Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Here's to trying new things!

Today I did something that I never thought I'd do. Something I bet none of you have ever done.

I called a food company to ask what they meant by including "natural flavors" on their ingredients list.

It turns out it's a "trade secret" and they couldn't tell me what "natural flavors" they use in their ground chicken. Yep. They could tell me that it doesn't include what the kind lady called "allergens," which she clarified to mean corn, gluten, soy, artificial colors, yada, yada, yada. But one thing that she knew was included was rosemary.

So that means that unless we can find a different kind of ground chicken without extra ingredients, no more chicken burgers for Caleb. The poor kid is gonna be crushed.

Thankfully the kind lady had a subtle Minnesotan accent. It made me happy, even though I was sad to hear that we have to limit Caleb's foods once again. And she told me of another type of ground chicken that they sell that I might be able to find at a few stores 30 minutes south of here. Definitely worth looking into. Or maybe I'll just have to get up the courage to ask the store's butcher to grind some fresh chicken breasts for me.

I'm takin' all sorts of steps outside of my comfort zone lately! Anything for my little Cal and his chicken burgers.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Russell MANIA!

Warning: It may be impossible to look at these pictures only once. This kid is just irresistible! I can't get enough of him!

Giggling at three months old:

Rolling over at three months old:

Ok, now go look at this little cutie again! I could just eat him up!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

It's about time for another medical update

I don't think I've given much of an update on Caleb's medical status since this post. So it's about time!

Caleb seemed to handle the milk-based formula just fine. After a month or so of switching formula, his vomiting decreased drastically, so we introduced pears. They looked good. So we introduced peaches. They looked good. So we introduced barley infant cereal, which he refused to eat because, hello, what two-year-old is gonna like that texture? So we forgot about barley. We introduced beef. His vomiting increased a bit. So we took away beef and introduced carrots. The vomiting was still just as bad. So we took away carrots. [Two days ago Caleb saw carrots in the fridge and asked for them. I said, "No, you can't have carrots. They make your tummy hurt." Then yesterday, as he was eating his lunch, he randomly said, "I not eat carrots. They make my tummy owie." Smart, cute, sad little guy.]

So the GI doctor suggested another food to try after taking away carrots, and I suggested giving his body a week or two to have a break to make sure that the vomiting was related to the beef and carrots, and not to something else. And guess what happened in those two weeks? The vomiting stayed the same.

So we've only added two new foods in the last four months.

So. We are stuck between a rock and a hard place. A catch-22. It seems that his body is rejecting the formula again, like it did with the hypo-allergenic medical formula. His honeymoon period with the new formula is over and we don't know what to do next. It's possible that he is having an allergic reaction to the milk proteins in the formula, but my mommy gut tells me that's not the case. But it may be worth it to do a scope, anyway, to make sure that the eosinophils haven't returned...but scopes are so hard on poor Cal. He doesn't do well with anesthesia.

So I suggested trying a blended diet to see if his body would be happier with more real food and less formula. The GI doctor happily agreed. We did it for about a week, and he was still vomiting about once a day, and swallowing hard after each tube feeding, showing an effort to keep the food from coming up.

In that time he also had a lot of behavioral vomiting. Every time he would be exposed to a group of two or more unfamiliar people, he would get scared and automatically vomit. After vomiting, he would be a social butterfly. He just plain feels better on an empty stomach. This kid would love it if he could just starve.

He also vomits when he cries. And he's two. He has tantrums. It's not pretty.

But he continues to vomit in his sleep, so it's not entirely behavioral.

So, we're trying another medication to control the vomiting. I think this is the sixth or seventh med we've tried for this...? It's hard to remember. He's had a few vomit-free days, so that's been nice. But he's also been sick (with a stomach virus and now a cold) so the vomiting has increased because of that. His lips are currently so dry they're cracked. :(

And even if we can get the vomiting to disappear with this new med, will the med mask the symptoms of his allergic reactions if we introduce more new foods? See what I mean about the rock and a hard place? If only we could give him more foods then he wouldn't need as much formula and hopefully the vomiting would stop. But we can't give him new foods until the vomiting stops...UGH!

The next thing that I want to try is giving him rice milk and stop the formula all together. The only things in rice milk that he isn't already eating are sunflower/safflower/canola oil. Rice milk is very low in calories, so we would have to use the oils to add extra calories to his other foods, and give him a multivitamin. And probably buy a $450 blender so we can blend up real food to put through his tube to give him a more balanced diet. At least as balanced as nine foods can get.

