Thursday, June 26, 2008

Peanut Butterfly

Well, that's what G called it, 'Peanut Butterfly', in a voice that was saying "more more more please!"

We had some friends over this morning for a playdate and they all wanted a snack. So I whipped out the animal crackers because I wanted some snack too. I made some trail mix and stuck a few animal crackers in everyone's bowl and then proceeded to dip my own animal crackers in the peanut butter jar so my stomach would stop growling. G came over and wanted another cracker so I gave him some with the PB on it and he LOVED it, licked it all off and offered up the same cracker to be dipped in the delicious goodness once again. Of course I made him get a new cracker, but then A wanted some and she got a big spoonful and then G wanted a spoon of it too. Then they were both back for spoon refills (not directly out of the jar mind you).

So we said goodbye to our friends and I walked them out to the car while G stayed inside in his highchair finishing up his trail mix. When we came back in he was a little fussy and soon enough I realized his face was a little red and what do you know, he's got hives all under his eye and some on his face. So I called the dr's office and had the nurse call me back. Obviously I checked him out and wiped him all off to make sure that it was off of him and he seemed fine other than he was a little fussy because his ear and eye were itchy. The nurse/PA/whoever called back about 15 minutes later (about 30 minutes after pb eating) and by that time the hives were subsiding. She advised some Benadryl and asked some other questions about his breathing (normal), family history (none, Hubby has some allergies, not peanut), and those kinds of things and told me about when I should give him more Benadryl and when to call 911.

So about 15 minutes later Dr. calls us and by this time the Benadryl has made him hyperactive and I'm trying to get them in bed. We discuss what happened (and by the way, I'm feeling quite foolish because I've always known not to introduce peanuts until age 2....or is it 3? and I don't want to sound like an irresponsible mom on the phone to the dr.) and she says she thinks from this it's obvious he does have a peanut allergy and all that goes along with it:
-No Peanut butter or peanut products for Grant (like M&Ms, we have to read labels now?)
-Emergency Epi Pen is prescribed to our pharmacy and needs to be with us at all times (oh and we talk about how not to leave it in the car, how it's to be used on the way to the ER, not just as a remedy, how long the effectiveness is, etc)
-We need to just get all the peanut butter out of the house
-That it's probably not something he'll outgrow
-How you can't tell what type of reaction a child will have based on how they reacted another time

So now I'm introduced to the world of peanut allergies. Old CSI shows are coming to mind as are visions of anaphylaptic shock and sticking my son in the leg with a needle and then rushing to the ER. After researching it on the internet, I don't believe the laminated signs that you can purchase for your school classroom proclaiming, "Peanut Free Area: It's COOL to be Peanut Free!"

He loved it! Peanut Butterfly! What a shame to not be able to feed your child the deliciousness that is Peanut butter? Plus we have literally 6 jars on the shelf in our pantry.

Now, I may be in denial, or I may be an intuitive mom. I guess time will tell. But I think it's a phase. He ingested quite a bit of PB for his size and all he got were a few itchy spots on his face that cleared up within an hour? Certainly not ER worthy. I do think it is something he'll outgrow, just like both the kids had allergic reactions to yogurt and now both tolerate it fine. I did read a few studies online about how kids outgrew this allergy, especially ones with a low peanut IgE levels. Obviously I won't be feeding him anymore peanut butter for a few years, but I certainly am not going to stop your child from eating a PB sandwich in the same room as mine.

So now I don't know really where to go from here, but hopefully the poor little guy won't remember too much about how wonderful it tasted.

UPDATE: At 5 years old we had him bloodtested and no peanut allergies. Now he enjoys all things peanut but doesn't call it Peanut Butterfly anymore.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Current Convictions

Our church is holding a parenting class in the Sunday school hour entitled, Effective Parenting in a Defective World. It is a video series and I've really enjoyed it thus far. It has convicted me and encouraged me.

In the first session I was convicted that we need to have a goal in our parenting. What do we want most for our kids? To be successful, get in the right college? To be happy? To become a well-adjusted adult? Those are all decent goals, but they fall short of what God wants for our children - Holiness. Our main goal in parenting is to raise kids who conform to God's standards, not the world's standards. It doesn't matter if they end up making a 6 figure income if they don't love others.

