26 Weeks of Muffins: Week 1

It’s been just over a week since E’s failed baked milk challenge at the allergist’s office. For the next six months, we’ve been instructed to give E half a muffin three times a week in order to help her build up a tolerance for baked milk.  The muffins need to be fresh, so I’ll be baking a new batch every week.  Did you do the math?  That’s 26 batches of muffins before E’s next blood testing.

B is thrilled because he usually buys a package of fresh-baked muffins at the grocery store each week to eat for breakfast.  He’s really, really into muffins.  Out of every dozen muffins I make, E only gets one and a half–so B gets the rest because this mama is trying to ditch her sweet tooth.

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I’m also keeping a log of each muffin I give to E so I can discuss reactions/non-reactions with the allergist.

  • 7/23/2017:  Dime-sized rash on one cheek
  • 7/25/2017:  Quarter-sized light pink rashes on each cheek several hours after consuming
  • 7/28/2017:  No reaction
  • 7/30/2017:  [Jeopardy music]

Of course, I have to share all of the recipes I’m trying.  Most of them will require modifications for E’s other allergies, so I’ll link to the recipe and note what I did differently to accommodate little miss.

This week:  Amish Cinnamon Muffins

THESE ARE SO GOOD.  The muffin tops are incredible–super fluffy and just slightly crispy on the edges.  Oh em eff gee.

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Modifications:  subbed egg with flax egg, and subbed butter with Smart Balance (Original).  I still struggle with flax eggs in certain recipes–especially meatloaf/meatballs/etc.–but for muffins I’ve been successful so far by using a little less water than most flax egg recipes call for.  Typically the flax meal to water ratio is 1 TBSP:3 TBSP, but I’ve found doing about 2.5 TBSP of water is perfect.

Also, this recipe called for buttermilk, regular milk with vinegar, or just regular milk.  I used plain whole milk.

I’m drooling as I write this post.

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If you have a favorite muffin recipe, please feel free to share!  I might as well take this opportunity to try some new things and add as much variety as I can to E’s bland-ish diet.

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Can’t Catch a Break

There has not been a dull moment in this house since May 26.

That was the day E got the stomach flu.  Since we just went through this in February, this was me:

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It lasted a week.  I mean, the diarrhea and the vomiting and the declining energy and the fussiness lasted a WEEK.  We made a trip to urgent care because she was dehydrated and lethargic and couldn’t hold anything down.  Meanwhile, she was vomiting all over her bedding and her clothes and our washing machine F&*#ING BROKE.  Then she started to seem better, and she was eating again and more energized, and we dropped an absurd amount of money on a new washing machine, and then…

I got sick.  A week and a half ago I came down with my own stomach flu, and guess who got sick one day later?  Guess who got sick AGAIN one day later?

I was sick for a week and E was sick for another week.  We both started to feel better on the exact same day and it was like the sun was brighter and the birds were singing and there were little harps playing and sparkles all around us.

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Now, two days later, E has her top two incisors coming in.  They’re messing with her sleep.  She doesn’t want to eat anything but applesauce.

And did I mention my husband is having shoulder surgery today?

Like, I’m on the verge of a breakdown.  This is too much for three weeks.  I know I’ll come out stronger from it all in the long run, but CHEESUS.

I think I’ve earned the right to eat an entire cake all by myself.  In one sitting.

Awareness

Let’s take a break from my usual E shenanigans to get real.

Food Allergy Awareness Week is May 14-20.  Before I had a child with food allergies, I never understood just how serious food allergies can be or how difficult they are to accommodate.

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Part of spreading awareness of food allergies is to help people who don’t deal with them, to learn about the seriousness and the risks involved.  The other part of it is something different and a little harder to explain.

Yesterday at work I was discussing an upcoming company picnic with some colleagues.  After asking if I can bring my own food for the cooks to grill for my daughter, a few people asked about E’s allergies.  I explained and one of them scoffed and said, “Oh my god, she is going to HATE life!”

Wait, what?  Is that the stigma attached to food allergies?  That the people who have them are suffering not from the effects of the allergens but from the fact that they can’t have cheese or peanut butter or wheat?

E is one of the happiest babies I know.  She loves food.  More importantly, she loves the food she can have.  She’s never had cheese or eggs or peanut butter.  She doesn’t know she’s “missing out” on any of these things.  But she does know that her almond milk yogurt and her pea protein milk and her Daiya “cheese” and her cashew butter are all delicious.  My husband and I don’t often snack on things she can’t have, but when we do and she wants to try some, we walk her to the pantry and find one of her snacks and she’s totally satisfied with it.  She doesn’t dwell on that food she didn’t get to try.

I know it won’t always be this way.  One day she’ll be old enough that we’ll have to explain to her why she can’t have things that other people are having.  We’ll have to make sure she is aware, just like I’m hoping to make others more aware.  But by the time that day comes, I’m hoping I’ve done a good enough job as a mother to ensure that she doesn’t hate her life because of food she doesn’t get to eat.

