Tag Archives: Playing Detective

Worry-Free Wednesdays: Life’s Journeys

Choosing to believe in God’s grace,

No matter the struggle, challenge, or mountain we face.

Sometimes the bad things that happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us.

Remembering that we are never alone even in our loneliest, most frustrated state,

Believing that it is our faith that leads our fate.

Sometimes the bad things that happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us.(1)

Therefore we let go, trusting in tomorrow’s promises and today’s hope,

Smiling on in perseverance is the only way to live, to thrive, to cope.


Cast all your cares on Him for he cares for you He's near to the broken and confused By his stripes our spirit is renewed So enter in the joy prepared for you


“Find me here
And speak to me
I want to feel You
I need to hear You
You are the light
That’s leading me to the place
Where I find peace again

You are the strength
That keeps me walking
You are the hope
That keeps me trusting
You are the light to my soul
You are my purpose
You’re everything”

“Everything” – by Lifehouse

Source: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/l/lifehouse/everything.html


A Cold or Allergies?

Since playing “detective” with food allergies and eczema is common in our lives, I found this article resourceful and wanted to share.   Wishing everyone a great Sunday, we smile on…

 

Allergic Rhinitis or The Common Cold

Source: http://allergicliving.com/

SEARCHING

 

 

Tbt – What a Week That Was

Today we are throwing it back to last week.   Yes, last week….and boy what a week it was.

On Wednesday, October 14, my son received his flu shot.  My son is allergic to eggs;therefore, the shot was administered at his allergist’s office since it may contain small traces of egg protein. Thankfully, there was no reaction and we went home and had a great next day.

Then, Friday hit and made life interesting to say the least.  The next six days would include 6 days of little or no food, 3 days of flu-like symptoms aka gross diapers, some hives, a bad eczema flare-up, and a lot of fussiness.

Here is a timeline of how the next days went down…

October 16-17:

  • Little or no food
  • Bad eczema flare-up
  • Fussiness

(We thought it was probably just teething yet again.)

October 18:

  • Hive reaction on face (not after eating- since there was no eating going on)
  • Took him to doctor who said it was something viral
  • After getting home from the doctor, the flu-like symptoms started aka gross diapers
  • Still no eating – Day 3 of this!
  • Fussiness especially after sleeping

October 19:

  • Day 4 of no eating
  • Day 2 of gross diapers
  • Fussiness
  • Tired and weak (Tripping and falling down frequently when playing; Thankfully, that did not continue in the afternoon.)

October 20:

  • Day 5 of barely any food (He ate some puffs.)
  • Day 3 of gross diapers but on the mend
  • Fussiness

October 21:

  • Flu-like symptoms were gone
  • Still no eating; Day 6 of this! Now, we were getting more scared.
  • Extreme fussiness
  • After his nap, he screamed for two hours straight! We could not console him.  He would reach for his sippy cup and snack, put it near his mouth, and scream in pain.  Terrifying!

While we made a doctor appointment later that evening, we contemplated bringing him to the emergency room. It was that bad! None of our usual or new tactics worked in calming him down.  After 120 minutes, out of nowhere, with a little help of Mickey and some passed gas, everything changed…

He stopped crying and allowed us to put him down into his high chair where he would sit for the next hour, devouring more food in those 60 minutes than he had eaten in an entire week.  Thank you God! I could not have been more relieved.

Since then, every day continues to get better.   I can’t lie last week beat me up and brought a lot of anxiety. Aside from my son’s sickness, it was just one of those weeks full of extra morning traffic, extra tasks at work, extra family stuff, extra everything.

However, now looking back at it, I realize that it taught some valuable lessons.

1)No matter how much of a planner I am, I don’t have the ultimate say. With that being said, I can survive without my daily “to-do” lists and plans. Last week most of what I had planned went out the window and restoring my son’s health was our central focus.   In my life, I need to do more of putting aside my plans and living in the moment.  Lauryn Hill explained it perfectly with the following words.

we can't plan life,

Maybe I need to work on being more “available” in the moment instead of planning for moments that may never be.

2) Toddlers are resilient. My son amazes me every day with the knowledge that he is learning through his explorations.  Despite having what I believe was the flu, my son also spent last week learning new skills and words such as “Elmo” or rather “Elno” and even something that sounds like “U-Bre-la” for umbrella.  Also, since he started to eat again, he is eating lots! I guess he is making up for those missed meals. Maybe I need to worry a little less and just follow his lead sometimes.

