had started to work its magic and E was doing just fine.  Even still, I watched the monitor like a hawk after I put her to bed.  Just to be sure.

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Until recently, I had (stupidly) assumed food allergy scares would be few and far between.  We avoid purchasing any food that’s processed on the same equipment as milk or eggs.  We avoid purchasing any food that’s processed in the same facility as peanuts.  Even though the cashew butter label reads “May contain almonds” and does not have a warning about peanuts, I was utterly terrified E might have accidentally ingested a peanut via her cashew butter.  Although her recent reaction wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t because of her cashew butter.  She’s had it since without so much as a single hive appearing on her body. So how do allergy moms curb their anxiety?

I’ll circle back and answer that question later.  Six months, maybe.  A year, maybe.  Over time, I have to learn.  I have to find a way to handle allergy scares without having a paralyzing anxiety attack.

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Dramatic post aside, we’ve been finding so many things for E to eat.  Newest favorites:  vegan blueberry waffles, Triscuits (they must feel good on those gums), whole peeled apples, frozen peas, Larabars, raspberry sorbet, and banana bread.  This girl LOVES her food!

One Year Old!

E turned a year old on Thursday!  Here’s what life for E looks like at 12 months:

  • She is 20 pounds, 13 ounces, and she’s 29 1/2 inches tall.
  • She sleeps from 7:30-7, with two naps totaling 2-3 hours.
  • She eats three meals a day with two or three snacks; she still has three small bottles of formula each day.
  • She can say “mama,” “dada,” “kitty,” “that,” and “more.”
  • She has ten teeth, if you count the three that are currently on their way out – eight in front, and two molars.
  • Her favorite foods are yogurt (almond or coconut milk), all types of meat, wheat bread, pineapple, zucchini noodles, cereal, and graham crackers.
  • Her bedtime routine is a bath, a bottle, and a book.
  • She loves to drink water, but only through a straw.
  • She can wave, clap, high five, and dance.
  • She’s not walking yet, but she cruises on the furniture like nobody’s business.
  • She’s in size 12 month clothing, size two shoes (come on feet, groowwwww), and size 3 diapers.
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Happy birthday!  E’s (vegan) cake smash.

Now that E is a year old, we talked to her pediatrician about her source of milk since she can’t have…well, milk. I have concerns about soy milk and estrogen, but E’s doctor reassured me that he finds it no worse than cow’s milk when looking at the risk of tampering with hormones. Because of E’s allergies, we can consider keeping her on formula and also giving her soy milk and almond milk, while supplementing with a multivitamin. I’ve done some reading and have also decided to see how she does with hemp milk.

We’re still very much experimenting with meals. This is what E’s normal meal schedule looks like:

  • Breakfast: 6 oz bottle of formula
  • Snack: Fruit and Cheerios
  • Lunch: Some type of seasoned meat, a fruit or veggie, and either half a slice of bread or half a container of almond/coconut milk yogurt
  • “Snack”: 3-4 oz bottle of formula

I posted recently about the things we have tried for dinner. Since then, we’ve had tacos (E’s were deconstructed, and she LOVED it), a vegan Creamy Garlic Pasta that we ALL hated, and turkey breakfast burgers made from scratch, which were fantastic.

I’m really trying to mix things up and expose E to a wider variety of foods, but it is so hard when there are still a lot of things she can’t eat (choking hazards and such) and when we’re dealing with three major food allergies.  B is out of town for work right now and he’s a supremely picky eater. So while it’s just me and E for a few days, we’re going to try some recipes B would refuse to eat. I’m looking forward to posting updates!

Experimenting with Meals, and Practice Walking

Last week was the first full week we ate dairy-free as a family at dinner time.  Before that, I was just giving E a mish-mash of things we had on hand that she could eat:  different meats, zucchini noodles, almond yogurt, fruit, bread.  Now that we know we’re in it for the long haul with her allergies, I’ve been in full planning mode and really trying to settle in to this as a lifestyle rather than something more temporary.  Here are some of the things we tried this past week:

  • Non-spicy Turkey Chili:  E strongly disliked it at first, but eventually I figured out it’s because she didn’t want to be spoon-fed.  The spoon is her sworn enemy.  It was a mess, but I eventually spooned the chili on to her high chair tray and let her have at it with her hands.  Turns out she LOVES chili…as long as she can feed it to herself.
  • Spaghetti:  Made with jarred sauce (ingredients checked, because Ragu contains milk) and ground beef.  E went bonkers over it.  She shoved it into her mouth by the fistful and ate about twice as much as I expected her to.  When all was said and done, her face, hands, clothes, and high chair tray were all covered in spaghetti sauce.  At this point I strongly considered feeding her naked in the bathtub until she learns how to feed herself with utensils.
  • Gumbo:  Made (by grandma) with chicken, sausage, onions, tomatoes, and okra.  It’s served over rice but I just picked out the chicken and veggies and fed them to E.  It was E’s first time eating okra and I expected her to hate it but she’s actually a big fan!

We’ve also been trying out a little bit of goat’s milk for E.  About 20% of babies with a true milk allergy are able to tolerate goat’s milk, but 80% have a reaction similar to the one they get with cow’s milk.  I’ve only given E a couple of tablespoons of goat’s milk at a time but so far she hasn’t had a reaction to it.  Fingers crossed this will be an option for her as we wean her off of her formula within the next few months.

While we’ve been experimenting with E’s food, we’ve also been doing a lot of practice walking.  E finally lets us hold her hands and walk her around the house, although she still prefers pushing the chairs around the kitchen on her own.  She can stand independently for 10-15 seconds at a time, but so far the most we’ve gotten out of her on her own is one single step.

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B taking E for a little stroll.

One thing that’s really helped with her ability to stand and work toward becoming more mobile is her baby gymnastics classes.  We go once a week for a 45-minute class, and I think it’s E’s favorite part of the whole weekend.

Walk Hard

E will be a year old in just over two weeks.  She only started to pull up and cruise on the furniture about a month ago, and she refuses to let us hold her hands and try to help her walk.  I’ve been saying for a couple of months now that I think she’ll be 14 or 15 months old before she’s walking.

Boy, did I eat my words.

Last week, E discovered she can pull herself up on her high chair and the kitchen chairs and push them around the kitchen.  She walks this way like nobody’s business, and she’s extremely proud of herself for doing so.

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She thinks it looks much better over here in the corner.

A few nights ago, E was standing up while holding on to the recliner in the living room.  I was sitting on the floor a couple of feet away.  E let go and wobbled slightly before taking one step toward me.  When she lifted her other foot for the second step, she tumbled to the ground–but SHE TOOK A BLEEPING STEP!  At 11 months!

She hasn’t taken any steps since then but she has tried.  She’s consistently letting go of the furniture now and standing as long as she can on her own (record is a whopping five seconds, woop woop).  I don’t think this girl is going to take 2-3 more months before she’s actually walking.

Now I have to figure out what to do with her footwear.  She’s still in size 2 shoes and the shoes they make for 3-6 month olds don’t cut it for walking.  Time to do some research and find her a good pair of beginner walking shoes!