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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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?

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.

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?

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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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.

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?