So that's where we're at. At least he's only throwing up once a day, instead of 3x a day, like before. If it gets worse, I imagine the GI doctor will throw in the towel and say that he feels all together better when he eats foods that he's allergic to than when he drinks the formula that makes him sick, so we will start to give him any food, without restrictions. If it comes to that, Nate and I have decided that we would see about seeing the world's best specialists in Philadelphia. I've thought about bringing him to someone in Mayo Clinic, so we can see my family on the same trip...but Philadelphia has the world's best, and Caleb deserves the best! We need to get this little guy feeling better.

Oh, and he had a weight check at the GI's office--22 lbs 13 oz with a t-shirt and a wet diaper on. He was 21 lbs 1 oz four months ago. He has gained enough to stay just as far below the curve as he was before (something like -25th percentile) but he is no longer playing catch-up, like he was before. His first few months with the tube and he was gaining a pound a month! Then the next few months he was gaining half a pound a month. Now he's slowing down even more. It wasn't a horrible weight to be at, but it would be nice if we could get him to gain more. As always.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Russell is 3 months! (+2 days)

I can't believe how fast this little termie grows and changes! He has changed so much! At three months old, Russell:
  • Wears Costco size 1-2 diapers
  • Has gone through more than two boxes of Costco diapers! There are 216 diapers in a box, people! That's nuts!
  • Has been wearing 0-3 month clothes for less than two weeks, and some of them are starting to look a little snug. These are the same clothes that Caleb wore when he was 11 months old!!!!!
  • Has giggled once, and almost giggled two or three other times
  • Is happiest when I'm nursing him and reading a story to Caleb at the same time...he LOVES story time and could just look at me and smile forever :)
  • Has had three pretty good nights of sleep (the last three nights). One night he slept from 1AM to 7:30, and then from 8 to 11:30! The next night he slept from midnight to 6:30 and then from 7 to 10:30. Last night he slept from midnight to 5:30 and then woke up at 8:30. I'm not complaining, because it's much better than going to bed at midnight and waking up at 3:30, 7, and 10, which is what he has done like clockwork for pretty much his whole life. And he goes right back to sleep after a feeding. Now we just have to work with getting to bed earlier! Some day I hope he sleeps from 9PM to 10AM, just like Caleb. And then has a morning nap from 10:30AM to noon, just like Caleb used to :)
  • Has been doing AWESOME at afternoon naps! About five times now I've been able to lay him down right before Caleb's 3PM nap, and he goes right to sleep on his own and sleeps soundly until 6PM, when Caleb wakes up. I'm loving it!
  • Will only put himself to sleep if he is in the European swaddler that my friend Amy got for Caleb when he was a baby. It's a soft, pillowy thing that surrounds him and ties as tightly as I want. He loves it! I'd be going crazy without it
  • Refuses to take a binky any longer. He just gets more mad when we try to give one to him, like we're trying to trick him. He only wants the real deal. But he has grown somewhat fond of his hands, which I kind of like
  • Is MUCH happier now that I've cut dairy out of my diet. I love my ice cream, but I love me a happy baby much more! His {poop} (sorry for the dirty word) is still loose and full of mucous, so he may have another food sensitivity going on, but he is happy and that's the main thing I care about!
  • Definitely recognizes his parents and his brother. He smiles every time he sees Caleb, even though Caleb is usually pretty oblivious
  • Loves, loves, loves his swing and gets furious if it stops moving while he's awake (and usually wakes up if it stops moving while he's asleep)
  • Cannot do tummy time on his boppy pillow because he always slides down and gets stuck with his face planted in the pillow. He doesn't like that at all
  • Does not like to snuggle at all. He only likes to be held facing away from whoever holds him. He has fallen asleep that way a few times
  • Is a sweet little addition to our family that we are glad to have.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Lots of random thoughts bouncing around inside of my head....

One day Caleb walked past Russell, whose hands were in fists, and gave him "pounds."


Why oh why do some kids fight sleep so much?


