Tag Archives: Daycare

A Picky Eater’s Peas

Picky eating drove me crazy for way too long. From the time TJ was first able to eat, he was never really interested in food.

Some of this was due to his 21 food allergies at that time, texture sensitivities, and the fact he was a slow chewer and eater.

However, in every difficult situation, there is always a blessing. Because of his pickiness …

He wasn’t the child grabbing for someone else’s food at daycare. (Thank God for that with a list as long as his at that point.)

At his one year old appointment, his pediatrician who we love, spoke the medical truth, “TJ would have a reaction in daycare that year. The chance was too great not to. We just had to make sure the staff was prepared.”

(The course of action we took after that is for another post… as well as the panic I fell into..)

BUT…while that’s the medical facts, we believe in the God of real truth, of miracles, of the impossible … TJ was and is living proof of that. He never had a reaction that year at daycare or any of the other years after. God is good! And prayer with belief is powerful.

Looking back, his pickiness was a blessing, a way he was kept safe in otherwise, high-risk situations. However, he was still such a picky eater and it drove us nuts especially after his blood work came back around twelve months, stating he was mildly anemic, adding more to his already limited plate! (Quite the paradox if I can say so myself!)

Our options were put him on a supplements or try to build up the iron naturally with food. The latter was what we chose after meeting with two nutritionists. So we spent the next four months, getting him to eat three meals a day filled with iron … each meal would take an hour or more for him to complete… talk about patience…

When he was rechecked, sure enough it had worked! However, it did not stop the picky eating nonsense which continued for years…

Therefore, I was always on the search for new safe foods, recipes, inspiration …

When my daughter was first born, in a conversation with another mom, she mentioned roasted chickpeas being something her own picky eater loved.

TJ liked chickpeas here and there so we tried it… (I would have tried almost anything at this point) …and sure enough it was an instant hit!

And the added bonus… it’s so easy!

Roasted Chickpeas

Ingredients:

  1. Organic chickpeas (When we use a can, we make sure it is BPA free.)
  2. Salt
  3. Pepper
  4. Olive oil
  5. Any other spices your child likes

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Rinse and dry chick peas. Get out as much liquid as possible
  3. Coat the oven pan with a little bit of olive oil. Not too much
  4. Put the chickpeas in the pan.
  5. Sprinkle salt, pepper or whatever spices you want. (Amount is always to your child’s liking. I only use a little pepper for that reason.)
  6. Drizzle the top with some more olive oil.
  7. Put in oven for 40-45 minutes
  8. Halfway through, shake or flip the chickpeas around to roast all sides.
  9. Finish cooking until lightly browned and crunchy.
  10. Enjoy!

It’s been over two years of making this recipe which now both of my kids continue to enjoy. And even though it may still take TJ a little longer to eat them, he does so with a smile.

Store Bought Favorites

Oh how busy life gets! There is always something to prep, cook or bake for, but not always the time to do so. Since TJ’s diagnosis, more and more great companies have been creating delicious treats... aka tasty time savers.

*Of course, always make sure to check ingredients and labels every time to ensure it is also safe for you and your family. Check labels with each purchase as companies do change the recipe here and there. Better safe than sorry … so cliche but true.*

Here are some of our favorite go-tos.

1) Mo’Pweeze Cupcakes: Mo/Pweeze Bakery

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2) Abe’s Crumb cake: https://www.abesmuffins.com/the-muffins

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3) Abe’s Muffins: https://www.abesmuffins.com/the-muffins

4) Azure’s Bagels: Cinnamon Raisin Bagels

 

While TJ’s teachers always have a box of Oreos as his special treat in case we don’t know about a party or event at school, we ask for a monthly schedule at the start of each month to try to prevent that.  Therefore, during the crazy weeks where dinner time is late and bedtime is even later, we are blessed to have found such amazing products and trustworthy businesses.

