Friday, October 21, 2016

When You Give a Baby a Peanut

When you give a baby a peanut, it will cause her to have an allergic reaction. I mentioned Scarlett's possible food allergies in the babies' 9 month post. We had blood drawn after her 9 month check up, and the results came back a week later, positive for peanut and tree nut allergies. We immediately made an appointment with an allergist and picked up her prescription for an EpiPen. This morning we met with the allergist to discuss her results and management of her allergies. I want to jot this all down now while it's fresh in my brain. Maybe it will help someone going through the same thing we are, but mostly I'm sure I'll forget something and look back to this post later.

Her blood work came back positive for peanut, almond, and pine nut allergies, but negative for walnuts. She did have a reaction to walnuts and has eaten pesto on many occasions with no issue. The Dr. said when it comes to tree nuts, it's best to avoid all of them if even one test comes back positive. They are all so closely linked that any of them can cause a reaction even if an allergy hasn't been confirmed, hence her reaction to walnuts. So she will be completely nut free. No Chik Fil A, no Reese's cups, no Nutella. Sorry kid! Clark on the other hand needs to be exposed to as many nut varieties as possible. Since he hasn't had any reactions yet, it lessens his chance of developing an allergy if we continue his early exposure.

I had read mixed things as to whether limited exposure can help the body build immunity when it comes to allergies. I asked about that, and the answer is no. There is no evidence to show that continued exposure can "cure" a food allergy. Less than 20% of kids with nut allergies will outgrow them, and the only thing you can do is wait and see. On top of that, even though Scarlett's reactions have been very mild, any exposure could potentially be serious. So, strict avoidance it is.

When discussing why some kids develop food allergies and others don't, the doctor explained it like this: Children have a predisposition for allergies because of their parents. Rob's dander allergies mixed with my seasonal allergies and mild asthma as a child, predispose all of our kids to allergies. As babies they can develop eczema or food allergies and when they are slightly older then can develop seasonal allergies. Harrison has seasonal allergies, Clark had eczema, Scarlett gets food allergies, and so far Brooke has lucked out.

We won't be doing any further testing at this time, but she will get retested in a year and then again a few years later. For now we read labels like crazy and make sure she isn't exposed to any nuts. At the grocery store tonight I picked up a carton of vegetable broth, and sure enough it has almonds in it. In vegetable broth! Why? We have to have an EpiPen and Benadryl with her at all times. If we suspect she's been exposed we give her Benadryl right away. If she has a reaction, we are supposed to give her the EpiPen injection. I thought the EpiPen was mainly used when there was a serious reaction, and it should be, but in her case it's also used to prevent a serious reaction. I seriously hope I never have to give her an injection. I'm pretty sure I would be sobbing while stabbing her in the leg.

I know there are millions of people that deal with food allergies every day, but it seems daunting. More so than when I was cutting out milk and soy, I think because it could potentially be life threatening. We have been telling Brooke and Harrison how important it is that they don't share any of their food with Scarlett, and they seem to get it. Telling them their sister could die if they share their peanut butter toast is pretty easy to understand, even for a 4 year old.

If you have kids with food allergies, any tips for managing? Restaurants that are really great about handling food allergies, or places that are completely nut free?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Favorite Books - 4 Years Old

I know I've mentioned time and time again how much Brooke and Harrison love books. They have loved story time since the day the came home from the hospital. Reading to them is how I used to keep them happy at bedtime when we were waiting for Rob to get home from work. I am a firm believer that a kid can have too many toys, but never too many books. Their closet doubles as their library. and it's slowly running out of room. Pretty soon they are going to need a bigger bookshelf. There are a few books that have been on the favorites list for a few months now, so I thought I'd share. 

Beautiful Birds As the title says, this book is beautiful. The illustrations are amazing. We discovered this book through the library, and I immediately ordered a copy once we had to return the one we checked out.  It's an alphabet book that is sure to get kids interested in birds.

ABC-3PO Our whole house is Star Wars obsessed. This book adds kid friendly humor to the Star Wars alphabet. Definitely one of their favorites, and mine too. It's great when their favorites are ones I enjoy reading. The illustrations are pretty great also.

Hello My Name is Octicorn The first time I read this book I couldn't stop laughing. Harrison and Brooke still laugh every time we read it, even though a couple of the jokes are over their heads. I never complain about reading this one.

The Princess in Black This is actually a series of chapter books. There are currently 3 with another one set to release next month. H and B both love reading about Princess Magnolia and her adventures fighting monsters. These books are especially fun to read if you have a good monster voice.

If I Had A Gryphon We love all of the mythological creatures in this book! Maybe Tyson and Jules aren't so bad after all. ;)

Star Wars This series of books puts each of the Star Wars movies into 5 minutes of kid friendly reading. There are also companion books like "I am a Pilot" or "I am a Jedi." Harrison and Brooke both pick these to read frequently.

