Randsom Eats Out

We did something exciting a few days ago. We went out to eat at a restaurant with the kids. This may not seem like that big of a deal, but for our family it was a huge moment. We have not taken Randsom (and now Emersyn) out to eat since we found out about his severe food allergies… that was almost 3 years ago.

After a lot of research and phone calls with managers, I finally found a place that I felt somewhat safe taking him to eat. It is a little Mexican restaurant near our house. We loaded the kids up and headed out for some tacos. Randsom was SO excited that he was finally going to eat out- he could hardly believe that he was allowed to eat the food. It was such an exciting experience for him and for our family. I, of course, was terrified the whole time that he would have a reaction and monitored him closely for several hours after he ate… and he was fine. We are looking forward to more taco nights. And maybe even finding more new places to try.

Happy Eating!

Confessions Of A Food Allergy Mommy

My son turned 3 years old this summer. We found out about his food allergies when he was just 6 months old, which means we have been living with his allergies for 2 and 1/2 years. Sometimes I can’t believe its been that long, and other times I don’t understand how I still haven’t gotten used to it.

Randsom is allergic to dairy, eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts. He has other non-food related allergies as well, but those are less severe. We found out about his allergies the hard way. I was starting to give him solid foods, and one day I decided to make one of those “healthy pancakes” made from an egg and a banana. After just a few small bites his eyes were swelling up, and he had little red welts all around his mouth. I didn’t understand back then how lucky I was that he didn’t go in to anaphylactic shock. I gave him a dose of Benadryl and he was alright. It gives me a panic attack just thinking about how lucky we were that day.

I took him in to be tested for allergies just a few weeks later, and we were given the news. We would have to change our lifestyle completely. It was easy at first, because Randsom was still nursing most of the time. Now that he is older, it has become so much harder.


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Confession #1. 

Epi Pens suck. I’m sure you have seen all the articles circulating on social media lately about the cost of Epi Pens and how inflated it has become, which is causing huge financial strain on families who need them. It’s not an exaggeration, folks. These devices cost several hundred dollars, even after insurance! We were told that we should have 2 Epi- Pens per allergy… for us that would mean a  $2,400 dollar bill every time we purchased them. And keep in mind that they expire, so if you don’t use them (and we hope we never have to) we have to just throw them away after a few months.

They are also a pain to have to carry everywhere. I have a special bag with Epi Pens and Benadryl that I have to remember to bring with me every time we leave the house. It isn’t too big of a deal for me because I always have a diaper bag or a purse with me, but the trouble is that you can’t leave the medication in temperatures that are too cold or too hot. It makes it hard to go out and about during the summer when the weather is super hot and you are worried that the Epi Pens stashed in your bag are going to be ruined by the heat. I also can’t imagine my son remembering to carry them around all the time as he gets older… he is going to need a man bag or something.

I truly hope that someone will come up with a better solution for people with allergies. That another company will start making a product to compete with the Epi Pen and help drive costs back down. We need something smaller and easier to travel with. They day someone invents an epinephrine injector that fits in your pocket, and costs under $100 I will climb to the highest mountain and shout for joy. Seriously.

 

Confession #2.

It is absolutely terrifying to let your child with allergies go to a play group or nursery without your supervision. Not everyone will understand allergies, especially those who have never experienced them. It is almost impossible to explain to a caregiver the importance of keeping the allergens away from your child. Even just a little bit can be a huge problem, and that is hard for some people to understand. Unfortunately, we have had several bad experiences, where I thought I had made it very clear that my child can’t have snacks that I haven’t approved and that he shouldn’t be around other kids eating… and yet I get called back in to get him later because no one was watching and he ate someone else’s snacks. Obviously my child’s safety is my responsibility, but it’s so discouraging when this happens. It makes it so hard for me to want to attend events like Bible studies, play groups, or anything else where child care in involved. And if I do attend, I end up going to check on him every 10 minutes anyway.

 

Confession #3.

It’s impossible to go out to eat. Actually impossible. The last time we went out to dinner as a family, Randsom was 1 year old and we had even packed him his own food to eat- and he still ended up getting hives all over his body because there was residue on the table and high chair (which I had wiped down first). It was stressful, sad, and we haven’t done it since.

This is probably one of the hardest parts about his allergies, which probably sounds dumb, but I’m sure other allergy mommy’s can relate. We don’t get to go out and celebrate for birthdays, we can’t join other friends when they ask to go out, and you lose a sense of normalcy. It’s so hard to explain to my child that we can’t go certain places because he will get “sick”. I never want him to feel left out, but honestly that is what happens.

 

Confession #4

Sometimes you forget, and you feel like a terrible parent. No, I don’t mean you forget your child has allergies and let them eat peanut butter. But sometimes my husband and I do eat things that Randsom is allergic to. If we go and give him a hug and forget to wash our hands, or give him a kiss on the cheek, he will get hives all over where we touched him. Its awful knowing that you are the reason your child isn’t feeling well. Thankfully, we have gotten better about remembering to be careful and this is happening less and less often. But it still sucks not being about to love on your kid when you want to.