The Truth Must Not Tiptoe

To You or Anyone out there that is ever asked to watch over my son for just a moment,

I must start by explaining how challenging this week has been. I stopped myself from writing this sooner because it would have had a much more angry tone. I do believe that emotions are much clearer once they have had a day or two to sort themselves out and time to be slept on…

sleep

With that being said, I can no long tiptoe around certain facts but instead I must wear “crazy mom” proud in hopes that the blatant truth even grabs your potential ignorance for a second. So while I write this, I pray for empathy…

 MOCKINGBIRD

To start, let me recap.  My little guy is not eating at daycare yet again. It started on Tuesday with two days of refusing any food from 7 am- 2:30 pm. On Tuesday, he ate nonstop when he got home though until he went to bed. That did change the later part of the week when he started to refuse many foods at home too. We are not sure what is causing this?

Is he cutting more teeth? (The bottom canines are right there about to cut through and the top canines reeked havoc a few weeks ago.)

Is it the cold and cough he had?

Is it being a toddler and going through yet another phase?

Is it all of the above?

Or, is it something else…

Heck, maybe he is bored with his restricted diet and we need to start getting more creative.


Whatever the reason for this strike is …

No matter how frustrating it may get …

No matter how challenging it is to manage a child with multiple food allergies …

There are several factors that are imperative for you to know:

1) The guidelines and safety procedures that we worked on for him during mealtimes were not created to make your life more difficult. ( Click here for daycare accommodation post.) Instead, they are meant to protect my son’s life. We do realize how challenging it is to manage many active toddlers and truly appreciate that all of you have agreed to work with us despite the allergies.

2) Please don’t tell me that my son no longer likes bananas when you haven’t even peeled it for him. I do thank you for the confirmation that my son is advanced but I am not so sure any 17 month old toddler is communicating enough at this point to inform you, “I won’t be eating bananas anymore so there’s no need to peel.” I am hoping that this is just teeth and a phase which will soon pass. I send in bananas every day because I am hopeful he will start to eat them again. Hope is what I thrive on…

3) Please don’t take it upon yourself to stop using the high chair we provided for snack and mealtimes because it is inconvenient to strap him into it then have to unstrap him five minutes later when I arrive to pick him up. Your inconvenience takes up ten seconds of your time that I am willing to take off your hands and do myself. Those ten seconds can protect his life.

4) Actually, let’s go back to the topic of actual food again.   Please refrain from telling me he no longer likes any of the food I ever provide. I can assure you that I know my son best and understand how his diet is very repetitive. I too believe he is bored with his food and I promise you we are working on it.  We don’t have as many options as most do and introducing new foods is often a frightening task.  With that being said, please also hold back from telling me to cut back on the amount of food I send in. What inconvenience does it cause if I continue to send in what he was typically eating at home during the summer?  …Once again, I am breathing on hope…

5) My son had an anaphylactic reaction to a tiny amount of yogurt. His dairy IgE levels are still very high as are the components of it that are more likely to cause anaphylaxis.  Therefore, there is a greater chance of a life-threatening reaction if he was to ingest it again. Many foods (more than you think) that people of all ages consume contain dairy.  Soooooo…..

He should never ever ever be playing next to another toddler or young child who is eating. The webcam shot is beyond terrifying especially since it wasn’t an adult who removed him from the area but instead, my 17 month old son himself. This is his life we are talking about. One taste of any of it and he needs his EpiPen or Auvi-Q administered. If he is the one removing himself and not an adult seeing this situation, I am not so sure how that can happen. It causes my fear to challenge my faith…

Please tell me how to make this easier for you to monitor him. We tried getting him a private one-to-one nurse for mealtimes … We bought him his own high chair for meal times … We will buy gates to separate the eating and playing areas if need be. I will do anything to ensure his safety and help all of you. I pray throughout each day that God guides me through all of my decisions and actions especially those that relate to my little guy. I pray you tell me how I can help you protect my son. Prayer drives my faith…

I know there will be close calls in general because of sending him to daycare.   Right now, it is not an option financially for me to stay home with him and protect him. I wish there was an easy answer to all of this. I wish that there were daycare facilities out there free of the top 8 allergens, not just tree nuts and peanuts. People don’t just have anaphylactic reactions to nuts you know? (Why aren’t there facilities like this especially with the prevalence of food allergies so high and increasing?)

