Surgery, BAAAs, Moos, and Meatloaf Soup

It’s been that kind of month when your everyday routine becomes so out of wack that you’re pretty sure you’ve entered a parallel universe.  First E was sick, then I was sick, then E was sick again, then E was teething.  Two days ago, B had shoulder surgery and things have been anything but calm.  Taking care of a 35-year-old man in an immobilizer and doped up on pain killers is just as much work as taking care of a 16-month-old.  He joked last night that we should set up a baby monitor next to the recliner so he can cry for me in the middle of the night. I almost kicked him.

At least E is her happy self again.  She’s working on learning her animal noises.

Sheep:  Ba.
Cow:  Mmmmmmm.
Doggy:  Ruh ruh ruh.
Horse:  Neeeeee.
Monkey:  Ooo ooo ooo.
Bear:  Guh.
Kitty:  Mau.

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That last one might take her the longest to learn.

Now that everyone is eating properly and I have a few days off of work, I tried to make a meatloaf last night.  It was a new experience yesterday because the meatloaf I’ve made in the past contains eggs.  I followed this recipe from Betty Crocker but I subbed rice milk and ground flax eggs.  Since E was diagnosed with her allergies almost a year ago, I still haven’t been brave enough to try an egg substitute.  I’ve swapped applesauce for egg in a banana bread recipe but that’s as ballsy as I’ve gotten.

Um…I need some practice with flax eggs. When I mixed the ground flax seed and the water, I didn’t think it had nearly the egg-like consistency it was supposed to.  But this is my first rodeo, so who was I to question it?

Well yeah, the “meatloaf” turned out to be more of a soup.  The taste was okay but the texture left something to be desired.  Will NOT be doing that again.  I’m open to tips and tricks from any “experts” out there reading this.  😉

We’re heading into the weekend and we’re normally a pretty busy family on the weekends.  With B recovering from surgery, we’ll probably be stuck at home a bit more than usual.  I’ve got lots of activities planned with E, so you’ll be seeing some updates on how they went.  Can’t wait to try some new things!

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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I can’t even

Sometimes E is such a cute toddler it almost hurts.  She waves good morning to the cats. She does “cheers” with her sippy cup.  She tries to share her bottles with me.  She wiggles her butt to any kind of music.  She points at things she’s not allowed to play with and shakes her head “no.”  She cries when I won’t let her take her books to bed.  I can’t even. Everything she does makes me melt.

Except the occasional temper tantrum, over something like not letting her play in the toilet.  Or even better, over no identifiable reason at all.  But give me five minutes to recover and I’ll still find a way to make it sound cute.

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It amazes me how from day to day, it doesn’t seem like she changes much.  But if I think back to a full week ago, she’s learned so much since then.  She’s a different human being.  If I think back a full month ago, my mind is blown.

Food has been getting easier.  Not easy, but easier.  I’m finally becoming comfortable with the fact that some of the recipes I make don’t have to be free of dairy or eggs; sometimes I can make things that call for milk and eggs and I can just substitute those ingredients.  I’ve also accepted that when I substitute these items, it will NOT taste the same as it would with the real deal.  Once I let go of that expectation, I started enjoying the things I cook much more.  After all, E doesn’t know anything different, and she loves the food I cook.

Speaking of which, I made vegan mac and cheese and it actually freaking tasted like cheese.  E ate it for lunch for four days straight.  VICTORY!

I also made vegan brownies (from a mix) and she HATED them.  She took a bite and immediately spit it out.  Seriously, is this my kid?!  Who doesn’t like brownies?!?!?!

For the record, I thought they were amaze-balls.  I might have eaten about half the pan.

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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!

Not a Party Planner

Yesterday we celebrated E’s first birthday, even though it’s not until next week.  B is about to leave on an 11-day business trip, so we had to throw E’s party a little early.

For two months, I’ve been in party planning mode.  I made a Pinterest board for the occasion, and I’ve been Googling and brainstorming and fantasizing about how adorable E’s birthday party was going to be.

Friday night rolled around and my mom came by to help me construct the party favors.  My first bit of advice to anyone planning their first one-year-old’s birthday party is that any ideas you have that have to be “constructed” should be tossed right out the window.

The party favors, although they turned out quite adorable, fell apart the second the air in the room moved just the right way.  My mom and I were silent as we put them together–they required maximum concentration–except for the occasional “shit” and “DAMN IT” whenever one of them fell to pieces and we had to start from square one.

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My next error was that I was unaware that handling a good-quality balloon (i.e., NOT the dollar store) full of helium is no easier than handling a balloon greased in butter.  I had big plans to turn five balloons and baskets into little hot air balloon food holders, but in the end I settled for two.  The other three balloons floated randomly around the house for the duration of the party.  The kids enjoyed this, so I don’t consider it a complete failure.

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I’d also planned to bake some cinnamon pastries, but I put this off until the night before the party (because who wants a 2+ day old pastry?) and ended up with so many other things to do that I ditched my plan to make anything myself and bought Valentine’s cookies from the grocery store.

The morning of the party (scheduled for noon) rolled around and I got down to business as soon as E went down for her nap.  Within 30 minutes I realized I had no idea what I was doing, I’d worked up a sweat, I was stressing about every little thing, and I was arguing with B over stupid things.  I took a step back and asked myself if having the party I’d envisioned was REALLY worth it.

It wasn’t.  But I still stressed anyway.  #momlife

By the time the first guest arrived, I’d scrapped a few minor things I had planned.  I’d realized I forgot some of the major things I’d wanted to do.  I hated the way certain things turned out compared to how I had envisioned them.  Yet E still had a great time.  She had no idea that all of those details had been a massive headache for me.  She didn’t care that we only had two balloon baskets instead of five, or that I forgot the hummus for the pretzels or that I forgot to make a poster all about the words she can say and how many teeth she has.

After the party ended and the cleanup was over, I was exhausted, sore, and starving.  E had an incredible day but I had to ask myself if it was because of all the extravagant things I’d planned, or if it was because we had good company and lots of presents.  I told B that next year, I’m buying some streamers and cheap balloons, because E is going to love it just the same.

One thing that did require extra work and planning (but not on my part) was E’s cake. Your average baby isn’t restricted to a vegan cake for their first birthday.  My wonderful friend, who was a vegan once upon a time, made E a special little cake that turned out beautiful and ridiculously delicious.

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E only gets a first birthday once, so I don’t regret everything I did for her special party.  But I also won’t be quite so creative for her second birthday.

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!