Sunday, July 29, 2012

Changes already!

Even though it hasn't been very long that Sophie has been dye free, we're already seeing big changes.
The biggest one is that she goes to bed so much easier, and earlier. Before this, she would be so wound up that it was often 11 before she could settle down enough for sleep, sometimes later. Mornings were met with crankiness. Last night she was asleep at 9.
Her skin has been much clearer, too. Not counting the widespread rash of last week, she frequently has had mystery rashes spring up on her arms, legs, face, or trunk. Also she had one stubborn eczema patch on her scalp that would never clear up. She's had it since infancy. I noticed today that it's gone. For the first time ever, it's completely gone. Gone!
The transition has been easier than I anticipated so far. She has asked for a few forbidden items but when I tell her she can't have them, she asks why instead of throwing a tantrum. I just tell her it makes her sick and she moves on. I'm anxious about holidays, especially Halloween. We'll sort that out in October, though.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Joining the food allergy club

All last week Sophie had a rash. A bad, bright-pink, covering her face and arms and legs rash. It began on Monday evening, as she was drinking a cup of sugar free fruit punch at her babysitter's house. It was not the first time her cheeks had broken out while drinking this, but I always brushed it off as irritation from a dirty, end-of-the-day face, or heat, or whatever. She does have sensitive skin and we have battled eczema since she was an infant. This time, it didn't go away. Tuesday she was at home with her sister all day, and for dinner had a different juice than normal, one that also contains red dyes. She worsened. I was up until 1 that night also, but she was alseep. I was the one wide awake and Googling like crazy. I came across lots of information about intolerances to food dyes, especially in children. I had heard of red #40 causing hyperactivity, but that's all I was aware of. I found out that both red and various yellows cause contact dermatitis (fancy way of saying rash). At 12:30 am Emma and I were going through our pantry and refrigerator checking labels like mad. Tuesday was the last time Sophie had anything to eat or drink with artificial colors.

Wednesday, the rash kept spreading, and on Thursday I took her to see her pediatrician to rule out other causes. After a thorough exam, she did say it was a bad allergic reaction, and will take 4-6 weeks to leave her system. The rash will come and go until then (thank goodness it doesn't seem to bother her often, although occasionally it does hurt). But, no more artificial colors. Her favorite cereals, any kool-aid type drinks, lemonade, many juice drinks (anything but 100% juice basically), gummies, lollipops, frosted cookies, cakes... Not things she had often but occasional treats were out. I visited Earth Fare and found an organic Cocopuffs type cereal that she likes. Target sells all-natural fruit snacks and organic lollies. I stashed a few in my purse to ward off tears when she can't accept one from the bank teller.

Monday after drinking fruit punch

Then Monday, she had more fruit punch at the sitter's house. Someone forgot and gave it to her. By the time we arrived at our next destination, the rash was back in full force (it had faded almost completely). That night, she was so hyper. Laughing like a madwoman for no reason, jumping on the bed, going crazy. Finally at 1 am she crashed. I realized that all of her other bouts of hyperness for seemingly no reason (no late nap, no sneaking drinks of our tea, no sugar) all coincided with days she's had something to drink for dinner that was red. I also use sugar-free drink mixes at home so the sugar wasn't the problem. It appears that she also has the hyperactivity issue from red #40 as well as the skin rash.

The outbreaks go beyond coincidence now. This isn't a virus, or heat rash (although heat does worsen it). She consumes something with red or yellow artifical coloring, and she breaks out. Even the timeline is predictible (it's not instantaneous). Her pediatrician said to eliminate the artifical colors completely for two months to give her body time to work the current reaction out of her system, then introduce something at home again to see if she has the reaction again. Regardless of that result, we have to live for the next two months as if she is allergic to the dyes. I honestly do believe this is the culprit, though. I already try to be aware of what she eats because she's allergic to fresh pineapple, but this just heightens my awareness (and anxiety) to levels I didn't know were possible. I want to know every single thing she puts in her mouth so I can check ingredients and labels. I'm already planning out beverages to pack for the zoo, even though we don't have our next visit even planned yet. I just remembered that she loved the giant wall of slushie machines and tried to think of alternatives (along with how to avoid that area of the zoo) since they are full of artifical colors. I was interested before, now I'm a vigilante. And this isn't even a life-threatening allergy like peanuts! I can't fathom the fear and anxiety parents of children with severe allergies face each day.