If you or anyone out there is ever asked to watch over my son for just a moment, I pray that you can stop focusing on me as the crazy mom that I know you have labeled me as already.  Instead, I pray that you turn that focus to my son’s best interest and when you have questions ask me or suggestions suggest them to me.  Trust me that I am more than you think I am….

DAVID GOKEY

Instead, put aside your ignorance for a second and remind yourself that this is about life. My son’s life depends on it. So, open your minds and hearts by first tuning in your ears and actions.There are already too many “what ifs” in life to have to worry about factors that can be controlled.  Is it wrong of me to expect this? Are my expectations too high?

Until I have more answers next week, I am challenged by some fears. I fear that I will start to hear daycare facilities tell us that they cannot have my son. I worry that he will not be able to have the same experiences in life as others his age. I want to make his life as amazing as possible and teach him that food allergies like any challenge in life, can’t define you.   Only YOU can define yourself! 

But I need your help…

I am no longer angry at anyone… for I never stay that way for long. Instead, I am more motivated than ever to continue this journey of advocating and protecting my little “Cutes.”

LOVE

I hope that my honesty can help shut the door on ignorance for at least one person.  In the meantime, we thank you God because it is very evident that you are walking right beside our son, holding his hand through this valley, this journey that we can’t tiptoe around.  But with your strength and the truth, we can battle and smile on…


See more about allergy levels here:

Allergy Level Post

Dairy Components

TJ’s Daycare Update – September 26

It has been almost a month since we started back at work and daycare after having off for the summer. Therefore, I wanted to give an update on how everything is going with TJ being back at daycare as an active toddler with his eczema and multiple food allergies. While there have been some challenges, we are blessed because he has been safe. So let me recap week by week the challenges while also counting our blessings.

For more background information on the safety plan we put together for TJ’s utmost safety, check out these two previous posts:

  1. Preparing for Daycare (A Plan in the Works)
  2. TJ’s Daycare Accommodations

Leading up to that first week back, I experienced major anxiety, worrying about all the “what ifs” and horrible possibilities that could happen. I even reached out to different moms through other allergy sites about sending their toddlers with multiple food allergies to daycare. After the first few people responded to my post, I started to get even more upset. They were mostly all suggesting not to send TJ to a daycare at all and offering other options that they themselves took. While I appreciated all the suggestions especially since I had been the one who asked, I grew even more anxious. That’s when I realized that I was not looking for suggestions. Instead I was hunting for confirmation from everyone and anyone that we were making the right decision for TJ. Asking others on other allergy sites for suggestions is one thing and a great resource to have.  However, searching for confirmation all over the place is the same exact reason that complicated and frustrated me last winter when TJ’s allergies were first discovered. I reminded myself that I do NOT need confirmation from everyone and anyone who will listen. Therefore, I stopped reading the other posts and suggestions, and shifted my focus to trusting our detailed plan, my mother’s intuition and most importantly, God. Repeating to myself over and over again every single time a worry comes to mind… “I trust you God.”

Therefore, with the start of the new school year, TJ  started back at the daycare facility that is a block from my work and has been working with us since he started at 6 months.  This staff has been working  more closely with us since his initial allergic reaction in December. (Read more about that experience here.) And even more closely now that he is a very active toddler among many other active toddlers.


So, let’s get back to the actual update:

WEEK 1
Challenge: The Food Strike

In addition to the screaming that happened and broke my heart every morning when I dropped him off, TJ would not eat much at daycare that first week, and even had two days of total refusal. Thankfully, he would drink his soy toddler formula. However, we were panicked since he was losing weight in only 4 days being at daycare. He would, however, eat his dinner at home on those days.

Was it just the transition back to daycare?

Was it our fault for allowing and using Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and music videos (ha) during mealtimes at home to get him to eat? (At the start of the summer since TJ’s iron levels were slightly low, we were following our pediatrician’s advice to not give a supplement yet and try different iron-rich foods. Therefore, we gave into the television and it worked! ) However, was it causing a problem now?

Was teething not helping the situation?

Or, a thought that crossed my mind which several others Including my hubby may think I’m crazy for …

Even though TJ was only 16 months, did he somehow already understand that only food from Mommy and Daddy was safe? Was God protecting him with this strike?

