The Great Food Allergy Crisis of 2016

**Fair warning: This post is not for the weak stomached.**

I’m going to share a rather long (apologies) story about our recent bout with food allergies. A type of cereal that our daughter had eaten before started wreaking havoc when we switched brands, which is why it took us a while to figure out what was happening. If nothing else, maybe some of you will get a few good laughs out of this one. Enjoy!

Last month, our little princess got sick with what turned out to be a food allergy. It was a $#!+ storm…literally. For some ungodly reason, the Beach Nut brand multi grain cereal turned out little sweet pea into a fork-tongued poop demon. For two weeks, our entire house smelled like a state fair porta potty.

It all started with a simple runny nose. I initially thought, “Well, maybe it’s just seasonal allergies that are coming because of the weather changes and will go away soon.” After a couple of days of no change, I figured it must be a little cold, right? WRONG! The snot kept coming and getting thicker. Her nose ran constantly. I mean, seriously, how much mucus could one little nose possibly harbor?  Apparently the answer to that question is a crap ton. The fact that my poor child screamed like she was being tortured every time I had to wipe her nose only made the experience that much more awesome. Every. Single. Time. Which means she would scream bloody murder at me at least 20 times a day.

After the runny nose came the vomiting. I’m not talking  the, “Oh the sweet baby just spit up a little of her lunch,” vomiting. I’m talking full-on Exorcist style regurgitation. I swear, that tiny baby’s vomit could spray a distance of at least 3 feet! And she only seemed to vomit when either my husband or I was holding her, meaning every time it happend (which it did 3-4 times a day), one of us  was giving her a bath and then taking a shower. The good part is that the vomiting didn’t seem to bother her so much. She’d really just puke up whatever she needed to and move on with whatever activity she was engaged in prior to said fluid expulsion.

Then, after the vomiting, came the diarrhea along with the all-day fussiness. For 10 days, every dirty diaper she had was filled a pungent brown liquid. And we would know she’d pooped because it would leak out of her diaper. Every. Single. Time. I’m pretty sure her poo has now graced nearly every surface in our home. And have you ever tried to change a diaper for a very busy near-toddler who has just recently learned to walk and wants to spend all of her time running around and exploring her world? Well, if not, go grab yourself a very angry octopus and attempt to put a diaper on that. I’d almost be willing to pay you $100 if you could do it in under 5 minutes. As you can imagine, changing this girl’s diarrhea soaked pampers was a real challenge. Most times, she’d roll over and crawl away faster than The Flash with poo still streaming down her backside. Each diaper change, including cleanup, had become a near 20 minute ordeal. At one point, after hearing the all too familiar squishy sound of brown fluid emanating from her diaper, my husband casually asked, “Is this hell? Are we in hell?”

Along with the diarrhea came a horrible diaper rash. This leads me to perhaps what is the worst, yet most amusing experience I had with this whole endeavor. In the middle of the day on day 8 of diarrhea, it became almost impossible to get a diaper on my busy daughter. Given that her diaper rash was flaring and she’d just had a poopy diaper, I gave up and figured letting her naked bottom get some air to it would be good for helping the diaper rash. Since she just went, I thought it would be at least another half hour before she had to poop again. That was mistake #1. As soon as she could get away, baby girl crawled into her playroom toward her play mat and sat to play with some toys. A few minutes later, I noticed a clear puddle building underneath her. She had peed. And as soon as I made a move to pick her up and move her, that clear liquid started turning brown. Oh crap!  I picked her up, took her to wipe off her bottom, and put her on the other side of her play mat while I got started cleaning up the mess. That was mistake #2. I should have put a diaper back on her and put her in the pack & play, but I was too focused on cleaning up the toys and such she had just soiled. That’s when I heard her giggle behind me. I looked over, and there she was, slapping her hands in another puddle of pee. Before I could walk over and pick her up, she crawled forward a little, got in a squat position, and pooped…again. She then crawled through said poo trying to reach some other toys. Now I had two diarrhea-laden areas to clean and disinfect. I put baby in the tub for a quick washdown (fingers crossed that she wouldn’t attempt to drink the bath water that she often does), stuck a diaper on that thing, and put her in a play pen for the rest of my cleaning adventure.

Finally figuring out the problem was a God-send. Within 2 days of being off the cereal, my little princess was back to normal. And we’d done a pretty good job of scrubbing everything down so the house doesn’t reek anymore. But honestly, the worst part was knowing my little one was sick and not feeling well, and there was nothing I could really do about it. Not being able to help the ones you love…I’m pretty sure that’s the worst feeling in the world. I wanted so badly to take the pain and sickness from her, to make it go away. But I was helpless. And I thought about all the other parents out there whose babies have it much worse. Parents whose babies are battling for their lives. And I don’t know you, but believe me when I say my heart has been broken for you. I have prayed for you and cried for you. I’m sure I cannot begin to even grasp how unbelievably exhausted you must be. How weary. And I have prayed that God would give you rest, and more importantly, peace. Peace from fear and uncertainty. Peace from the guilt of feeling helpless while your children suffer. Peace and rest from heartbreak from seemingly unanswered calls for help. No matter what happens, I hope you have peace. Peace and love that covers everything. I am standing in the gap with you in the little time that I can, and I hope God works miracles for you. Much love!

*”Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

*”Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

P.S.: Props to my husband for changing the middle-of-the-night diapers, because nothing says “I love you honey” like going in for a screaming baby knowing it will result in hot brown gravy dripping down your arm as soon as you pick said baby up just so your spouse can continue sleeping. He is an amazing sexy man folks!

