Friday, March 31, 2006

How Odd am I?

I am excited that today is March 31 and cannot wait until tomorrow. Is it because I love April Fool's day? No. Is it because I love spring? No. Is it because April is a simply fabulous month? It is, but no.

I am excited because the pharmacy that filled L.'s epi-pen prescription screwed up. Instead of giving us pens that expired in several months, they gave us pens that expired in March. Now realize, we filled this prescription earlier this month. At the time, I was furious. When I called the pharmacy, they suggested we come by the next day (it was 10:00 pm) and exchange our pens for newer ones. When I started hyperventilating on the phone (no, I was not ugly, merely trying not to cry from frustration), the clerk got the pharmacist.

He also suggested we come back the next day to exchange medication. When I told him that we NEEDED a pen to go with our daughter to daycare, and I was really scared after one frightening episode, he relented. He commented that medication that expired in two weeks would do him no good and told us to just come and pick up a fresh prescription at no charge.

My urge to cry vanished at that moment. Instead, I started thinking that it would be REALLY cool to see what administering an epi-pen would be like. Visions of shooting up a piece of fruit or something with epinephrine danced about in my brain. At this precise moment, I have an orange I left in my office just a little bit too long sitting on my desk. Tonight, the tired little orange goes home with me and gets shot full of expired epinephrine. I am so excited, it's sick.

I am a bit torn, though. A very big part of me wants to test out both pens myself. The more sensible part thinks that the director at L.'s daycare should get a 'shot' (ha, ha, I am so punny) at it since L. does spend a great deal of time there. Or perhaps Mr. W. should have a turn. At any rate, if L. remains free of anaphylactic symptoms, we have two more pens that expire in November, and yes, I am looking forward to December 1, too.

Why yes, I do have a very strong sense of curiosity. Why do you ask?


Thursday, March 30, 2006

So what exactly is a PIM anyway?

You may have noticed that I have a listing of links to my PIMs there on the left. PIM is short for Psycho Internet Mom, and it refers to some of my dearest friends. We all met on a public bulletin board for working mommies and morphed off into a private bulletin board back in 2002. The name PIM was coined by the husband of one of the mommies, because, well, it was a little weird that we all met online. (Mr. W. still hasn't gotten past that weirdness, but he's grown more tolerant, LOL.)

We have seen each other through births, deaths, divorces, marriages, career changes, moves, child rearing crises and much, much more. My own emotional attachment was cemented in March of 2003 when I found myself very unexpectedly (and unhappily!) pregnant. The outpouring of support and compassion and reassurances that I would be ok was phenomenal. Even more heart warming was the continued support and compassion when I lost the pregnancy. I was an emotional mess, and my PIMs helped me in more ways than they will ever know.

I wish for my daughters the type of support system I have with my fellow Psycho Internet Moms. Even though I have only met one in real life, I cherish them all and cannot picture my day without stopping in to visit with them several times each day.



Must sleep!

Got to bed and sleep at decent hour. Big girl up at 12:30 because arm hurt and wanted to climb in bed with Mr. W. and me. Little girl up at 1:30 because of coughing from cold.

It's 2:30

Mr. W. asleep and snoring. S. asleep and sort of snoring. L. asleep and slightly snoring. Me awake and wish I were snoring.


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Nursemaid's Elbow

I have discovered that when it comes to Nursemaid's Elbow, people are either completely unaware of the condition, or they are extremely familiar with it. Alas, we fall into the 'extremely familiar' category.

Nursemaid's Elbow is when a child's elbow dislocates relatively easily. There are a combination of factors that contribute to this condition. Since S. inherited my loose jointedness AND overall clumsiness, she's susceptible. So far we've had four dislocations.

The first one happened when she was 9 months and in her crib. She was pulling up holding onto my fingers, and flopped over. Poof! Just like that, her elbow dislocated. I didn't realize what had happened, all I knew was that my baby was in considerable pain. We took her in to the doctor's office, and waited over an hour to be seen (our regular doctor was off that day). By that time, her elbow had relocated itself, she seemed perfectly content, and we started to walk out. The on-call dr saw us leaving, and took a quick peek at her arm before we left. He apologized for the wait, did not charge us for the visit and urged us to come back if she continued to be in pain. She was fine right then.

