Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Preschool Nirvana

Today was parent-child work day at Looly's school.  I got to stay with her after drop off and she got to teach me how to do all of the work she does each day.  Now excuse my gush.  After all, Roo gets most of the space here so how about a shout out for my big girl, right? 

Looly goes to a small Montessori school for all you locals who might want to check it out) with just one primary classroom  for kids age 3-6 and one toddler room for two-year-olds.  The teachers are amazing and somehow manage to have 25 kids working quietly, happily, and independently throughout the room on different tasks at any given time.  The children are so sweet and respectful to each other.  The room is airy and sunlit even on the grayest of days.  There's always the scent of fresh baked nut-free muffins or cookies wafting from the kitchen and the walls reverberate the soft giggly murmur of preschoolers discussing their work. 

Looly couldn't wait to show me everything from her pink coat hanger to the soap dispenser in the bathroom.  She was distraught momentarily as I didn't have indoor shoes to change into but eventually she let it slide when I pointed out that none of the adults had changed shoes.  She made sure that I greeted all of the children and her teachers by name and reminded me to do so when I accidentally forgot someone.  My face-burying leg clinger from long ago is now little miss manners spreading good mornings, waves, and smiles to the world.  So proud. 

When it was time to work she gathered her supplies and set up her own paints and water to paint a pig.  After laying her picture to dry and thoroughly cleaning her table, she cut patterns in paper.  We colored an Easter egg together and practiced writing numbers on a chalk board.  Perhaps most impressively,she read a bag full of words to me.  No pictures, no rote memorization - these were straight up type written words on plain white cards and she was sounding them out.  She's only three and a half!  Hot, not, got, lost, and rock, just to name a few.  Last we had a lovely breakfast together with her friends and some of the other parents.  She cleared plates for both of us like a proper hostess.  I have to admit I was sad to say goodbye but Looly was more than ready to get rid of me.  Because after me, it was Mufasa's turn.  Daddy!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Bean and Roo are two today!  This morning we went to Make a Messterpiece where the kids had a blast making a mess, I mean art.  They colored, painted, played, made bubble canvasses, and wore full rain gear to bang on huge drums full of paint in a plexiglass room.  So much fun. 

We celebrated some more tonight with make your own sundaes (coconut milk ice cream for Roo) topped with dairy free chocolate chips, fresh strawberries, crushed cookies, and sprinkles.  Happy birthday, little ones! 

Monday, March 15, 2010

GI Update

Thanks for all the well wishes for Roo's Friday GI appointment!  Overall things went as expected with a few surprises. 

As far as the GI doc is concerned, Roo's growth is following a curve.  He's not following "The" growth chart, but he is growing.  He weighed 20 pounds 15 ounces and that put him on a tiny slanting upward arc from where he was three months ago at 19 pounds 10 ounces.  Forgive me for not mentioning to the doctor that the previous weight was taken while he was naked and this one while fully clothed and diapered.  I was all too absorbed by the fact that his height has increased to 32.5 inches which is, drumroll please......officially on "The" chart.  In fact, it's 10th percentile for his age on the chart.  That's non-adjusted for prematurity, regular old 24-month old American boy height.  Yup yup.  Take that size 12-month pants!  We're moving up to long as we can find adjustable waistbands. 

The general consensus is that the eosinophilic esophagitis is not causing his vomiting anymore.  Unless we alter his diet drastically, which we have not, the EoE is not likely to be causing many problems at the moment.  There is no clear single cause for his eating issues and food aversion but rather a combination of EoE, regular food allergies, oral delay, reflux, and his learned avoidance behaviors. 

The recommendation is to see a feeding team.  We have a referral for a different GI doctor who specializes in food aversion.  He works as a team with a gaggle of other specialists - speech therapist, occupational therapist, nutritionist, psychologist, etc.  While Roo has seen all of these therapist types before, the beauty here is that they are all part of an integrated team.  We'll see how it goes. 

Roo will return to his old GI team for an EoE check-up and allergy testing in about six months.  Until then it's status quo for his diet - no eggs, nuts, milk, or beef, and full steam ahead trying to get him to eat, enjoy eating, keep food down, gain weight, and grow.  No problem I'm sure. 

The final surprise of the appointment was that our current GI doctor is leaving Children's Memorial.  I'm not thrilled since he's been good to us, and the fact that he is young, Indian, and has little twins of his own didn't hurt his reputation in our house.  In retrospect, however, I'm not so sure how I feel about him performing Roo's last surgery a couple of weeks after bringing his own newborns home.  Anyway, he's heading out of state to a clinic that currently has no EoE specialist.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Countdown to GI

Roo goes to the GI specialist this Friday.  So much for our 6 week challenge.  It seems we have failed miserably yet again.  He has gained a measly eight ounces in the three months since his last endoscopy and boy did we work for it!  We were doing so well there for a couple of weeks but as usual it's three steps forward, two steps (sometimes many more) back. 