If you don’t know anyone with food allergies now, chances are you will meet one soon enough.  Today, one in 13 children is affected by a food allergy, and 15 million Americans have a food allergy (source:  FARE).  If there is anything you take away from this post, please let it be that people with food allergies are not miserable because of the foods they can’t eat.  It’s actually just the opposite:  they’re NOT miserable because they steer clear of the foods they can’t eat.  Every three minutes, a food allergy sends someone to the ER.  Would that be worth it for a bite of ice cream or a PB&J sandwich?  No.  Definitely not.

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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Six months?!?!

Baby E is six months old today.

Say WHAT?

I’ll spare you all the stereotypical “it’s gone by so fast” talk.  Though in all actuality, I’ve had hour-long meetings at work that have felt longer than these past six months.  I’m having a hard time fathoming the fact that so much time has passed already.

So what is my little six month old up to these days?  She:

  • Laughs hysterically at anything and everything, from the dog barking to paper ripping to someone blowing on her face.
  • Is able to scoot herself around the room…backwards only, I might add.
  • Has learned how to pet the cats (“pet” meaning “grab their skin and pull”), and luckily our cats love the attention regardless.

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  • Is eating a little bit of solids daily.  So far she’s had bananas, sweet potato, squash, applesauce, carrots, green beans, peaches, peas, and her most favorite of all–avocado.  I’ve also held a grape up to her mouth for her to nibble on with her two sharp little chompers.
  • Sits up on her own “tripod” style for several minutes at a time.  But if we try to sit her up unsupported, she immediately face plants into the floor.
  • Has taken a sudden interest in water bottles.  Whether it’s my Camelbak, a Powerade bottle, or a soda bottle, she likes to hold on to them and try to drink from them.  I’m tempted to try a sippy cup with her but also a little afraid.
  • FINALLY loves the ergo carrier!  [Insert happy dance here.]  Once we started facing her outward, she decided it wasn’t so bad after all!
  • Has become a terribly distracted eater.  Even on the emptiest of stomachs, she’ll take three times as long to drink a bottle because she wants to babble at you and look around the room.
  • Is trying out new consonants in her babbling.  They mostly come out sounding like fart noises, but she’s making a good effort.
  • HATES being on her back.  Now that she can move around a little on her tummy, and somewhat sit up and look around the room, she refuses to stay on her back for longer than a few seconds.
  • Still isn’t a very good sleeper.  I’m not giving up hope.

Tonight we took E to B’s company picnic and we sat with a couple and their daughter who is two weeks shy of her first birthday.  I told B I can’t even imagine E being that size, and walking around, and saying real words, and he simply said, “But she will be…and it will be sooner than you think.”

Holyshitholyshitholyshit time speeds up when you have a baby!

Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’

E has been working on rolling from back to tummy for over a week.  She’s been able to get herself all the way on to her tummy, but her left arm gets pinned underneath her and she’ll scream bloody murder until you move it for her or roll her back onto her back.

Well, two nights ago she finally rolled herself all the way over, arm included.  From there, she desperately tried to scoot herself forward, but she only wiggled a few inches forward on the blanket.

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Yesterday I was home sick with the stomach flu, and B was nice enough to stay home so he could look after me and E.  He laid E down in her crib for her first nap of the day and then realized he’d forgotten her pacifier.  He left E in her crib for half a minute while he came out to the living room to grab it, and when he got back to her bedroom, she was on her tummy, trying to crawl in her crib.

This is how the entire day went.  Every time we laid that girl down, she instantly flipped onto her tummy and attempted to crawl.  She even tries to roll onto her belly while she’s in her bouncy seat (now I understand why we have the ability to strap her into that thing, omg).

B says he’s pretty sure she’ll be crawling SOON, so now I’m in panic mode because we haven’t done one single thing to childproof the house.  Guess what’s on our to-do list for this next week?

Eczema update and other musings

It’s been two days since we started E’s eczema treatment and I almost don’t even recognize the girl.  Her skin looks phenomenal!  There are still some dry patches, but the redness and the oozing are gone.  SO. DAMN. RELIEVED.

The hemangiomas are another story.  I’m so impatient to see the dermatologist next week.  The one on her head is still cracked and bleeding, and now the one on her butt is turning deep red and purple and little sores are showing up on it.  The little kids at daycare notice the one on her head, and they’re always asking me about it:

4-year-old:  [With a petrified expression] What happened to her head?!
Me:  She just has a little owie on her head.
4 YO:  OUCH!  That looks like it hurts really bad.
Me:  Yes, I think it does hurt a little bit.
4 YO:  Poor baby, that looks ouchie!

And then I go to the nearest bar and cry over a shot of vodka.  Oh wait, that’s the fantasy version of the story.  I go out to my car and take a deep breath, because soon we’ll see the doctor and find out what we can do to help E.  All these skin issues sure are giving my anxiety a run for its money.  LE SIGH.

In non-skin related updates, we’re working on building E’s “sitting up” muscles.  Every morning for five minutes, I sit her in her Bumbo seat and give her some toys to play with.  In the evenings, daddy and I take turns holding her upright while playing or talking with her.  When we put her on her tummy now, she’s started rocking herself forward and putting her arms out in front of her like she wants to scoot herself forward—but she isn’t quite there yet.  I told B I was excited that she might be able to army crawl in another month or so, and he didn’t quite share in my excitement.  Something about, “Ugh, then we’ll be having to chase after her.”

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Eh, I need to work out more anyway.