Our second dislocation happened when S. was, oh, around 18 months old. That one brought us to the ER at oh-dark-early on a Monday morning. Frankly, I was worried the medical personnel would think we were abusing our precious girl. On the contrary, the nurse that escorted us out after S. had been 'relocated' rather cheerfully informed us that she would probably be seeing us again.

When S. dislocated her elbow the third time at around 2 years old, we were prepared. S. sat on my lap while Mr. W. manipulated her arm and 'pop' everything went back in place. S. had the most adoring idol-worshiping expression on her face when she realized that Daddy had miraculously fixed her boo-boo. Never in my life have I ever seen such an expression of hero-worship. We took her to the doctor the next day to make sure everything was hunky dory.

Last Friday, S. was at Grandma and Grandpa's house, enjoying a break from school, when she rolled over funny. Grandma heard the pop as S.'s elbow dislocated, and then the wails when it started to really hurt. Long story short, S. wound up in the doctor's office Friday afternoon after Mr. W.'s manipulations failed to ease her pain. She screamed herself purple before, during and after her exam. This reaction plus the fact that the pain in her arm wandered all the way up to her shoulder and down to her wrist landed her in radiology, where she screamed herself purple before, during and after the x-rays. Everything looked and felt right to our doctor. They didn't take good x-rays of her actual elbow, but I didn't think I was up to putting her through more agony when I was 99% sure her elbow was back in place.

However, Saturday morning, she was still in considerable pain. Her previous bouts with the elbow always resulted in feeling much better within a few hours of getting the joint back in place, so I was worried. Mr. W. had to work (again!), so I had the glamorous job of taking S. back to the doctor's office. While waiting for the doctor to see us, S. started acting more normally. I could tell her arm still hurt, but she wasn't in tremendous pain anymore. Because she was still carrying her arm funny, doctor #2 wanted to go ahead and do a proper x-ray of her elbow, just to make sure everything was lined up well.

Let me just tell you that tending to an infant and a pitiful toddler in the doctor's office all alone is worthy of hazardous duty pay. During the x-ray procedure I had to choose which crying kid to be with. Since S. had to be coerced into cooperation, I wound up leaving L. crying in the hallway outside the x-ray room while I held a sobbing S. still for her pictures. X-rays showed that everything was still in place, so the doctor suggested we keep S. in a sling for a couple of days. And naturally, S. screamed and cried through the whole sling-donning procedure. What a day!

Fortunately, S. seems to be much better today. We sent the sling with her to daycare today as an added precaution. Since it's been raining the past two days, I don't think the kiddoes will be playing outside. This is good, because keeping S. from swinging from the playground equipment is very nearly impossible. I'm just hoping that this is our last bout with the old Nursemaid's Elbow phenomenon.


Monday, March 27, 2006

Well, THAT was awkward

I realized pretty early that L.'s allergy would put us in sticky situations from time to time, and Sunday was our first of probably many.

We were invited to a 'meet your Elder' get-together and meal at Mr. W's church. I thought we were going to go for the fellowship and then leave once the meal began. However, once the meal started that plan fell all to pieces. So, there we were surrounded by oceans of spaghetti with parmesan cheese, cake and even ice cream. So, there I was holding L. while she took a bottle and refusing to eat. S. was covered in the cheese, and all I could do was fret that L. would get on the floor and come in contact with some of it.

No harm done, though. Well, except maybe our Elder's wife was a little miffed since I wouldn't touch her food. She said she tried to be aware of our dairy issue. But you know what? Unless I can read the ingredient list, I just don't trust it. Some of the craziest things have dairy in them, and I did not want to take any chances. Hopefully she will forgive my little bit of rudeness.

It is hard for me to be ungracious, but I've discovered that there are a great many things I will do for my child that I would never do for myself. I've choked down food I despised for the sake of good manners. I've eaten food that looked a little, er, unclean in order to avoid embarrassing my host. But when it comes to my child's safety, I am perfectly capable of putting others on edge.


Friday, March 24, 2006

Miss Otis Regrets

There is a great Cole Porter song called Miss Otis Regrets (She’s Unable to Lunch Today) that tells the tale of a woman who is done wrong by her man, shoots him and then is lynched. Her final words are: Miss Otis regrets, she’s unable to lunch today. I’ll paste the complete lyrics at the end of this post. Yes, it’s a terrible story, but a great song.

