Binky Weaning

We created a monster.  Every waking moment, E had to have her “me-me,” as she calls it. Her binky.  Sometimes she had to have one in her mouth and another in her hand as a backup.  If E didn’t have her binky, all hell would break loose until we put in that damn little plastic cork.

E turns 18 months old tomorrow.  DH and I agreed that we’d wean her off of the binky during the day at 18 months, but we’d let her have it for naps and bedtime until she’s 2. It sounds easy enough, until E asks for her me-me and you tell her no and she morphs into a grizzly bear right before your eyes.

We started off slowly about a week and a half ago.  I’d take it from her and hide it, and no matter how much she asked for it or how awful of a tantrum she threw, I would make her go a certain amount of time before giving it back.  At first it was ten minutes, and as that got easier I increased it to 20.  If she screamed or cried,  we distracted her to the best of our ability.  It didn’t always work; initially we spent up to ten minutes at a time watching E thrash around on the floor in a fit of tears, muttering “me-me” over and over AND OVER.  Over the course of a couple days, she fussed less and less over it and about three days in, she went from 1 PM until her bedtime at 8 without asking for it even once.

Will we be binky-free (in the daytime) at 18 months?  Yes.  Was it a pain in the ass getting there?  YES.  Was it worth it?  YESYESYESYESOHMYGODYES.  Let me tell you why.

In 1.5 weeks, E’s top front teeth have become visible when she smiles–for the first time, ever.  E’s vocabulary and language skills have improved noticeably since she no longer has a binky in her mouth all the time.  Her annunciation is significantly better, she’s saying new words at a rapid rate, and she’s starting to string words together.  E is also in a better mood overall.  Before, she was so attached to her binky that if she didn’t have it, her world fell apart very easily.  Now that she’s no longer reliant on it, her mood seems to be much lighter and relaxed.  All of this has happened in just over ONE WEEK without the binky.

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All those teeth!

E does still get her binky at naptime and bedtime.  And she knows it, too.  When I start to get her ready for bed, she asks for me-me (a little more calmly than she used to), and she does get it then.  But she does know when she wakes up the binky goes away, and even though she still gives it a shot and asks for it just once (little stinker), she is able to go about her day without a tantrum when I tell her the binky is going away until bedtime.

Did anyone else dread the inevitable binky-weaning?  What were your strategies?

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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.

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!

Sick. Like, really sick.

Since E was born, I’ve dealt with a whole spectrum of things that make a person feel unwell:  bladder infection, mastitis, bronchitis, and a good old-fashioned cold or two.  All of these things were uncomfortable but I was still able to function.  I was able to take medicine to mask the symptoms and I was able to still be a half-decent parent.  Oh, and I was able to ask B for a little extra help.

But last week B left for a business trip and almost immediately E came down with the stomach flu.  Which means I came down with the stomach flu.

Holy.  Hell.  No one warned me what it’s like to have the stomach flu AND have to care for a baby.

sickIt’s an interesting situation, to not be able to sit up without throwing up, but to have no choice but to sit up so you can feed your baby and change your baby’s diaper and stop your baby from eating the cat food.  E spent a good portion of the day in her exersaucer while I was in the other room with my head inside the toilet, and I didn’t even care that E spent ten hours in front of the television. By the time evening rolled around, I was bawling to my mother on the phone because how do you properly look after your baby when you can’t even get up to change her diaper?

After one day of pure hell and another that was only slightly better, I’m proud to say that I got through it…somehow.  I can only hope that the next time it happens, because it inevitably will, that B is home and I’m not in it on my own.  He feels awful, though it’s not his fault, and for all we know he might have gotten it too had he been here.

So other mamas, how do you cope when you’re sicker than sick and you still have to look out for your little ones?

Food Allergies and Day Care

When you send your baby to day care, there are a hundred things you have to make sure the day care teachers do for your child.  From meals to naps to medicine, you wonder how they manage to juggle all of the information for all of the different babies they care for every day.