As an added bonus, I thought I'd throw in a few of our favorite Halloween books also. Peanut Butter & Brains is a new one this year. We love The Walking Dead, so this is a cute twist on zombies for H and B. Creepy Carrots is one I loved last year, and they were mildly into. This year they like it a lot more. We read Fright Club last year at Barnes and Noble, but didn't buy it until this year. They think all the little creatures are hilarious. Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet we borrowed from the library last year. They've been asking about it a lot lately, so I ordered a copy from a third party sell since it's out of print.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Scarlett and Clark - 9 Months

9 months! What?!?! How are we here already? 3/4 of a year. A close friend of ours just welcomed a new baby girl last week. There's nothing like holding a newborn to make you realize how little your babies aren't. As much as I love newborn baby snuggles, I am all about this age with Scarlett and Clark. They are mobile! They are crawling, climbing, opening and closing doors, discovering everything they can. We've done some minor baby proofing, but it is probably time to start locking up our cabinets.

Eating is a major focus of our days. The babies are eating 3 meals per day, and occasionally a snack as well. Breakfast is fruit and cereal or some other breakfast carb, occasionally eggs. Lunch is turkey, cheese, or yogurt and vegetables. Snacks are some type of baby food. Either a pouch, puffs, yogurt drops, etc. Dinner is whatever we are eating or steamed vegetables. Clark is not crazy about pouches, but Scarlett sucks them down. They have both decided they love water and gulp it down when given a straw sippy cup.

I mentioned during their 8 month posts that we are being extra cautious with food introductions. Scarlett still develops a rash if dairy gets on her skin, but no problems ingesting it. We tried peanut butter this month on two separate occasions. The first time Scarlett developed a full body rash. The second time she had no reaction at all. She did only have one bite the second time. They tried banana walnut oatmeal, and this caused a rash to develop for Scarlett, presumably from the walnuts. Clark has shown no reaction to any foods. When the babies were in for their 9 month well check, Scarlett had blood drawn to check for peanut and tree nut allergies. We are currently awaiting those results before we decide how to proceed.

We have been trying to transition from 4 nursing sessions during the day to 3. Some days it goes well, other days the post afternoon nap nursing session is a must. On days they do nurse after their 1pm nap, they skip their snack. They are both still nursing once or twice at night. Scarlett is usually up twice, and Clark once. The only time he is usually up before 4 am is if she wakes him.

Sleep is still pretty much the same. Naps at 9am and 1pm. They nap anywhere from 1-2 hours per nap. Nighttime sleep starts at 7pm. Clark wakes up between 4 and 6am and then is back to sleep until 7 or 7:30. Scarlett is skipping her 11pm nursing session much more frequently. She also wakes between 4 and 6am and then goes right back to bed until 7am. We dropped their cribs and got rid of their musical mobiles and crib bumpers this month. As soon as we got rid of their mobiles, Scarlett started sleeping longer more often. They were able to turn on their mobiles themselves and I thought that would help put them back to sleep if they turned on their music. In reality, the mobiles were making them more alert when they did wake, and making it harder to fall back to sleep. I definitely don't miss hearing Scarlett's mobile multiple times per night.

  • crawls on hands and knees
  • can go from crawling, to sitting, to standing with no issues
  • is pulling up to his knees and sometimes feet
  • is determined to figure out how to climb the stairs
  • has his two front bottom teeth, and is about to get his top two any day
  • just got the all clear to stop iron supplements
  • is wearing size 12 clothes and size 4 diapers
  • bites arms, legs, ankles, anything he can get his mouth on
  • is like a big mouse. He loves cheese
  • weighs 20 lbs 8oz
  • is 29.5" tall

  • is army crawling her way around the house
  • loves to dance, and by dance I mean rock back and forth to music
  • sings "ba ba ba ba" in response to Harrison singing to her
  • loves closing doors and playing with the bottom drawer in our bathroom
  • loves yogurt, and gets upset if you're eating some and not sharing
  • is starting to show increased interest in story time
  • wears size 12 cloths and size 4 diapers
  • weighs 21 lbs 4 oz
  • is 28.25" tall
  • is holding at 2 teeth with no signs of any new ones making an appearance soon
  • wakes up and immediately dirties her diaper almost every morning. Happy morning surprise for me ;)
  • is spunky! I'm pretty sure when she is older she will be the ruler of the pack

Now that we're closing in on a year, it's probably time to start planning their first birthday party. Planning a party for a birthday that falls between Christmas and New Years has me a little intimidated. I'm not even sure when to fit in a party around all of the holiday festivities. That's a topic for another day though, and a challenge I'm sure we'll figure out. For now, happy 9 months babies! We are loving seeing your personalities develop. You are both so happy and full of life. Each day with you is truly a blessing.