Whenever I hear it, I’m reminded of the many times my mind has gone off in a direction completely alien to the situation at hand. It must be a human coping mechanism to latch onto irrelevant details when our world is falling apart. A prime example is when the man I had dated for awhile told me he hated me. It would not have been such a devastating experience if we hadn’t at one point in time discussed getting married. We had been broken up for a couple of weeks, and I stopped spending every waking moment with him. He compensated by turning into a raving lunatic. Since we lived two apartments down from each other and his roommates and my roommates were friends, completely avoiding him was out of the question. One morning, after my roommates had left for class, he stopped by. I, very foolishly, let him in. He told me he needed to talk to me, and I VERY foolishly sat down and let him speak:

Mr. Ex: I hate you.

Did he just tell me he hated me?

Mr. Ex: You have ruined my life forever. I can never be with another woman ever again because you have destroyed me. . . . (this is where I stopped being able to actually hear him)

This hurts. Really, my heart physically hurts. Am I having an aneurism? Is this what it feels like to be shot. I can’t breathe. Really, I can’t breathe. I’m going to drop dead right here and now, because he has shot me, and I can’t breathe. My eyes hurt. Am I going to cry? I can’t cry. NO I really can’t cry, because I can’t breathe. Why can’t I breathe? Why do I hurt so badly? Surely, I’m bleeding somewhere. The carpet is beige. My blood is going to stain the carpet, and my roommates won’t get their deposit back and it will be all my fault. Why can’t I breathe? Inhale…exhale. There, I CAN breathe. My chest hurts and my eyes are burning, but I can BREATHE.

Mr. Ex: …. So, what do you have to say?

Me: Get out.

Mr. Ex: What?

Me: Get out now!

Mr. Ex: What?

Me: You will leave NOW!

He left the apartment, but followed me all the way to class. All the while he kept talking to me, and I refused to look at him, and I didn’t cry. I stepped inside my Historiography class, where Mr. Ex. couldn't follow me, walked to my seat at the front of the class and collapsed. I cried there at my desk for a solid 40 minutes. The one and only time the professor ever let us out early was that class day. As soon as I pulled myself together enough to stop sobbing, he dismissed us and I fled without looking at another soul.

To this day, I can’t understand how I just sat there and let Mr. Ex. spew his hate all over me while I worried about whether I could breathe and if I was ruining rental carpet. The human mind is a strange, strange place.


Miss Otis Regrets (She’s Unable to Lunch Today) by Cole Porter

Miss Otis regrets, she's unable to lunch today, madam,
Miss Otis regrets, she's unable to lunch today.
She is sorry to be delayed,
but last evening down in Lover's Lane she strayed, madam,
Miss Otis regrets, she's unable to lunch today.

When she woke up and found that her dream of love was gone, madam,
She ran to the man who had led her so far astray,
And from under her velvet gown,
She drew a gun and shot her lover down, madam,
Miss Otis regrets, she's unable to lunch today.

When the mob came and got her and dragged her from the jail, madam,
They strung her upon the old willow across the way,
And the moment before she died,
She lifted up her lovely head and cried, madam......
Miss Otis regrets, she's unable to lunch today.

Miss Otis regrets, she's unable to lunch today.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

425 Degrees

The temperature (in degrees Fahrenheit) at which Follow Your Heart's Cheddar flavored cheese alternative melts. It's not bad on toasted slices of French bread with non-dairy margarine.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I Won the Silly Trophy

Just my luck, I guess. I didn't want to win, and I really didn't want to win over the other speaker. He put a lot of time, energy and heart into his speech, and I, well, didn't.

Despite the fact that my speech was a bit of a scrambled mess, and his speech was very carefully crafted and planned (complete with PowerPoint presentation!), people voted me for best speaker. Blegh! All I did was give a cheerleading session on the benefits of joining Toastmasters.

It just goes to show that even in Toastmasters, where we're supposed to be learning how to evaluate a speech and speaker, pizzazz wins. The other speaker, bless him, is an accountant. He talks like an accountant, he walks like an accountant, he has the very smooth, quiet voice of an accountant. He is a kind and wonderful guy, but he doesn't know how to push his personality out front while giving a speech. I hate it when crappy work given with oomph! is better received than quality work given with quiet competence. This is probably why I can't stand American Idol.