3) No matter how stressful the day is, there is always a reason to smile.  You just need to open your mind to seeing the good instead of focusing on the negatives. It is easier said than done, but definitely possible. Therefore, because we are too blessed to be stressed, we smile on…

tj cartoon

Tbt – What’s the Verdict Today? – Playing Detective

Having a young child is a blessing. It’s a miracle. It’s amazing. Truly incredible!  And truly mind-blowing confusing sometimes…

Colds, vaccinations, fussy periods, developmental phases, sleeping issues, picky eating, hunger strikes, and the list goes on and on. Once we figure out how to best handle one issue, we are welcomed by yet another situation, oops I meant, learning experience.

These little guys and gals like to keep things interesting for sure!

cryING BABY

And for some of us, food allergies, eczema and other conditions are thrown into the mix of variables.


With or without food allergies, I have found myself playing detective with my husband, trying to determine the root of a fussy moment, day, or phase aka endless month!

SEARCHING

Is it the start of a cold or virus?

Is it an ear infection?

Is it a reaction to a shot? Lord knows there’s a ton of vaccinations in those first years.

Is it a stomach ache?

Wait, why does he have a stomach ache?

Is it that he isn’t getting enough breast milk or formula? Is he hungry?

Maybe it is a growth spurt?

Oh wait, maybe he ate too much?

Is it “just a phase?”

Is it teething?

Is it a wonder week? Yes, I totally believe in them.

Is it sleep regression?

Are we using the wrong method of feeding? Of sleep training? Of parenting? Are we even parenting yet?

Did I put the diaper on wrong or uncomfortably?

Is it his clothing? The detergent?

Is it an allergic reaction? Is it an environmental factor? A new food allergy? An issue of cross contamination? Cross-reactivity? Our dog?

Is it something we don’t even know about yet? 

Quick, let’s search on google….(You know you’ve done it!)

DETECTIVE 2


On today’s Tbt, let’s reflect back to a few of these incidences.

1) When my son was just weeks old, we experienced one of our first scares. After giving him a bath, he started to make a strange wheezing noise.  We panicked! We called our pediatrician’s office and spoke to the urgent care staff since it was a Saturday night. They instructed us to take him to the emergency room.  It turned out to be nothing but probably a reaction to being cold. We were relieved and felt slightly silly for “overreacting.” But, I believe overcautious is better than any regret after the fact.

What was the verdict? – Being cold +being a newborn that will sometimes make silly, random noises + being worried first-time parents doing a better job than we thought + sleep deprivation

2) At 4 months, my son stopped sleeping through the night for almost a month.  For three weeks, we lost more than our sleep, we lost our minds coming up with different theories and trying out different solutions.

What was the verdict? – Teething + a wonder week/developmental leap + 4 month sleep regression + transitioning to the crib

3) Red rashes and hives on Saturday and Sunday mornings from October to December.  This was before we knew my son was allergic to anything.  While it wasn’t every morning after, looking back at it, it happened often after I ate cheese pizza.

What was the verdict? – Milk Allergy (Food allergies)

4) An overall eczema flare up happened in April. In addition to this, my son’s lip would get red when eating apples. Like that wasn’t confusing enough,  it was also accompanied by a nursing strike which also added a whole other level of emotions and required even more time pumping. We started to worry.  Was he allergic to apples now? He couldn’t be allergic to apples. He had eaten them safely every day for months. Right? Teething again? Early molars at 11 months? Ahhhhh…..

What was the verdict? – A virus causing his body to react strangely to apples for a week + seasonal allergies + cross-reactivity with pollen + sure enough, teething of the first two molars


These are just four of the many, many, MANY confusing moments, days, or phases.  Looking back at them today has made me smile, knowing that we have learned so much throughout these times. It’s funny how even some of the most stressful times in life can bring us joy and knowledge when they become memories.

After my little guy’s initial allergic reaction, the most difficult thing to do as detective mom and dad was to distinguish an allergic reaction from cold symptoms or even teething. We are on guard all the time with food and even with skin contact. Despite the difficulty, I have been reminded that every baby…every toddler…every person is different. Therefore, with the guidance of your doctors of course, it is important to become the expert of your child or children.