Truthfully, I had to ask myself, "what is my goal for myself? Why do I do the things I do? Is it to be holy or to be happy?" I came to the conclusion that most of my decisions are based on what I want, what will please me. I haven't been in the habit lately of asking God what he would want. Which leads to the second conviction: What we want our children to become we must be ourselves. Our kids are watching our example and are going to do the things we do and not what we say. If I tell A to share with G and yet I don't want to share my time with them they are not going to get it. It makes me think about the decisions I make and do I want my kids to turn out like me? (some ways yes, but not in area of self-control at the moment)

In the second class I really took home the point of how we need to have a positive relationship with the kids, enjoying time together. I again have to admit that much of my day is spent keeping them busy so I can get some other things done. Not necessarily important things either, sometimes it's things for myself like watching videos on youtube or reading a book. I know why the kids sometimes prefer Hubby to me, because the time with him is spent wrestling or playing. Even though I'm with them the bulk of the day we don't play a lot together. So from this lesson I realized that I need to have fun with them, and I have been trying to spend focused time just playing and laughing with them (not getting something else done in the process).

So the first two classes were very convicting for me yet I went away from them encouraged because I felt like now I knew what I needed to do and since they are so young I still have hope for doing a good job (and not screwing them up totally).

Today's class was also encouraging but in a different way. Today I felt like I already had a handle on what was discussed and it was encouraging for me to know I was going in the right direction. Today was about how children have two primary needs: Significance and Security. That with their actions they are always asking "Do you love me?" and "Where are the boundaries?" I totally related to those questions because A is always testing the boundaries, to find out how far she can go. I know that she needs to know we will enforce consequences so that she knows where the boundaries are.

He also said that a child's primary responsibility is to learn Obedience. I was just telling A the other day that it is her job to obey Mommy and Daddy and that it is our job to teach her and take care of her and that we both need to try and do a good job. I think it's going pretty well at this age (I'm sure some is developmental) yet we need to be more consistent in enforcing consequences. It just seems so mean sometimes to be constantly spanking her or taking things away.

She has a little duck toy that is growing in a bowl of water. She wanted the bowl of water next to her while she was eating lunch, but I told her not to touch the water or it would go back on the shelf. So for a while she didn't touch it. For a while. So when she touched it I put it back on the shelf. She threw herself on to the floor in a crying fit and I explained to her why it was taken away. I did it all in an even tone because I had confidence that I was doing the right thing. She said, "are you going to be a good mommy and change your mind?" I told her no, that if I changed my mind and gave it back to her I would be a bad mommy and I can't let her disobey me without consequences.

But she is always pushing those boundaries, trying to figure out how far she can go, just how long she can do something before I will act on it. The video today in Sunday school also mentioned that if you have to tell your child 3 or 4 times or resort to yelling in order to get them to do something then your child has trained you and has been a better student of you than you have been of them. My kids know that when the computer is in my lap I'm less likely to get up and discipline them so they can get away with more.

I was also appreciative that the video discussed the differences in age groups and how we need to discipline them differently at different ages. He said the 0-5ish age group are the concrete thinkers and they just need us to tell them right and wrong, not so much motives behind things. He said that at this age we tend to talk too much and that "Because I said so" is an appropriate answer. It's when they get to be older that they need to know the reasons behind the things we say, but at this point they just need to learn that mom and dad are in charge.

So though I am convicted about my parenting, it is good to know that there is only one perfect parent and he is gracious to me and knows my faults. He knows I can't do this on my own and I need help. Fortunately through church and reading good books I am getting this help.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A-isms

Some quick thoughts from A:

A: Mommy, look at these things on my pajama pants
-Shows me the little tightened cuffs on the bottom of her pants
A: These are turtle bottoms
L: They are what?
Pause
L: Oh, like turtle necks, but on the bottom of your pants...


A: Mommy, my nightgown isn't a nightgown now.
L: It's not? What is it then?
A: It's a DAYgown now because it's daytime.