Procrastination is my First, Middle and Last Name

In exactly 1.5 hours, I am to give an 8 to 10 minute speech intended to 'Inspire My Audience.' It will be my 10th speech in the Communication and Leadership Program for Toastmasters and will earn me some designation thingy or the other. CTM maybe? All I can remember is that my club wants me to finish this blasted book so we earn some credit or the other. It's especially sad that I can't keep any of this straight since I am an officer in our club.

So far my speech consists of some gibberish about Bob the Builder, a list of four skills that are 'built' during the course of Toastmasters' experience, and a short note about how organizational skills can be developed through speech writing, evaluation writing and agenda setting. Somehow in the next 75 minutes, I will need to put this together in a moderately coherent 8 to 10 minute talk. I've become quite adept at throwing together a 5 to 7 minute speech at the last minute. In a little over an hour, we'll see if I can manage to pull together enough BS to get through an additional 3 minutes. Oh, and this is to be accomplished while I work on developing a report that is going out to our agents in the next day.

On the bright side, one of the objectives of this little talk is to not use notes. Won't be a problem at all, since they don't exist.

I sit here and wonder what happened to me. Procrastination and I are old buddies, so that is nothing new. However, the adrenaline rush that accompanies drawing breathtakingly close to the deadline no longer inspires me to great heights. I don't want to win the 'best speaker' trophy (I would have to remember to bring the dratted thing back to the next meeting anyway). I just want to slog through my speech and put it behind me. Just like the exam I recently took, I'm not aiming for great heights, just for good enough. Did I lose my drive and ambition after one (or more) too many sleepless nights? My ambition no longer drives my production. However, my ethics do, so I will continue to put together decent work. It would be nice to get my heart back into things, though.

I guess it's time to get back to work since my latest data pull has come back. Hellooooo 300,000+ rows of data to slog through.


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Bursting with Pride

S. had a field trip to a pet shop, veterinary office and then a park yesterday. The kiddos were to bring a packed lunch for a picnic at the park. S. announced that she wanted to bring a box of the juice pouches we keep on hand just in case her friends needed a drink.

It turned out that half a dozen or so kids did not have drinks with their lunches, so S.'s suggestion worked out beautifully. I'm just so proud of her for thinking ahead about her friends' needs!

My little selfish temper tantrum-throwing 3 year old is turning into a thoughtful, compassionate human being. Who would have thought?


Monday, March 20, 2006

Non-Dairy Alternative Products Review

Hoo boy have I got it bad for cheese and anything dairy-like. Bad enough that we drove 90 miles to a specialty grocery store on Saturday. We came home with assorted non-dairy alternative products. Reviews follow:

First on my shopping list was ice cream. S. has a birthday coming up, and I'd really like for L. and me to be able to indulge in a bit during the party. I picked up some stuff made by Turtle Mountain called Chocolate Obsession. I figured anything with that much chocolate couldn't be all that bad. I was wrong. The textures were funny and the taste was not as strongly choclate as I had hoped. The other thing that weirded me out, was when it melted, it maintained the consistency of pudding. That's just wrong, wrong, wrong. Melted ice cream should be runny, not pudding-y. And yet, there it set in its jiggling, wobbly splendor while firmly at room temperature.

Next on my list was macaroni and cheese. Back when L. was only having minor hives from her dairy consumption, she really enjoyed the Kraft mac & cheese. I found 123'z & Chreese online and thought it might possibly be a tiny bit tolerable. Ingredients like 'nutritional yeast' made me nervous, but I was willing to give it a shot since the stuff was on sale at the Whole Foods store. The pasta was actually a quite tasty semolina that held up very well to vigorous boiling. Unfortunately, the sauce tasted to me like how I imagine rotten cardboard would taste. Mr. W. didn't think it was all that awful and dumped some of it in his chili. I couldn't stand the thought of that stuff being in my fridge (let alone in my mouth), so I pitched it. I will figure out something to do with the pasta in the second box, but it will NOT involve chreese.

