Tuesday, May 22, 2012

It's the little things...

My new sister has arrived!  OK that sounds a bit odd especially for those of you who know me, but it's true.  OK so technically she's my cousin, but her mother passed away about 8 years ago and my mother began the lengthy process of adopting her.  What makes this so interesting is that she was born and raised in a tiny village in Tanzania and arrived in yeg this weekend.
She's 19 now and for all intensive purposes is a typical teenager.  She loves texting and music videos.  She bores easily.  She rolls her eyes.  ALOT.  But there are some pretty big differences.  She has never seen or used a dishwasher or microwave.  She's lived without a flush toilet her entire life.  She has lived under power failures and brownouts.  She's used to charging her cell phone with a hand crank generator (the juxtaposition here makes me giggle!).  She doesn't look at you directly when you speak.  She speaks no english.  I could go on and on. 

Since her departure from her village less than a week ago she has seen more new things than she could have ever imagined and she is handling it all with a stride. 

Now the language barrier has been tricky.  Half my family speaks her native tongue.  The other half not a word.  Now this has added several decibels to our family dinner, but it's working great.  My 3 y.o. was doing flash cards with her.  She'll say the word in english and then learn the word in swahili.  CUTENESS!!!

Now when the conversation veers english for too long she has developed a strategy that involves grabbing my baby Pikey "Mr. Allergic" and playing with him.  They communicate silently.  It reminded me of that movie "Babies". It is adorable to watch and has led to some pretty hilarious moments:

1.  When she was explained that the rash on his face was due to a food allergy, she suggested we stop giving him the food that does that to him.

2.  When we explained that we were trying to that, she reponded that all we needed to do was smear him from head to toe in pork fat.  (We are totally going to try this!) stay tuned @Zoomjer

3.  Within moments of being introduced she had grabbed him by one hand, swung him over her shoulder and tied him to her back with a loose cloth.  This got me thinking of those baby wearing advocates like @CosyBbyHappyMom

4.  She is completely dismayed at the fact that this 8 month old is not crawling.  She is convinced there is something wrong with him.  I caught her dangling him by one arm dragging him from one room to the other trying to get his body to cooperate.  Stay tuned for results.

Now this fourth point has really got me thinking.  In her culture, they spend every waking moment with their babies trying to wean them from being physically dependent.  The faster they can crawl/walk/feed themselves, the faster they can contribute, or maybe less selfishly, survive.  Their babies make our babies look pathetic!  In our culture we always say "They'll sit/crawl/stand/walk when they're ready."  Is this really true?  Maybe there are ways we can pressure our kids into hitting these milestones earlier, but it is our own laziness that prevents it.  It's much easier to carry him from point A to point B than to drag him.  Am I right?  Who thinks this strategy will affect how quickly my kiddo starts moving?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ummmm. Ya... He's allergic to everything.

So forgive me if this post is all over the place, but given this is my first attempt at blogging and I'm a work from home mother of 2 berserker babes i'm just gonna let 'er rip! 

I need to vent about my 7 month old son, heretofore known as Pikey.

So Pikey is a dreamboat.  An absolute dreamboat.  Nothing but smiles.  The kind of kid that when you lean in for a kiss, he snuggles in to you.  Awwwwww.  This is what makes this next part so heart-breaking:  Child be allergic to EVERYTHING!! 

Now Pikey was a breastfed baby.  Now after reading Tech Mommy's blog post about BF issues, I'm now convinced he had some issues back then, but I persisted.  Afterall, breastfeeding is the single best thing you can do for your baby, right?  At about 5 months old we started supplementing with 1 bottle of formula at night.  Pikey be hungry!

He had rashes right from the beginning.  Our pediatrician, who is the WORST, just said: "It's eczema.  Very common.  It will clear on it's own." (Remind me to do a separate post on the over-specialization of AB's medical system!)

After a few months of no change, my girlfriend showed me a picture of a baby with a with a cow's milk protein allergy.  It looked just like my Pikey!  Red scaly patches on his cheeks.  After doing a bit of research, we switched him to Nutramigen, and saw an immediate change.  Hurrah!  Problem solved, right?  I continued breasfeeding with a bit of Nutramigen to supplement and all was swell for about a week.

Enter solids. Rice cereal.  This child's skin exploded.  Red welts all over his body.
Must be the formula in the cereal right?  Bought organic rice flour and mixed in Nutramigen.  No different. We stopped the rice and went to sweet potato.  No problem.  Squash.  OK.  Beans.  Alright. Chicken.  Mild rash. We then stopped new foods. This rash persisted.  I cut out rice from my diet then took him to the pediatrician.  She said "No detergent, or body soap.  Continue with the Nutramigen.  It'll pass." and sent him for an allergy test.

As we waited for the results, we tried apples and pear. Slight rash, not enough to discontinue.

Results:  Highly allergic to wheat.  Mildly allergic to milk and soy.  Low allergy to eggs. 
Recommendation: Delay introduction of peanuts and wheat.  Don't worry he'll grow out of it.  Also, these tests are HIGHLY unreliable.


So a month later, and he's still on the same restricted diet.  I stopped breastfeeding because it seemed he was having flare-ups from my wheat, rice and dairy consumption.  We've added carrots to the list of known allergens.  Who is allergic to carrots????  SERIOUSLY???  We tried a soy formula just to see if maybe anything had changed.  Child turned purple.  And had hives from head to toe.

Stay tuned...