Friday, November 21, 2014

Forty-Eight Weeks

We saw Vivi's GI dude this week, and he's very happy with how she's doing.  She weighs 16 lbs 8 oz, which puts her in the same percentile as last time.  She's growing as she should be.  

We're taking her off the acid blockers.  This is not only good news for her tummy, but also for our wallet!  Hoo-ray!  

Speaking of chubby babies, Vivi is great at getting food in her own mouth.  I feel like Maddie didn't have that skill mastered until the age of three, but Vivi shovels it in by the fistful, forkful, or cupful.  

Those chubby cheeks are not just for kissing and squeezing though.  She hides  food in them.  When there's no more room, she spits all the mushed up food back out.  Gross.  Sometimes she spits the food out half an hour after she's eaten.  It's like she's preparing for winter.  

We tried avocado again this week without incident.  Last week's rash must have been from her clothing.  Hoo-Ray!

She now loves avocado, beans, grapes, and applesauce the best.  We had spicy chili for dinner one night this week, and she loved it!  Maddie likes spicy foods too.  It always surprises me.  

Vivi is a champion pointer.  She points at pictures on the wall, people walking by, toys she wants.  Pretty much everything. When Eric gets home from work, she crawls up to him and gives him the double point.  "You.  Hey, you.  I know you, man."  

We have a red headed witch decoration that we hung on our door for Halloween. Today, Vivi pointed at the witch, then pointed at me, then back to the witch.  She repeated this gesture several times.  I guess I look like a witch.  

She's getting braver about standing solo.  I think she'd be able to walk if she were just a little more confident about letting go.  We'll see.

She's also been a bit better around other people.  Not the doctors...who touch her, but people who stay a comfortable distance away seem okay.  

She's entering such a fun age.  We can see the wheels turning.  We can watch her facial expressions as she processes the world.  Communication is growing.  Her personality is fully emerging.  

I can't believe we'll be celebrating her first birthday next month.  Life is passing so quickly...too quickly.  Sob.  My baby!  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Parenting, Currently

I broke my rule of no Christmas until after Thanksgiving tonight.  I know, right?  Who AM I?  

Dinner is hot on the stove, the house smells like cornbread, the lights are dim, and we're waiting for Eric to get home from work.

Madeline is wearing her Anna costume and twirling around the living room to the Christmas music.  Vivi and I are her audience, though the baby is more concerned with chewing on a toy than her sister's dance moves.  

Life is good.  Bring on the holiday season!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Vivi: Forty-Seven Weeks

Vivi tried avocado for the first time yesterday.  I didn't have high hopes since her sister gags every time she tastes the stuff, but Vivi loved it!  She also loves black beans.  Perhaps it's all the burritos she was fed in utero.  I was fist pumping all afternoon until Vivi broke out in a really nasty rash a few hours later.  

Her skin has been clear the last few days, (the new skin care routine is working well) so it was a pretty obvious eruption.  Maybe it was the avocado.  Drat!  This baby needs some fats!  

On the other hand, she also wore a new sweatsuit yesterday. The rash was mainly on her legs and forearms where the onesie she was wearing underneath the sweatsuit wasn't covering her skin. Hmm.

Sigh...Vivi's life is one giant, rashy experiment.  

In other news, though she may be rashy, she's also the cutest baby on the planet.  Her smile kills me.  It's a slow, sweet, shy grin.  I die a million deaths from too much cute every day all day.  

She's invented a new game out of grabbing Eric's toes.  He wiggles them just as she touches his foot, and it startles her.  She lets out a little gasp, a giggle, and shuffles away.  As soon as it appears that Eric is no longer paying attention, she sneaks up on his toes again.  It's so funny watching her trying to be sly.  

She loves looking out the window.  She perches on the back of the sofa in the sun like a cat watching the world go by.  Sometimes she catches a glimpse of her own reflection and waves happily at herself.  

She's started reaching for me when she wants to be picked up.  It gets me every time.  This morning she did it to Madeline.  

Vivi and Madeline crack eacother up in the backseat of the car.  I don't know what they're laughing at, but whatever it is, they think it's very funny.  

They also hold hands from their car seats. It's the sweetest thing ever.  

She had a few rough nights earlier in the week that kept us up all night.  Her lone tooth is bigger, so maybe it was a teething issue.  Her poops are back on track, so it wasn't that.  