I have grown to love nursing my baby. I especially love when I change his diaper in the middle of a feeding to wake him up a bit, and his eyes flutter awake...he looks at me and gives me the best sleepy grin in the world. He loves me. :)


Remember Caleb's Hungry Leg? (The last video on the post.) Well, Russell has one now, too! I'd take a video, but The Leg doesn't get going until I put him on the nursing pillow on my lap, just before he starts to nurse. So you'd have to catch me with my shirt up. And that's not going to happen. But, I love the hungry leg. :)


Caleb had a little scab on his wrist and the other day he said, "I take the owie off?"


Caleb loves to spot LDS Temples and Churches while on car rides. There's a cute little children's song about temples and Caleb often requests that we sing it. A few days ago, I heard him sing, "I yove to see da temple..." and then, "for da temple is a house of God...." I'm so proud!


Caleb is still rear-facing in his car seat (and will be for as long as possible!), and no one can tell me that rear-facing kids don't see as much. Caleb sees EVERYTHING! We talk a LOT while driving. He tells me every time he sees something...a leaf, a bird, a farm, a big truck, a tractor (aka, construction vehicles), a school bus, a horse, a cow, a bike....The thing that he most commonly points out is basketball hoops, believe it or not. "I see a basketball hoop ober dere (over there)!" (Said with great, nay, extreme enthusiasm. And repeated until he gets acknowledged.)


One word that Caleb uses every few days is "mamenos." I have no idea what it means. (Nate just asked Caleb where the mamenos went, and Caleb said, "In the kitchen." Now he's looking through the pantry. Maybe it's something in there....)


Since Caleb could say the word "monkey" (about a year ago, I'd say), he has identified the Kool Aid pitcher man as a monkey. He gets very excited when he finds the Kool Aid packets in the pantry, exclaiming, "I found a monkey!" Don't ask me way.kool-aid powder


Four consecutive hours of sleep feels amazing after three months of two to three hours of sleep in a row.


The most disgusting thing that I can currently think of is when a baby spits up on you while eating. I'm talkin' breastfeeding here, people. Gross.


One day, shortly after putting Caleb down for his nap, we heard a very terrified cry on the monitor. Nate rushed up to see what was wrong and found Caleb standing there with his hand covered in poop, saying, "Poo-poo hand!" with tears in his eyes. The pointer finger on his other hand had a spot of poop on it. I can imagine what was going through Caleb's mind. He had pooped in his diaper and, out of curiosity, put his hand down his pants to see what was going on. Upon seeing stinky brown stuff on his hand, he gently examined it with the other hand before figuring out that it was...POOP! At which point he cried hysterically until Daddy came to the rescue. I mean, poop is yucky! I'm glad that he didn't think it was paint that belonged on the wall. That would have been yucky.


When asked by Grandma and Grandpa who his friends in the Church nursery are, Caleb responded, "Lily...James...then Daddy clean up frow up." Yes, yes, Daddy cleans up throw up every week in nursery. Sad, isn't it?


We bought our plane tickets to Disney World next month. WOOHOO!


A retired linguist selling Forever Sharp knives in WalMart the other day commented on Caleb's vocal skills. He was very impressed and told me to teach Caleb how to read right away. "Don't waste that!" he said, over and over. I bought his knives. Yesterday I was using one of the knives to slice an avocado. I was two thirds of the way through the pit before I realized that I was cutting something hard. Those knives are amazing. So is Caleb.


Caleb is very observant. He hears every plane that's flying in the sky whenever he's outside, and he must point it out. "I hear a airplane! [Looking around.] Ober dere! I see a airplane way up dere!" (I think it's about time he learn the proper use of "an.") Just about when you think he's done talking about airplanes, he says, "Dandad [Granddad] flies airplanes." It's true. Smart kid.


When Russell is hungry, he breathes very fast through his nose before he starts to cry. I wouldn't be surprised if he hyperventilated some day.


When Russell cries, Caleb says, "Don't cry, Baby Russell. Don't be sad, Baby Russell."


The other day, we were going on a little drive just for fun, so we brought Meggie with us. She was on the floor in the back seat and for some reason she yelped. Caleb said, "Don't be sad, Meggie Doggie."


One of Caleb's most commonly uttered phrases is: "I need help, Mommy." Is he really two?


A lot of the words that start with "s" Caleb pronounces with an "f." We take advantage of that for immature purposes. "What store did we go to that has all of the animals?" "Pet Fart!" "Is Daddy smart?" "Daddy fart." "Is Caleb smart?" "Cay-bid fart." lol Makes me laugh every time!