Then some of us add food allergies into the mix, and it’s terrifying.

E’s day care provides two snacks a day starting when the babies turn a year old.  I will never partake in this perk, though.  I’m the annoying woman who stands in the grocery aisle for five minutes reading the label on a box of crackers ten times before feeling comfortable enough to put it in the cart.  I’m the woman who, no matter how much I trust you, will always worry you didn’t catch that “casein” was on the label or “ghee” or “koumiss.”  Despite the fact that day care offers free snacks for my daughter, I will always be providing her snacks.

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E getting acquainted with her tester Epi-Pen.

Having said that, I am overwhelmingly impressed with E’s day care and grateful for the measures they take to protect her.  When the scratch test indicated she had dairy, egg, and peanut allergies, they made a poster and placed it on the wall so it’s in view as soon as you walk in the room.  It’s titled “ALLERGIES” and it lists E’s allergies in big, impossible-to-miss print, along with a note to all teachers to please wash their hands after handling anything containing peanuts.  In case anyone misses the poster, there are post-it notes on the walls and the fridge:  “Emily is allergic to peanuts!”  Once the blood tests confirmed E’s allergies and their severity, day care rearranged the infant room so that the high chairs are surrounded by baby gates.  Now if any of the other babies is eating eggs or PB&J or cheese, E can’t swoop in and pick up anything they might drop on the floor.

It’s incredibly comforting to me that E’s food allergies are taken seriously by the people who look after her day to day.  I know day cares see this kind of thing every day and they have to be prepared–but we also live in a world where things get overlooked and people get lazy, and it’s a hard thing to be a mama of a baby who could accidentally find some peanut butter on the floor and that such a small thing can be deadly.  So I’m terribly grateful E’s day care has taken the measures they have for my baby.

Do you have a child with allergies who’s in day care?  Do you feel comfortable with the day care’s policies and precautions for kids with allergies?

Ten Months

E is ten months old.  I’ve now had a baby for the same length of time it took me to conceive a baby.  I’m WAY overdue for this update, so the highlights:

  • E’s first Thanksgiving was great!  She had a few bites of turkey and wasn’t too impressed, but she was really fond of the potatoes.
  • We’re still battling chronic constipation.  E’s pediatrician suspected some delayed GI maturity due to A) genetics, and B) her hypoallergenic formula.  He increased her solid and water intake and put her on daily Miralax along with a daily prescription laxative, and we’re still struggling.  We have a follow-up soon and I think it’s time to request some tests.
  • E can say four words:  “mama,” “daddy,” “kitty,” and “that.”
  • E points at everything these days.  She points when she wants to study something more closely, or when she wants us to give her something, like her water cup.  It is kind of nice because it’s easier for her to communicate with us now.
  • She also picks her nose……and eats it.
  • E can pull herself into a standing position when holding on to some things, but she’s still not cruising along the furniture and still doesn’t care for walking while we hold on to her hands.  She can do it, but she gets impatient and plops down so she can crawl because it’s much faster.  I think she’s going to be a bit of a late walker.
  • E is obsessed with books.  Almost nothing keeps her attention for more than a few minutes, but she can sit down with a book for 15+ minutes at a time and flip back and forth between the pages.  At day care when she’s extremely fussy, they put her in a high chair and give her a stack of books, and her mood instantly improves.  Her bookworm mama couldn’t be any prouder.

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  • E has learned how light switches work and she loves when we pick her up so she can turn the lights off and on.
  • We are finally getting some sleep!  For the past month and a half, E has been sleeping through the night half the time and only briefly waking 1-2 times the other half.
  • We introduced E to Christmas music and she squealed and danced.  December is going to be so much fun.

Our biggest challenge at ten months old: discipline.  E understands the word “no” and she is not a fan.  When we tell her no, she smiles at us mischievously and carries on doing what we told her not to do.  Sometimes we can’t help but laugh and we know it’s just encouraging the behavior but how do you not laugh at a baby who insists on shoveling cat food into her mouth?