A: Mommy, we should say the prayer after we eat, not before we eat
L: Why honey?
A: Because it says 'by his hands we all are FED'
L: (pause, thinking) Oh, past-tense


So as not to leave my youngest out, when he spills something or does something he knows we won't like he says "ohw G" just like we do when we are bummed we have to clean up milk off the floor or whatever. They are picking up every little thing I swear!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Nightmare

Here I am up before the rest of the household. I’ve just awoken from a nightmare. In it I had arranged to take A home on the bus with me as a special treat for the last day of school, but somehow I’m on the wrong bus. I realize we are going to a different neighborhood and when the bus lets us off I have no idea where she is. I start panicking and calling others and don’t know what to do. I get in someone else’s car and start to drive off to where the other bus might have dropped her off. As I’m backing up I almost backed over some other child. Now I’m in hysterics and somehow Hubby finds me and now he is going to drive us around to search for A. I call out of the window to one of my friends and say, “Have you seen A? I have lost her and I can’t find her!” We drive away, I’m crying, and then I wake up.

I also had a dream the other night that I lost G. I can’t remember the details as clearly, but in the dream he was a baby and there was some kind of misunderstanding about who had him as we were all going out to dinner, but I do remember the feeling of panic, “Where is my child!!” At the end of this nightmare I was realizing that we may have put him in the trunk of the car in a plastic bag and he might have suffocated. Yikes.

Now the kids are up and I hug them both tight thanking God for keeping them safe. I guess I’ve joined with mothers everywhere as I worry for the safety and well being of my children. I can only entrust them to the Lord and ask for His protection for them.

If you’ve seen me interact with my kids you know that I am by no means a ‘helicopter mom’ and don’t hover over my children to ensure they don’t get hurt. My kids are always getting bumps, bruises, and scars. One, they are both so adventurous and have been ‘climbers’ from the time they could crawl. I’m constantly removing them from the tops of tables and closets. Two, if they are not in danger of seriously hurting themselves I think experience is a good teacher. I warn them of dangers first and show them how to avoid it (for example, how to walk around the swing set without going in front of someone who is swinging), but when they refuse to listen to me I am not afraid to let them experience the consequences of their actions.

So the psychologist in me comes out and analyzes my dreams: I’m secretly afraid that one day my kids will be seriously hurt because I wasn’t more vigilant about their safety. When she was 2, A got a gash on her lip. I let her play with a little metal shopping cart (not a toy), when I knew it was possible for her to fall on it and get hurt. But she had played with it before without injury and she would have thrown a fit if I didn’t let her play with it. So I have to remember to be a tough mom when I need to refuse the kids do something they want. My jury is still out on whether or not they can jump on the bed.

When I hear of other people going through an accidental tragedy my first response is sympathy instead of judgment because I know it could have been me. I’m sure you’ve heard the stories on the news about a child dying after being accidentally left in the car all day. Possibly some parents in that situation are uncaring and simply forgot their child. But I always imagine some struggling mom, who’s been up all night and is sleep deprived, now off to work, has a million things on her mind, is on autopilot and forgets her silent sleepy child in the car seat. How horrible then for her as people say such mean things about her parenting like, ‘how could a loving parent forget about her child?’ when she was doing the best she could.

The one that I fear most of all is backing over my child with a car. A year or so ago I read a Reader’s Digest article about the increase in accidental deaths from backovers. The article stated that larger vehicles having more blind spots and pushed for legislation to make improvements in vehicle safety. The tragedy of these stories is that 70% of the time it is a family member that is in the driver’s seat. In the article they called it the ‘Bye-bye phenomenon,’ that Daddy or Grandma is leaving and they run out to say goodbye again. I could just see my kids running out to say good-bye to Hubby while I’m trying to get another load of laundry in the wash. That is one reason why we always wave at the window as he leaves. These news stories haunt me and it’s possible that some of these cases are because the driver is careless, but I just hate to hear other people reprimanding them over their driving skills. As if they or I have never been careless in a car?

When people lose a child the grief will be with them forever, no matter what the age. When it’s an accidental death of a young child it can cause even more pain because of the feeling that it could have been prevented. But to be the CAUSE of your own child’s death….It’s hard to imagine something worse.

Hearing about Steven Curtis Chapman’s daughter’s death recently and how it was her teenaged brother at the wheel makes me so sad. This problem affects every walk of life and we need to take extra care when driving near children and always know their location as we are backing out. You can visit the website: www.KidsandCars.org to get more information and suggestions on how to prevent these accidents.

The song he wrote, ‘Cinderella’ has a new meaning for me. The years that I have these children with me are short. I know that one day they will be gone. Hopefully not by death, but surely by growing up. Only the Lord knows the span of our days and I need to enjoy the precious time that I have with them.