Counting our blessings: The hunger strike then continued over that weekend at home. All of the sudden, TJ wanted to feed himself the specific foods that he wanted. So, after emailing our pediatrician, we followed TJ’s lead and also avoided watching Mickey. By the end of that weekend, he was eating and much more independent with it. And, two new teeth had cut through … the upper canines. Ouch!

TEETHINGIf you ask me, these new teeth and independent phase ( hunger strike and all) could not have come at a better time. Now that TJ was eating more on his own, he did not need as much assistance from anyone and there would less of a chance of cross contamination during mealtimes. Every day when I pick TJ up from daycare, I thank God for keeping him safe that day. Despite the hunger strike,  I count my blessings… TJ was protected and safe.

WEEK 2
Challenge: No More High Chair?

To start the week off, TJ and I had a “talk” in the car about eating at daycare and that all of the food is safe and sent by Mommy and Daddy. (Ha I know this is a bit silly but hey, they understand more than we think they do, right?) As we went to get out of the car that morning, TJ held on tightly to one of his favorite stuffed animals, Buddy. Since I did not want to upset him, I let him bring it with him. He did not cry that morning and actually ate half of his food! Thank you Buddy and the rest of his stuffed buddies who take turns going to school with TJ each day now.  Our mornings are no longer filled with tears.

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With the eating improving week 2, another challenge presented itself though. That Friday when I picked TJ up for the day, he was not drinking his afternoon sippy cup in the high chair we had provided.  Instead, he was seated at one of the main tables where four other toddlers eat.  He was seated in a seat labeled “Hunter.” While there had been conversation about TJ eventually being transitioned from the safe, allergen-free high chair to the “food allergy safe table,” we did not think that this would happen without us knowing and on the 8th day of school!!! Plus, he wasn’t even at the table designated for allergies.  He sat at one of the main tables.

NO MORE HIGH CHAIR

As soon as TJ saw me, he threw his sippy cup down onto the table and ran to me.  While I know that the staff cleans the tables and it is a peanut and tree nut free classroom, I was not comfortable with the entire scenario and how it went down without us knowing.   I told his teacher that I was not comfortable with this and explained my reasons why.  However, it was Friday, I was exhausted, wanted to beat traffic, and discuss this with my husband before deciding what to do next.

SURPRISE

One of my biggest fears before the school year started was that everyone would be super cautious and careful with TJ to begin with.  Then, as the weeks and months went by, they would become “comfortable” and more relaxed with everything. I did not expect that comfort to already present itself on day 8 though!

CONFUSED 2

Counting our blessings: We emailed the directors that weekend very nicely explaining our concerns with this change.  They responded right away with a very supportive email, indirectly letting us know that they had no idea about the change.   After speaking with them, it was clarified to everyone that for now TJ is to sit in his high chair for all meals.  At the end of October, we will all discuss switching him to his allergen-free table. They also assured us that before any change occurs with TJ we would be contacted and asked our thoughts on it.   TJ also now participates in art activities at the main tables.   However, food is not involved.

We count our blessings…Not only is a daycare facility going above and beyond for TJ’s safety, he has been protected and safe.


WEEK 3

Challenge: First Cold of the School Year

Counting our blessings: Although colds and sicknesses stink and I hate to see my Cutes not feeling well, I know that they are inevitable especially when you attend a daycare. Because I know that TJ has been kept safe for almost a month now and a facility is working so closely with us even though they don’t have to, this first cold doesn’t even seem like a challenge at all. Therefore, we are extremely blessed and thankful.  With all of that being said and some extra cuddles and rest, we know that we will kick this cold in the butt so we smile on…

Weekly Smiles (Events)

Here is a list of Smiling Away Allergies’ weekly events:

TIPSy Tuesdays

On Tuesdays, I plan to post tips that we have found helpful or something that we have learned during this journey so far. I call it “TIPS”y TUESDAYS not only because I must admit to being a bit corny at times, but mainly because I want to help others be prepared.  Therefore, once a week we will CHEERS to being prepared so we can smile on…


Worry-Free Wednesdays

Each Wednesday I will try to post a quote or lyrics to a song that I find inspirational.  Words that help me see past fear and worry, enabling us to continue to smile on…


Tbt (Throw Back Thursdays)

On some Thursdays, we will throw it back to some of the earlier signs and experiences with food allergies/eczema as well as what we have learned through it. Regardless of what should have or could have happened, we smile on together in trying to educate others about the world of allergies…


Favorite Finds Fridays

I plan to post a “favorite find” on Fridays.  It may not always be directly relate to food allergies and eczema.   However, it will always be something that has helped us a lot with TJ’s experience, allowing us all to smile on in faith…


SMILING ON...