Third on my list of wants (needs, really, since I keep dreaming about it) was cheese. I again found some cheese alternative online produced by Follow Your Heart. The stuff looked promising, but would have cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $30 to ship to me (plus another $5 /pound). Whole Foods had it in their store, so I took the plunge and purchased Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Mozzarella flavored fake cheese. After my unfortunate experience with the 'ice cream' and 'mac & cheese' I was afraid to taste this stuff directly, but I did cut up a little of the cheddar and dumped it in my chili. The consistency of the cold 'cheese' was a bit softer than real cheddar, but it smelled okay and had the correct general coloring. It did not, however, melt in my chili. Since my chili was hot enough to be almost boiling, I wonder what temperatures it would take to actually melt this stuff. It did not taste bad, though. The texture was about what you'd expect for partially melted cheddar, and I did not have the annoying soy after taste that keeps me away from soy milk. I'm working up the nerve to try the other 'cheese' flavors. Who knows, maybe the mozzarella will be good enough for a pizza!


S. has found a wet nurse

S. has always been curious about L.'s nursing activities and has repeatedly asked if she can try it out herself. I refused each request, and now S. has found an alternative.

Saturday night, Mr. W. put S. to bed and then came to tell me not to be offended that I have been replaced. S. decided to snuggle up with Daisy, her giant stuffed dog, declaring that she was a puppy and Daisy was her mother. Snuggling into Daisy's belly, S. started making smacking noises and told Mr. W. that she was getting milk from her mama.

Yes, my daughter has found herself a wet nurse in the form of a big, floppy stuffed dog.

Hey, K (if you're reading this)! I'll bet you never expected THIS use for your Christmas gift to S.


The Pity Party is Over!

I'm feeling much better about handling L.'s allergy. Fear is NOT going to run my life, and really, we have plenty to be grateful for.

--L. is a beautiful perfectly happy, healthy baby
--S. is a beautiful perfectly happy, healthy big girl with a quirky imagination
--Mr. W.'s big project is in, and he will be home in the evenings! YAY!
--Our daycare is taking L.'s allergy very seriously, and I feel good that they will continue to take excellent care of her
--S. is on a field trip, and Mr. W. has gotten to go along (thanks to accumulating a little comp time after working insane hours for two weeks)
--Coca Cola is actually dairy free. The caramel color is non-dairy! yippy!


Friday, March 17, 2006

Hanging up the Horns

Tuesday’s doctor’s appointment, while not unexpected, was disturbing. The allergist thinks that L. quite possibly had a mild anaphylactic reaction to the milk she drank on the 4th. We will be getting our RAST results next week. Those numbers will (hopefully) give us an indication of the likelihood that L. will have a severe reaction if exposed to dairy again. The doctor is very positive that L. will outgrow this, which is comforting. In the meantime, she and I are going completely dairy-free and we are to travel everywhere with an EpiPen Jr. just in case.

This has left me with a very hard choice. I can either:
· take serious calcium supplements to ensure adequate calcium intake, or
· cut back on the amount of breastmilk I provide for L.

I cannot run the risk of inadequate calcium intake after my experience a year ago (today!) breaking 3 bones in my foot. Calcium supplements are a bad idea for me since I tend to develop kidney stones. Therefore, I am hanging up my breastpump and going with option B. L. will now receive breastmilk mornings and evenings only. The rest of the day, she will get soy formula instead of milk to drink. Fortunately, she seems to like the stuff. Unfortunately, I feel that with her allergy, breastmilk would be her best bet for remaining healthy.

Today is my third day not to pump at work. I want to cry.

It was not supposed to be this way. She was supposed to be drinking cow’s milk and eating pretty much anything she wanted by now. We were supposed to be able to enjoy that first horribly messy ice cream cone this summer. Figuring out a birthday cake recipe for S.’s birthday (next month!) was supposed to be, well, a piece of cake. Eating out should not involve a careful review of the allergen information off the restaurant’s menu (if it even exists). We should be able to go to our friends’ 40th anniversary dinner and dance celebration without fretting about the menu. We should be able to go to Mr. W.’s dear friend’s 95th birthday party without fear that someone will slip L. a piece of cake.

I’m fortunate, I know. Legislation has recently gone into effect requiring labeling of any of the top allergens in food products. The EpiPen is available just in case she does go into anaphylactic shock. Many, many other children have much more severe allergies to a much wider range of foods. I am having a hard time seeing through my fears right now, though. My fears that at daycare L. will snatch another child’s bottle and take a drink, that a company will screw up their product labeling and that L. will develop another food allergy have taken over.

For the first time ever, I am truly afraid for my child. I am trying to pray and find the peace that God always brings me, but at present my fear is wrapped around me in deep, dark, light-swallowing layers hiding me from that peace.