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It All Started With the Vitamins Lady…

I’m tired of all of the ‘mommy shaming’ that’s been going around in our culture. Read an article yesterday about a mom whose Facebook post went viral as she talked about being stressed out and ready to spend upwards of $100 on vitamins. VITAMINS! There seems to be this push to give our babies only things that are organic and natural, and to follow every rule the doctor gives us, and to follow all of the advice of the so-called ‘parenting experts,’ and to pretty much be the perfect parent so that we can have perfect, genius babies who defy logic and poop rainbows.

I’ve found myself being stressed a lot over similar things. I mostly worry if my house is clean enough, if my baby is happy enough, if my husband is pleased with how I do things, if I’m doing all the right things a mom should do…And then I think about my mom, and stories and advice I’ve received from other mom’s her age. See, when I was a baby, they didn’t have organic baby food, or a bunch of childproofing equipment, or the crap-ton of information that is now heaped on parents by medical professionals and parenting experts. There were no child-rearing manuals or books to guide my mom. All she had was her mommy gut, her common sense, and things she’d learned from my grandmother and other women in her life who had children before her. Which begs the question: Why do I get so stressed out? Why do lots of parents get so stressed out? I’m really tired of trying to do everything the ‘right way.’

For some people, parenting comes easy and naturally. For the rest of us poor souls, it’s the most challenging learning process of our lives. So if you’re like me, then this is for you! This is for the parents who couldn’t care less if baby’s food is organic. For the mom who doesn’t have the time or energy to craft perfectly portioned, all-natural homemade baby food. For those of us whose homes look like a literal train wreck with laundry stacks a mile high and sinks so full of dirty, smelly dishes people would think you were feeding an entire football team every day. This is for the ones who let our kids watch TV and drink juice boxes. For the parents who are too tired and lazy to put baby in nothing but a diaper when the weather is warm, and leave them in their pj’s all day when the weather is cold. This is for those who give the toy right back to baby after it gets thrown on the ground and for those of us who let their babies cry an extra 10 minutes before we scramble to figure out what it is they want. This is for the parents who throw back a cold one or a glass of wine after baby is asleep (or even when baby is awake sometimes) because we are losing our minds, and the process will only start over again in the morning.

Honestly, my house typically looks like the set for a Quentin Tarantino movie. Just straight up gore and disgustingness. There are toys everywhere, pieces of food lying on the floor that have been there for a week, dishes that smell like a gym, laundry piles taller than my daughter, diapers in random places, and stains or puddles of unidentified liquids that grace our floors. And let’s not even get started with the amount of dust covering every surface of our home.

When it comes to my daugher, I try not to be a helicopter parent. That’s probably why she’s eaten paper, cardboard, plastic, leaves, grass, dirt, dog food, and probably a few other things I don’t even know about. I’ve also learned not to worry too much about what I feed her. She pretty much eats whatever gets put in front of her organic and natural or not. She also watches TV…pretty much every day. It’s the only way I can get her calm enough to take her allergy medication, clip her nails, or do anything that requires her to be distracted. She also hangs out in nothing but a diaper most days. And that nasty floor in my house I talk so much about? Yeah, she plays on it and doesn’t seem to give a rat’s behind whether it’s clean or not. Oh, and did I mention we sleep trained her to an extent? And honestly, the world hasn’t crumbled. I’ve felt like a horrible mother for a lot of these things, but my baby is happy and healthy, and has developed normally for her age. And that’s really what matters, right? That our kids are happy and healthy and loved?

I’m more blessed than most because my husband is a rock star. He takes the baby monitor most nights because baby still wakes up once a night for a late snack. He also helps out around the house when he can and never complains when it’s super gross. He really helps take care of our little one a lot when he’s home from work. But still there are some days that I am so incredibly exhausted, and days when my attitude is not the greatest because dealing with baby girl and her frustration is difficult. I am not a perfect parent, and I never will be. And that’s ok. Because none of us are perfect parents. And for those of you moms (and dads) out there who are making it all look and sound so easy as you prepare perfect sugar-free, gluten-free, flavor-free meals for your little angel who takes long naps, plays quietly in his designated space, speaks 3 languages and does long division by year 2, and sleeps through the night which allows you to have a perfectly cleaned home, a hot, home-cooked meal on the table at the end of the day, and time to knit a blanket before you go to bed, well…bully for you! Oh yeah, and you’re LIARS! No one has it all together. No one. So stop shaming others for their parenting style and the choices they make for their babies. If it’s not your baby, and it’s not blatant child abuse, then butt out!

For those of you like me who struggle, take heart! Because you’re doing a damned good job! If, at the end of the day, your kids are alive, happy, mostly healthy, and know that they’re loved, then victory is yours. I mean seriously, I used to be satisfied that my baby was merely still alive each day in the early months. I’ve even told my mother thank you to her face for not smothering my brother and me in our sleep. Parenting is hard, so cut yourselves some slack. All the things the experts tell you you have to do in order to be a good parent are completely unrealistic. It’s a learning process, so learn from failure and be confident in your parenting abilities. Besides, even if our babies become perfect geniuses, chances are it will have had nothing to do with us and everything to do with God’s good grace. Much love to you all!

 

And for the record, vitamins (even ones for children) aren’t FDA regulated. If your child is not immune compromised and isn’t on a special diet for some reason, then vitamins only succeed at making expensive pee. You’re welcome!

 

“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:5 (ESV)

 

“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb a reward.” Psalm 127:3