Links about this allergy:
Effects of the various food dyes
Links between food dyes and behaviour
Scientific research on food dyes
eHow: Food dye allergies Food dye intolerance

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I have an app on my phone that is a calendar of blogging/journaling prompts. Today's didn't resonate with me, so I started glancing through the screens. Then, one topic reached out and grabbed my by the hair and said "choose me!"

Ok, not really (my hair is up today) but that's how it felt.

"What are the top sources of stress in your life? What can you do to mitigate them?"

Stress. Yes.

Last night was a rough night for me. I was tired. The previous two nights Sophie was awake late. I don't function well on 5 hours of sleep, much less two nights in a row. Both my husband and Emma were traveling, so there was no one to take over for a few minutes. I had crammed so many errands and chores into the few hours between work and bedtime that I was exhausted anyway. Then add 2 1/2 year old defiance, and potty training, and the oppressive heat, and worry about Sophie's rash. I was at my limit.

It was one of those nights that made me wish I liked alcohol. I picked up a pizza for dinner, blew off my to do list, and let her watch Curious George while I laid on the couch and read after her bath. We were both asleep before 11.

I usually feel like I juggle things pretty well, but then it all seems to catch up to me at once. I'm lucky that my job isn't a source of stress for me, like it is for so many people. I enjoy what I do. There are stressful moments, of course, but it's not a constant or even frequent thing. My stress is after work - do I stop for groceries before picking up Sophie, making me late picking her up, or get her first and then try to shop with a two year old? Then there is dinner, and clean up, and bath time. Dogs to feed and walk. Spending time with Emma (not a "chore" by any means, of course). I hate the state of our house right now, but I feel like I'm fighting that battle alone and I just don't have any steam left in me. I keep up with the laundry (mostly). I keep the dishes washed. Garbage gets taken out regularly. I clean the toilets. I vacuum. But OMG the clutter. I get stressed being in the house with it, honestly. I hate clutter. But I just don't know what to do about it.

I need some kind of system, a new routine. Obviously what I'm doing now isn't working for me. When Emma is at home this summer, I leave a list of 2-3 chores for her to do each day around the house that help me tremendously. I don't think she even knows how much it helps keep me sane, and how much I appreicate it. I tell her, but she can't possibly fathom how much I mean it. She goes back to school soon, though. I won't have that extra help then.

Something has to change. My current system of after work errands and cleaning on weekends is getting to me. And my husband is home on weekends and we try to do family things then, too. There just aren't enough hours in the day! I've tried Flylady - I may try it again, but honestly it isn't quite right for us. If I didn't work outside the home, it would be perfect. I don't even know where to begin.

Monday, July 23, 2012

I should be asleep

It's twenty minutes after midnight on Sunday night. Technically it's already Monday. But I'm not technical. I need to be awake in 5 1/2 hours, give or take a few minutes. Why am I awake?

Because Sophie didn't nap today because we slept in this morning.
Then she passed out cold after dinner. She curled up on the couch against her Daddy and didn't move for an hour. Oh, we knew then that this would happen. We both even tried to wake her. We resorted to attempting to bribe with ice cream. No luck. She would not wake up.

And now she's finally fallen asleep in our bed. I did her laundry today so had to put the sheets back on her bed. Of course I remembered after I'm trying to get her to sleep, but I was able to remake her bed finally.

A few nights ago, as Em and I were putting the cover on the pool, I saw a skunk walking in the yard. Luckily he didn't seem to notice us. Tonight, I can smell him. Strongly. It's enough to make me wish I had a cold.

The strangest, most painful thing happened this morning. I accidentally swallowed a piece of bacon that I hadn't chewed well enough. It was sharp, and scratched all the way down. My throat gas hurt badly all day today and nothing has soothed it.

I really wish I was sleeping right now.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, July 22, 2012

My blog is fabulous!

Another blogger, Danielle of Colakeynotes, bestowed upon my blog the "Fabulous Blog Ribbon." How cool is that? And so nice of her! And since I just realized that I haven't posted since Tuesday (oops) I'm thrilled that it comes with writing prompts.
Now for the lists.