Sunday, March 12, 2006

Reason No. 635 Why I Love Our Doctor

We have an appointment with the allergist on Tuesday afternoon! It typically takes six weeks to get in to see a specialist, and it's taken us exactly one week to get in.


Friday, March 10, 2006

I Passed my Test!

It was by the skin of my teeth, but I passed ARe 144 Reinsurance Principles and Practices offered by the American Institute for CPCU and Insurance Institute of America. Of course, if I had studied for more than 10 hours, I would have done better than a pass on the teensiest, tiniest of margins.

All I have left to get my Associate in Reinsurance is ARe 145, which is a readings in reinsurance class. Then, I can take the one remaining exam I need to get my Associate in Regulation & Compliance. Then maybe after that, I will take the risk management classes... LOL! I'm obsessed!

The last test I took of any kind (well, except for pregnancy related tests, LOL) was back in November 2003. Sheesh, I didn't realize it had been so long since I indulged in my bizarre little obsession with taking insurance courses. Oh well, Mr. W. doesn't complain too much. Partly because I do wait until the last minute and only study for a couple of days so our family life isn't disrupted too badly, and partly because the company gives me a little incentive payment when I pass. I'm using part of this one to buy the latest Harry Potter movie.

Of course, I am also toying with taking one or two of the big mama actuarial exams. Those would require significantly more discipline on my part (read: I would have to study on a consistent basis and not just the week before the exam). I had planned to take one in late 2005, but pregnancy with Miss L. made me so sick that studying was entirely out of the question.

M.W. - I passed my test!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

8.5 Ounces

I pumped 8.5 ounces of breastmilk today! Woohoo!

Here's a pic of the kiddos (yes, I know it's a year old, LOL), but this is one of my all time favorites.


Reason Number 634 Why I Love Our Doctor

We got home last night and had a message on our answering machine from Dr. S. that he would try again to get hold of us today. This morning, I called the clinic and left a message that he could reach me on my work phone during the day.

He called a half hour ago to let me know that:

A. He had consulted with an allergist he thinks VERY highly of and would like to refer us to him if we don't mind the 2 hour drive. The last specialist he referred was fabulous, so I'm very happy about this development.

B. He was going to look into getting a RASP? test done on L. to try to figure out precisely what her allergy is. He wasn't sure if the blood could be drawn at his clinic or if it needed to be done at the allergist's clinic. Apparently MAO does the analysis for this particular test.

C. I need to remove all dairy and dairy products from my diet if I am going to continue breastfeeding (already done!).

If not for another stupid system problem at work and a test I have scheduled for tomorrow, I would be on cloud nine. We found vegan chocolate truffles at our local grocery store, and they are delicious (not just in the 'oh it's pretty good for being healthy' sort of way either).


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Things I Learned While Talking to Our Doctor Yesterday

1. L. is too small to use an epi-pen. Even a dose from the epi-pen jr is too high for her body weight. Overdose from epinephrine can cause heart problems.

2. We should keep Benadryl elixir on hand just in case she starts getting rashy again.

3. Our doctor will consult with an allergist for us. This is actually a relief because getting to our insurance company's allergists involves at least a 1/2 day commitment and a couple hours on the road, plus (based on previous experience) it could take six weeks to actually get an appointment to see the allergist. Our doctor will probably get a response within a week. If I still feel lost after talking to our doctor again, I will keep pushing.

4. The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network and the Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics organizations have good info for parents of kids with allergies.

Additional thing I learned today: While my town does not have a single health food store, there are a number of them in the city 90 miles away. A good friend assures me that one in particular offers vegan foods including vegan chocolate!


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Things I've Learned About Eliminating Dairy from my Diet

1. There are some really scary vegan-style cheese substitutes out there. The un-scary ones are frighteningly expensive.

2. Coca Cola and canned beef soup have dairy in them (caramel color is the culprit ingredient).

3. Soy milk does not have enough fat to support a growing baby's brain development.

4. Breastfed babies tend to turn their noses up at the taste of soy formula. We're going to experiment on L. this evening.

5. Surprisingly, Tex mex is relatively dairy free once you remove the cheese.

6. I am almost willing to pay whatever it costs to get hold of some vegan chocolate. I would probably be completely willing if I knew how the stuff tastes.