BABY

For example in the course of these 17 months we have learned the following about my son:

  • When teething, his eczema flares up and he may even get some random hives. Teething also causes his lip to get irritated when he eats berries even though he is not allergic to them. Actually, teething causes a lot of drama over here from eczema flare ups to barely eating.
  • Sometimes, seasonal allergies will cause his skin to react to different foods even though he is not allergic to them.   Apples and bananas have both had times of irritating his lip. We just take a brief break from them during these times.
  • Right before my son is going to get sick, his skin has a day of being almost completely clear of any eczema.The first time this happened we were ecstatic, thinking that maybe he had outgrown it.  Wishful thinking… It usually lasts a day then gets so much worse as the cold or infection emerges.
  • Most viruses and infections also cause my son’s skin to become more irritated.  In addition to that, some of these viruses cause his lip to get irritated by apples and bananas.
  • And we continue to learn much more every day…

Although I find this added confusion to be one of the more difficult parts of food allergies, we have accepted it and already learned so much from it. Therefore, the final verdict is that even with its challenges, this journey of motherhood is truly amazing, so we smile on…

TBT(2)

Tbt- Introducing Food 

Like many parents, I was super excited to introduce solids into TJ’s diet. At 4 months of age, we inquired to our pediatrician at the time when we should and could start. She recommended that since he was gaining nicely on breast milk, there was no reason to introduce before six months. I must admit that I was a bit disappointed mainly because I was excited for this next stage.

However, it was also around four months that TJ went through sleep regression, waking during the night and fighting naps. As sleep deprived parents do, we searched for answers and solutions to get our little guy to sleep again. In the search, we often came up with different theories that varied day to day, week to week, parent to parent. Once again I felt like we were playing detective…

DETECTIVE

Could it be teething?

Could it be a cold, virus, or infection of some sort?

Could it be a developmental leap? (A wonder week?- Yes, I believe in them.)

Could he have a stomach ache?

Could he be too cold or too warm?

Could it be the transition to the crib from his rock n’ play? (If I am blessed enough to have another little guy or gal, I would not wait until 4 months like we did with TJ to transition to the crib.)

Or…

Could it be that he was hungry and needed more food/breast milk?

Hmmmm… I decided to call our pediatrician with this theory to see her thoughts.  I mean he was now showing interest in the “allergy-filled” food that I was eating.   (The thought of how many times I ate a peanut butter sandwich or a slice of pizza while holding or even nursing him still makes me cringe. We were definitely being looked over during those many, many moments.)


THE PLAN (MY PLAN) FOR INTRODUCING SOLIDS

(*This was the plan that I set up for TJ BEFORE knowing about his food allergies and what I learned from each step.)

STEP 1) After consulting with our son’s pediatrician, we all decided that it would be in TJ’s best interest to start solids at 5 months. Therefore, being the planner I am, I created a chart of what we would be introducing each day for the next couple of months using information and charts from one of my favorite baby websites,  Wholesome Baby Food Momtastic’s  – 4-6 Month Old Baby Page.

  • LOOKING BACK/LESSON LEARNED: TJ’s “random” hives and red rashes on his face and body started to happen at 5 months of age. This is also around the time when he had his first flu shot and a couple other vaccinations. We would soon learned that he was allergic to oats. Yet, I gave TJ oats several times for two months with no hives or reactions occurring after that.   Most of his skin reactions were in the mornings after I ate some dairy and breastfed.
  • TIP: For an infant, like TJ, at high-risk for allergies, I would now wait until he or she was at least 6 months to introduce solids.  I believe that there were too many new exposures for his “already-hyped-up” immune system during this month with his shots and introducing new foods.            (Of course, I would consult with our doctor before doing anything and recommend that others do the same.)

STEP 2) Before even giving TJ one taste of food, I decided that he would try each new food for 3 days before moving on to the next one.

  • LOOKING BACK/LESSON LEARNED: Waiting 3-5 days was recommended and most suggested waiting 4-5 days for each new food before introducing another. But at that time, I had no worries about food allergies being an issue. Ha! I laugh at how naive I was to all of it.   However, while it has taken me almost a year, I have also forgiven myself for that same naivety, which has allowed for a much clearer outlook. But, forgiveness is a whole other topic for a whole other post SMILES
  • TIP: Wait the 5 days per each new food.   What is the rush anyways? These cuties are only babies once and time flies by way too quickly to rush through any of it.