He is twenty pounds.  Exactly twenty pounds.  Did I mention he'll be two next week?  All I'm hoping for now is a small, but acceptable, increase in height, since we've been accused of stunting his growth.  Okay, maybe not "accused" persay, but I wish they'd stop bringing up his shortness as a concern.  I mean, have they looked at Mufasa and me?  And technically, he is on the chart for height.  Nothing wrong with third percentile.  Nothing at all.  Besides, his pants look a little shorter, though they're gaping at the waist more than ever.  Thank goodness for adjustable waistbands or he would be sporting a wardrobe full of dresses and tunics.  At least they'd match Looly's sparkly shoes he loves so much. 

In a final effort to plump him up an ounce or two before the big weigh-in I've been focusing on some old favorites this week.  Pasta with turkey bolognese, rotisserie chicken drenched in dairy-free margarine, dairy-free mini-chocolate chips, heavily "buttered" rice, avocado in what else, olive oil dip, and strained raspberry coconut milk yogurt with scoops of soy formula stirred in.  Anyone care to join us for dinner?

Chicken pot-pie earlier this week was a hit.  As it turns out, Pillsbury ready-made pie crust is vegan and nut-free.  Very exciting news in our house.  I put it all on the line last night, however, with some citrus mahi mahi that was not well-received by anyone under age four.  Tonight it's lamb tagine, but I will safely serve plenty of oily couscous and buttery broccoli on the side.  In case of an emergency I have some meatballs at the ready in the freezer.  Keep your fingers crossed.  We have 45 hours and counting to give it our all and keep that dreaded feeding tube at bay.  Chants, vibes, wishes, prayers - whatever you've got to encourage "no more vomit!" are greatly appreciated.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Reflux too?

The somach flu, sloppy and violent as it was, went as quickly as it came, with Looly its lone victim.  She was a trooper.  Countless hours of PBS, snuggles from Nana and Grampy who were visiting, and a get well soon balloon surely sped along her recovery.  I'm still trying to figure out how Bean didn't succomb, given the sheer number of times she reached her hands into Looly's stainless steel throw up bowl.  Nice.  While Roo struggles, her immune system is ironclad.

Thrilled as I am the Roo didn't get sick, I'm now on a quest to figure out why (why oh why!) he won't stop throwing up.  He's off the suspected allergens (milk, eggs, nuts, beef) and the improvement was been dramatic in the past three months.  He is more active, more comfortable, more enthusiastic about coming to the dining table and generally jollier than he ever was before.  All good, right?  His clean scope in November indicated that he was indeed on the mend.  So why the heck won't he eat, keep his food down, and by all means, gain some weight? 

He ate a great dinner Friday night, drank a super cup of fortified soy formula, got in his pajamas, brushed his teeth, read stories, threw up vast quantities of soy milk, hotdog, veggies, and rice for a few minutes, then was perfectly happy to get his pj's changed and head off to bed.  Repeat the scene Sunday night with chicken, broccoli, and french fries.  I am so frustrated.  Is he still allergic to something or is it *just* gagging from the oral sensory delay? 

Or is it reflux?  He does not seem uncomfortable until the moment before he vomits.  As I'm sure I've made abundantly clear, he does not love to eat, but he does not seem uncomfortable while he's eating anymore either.  In general it's in the evening, after dinner, while drinking or soon after drinking and by some evil twist of fate, he's much more likely to vomit after a good meal than a poor one.  Vomit.  Everywhere.  Then, he's off to get a towel to clean up after himself (breaking my heart), and happy to change his clothes, go play, take a bath, go to bed, or whatever else is planned.  I know it's not a behavioral vomit.  He's not doing it to avoid anything.  Crying makes it worse - or more likely to happen.  A runny nose is our worst enemy (after peanuts and eggs).  I am so confused.  And so tired.  Ugh.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Onto the Stomach Flu

Looly was taken by surprise this morning and has been feverish, writhing in pain, and whimpering ever since.  Poor little munchkin. She is miserable and we've yet to turn the corner.  The rainbow of mini-popsicles I got for her seemed to help for a moment but were a mistake.   Now I'm keeping my fingers crossed for containment. 

But, Roo and Bean ate a good lunch for their Nana this afternoon while I huddled on the couch with Looly.