7. Chicken nuggets are also contaminated with dairy. There is typically whey in the coating.

8. Deli meats are a bad idea since the same blade that slices cheese could be slicing the meat.


Day two of the relactation project

So I'm on day three of trying to rebuild my milk supply. Yesterday was pretty depressing with a grand total of 3 ounces pumped, when I really want to be producing between 8 and 10 ounces each day. Today's definitely better with 5 ounces so far (yay me!).

L. woke up this morning much happier than she has in days. I think the last of the dairy has worked its way out of her system as she has no rash anywhere and is pretty chipper again. I'm a little concerned that she has begun spitting up again. Let's just hope and pray she isn't developing a reaction to the soy in the soy milk we've begun to give her. Either way, I found out there are two pediatric allergists on my health plan, and we've got an appointment to talk to our primary care physician. I'm going to really push for a referral because I am very scared and confused (and a little depressed as well, I want some chocolate in the absolute worst sort of way).


Monday, March 06, 2006

Oh GAG!!!

I want a new office!!!

So I'm already feeling nauseated after this weekend's adventure. I have now had to listen to someone hurling her guts out in the restroom not once but twice today! Somebody here is either very sick or pregnant. If she is sick, she needs to get her little self HOME. If she's pregnant, I hope today is just a one-time shot. Can you imagine having to listen to someone else hurl for however long the morning sickness lasts (in my case 6 months both times).

I hate having an office that shares a wall with the restroom...


Update 3/9/06: I'm guessing pregnant since I heard her yesterday and again today. Poor thing.

I want some chocolate and I feel guilty

Ironically, the same weekend the Academy Awards were presented, I lost my chance at winning ‘Parent of the Year.’ This is a post full of self-doubt, guilt and a tiny little bit of pity party thrown in for good measure. If you’re not up for a downer, skip this one.

Miss L. had three outbreaks of hives following consumption of and/or playing with American style cheese. Since I’m a follower of the general guideline once is an accident, twice is a coincidence and thrice is a trend, I decided there was something in that cheese that L. was allergic to. At her one year checkup, her doctor agreed with me and suggested that it was probably an allergy to the dye used.

The next week, I contacted Kraft to ask them what precisely they meant by ‘artificial color’ that appeared on the ingredient list. March 1, I had my answer (apocarotenal and annatto, if you care to know). I thought we had the mystery allergy solved. Just skip giving the baby anything with ‘artificial color’, ‘apocarotenal, or ‘annatto’ in the ingredient list. Since L. is still very much on a baby-type diet, this was easy enough to do. Further research on the web revealed that annatto was a known allergen and could cause hives outbreaks.

L. had been getting the occasional bottle of whole cow’s milk with no apparent problem, so I didn’t think anything about it when I gave her a second bottle Saturday afternoon. She had been fussy all day, and I was pretty stressed out by it so I left her in her crib and walked away for a few minutes. (Note: Why oh why do these kinds of things happen while Mr. W. is not home with me?)

S. had been a little banshee, probably a result of the Albuterol she had been taking to control her asthma symptoms that had been completely gone for 18 months, but that’s another post. I let her play outside so long as she remained in full view of our living room window. She had just come inside to ask me if she could still play outside, when L.’s fussing turned into full-blown crying.

I went in to pick L. up out of her crib and carried her out to the living room to change her diaper. I got as far as laying L. down, while trying to tell S. that yes, she could go outside when I realized something was very wrong with L.’s face. She looked like she was covered in 100+ bee stings, her eyes were puffy and when I pulled up her onesie, I saw welts going all the way down her torso to her belly button. I briefly considered calling 911. Since L. was still yelling normally, I decided her breathing was not affected.

Mommy instinct took over, and I stripped L. down and plopped her in a slightly warmer than lukewarm bath. Thirty seconds after I started washing her, she settled down and became her normal cheerful self. Somewhere around ten minutes into her bath, the swelling went down on her face. An hour after that, all signs of redness were gone. The only marks were a couple of scratches she gave herself while she was so itchy. She has received no milk products of any kind since then. She did develop red welts all over her bottom after yesterday’s poop, but thankfully, that has been the last of it. Mr. W. bought some soy milk, and we started her on that last night.

