Just Heather

I remove crumbs in a single swipe.
I stop cross contamination with the wipe of a sponge.
I decipher ingredient labels with my finely tuned eyes.
I am…
(dramatic pause)
Allergy Mom!

(Sort of.)

Lorelai’s allergy skin test was this morning and it was a good news/bad news kind of day. The good news is she tested negative for everything. The bad news is we still don’t know why she is reacting to certain foods. The doctor said she most likely has very sensitive skin, which explains the rash reaction to high acidic foods (like strawberries). She turned red with every skin prick, even the negative control, so the fair skin concept holds up well. The other dietary reactions she has experienced the doctor called food intolerance, though not a true allergy.

The good news with that is she will probably outgrow most of it, and we shouldn’t have to worry about anaphylaxis or anything severe. The bad news is it brings us back to the original celiac disease concern. The only way to confirm that diagnosis is with a biopsy, and she has to go back on wheat first. We’re declining that for now, but may consider a challenge when she’s 4 or 5. I see no reason to put something back in her diet that causes any sort of reaction, even if she isn’t officially allergic.

Right now we’re going with the theory that reaction trumps results. If she reacts to food, I don’t care what the test results say. The doctor recommended keeping her off wheat, corn, beef, and chicken. We’ve been avoiding dairy since she was 2 months old, but now that her stomach is healing from the wheat damage we may try reintroducing milk. It would be much cheaper and so much easier to have 1 type of milk in the fridge. I plan to try it after her pediactric appointment in a couple weeks.

Last week I ran across some coupons for a few of Lorelai’s gluten-free regulars. Today I was super excited to find her favorite cookies on sale. Combined with a coupon, they were almost like buying regular cookies! I’ve discovered that my favorite grocery store carries a large variety of gluten free products. It’s helping me balance the new, costly diet with my frugal (read:cheap) ways. These last couple months of buying specialty food for the baby is the first time in 10 years I have paid full price for groceries.

Today I also made her first dentist appointment. She’s younger than he normally sees, but with the chance of celiac disease still out there I’m not taking chances. The disease causes defects with tooth enamel, and our pediatric dentist agreed an early start with her dental care was warranted.

In 2 days, we spend the morning with a pediatric allergy and immunology specialist. We’re looking at a long day of skin testing, and some more blood draws. I’m hoping we’ll find the rest of the normal people food that’s poisoning our daughter. My mother calls me a neurotic hypochondriac, but she’s getting better on an elimination diet so it’s clearly working. So far we know wheat and dairy with almost certainty and suspect corn, chicken, beef, and strawberries.

It will be such a relief to have it over and know for sure what she can and can’t eat. Then we can put together a balanced diet (hopefully—protein is appearing to be a problem with high allergens like eggs and peanuts our only alternatives). We’ll finally be able to make she gets the nutrition she needs.

A few quotes from today’s game:

  • “Hey, look! He’s doing the slow run!” ~Brenia during a slow motion replay
  • “Oh my gosh! Someone dyed their hair blue!” ~Stacia
  • “Can you pause football for me?” ~Brenia
  • “Football is really violent.” ~Stacia
  • “Nothing. I was talking to Reggie Wayne.” ~that would be me

So once upon a time, before it was cool, I had a MySpace account. Last night, I signed up for a new one. Hubby mentioned it for some reason, and when I realized he was finding high school classmates I decided to give it a try.

So far I’ve found my junior high/high school best friend, a good friend from college, and an ex-boyfriend. This is so much fun! I’m hoping this will give me the opportunity to reconnect with some people I once held dear. In particular, I am looking for my college best friend, but I haven’t managed to locate him yet.

I uploaded my favorite family picture (the one where I sport the bodacious ta-tas!), but I haven’t filled out the profile. I have exactly 1 friend, and it isn’t Tom. My first friend looks remarkably like my husband. ;)

Stacia is in 3rd grade now, and there is a huge shift in behavior, responsibility and expectations both at school and at home. I’m even seeing a shift in what she watches on television. Last year she would have flipped straight past any live action shows in favor of Sponge Bob or whatever random cartoon she could find. Now she actually watches shows like The Suite Life of Zach and Cody or That’s So Raven.

The responsibility part is something I’m finding difficult. I have always taught my children to make their own decisions on certain things. I take the whole “pick your battles” to an extreme my mom cannot stand. I pretty much save my arguing energy for health and safety issues—food is a big one for me. Clothing? Not so much. They dress themselves every day and I don’t give much thought to how horribly they match other than to hope their teachers get it.

Her third grade teachers have instructed parents not to direct homework. We are allowed to help if they ask, but it is not our job to check and correct their homework, unload their backpacks or make sure it gets back to school. All of that is their job, including getting parental signatures on certain pieces of homework and their daily assignment notebook. They lose recess time and points if it is not returned properly. I struggle so much with not correcting things I see wrong and I have to force myself not to pickup her notebook and sign it on my own.

I have tried to set her up for success the best way I can—I helped her create a schedule of things to do each day and a list of things to pack, as well as asking her each evening and morning if she is packed for school. A couple weeks ago I knew no one had signed her assignment notebook, so I must have asked her 4 times if she was sure she had everything. Yes, yes, yes, yes! She gets home from school and the first words out of her mouth are “Mom! You forgot to sign my assignment notebook!”

“Did you ask me to sign your notebook?” No, so how is that my fault? We added “get parent signatures” to her afternoon list of things to do. Yesterday, she returned her notebook to school sans signature again. Today it sits, along with her unsigned spelling homework, on the kitchen table. I asked last night if she was ready, and again twice this morning. She said yes every time, but as soon as the bus left I found them sitting on the kitchen table. She got as far as opening them in preparation, but never asked me to sign them. It was all I could do to keep from rushing them straight to school.

I think one of the hardest things about being a parent is letting them fail. Even harder is letting them fail without feeling like a failure yourself.