(Source: http://www.firstcovers.com/userquotes/39076/let+your+smile.html)


TIPSy TUESDAY – Less is Definitely More

When starting anything new, many of us read endless books, download various applications, and ask everyone for their recommendations to discover the best ways to be successful at whatever the task be.   Before having TJ, I did just that in order to ensure that I would learn how to “best” nurse, feed, rock, swaddle, sleep, wash, play, establish a routine, teach, be a mom.   However, what I wasn’t realizing, and accepting, then was that babies aren’t one-size-fits-all and that less is definitely more. Now, I know it is much more valuable to pick one or two people as well as resources to confide in and turn to for questions. Less is definitely more.

BABY

When I first had TJ, I spent the first couple of months asking millions of new-mom questions to every person that knew anything at all about babies.  In addition to all of that guidance, almost everyone else I spoke to had more advice to give, (even when I didn’t ask.)   Thus, leading my hormonally-challenged brain to become inundated with too much conflicting information. Then, leading me to cry to my husband that “so-and-so” said, “I should be doing something that was the complete opposite of what I was doing; therefore, I was definitely a bad mom.”  It’s comical now to look back and see how much has really been put into perspective since then and even more comical to think about how crazy those hormones can be in the very beginning.  crazy

That is when I started to learn that less is more especially when you had your own Mommy intuition on your side. Heck, I had to be doing something right if TJ filled his days and even sleep with smiles right? It couldn’t all just be gas!?!?

However, after TJ’s anaphylactic reaction, I went back to contacting everyone and their mother about food allergies.  From pediatricians to nutritionists to moms to allergists to anyone who would listen to my new interest, or obsession, with food allergies and eczema.  This once again led me to information overload, full of conflicting guidance and praying for clarity. I wanted to change my situation and learn how to take it all away.   I searched and searched for someone to inform me of the “cure-all” to all of TJ’s food allergies and skin sensitivities.  For this was not how I planned and prepared it to be. It was only through lots of writing and praying that I learned that my focus was once again off-course. Instead of wishing away the days, I needed to embrace them, challenges and all.

faith3Now, with the start of a new school year of work and daycare, I have been literally making myself sick.  From stomach aches to headaches to back pain to nausea, I have been allowing my fears to take the steering wheel again.   I have been reaching out to other people all around to find out what they did or would do in my shoes, looking for some kind of confirmation and affirmation that I am making the right choices for us, for TJ.  In doing this, I was beginning to doubt myself again which is the opposite of where my mind needs to be right now for TJ. While I wish I could be home with TJ until he outgrows more of his allergies, I can’t begin to wish away the days or wish our situations were different.   Instead, I admit that I can’t do this alone so I turn to God.   Therefore, I need to pull back a bit with asking everyone their opinions and advice again.   If it indeed is confirmation that I need, I can only find that in one place.

Since I start work again today and begin a new stage of TJ’s allergies, I am feeling more emotional than normal so my tip is more on that kind of deeper level. Instead of searching all over for the “answers,” let your faith be greater than you fear.” Faith with belief is powerful so pray and learn to trust yourself, that instinct is more powerful that you think, or at least that is what I am learning. While we have devised a care and emergency plan for TJ, and continue to do so to ensure his safety this year at day care, we trust that God is putting all of the “right” people on TJ’s path. So with that, we believe and smile on to the 2015-2016 school year…

FAITH

Art Supplies

Through this entire experience, I have become extremely thankful for other moms with blogs out there. (And dads that may have them but I just haven’t found them yet.) The information you have shared is beyond helpful.

GLUTEN FREE ART SUPPLIES

With that being said, here is such a helpful one about gluten-free art supplies that we will be using all year long. =)

Gluten Free Art Supplies