So here I am with a 1 year old who clearly (I think) has an allergy to milk, and I’m scared. I don’t know what I should do next. I worked so hard to diminish my milk supply so I didn’t have to worry about pumping during the day only to have this happen. Should I re-establish my daytime supply? Should I just wean her altogether? If I don’t wean her, I will need to eliminate all dairy from my diet as well as hers. After my experience with broken bones, I’m afraid to get rid of my primary source of calcium. If I do wean her, I know I will be a wreck since emotionally I’m just not ready for that. I’m feeling guilty for all the milk I drank while nursing her, and I’m fretting about what I should have done differently. Did we introduce milk too quickly? too slowly? Why didn't I think that maybe it wasn't just the cheese? Why was she able to tolerate milk for two weeks with no problems before? Or maybe all that fussiness was not just her teeth coming in?

I have not talked to our doctor yet because Mondays are a zoo at the clinic, and I want him to spend some time with me/us discussing this latest development. Wish me luck. I'm hoping to get L. in to see a pediatric allergist very soon.


Friday, March 03, 2006

I was quoted!

One of the blogs I occasionally frequent is The Lactivist, a forum where breastfeeding is strongly endorsed. Jennifer has a lot of excellent, excellent info about everything from the practical to the humorous to the political issues surrounding breastfeeding. Imagine my surprise when I took a look at her post promoting The Pumping Project on Rookie Moms . Rookie Moms is a forum for new moms to go and pick up first hand tips on being a new mommy. The Pumping Project was a post encouraging moms who have pumped milk to share their unusual pumping experience. I'm a bit of a cheerleader when it comes to mommies pumping milk for their babies, so I contributed my own special story about pumping at the same time my company decided the building's windows needed washing.

The Lactivist took a couple of quotes off The Pumping Project post, and mine is the one about the man hanging from ropes.

It was a bit of a shock seeing my own words out in cyberspace. Pretty funny, too. And especially ironic since today is the first day I intentionally left my pump at home.

M.W. - who learned a valuable lesson about pumping milk in an office with windows when the window washers have come to visit

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Worms in Motion

This masterpiece was created on Tuesday while S. was hanging out in my office. Poor baby was sick, and I thought a few minutes in Microsoft Paint would keep her quiet while I got some work done. She is currently enthralled with all kinds of creepy crawlies. This is a study in worms. My favorite is the little yellow one in the center toward the top.


Why I Did Not Want to Come to Work Today

1. 8:00 am meeting to prep for an 8:30 am meeting. Turns out 8:00 meeting was canceled, so went into 8:30 slightly less than well prepared.

2. S. is still not feeling 100% and has been very sweet and affectionate. She even wants me to come to work in her school so I can always be in her class. Boy do I hate these guilt trips.

3. L. did not want me to leave her when I dropped her off at daycare. She held on tightly to my shirt and assumed the rigid 'don't put me down' pose. She also plopped down on the ground and burst into tears when she realized I really was leaving.

4. The weather is gorgeous. It would be a perfect day to take the girls to the zoo, park, anyplace really. Instead I'm stuck in my dinky interior office with not even a view of the great outdoors to keep me company.

5. So far today I've found two system problems, and I wish I were at home blissfully unaware of them.

M.W. (ho hum)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Where'd it go?

So I had a long, exquisitely beautiful blog entry. It would have created world harmony, ended poverty and made Barney’s voice significantly less annoying. I would have paved the way to harmonization and put and end to the mommy wars. In the midst of my inspired rapid-fire typing, a dialog box opened mid-stream and poof! everything was gone. Just like that. I don’t really know what that dialog box says since it’s gone by the time I finally register what has happened. Of course, I should have learned my lesson the first six or so times this has happened.

M.W. – who does eventually learn valuable lessons and will now draft everything in Word, or will until she forgets again

Must… Stop…

I must not write long blog entries while in Blogger since they can be lost very easily.
I must not write long blog entries while in Blogger since they can be lost very easily.
I must not write long blog entries while in Blogger since they can be lost very easily.
I must not write long blog entries while in Blogger since they can be lost very easily.
I must not write long blog entries while in Blogger since they can be lost very easily.
I must not write long blog entries while in Blogger since they can be lost very easily.
I must not write long blog entries while in Blogger since they can be lost very easily.

Of course, writing sentences would be more effective if I actually had to write them rather than copy and paste over and over.

M.W. (sigh)