We've all been sharing germs, so it's been a quiet week.  Vivi spends most of her time trying to escape to whatever area of the house we are not in.  

Munchkin.  This baby is a munchkin.  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Through Maddie's Eyes

Madeline loves taking pictures.  Often I'll turn on my phone to find fifty blurry photos of the floor, or a random toy, or a boot.  Among these blurs, however, I get a glimpse of the world from Madeline's point of view.

Sometimes I'm sitting beside her when she's taking the pictures, but most of the time, I'm not.  It's a fun surprise looking through my phone after the girls have gone to bed.  What did Madeline find interesting today?  Beautiful?  Worth remembering?

Her afternoon snack:

Evil witch in a bowl of rocks:

A Starbucks gift card:

Mumma and Vivi lounging in the sun:

A princess lunch box:  

A bow from her birthday present:  

Her noble steed, Maximus:

Vivi at a restaurant:

Cinderella wearing a Maddie Bear original vegetable dress:  

Vivi's diapers:
Anna doll:  (I love this one.  Makes me laugh.)  

Her dollhouse:

A play cupcake wrapper on her princess table:  

Mumma loading the dishwasher: 

And, a portrait of the artist...

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Vivi: Forty-Five and Forty-Six Weeks

Well, if you read my last post, you know that Vivi is allergic to milk, peanuts, and eggs.  Boo.

Her belly was a mess this week too.  I always know big poop drama is on the way when she stops sleeping well and rejects all solids.  Last week, when things going well, we tried going without laxatives for a few days.  Mistake.   She clearly still needs them to function properly.  

She's sixteen pounds now.  That means she only gained one pound in the past two months and is in the fifth percentile.  We meet with GI soon, and I'm curious to see what he'll think of her.  I suspect we'll be changing formula.  

I need to pack some calories on this girl, but without dairy, it's hard.  Plus, Vivi is a picky eater.  She likes bluberries, black beans, and peaches.  Everything else she just tolerates or spits out.  Carrots are not her friend.  She doesn't like prunes anymore either...not that I can blame her.  

She loves bite-sized food and feeding herself.  I have a hard time getting her to eat purées.  

We haven't fed her meat yet.  I'm worried about what that will do to her digestive system.  

She still only has one tiny sliver of a tooth.  It's quite sharp, and she does a good job mashing things with her gums.  

Vivi is very happy and active in spite of her troubles.  She continues to get into everything.  She zooms around the house on all fours.  

Yesterday I watched her go from a crouch to standing without holding on to anything.  She was able to stand for several seconds before she lowered herself back to the floor.  

She likes to climb.  She used Eric as a step-stool and climbed on top of the ottoman the other afternoon.  She is obsessed with the stairs.  Good thing we can block them off.  

She's constantly banging her head on things.  It drives me insane.  I don't remember having this problem with Maddie, but Vivi is a more active baby.  

Her personality is shining.  She's a mixture of sweet and rascal with a flair for 
the dramatic.  She had a runny nose earlier in the week and you'd think she was dying at night by the way she howled and whined.  If conditions are not to her liking, she lets everyone know it.  

Madeline had her shots last week.  The nurses wanted me to hold Maddie, so one of them held Vivienne.  Well, Maddie didn't let out a yelp or a whimper.  Vivi, on the other hand, screamed for thirty minutes.  The wrong child was crying!  

Vivi loves playing with Madeline.  Poor Maddie Bear can't get away from her.  She likes to grab the same guys Maddie is using, and she's very persistent.   Can't distract this baby with anything.  

She loves music.  She dances to everything from commercials, to Maddie singing, to Eric drumming his hands on the table.  She grooves.  

She's "talking" up a storm.  Her babbles sound just like a conversation.  She says dada as clear as a bell, and she's working on mumma.  When I get her from her crib in the morning, she says, "Umm-ma! Umm-ma!"  

We weren't sure how she'd handle Halloween, but she was great.  She sat wide-eyed in her stroller and didn't make a peep the entire time we trick-or-treated.

We love our little bean sprout.  I can't believe she's nearly a year old.    

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Maybe Kale is Our Only Option...

Vivi had some allergy testing done today. She's allergic to milk, (no surprise there) eggs, and peanuts.  