STEP 3) Since I had read and heard a lot about infant rice cereal constipating babies, I decided we would skip rice cereal all together and start with infant oatmeal cereal.

  • LOOKING BACK/LESSON LEARNED: I was more comfortable introducing wheat and oats than rice.  TJ is allergic to wheat and oats; however, not allergic to rice.  Everyday from 11 to 16 months, he would go on to eat that same rice cereal I skipped over in those early months. (Never having any issues in the constipation area.) How ironic!
  • TIP: I would start with rice cereal or whatever my doctor/allergist recommended.  I would also inquire more about allergy testing for any future children I may have before introducing any food at all.

STEP 4) After making all or most of the first solids that TJ tried, I could not wait to start giving fun-flavored pouches.

  • LOOKING BACK/LESSON LEARNED: One of these first fun-flavored pouches would end up being the one that contained yogurt, thus causing TJ’s anaphylactic reaction. TJ was and is highly allergic dairy which explained a lot of his other “not-so-random” skin reactions.
  • TIP: I would not recommend giving dairy products like yogurt before the age that doctors recommend.  Technically, I gave this pouch with yogurt a couple weeks before the recommended age. In addition, I would follow the recommended ages for all foods using extra caution with the top allergens.
  • Kidshealth.org – Common Food Allergens
  • Wholesome Baby Food Momtastic – Food Allergy Information
  • I felt a lot of guilt about  giving TJ his first taste of yogurt two weeks before it was recommended.  I had even questioned myself that evening about whether or not to give that pouch. (At that time, I questioned myself not because of the direct fear of food allergies, but instead because of it being 5 pm, a little over an hour before his bedtime. Reflecting back, I guess I was indirectly worrying about a reaction.) Mother’s intuition yet again was trying to save the day. 
  • In the beginning, I even blamed myself for his allergies, which doctor after doctor would explain to me was not the case. (I asked many of them and some of them many times.) However, I now believe that TJ’s anaphylactic reaction happened that Saturday evening in December for a reason.  While I don’t know the exact reason for any of this yet, I truly believe that it ultimately saved him from an experience even scarier.  In addition, I know that it taught us how to best keep him safe. Therefore, I am forever grateful for his safety and protection that evening and throughout those early months before knowing about his confirmed allergies. Despite my plan, I was once again reminded that there is an ultimate plan that God has designed much greater than any of us can sketch out. With that being said, we will continue to do whatever we need to do every single day of our lives to ensure that TJ is not only safe and healthy, but also truly happy. Therefore, as we walk in faith, we have no other choice than to enjoy each moment and smile on… 

EXCELLENT RESOURCES FOR INTRODUCING SOLIDS

Here is my favorite site for baby food, recipes, etc. At 16.5 months, we still use it for recipes.

http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com/solid-foods.htm

Since we made all of TJ’s food for many months, we have become close with our baby food maker.   Here is the one we have and love. We still use it to steam his vegetables.

Babycook Pro – BEABA


Today’s “In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley” related to my message above so I thought I’d share…

“God Acts On Our Behalf 
Philippians 4:6-7
We have become so accustomed to this hurried world that we’ve begun to demand speed in our spiritual life too. However, God “acts on behalf of those who wait for him” (Isa. 64:4 niv). Wise believers endure until the fruits of His labor appear.
In this devotion, we’ll look at three reasons believers are called upon to wait. First, God may be preparing us to receive His blessings. Perhaps we need new skills or greater maturity. Sometimes people require fresh spiritual insight before their hands are ready to hold what their hearts desire. For example, David waited years to sit on his appointed throne. But when he did, he was a wise, strong, and battle-tested king.
Second, the Father is often teaching His children to have confidence in Him. How would believers ever learn faith if God immediately fulfilled their every request? In my own life, the Lord has often said two words: “Trust Me.” And He has never been late to meet my needs. No matter how we justify rushing ahead of God, doing so amounts to saying, “I don’t trust You.”
Finally, the Lord will at times withhold blessing to protect us from harm we can’t see. We may never find out what caused the delay. But be assured that God examines the object of our desire closely before placing it in our hands.
Waiting is rarely easy, particularly in this instant-everything world. But rushing ahead of the Lord short-circuits His plan. Believers who do are left unsatisfied, and they often must live with terrible consequences. Be patient while the Lord works out details. His best is on the way.”
 How Do You Like Them Apples_(1)