  1. Marrying my husband
  2. Emma's birth
  3. Sophie's birth
  4. Bringing a healthy Sophie home from the hospital the second time
  5. Every single hug or kiss from one of my children.
  1. My family
  2. Ice cream
  3. Nutella
  4. Reading
  5. Friendship
  1. Slow drivers
  2. Prejudice of any kind
  3. Stupidity
  4. Tomatoes
  5. Titanic (the movie)
  1.  View from Down Here 
  2. MommaSachs

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I'm a Gleek

The girls and I are watching the Glee concert movie. I am not like the fans featured; I don't dress up in characters, and haven't named my pets after any characters. But I am completely in love with this show.
So what's so great about Glee?

• Kurt's dad. I've blogged about him before. I have professed my love for him on Facebook multiple times. No, my husband has no reason to worry. I love how he has treated Kurt since he came out, the respect he has given him, and how he has smashed every stereotype in the face and moves mountains to protect his son. I adore this character.

• The music. This show has introduced my daughter to music that if we had played for her would have been met with eye rolls and "that's so lame." Journey, Billy Joel, Barbara Streisand, Michael Jackson, Men Without Hats. Emma is singing along, Sophie is a dancing machine. Not just now, but weekly.

• The diversity. The mixture of races, sizes, economic standing, ability, and sexual orientation is fabulous.

• Sue Sylvester's support of Down syndrome. She is like a bulldog in defense and support of Becky, and we learn that it's because her sister had designer genes. (Thanks to my friend Angela for that awesome term!) Underneath Sue's hard, arts-hating exterior is a heart of gold.

•The strong anti-bullying message. I am so happy to finally have a popular show on TV that models tolerance, acceptance, and reinforces regularly that bullying is not okay. The important topics are addressed weekly, not confined to "very special episodes" once a season.

•Blaine, Mr Schuster, Kurt's wardrobe, Mike Chang's dancing. Come on, I'm not all serious! There are completely superficial reasons for watching, also.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Extreme Parenting: Nursing Edition?

A friend posted a link to this story on Facebook today, about a breastfeeding reality TV show. Before the article even mentions that the creators of Dance Moms and Bridezillas is involved, this sentence is already making me angry:
The show, called Extreme Parenting, will feature a closeup investigation of breastfeeding beyond infancy, as well as a range of America’s weirdest parenting rituals.

Breastfeeding is a weird parenting ritual? Excuse me? Is this weird?

And then there's the creative force behind the show. The teams responsible for Dance Moms and Bridezillas. Does this make anyone feel confident that breastfeeding will be portrayed in a responsible way? Raise your hand if it does. Anyone?

Me, neither.

Then I get a couple more paragraphs down in the article, and it mentions the debate sparked by the now infamous Time magazine cover (which was the goal of that cover, too - infamy). When is the appropriate age to wean, and how old is too old? (Answer: whatever age is right for that family. There is no firm rule of "wean by age x or else.") The article does mention that the World Health Organization encourages mothers to nurse to at least age two (I explored that in depth in this blog post last year), although in the next sentence goes on to say that it "creeps people out."

Will I watch this show when it airs? I highly doubt it. Even if I was a watcher of this type of show, I can already feel myself getting angry anticipating what they will show. I know that watching it will be even worse. And I'm cringing at the thought of the comments from America at large once this show airs. I'm amazed at how strong of an opinion people who have never nursed, never researched the benefits, or never have even been parents have about the subject. They are so certain that they, random strangers that they are, know what is best for someone else's child.

No, my blood pressure cannot handle me watching this show. I may record an episode for a night when I'm in a feisty mood, though. Maybe yelling at my television will make me feel better. (It seems to work for sports fans!)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The return!

(Just go with it...)

Happy Tuesday!
Last week, we were on vacation. We didn't go anywhere, but it was still nice. Some house painting was accomplished (but not as much as intended, since we had record-breaking heat), some yard work was done, and we had plenty of fun times. On the first weekend of vacation, we bought one of the easy-set above ground pools and have been enjoying it very much. It's big enough that all four of us can get in and play and cool off, but not too big for Sophie. I had a crash course in water testing and chemicals, and still wasn't sure of what I was doing, but this week found a local pool business with very helpful people who answered my remaining questions and made me feel a lot better about it.

We also did fun things. We went to the zoo, and to another baseball game (future reference: Don't do both on the same day. I'm still sore.) The zoo has a brand-new splash pad, and the girls loved it. We got a family membership this year, and plan on going back again. By the way, is it a good thing or a bad thing when the baseball stadium employees recognize your family? Because that happened. 

Now for some fun pictures.