Breakfast can suck it

Can you tell I don’t like breakfast around here?

Let me clarify.  I LOVE breakfast.  It’s my favorite meal of the day.  My breakfast and my coffee make me such a happy woman.

What I don’t like is breakfast for E.

Seriously.  What kind of a breakfast do you give a toddler who can’t have dairy or eggs?  I don’t think many of us sit back and think about how much “breakfast” is centered around dairy and eggs until you can’t have either of them.

So, what kind of breakfasts do I feed this child who can’t have most of the breakfast-y things we’ve all come to know and love?

  • Toast with cashew butter.  Almond butter or sunbutter would probably suffice as well, but man my kid loves cashew butter.
  • Kashi frozen waffles.  Thank you, sweet baby Jesus, for the existence of frozen vegan waffles.
  • Cereal.  It’s surprising how many boxed dry cereals don’t contain milk.  We have the added bonus of having to check for peanuts, but those are rare in breakfast cereals so it’s not usually a hindrance.  The catch here is that E hates cereal in any kind of sub milk.  She’ll take it dry, thank you very much.
  • Fruit.  E will eat her weight in fruit.
  • Oatmeal breakfast “cookies.”  I usually steer clear of breakfast items that require baking because as a working mom, ain’t nobody got time for that.  But these are SUPER quick and easy, and I get to steal some of them so… #worthit.
  • Almond milk yogurt.  We buy the Kite Hill brand because it’s pretty thick (some almond milk yogurts are watery and runny) and it’s got five grams of protein, which is a lot more than many sub milk yogurts.

 

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No bowl needed, just give her the box.

Things I should be able to give E for breakfast that I can’t because she hates them and hits the spoon away:  Cream of Wheat and oatmeal.  E likes oatmeal in things like breakfast cookies, but she doesn’t like it hot off the stove.  These days she will at least take a bite and consider it before refusing more…the first time I gave it to her, she bawled her eyes out like I’d fed her a spoonful of thorns.

Allergy moms and non-allergy moms, what kinds of dairy-free and egg-free things do you feed your babies/kids?

New Things Aplenty

It’s been a week of new things around here.

First, reusable pouches:  Why didn’t I start doing this months ago??!!?!?  They’re awesome.  AWESOME.  I started out simple because I didn’t know how it was going to go.  I made an apple-carrot puree that took about ten minutes and cost, I’m guessing, a whole dollar.  It filled up enough pouches for the entire week and E loves them just the same as the pouches I was buying from the store.  I’m doing a jig, I’m so pleased.  This weekend I’ll probably get a bit more ambitious with my fruit and veg combos now that I know it went over well.

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Second, Ripple milk.  We’ve only just embarked on this experiment so I can’t give a thorough update.  I can tell you I gave E a sip last night and she didn’t make a face OR spit it out.  I gave her another sip this evening and she actually signed and said “more” and took two more big sips.  That’s a better reaction than any other sub milk I’ve given her.  This morning I mixed one ounce into her bottle of formula and we had no issues.  I’m feeling optimistic about this one, guys.  Did I finally find THE milk????

Third, cookies.  Remember my last update where I was griping about how much my child hates sweets?  Yeah, scratch that.  She discovered *mini* Oreos (and Golden Oreos) and something about tiny cookies makes her go bananas.  She’s a fiend.  And I love it.  I want to feed her cookies three meals a day just because I’m so thrilled about it.

Fourth, geese and squirrels.  We went to the park last night and the squirrels were running amok and E laughed hysterically over them.  We also encountered a goose, which made E squeal with delight while I stood behind her praying to the goose gods that sucker didn’t lash out and attack us.

Geese are mean.  Cute, but mean.

Before I close up to do my yoga for the night, let’s talk about underwear for a minute.  My underwear.  E thinks it’s pretty fun to get into my clothes hamper and carry my underwear all around the house.  And she leaves them in random places, like in the doorway to the laundry room.

Toddlers are weird.

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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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!

Updates galore

Since my last post promised an update on the toddler protein powder, I should start there:

IT SUCKS.

Well, I don’t know if it sucks.  I refuse to try it.  It creates what looks like dirt water and E hates it.  We tried giving it to her straight, mixing it with almond milk, sneaking a small amount into her formula bottles–she can detect this stuff from a mile away.  She’s not having it.  So we’re on to plan B.  I’m still working out “plan B” in my head and doing lots of really odd Google searches, but baby steps amiright?

On the bright side, we’re making some great progress with alternative milk cooking methods.  Oat milk has become a staple in our pantry.  I’m going to do a bit more with rice milk this week and I’m actually excited about it!

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On the peanut allergy side of things, I’ve noticed my anxiety is much higher these days.  E’s day care called me last week to ask if they could give her some Tylenol for her molars coming in; but when their phone number flashed on my caller ID, my heart started beating so fast because the first thing I thought was, Oh no, did they have to use her EpiPen?  That same night, I noticed some hives on E’s tummy when I was putting her pajamas on.  She’s an allergy baby all around so it could have been anything; but when I noticed she slept for several hours in the same position without moving (she moves around a LOT in her sleep), I started to worry it had been worse than just a rash when I put her to bed.  Because when you have a kid with severe food allergies, you just never know.  Of course I’d been over-paranoid and E was just fine, but I’m trying not to feel silly about it.  I feel like if I go even one moment without taking it seriously, that’s when something will happen.

fullsizerender-17Allergies aside, E is loving life.  She’s working insanely hard to stand up on her own without holding on to anything; she can pull herself into a squat position on both feet but then she falls to her butt.  She inherited a push walker from a friend of mine and she spends about half of her awake time at home pushing it around the house.  E’s communication skills are getting better every day.  She shakes her head no to things she doesn’t want, she starts to wave and say “bye bye” (pronounced “dye dye”) whenever we start getting our coats and shoes on, and she’s finally started to obey when we say the word “no.”  Lastly, we just survived E getting two molars and two front teeth at the same time–it was a brutal week, but we got through it and there is a night and day difference in her mood.  Even though it was rough, I’m relieved we got four over with at the same time!

For those of you who are interested, I’ve started a “Recipes” page where I will list links to all of the dairy/egg/peanut-free recipes we’ve tried and loved.  So far there are only a few, but my hope is that over time it will grow and grow, and that maybe eventually I can add some of my own to this list.

There is no substitute for milk

We’ve finished up a week of incorporating hemp milk into E’s diet, and let’s face it:  it’s not ideal.  By replacing just five ounces of E’s daily formula intake with hemp milk, the girl has been beyond ravenous.  We have to find another option.

badchoiceLet’s recap:  Cow’s milk is out.  Goat’s milk is out.  Hemp milk is out.  Soy milk is an option but I have my reservations about soy being a major source of E’s nutrition. Hypoallergenic toddler formula is an option but I have equal reservations about “corn syrup solids” being a major source of E’s nutrition.

So what do we do?

Since E drinks the hemp milk with no issues, I started researching methods of adding protein to nut milk.  What I found was a natural, brown rice-based toddler “protein powder.”  In a nutshell, it’s formula.  That’s not what it’s called, but that’s what it is.  You mix it with “your beverage of choice,” and it contains tons of protein as well as a whole plethora of vitamins and nutrients.  But unlike hypoallergenic formula, its ingredients are plant-based and they’re not scary words that give me nightmares about what I’m feeding to my daughter.

It’s on order (arriving today), so we haven’t tried it yet.  I’ll be back with updates, but until then, my fingers are crossed.  There is no substitute for milk.  I’m just reaching into my bag of tricks to see if I can find something that will work for E.