Eggs and milk are in everything.  This Mumma is going to need to brush up on her vegan baking skills...

I went to the pharmacy after her appointment and left with this:

A huge box filled with her monthly supply of formula, epi-pens, hydrocortisone ointment, and laxatives.  I could run a pharmacy out of my kitchen.  

On the bright side, she was also tested for allergies to almonds, casein (a dairy protein), soy, apples, sweet potatoes, and coconuts.  All of these were negative.  She'll at least be able to drink almond, soy, or coconut milk going forward.  And Maddie should probably get used to the idea of almond-butter and jelly sandwiches.  

I was dreading the testing, but it was pretty painless.  Vivi cried when anyone touched her, but that's because she's antisocial.  It was actually an interesting process.  

She had a skin test. (A percutaneous test if you want to be fancy.) The doctor asked a lot of questions before deciding what foods to test for.  These items were then applied to her back on a grid.  The nurse actually pricks the skin a bit to allow the allergen to enter the body, but it didn't seem to hurt Vivi at all.  

Then we waited fifteen minutes to see if any red circles appeared.  Every few seconds, I'd peak at her back, and was both relieved and annoyed to watch her skin turn red in three places.  On one hand, I wasn't crazy.  She really IS allergic to food.  On the other hand, she really IS allergic to food...

Before cleaning her up, they measured the diameter of the rash.  I assumed this was to estimate the severity of the allergy, but it actually indicates the likelihood that the child will outgrow it. 

The milk circle was very small, so that's a good indicator that she will outgrow it in the near future.  Hoo-Ray!  It's also likely that she will outgrow her allergy to eggs.  Double Hoo-Ray!  The diameter of the peanut drop was the largest, and the doctor told me that people do not usually outgrow peanut allergies.  Bummer.  

However, the doctor made it very clear that false positives are common.  Then, I went home and did some research and found that false positives occur fifty to sixty percent of the time!  Um, okay...I'd call that common. (Please don't quote me on this statistic.  The Internet is also fifty to sixty percent unreliable.) 

It's tricky because Vivi has never eaten eggs or peanuts, so there's no way to know if she would have a reaction to them.  And nobody is going to stick a peanut down her throat just to see what happens.  Obviously.  She could go into anaphylactic shock or she could sniffle once, but we avoid these foods just in case.  We may now be in possession of several epi pens, but it's my goal to never use them.  

I do believe she's truly allergic to eggs though.  I was suspicious of eggs early on when she was still nursing. Her symptoms always seemed worse after I indulged in my favorite Eggs Benedict.  Womp.  

To throw another wrench in the puzzle, these results don't explain any of the symptoms she's currently experiencing because she hasn't had any milk, eggs, or peanuts.  Maybe there are other foods she's allergic to, or maybe her symptoms have nothing to do with allergies.  We have a more detailed skin-care regimen to follow to see if her ezcema improves, and more testing may be done in the future.  

In the meantime, I'm going to go polish off the last of the Halloween candy less some peanuts find their way into baby hands.  It's a tough task, but I'll do it.  After all, I'm a mother.  

Seriously though, I have zero experience with allergies.  My family eats everything. So, if you have any tips, resources, or recipes to pass along, I would be grateful!  Leave a comment or email me. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

 Happy Halloween from our little witch and kitty-cat!

Madeline's old enough to pick her own costume now.  First, she wanted to be Madeline from the books, which I was very excited about.  Then she wanted to be a candy princess, which I was not so thrilled about.  Then she went through a pumpkin phase before settling on a witch.  I asked, "Are you sure?" about twenty times before buying the supplies.  Once I got everything, it was too late to change her mind!

Once Madeline settled on being a witch, we decided Vivi should be her black cat.  It's fitting because Maddie was a cat for her first Halloween too.   

We're so excited to go out trick or treating tonight!  Madeline has been obsessed with Halloween this year.  It's so fun watching her get jazzed about holidays now.  Christmas is going to blow her mind this year if she's this excited about Halloween.  Vivi....we'll see.  She's not too happy around people let alone people dressed as goblins and ghosts.  

 Here's Madeline at her school's Halloween parade.  She didn't want to wear the hat even though she's worn it around the house on a daily basis for the past month.  Boo.  Hopefully I can get her to wear it tonight.  She's cute either way.