I know I am not the first Mommy to experience all these things, and sadly I won’t be the last. Allergies in children are popping up at an alarming rate. No one can really pin point why it’s happening, but I have my own ideas.

I also need to mention that I know it could be worse. It could always be worse. There are many people out there who are suffering more than I could ever imagine, and some Mommies who wish all their child had to deal with was food allergies. I respect and acknowledge that- I know I am SO blessed. With that said, are there any other allergy Mommies out there? How are you dealing with it? Any tips?

As always,

Mommy Little

 

Randsom Eats: Cupcakes

I’ve mentioned a few times on my blog (OK, maybe more than a few!) that my son has several life threatening food allergies. This makes meal and snack preparations a daily battle for me. You see, I am the type of person who looks at a recipe and if it has more than 5 ingredients, I’m not gonna make it. When I saw this cupcake recipe on Pinterest, it looked too good to be true. But with only 2 ingredients (way below my 5 ingredient maximum!) I was willing to give it a try.  

Recipe:

1 box of cake mix: I used Duncan Hines Devils Food Cake (contains wheat) which worked for my sons specific allergy restrictions. Always read the labels if you have allergies, even if you have used the product before, sometimes they change ingredients without warning!

1 and 1/2 cups Club Soda

Instructions:

Mix two ingredients, mixture with be bubbly and “fluffy”.
Fill cupcake tins to the top, the mixture will rise when baking but not as much as a regular cake batter.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes
Cool and enjoy!


This recipe turned out to be fast, easy, and delicious! My only complaint is that the cupcakes are slightly sticky (which is typical when working without egg). I will experiment with using less club soda next time to see if that makes a difference.  

As you can tell from the pictures, Randsom thought they were the best thing ever! 
Happy baking!
Mommy Little


Raising A Child With Allergies… The Truth

                            
Waiting in the car for Benadryl to kick in, after a play date accident involving dairy cross contamination

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a while, but have refrained for several reasons. I don’t want people to think that I have forgotten how lucky I am that my baby boy is here, allergies and all. I also don’t want to come across as resentful towards families who don’t have to deal with this particular struggle. And I want to be clear that I know I’m not the only mom in the world who is struggling, With that said, sometimes it is just important to talk about the real life struggles. Maybe one day other moms will find this post and be encouraged by knowing they are not alone.

Now on to the truth telling.

Randsom is my only child. Over the course of his first year of life, we discovered that he is allergic to egg, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, pet dander, and certain grasses. I still remember the first time he experienced an allergic reaction. I had broken a yogurt melt in half and given him a piece to try. It only took a minute before the skin around his mouth started to swell. He was only 7 months old at the time. I’m not going to go into all of the details about discovering the rest of his allergies, but I will spend some time sharing my fears.

These past few months have been really hard. I have suffered from anxiety for as long as I can remember, but this has brought on a new wave of fear that I never knew I could experience. It was easy to brush off the allergies when Randsom was younger, he wasn’t moving around and getting into everything. He never really liked to put things in his mouth, and he was never upset if we would eat and didn’t share. Now that he is older, I am realizing just how difficult this is going to be, possibly for the rest of his life. I read labels multiple times in the store, then again before I use the item, and I still fear that I missed something after I’ve given the item to Randsom. I will stay up at night and sit by his crib after he has tried a new food, because I’m afraid he will stop breathing. I carry epi-pens, bottles of benadryl, and Zyrtec in every bag I own. Lately I have found myself skipping play dates, and dreading going to church because he breaks out in hives almost every time we are around other children. I am constantly wondering what has been spilled on the floor or what other people have eaten without washing their hands after. Its exhausting.

I feel defeated and scared. I worry that Randsom will grow up to be resentful of how different he is from other kids. Sometimes I think its my fault, that my body just wasn’t prepared to grow healthy children, or that I could have done things differently when I was pregnant. I have been angry at God for allowing all of these things to happen to my baby.

I don’t have any encouraging words to end with. I haven’t gotten to a place where I am understanding or content. But I do know I’m not alone. I know there are many other moms who understand what I’m feeling. So this is an open letter to any moms going through the same thing. Give me a call. We can hug, cry and try to figure this stuff out together.

-Mommy Little

Today was…

Today was a hard day.
Honestly, it was one of the most difficult parenting days I’ve had in a long time. If you are a mom, you know what this day felt like. I woke up at 5 AM with a cranky toddler. I spent the morning mediating tantrums, downing a pot of coffee, cleaning up messes, and generally being terrorized by a 2 year old. My time was spent dreaming of the glorious nap I was going to sneak in when Randsoms own nap time came around… only to have him skip that nap, because falling asleep in the car for 5 minutes apparently rejuvenates him completely.

Today I was a bad mom.
I confess that Randsom watched a few too many episodes to Curious George, ate a bunch of unnecessary snacks, and hardly played outside even though the weather was perfect for being outdoors. I was impatient, snappy, and became illogically resentful when Randsom wouldn’t nap. I was selfish and wanted “me” time away from all my mommy responsibilities.

Today I was reminded how lucky I am to have hard days.
I am constantly remembering the heartbreak and uncertainty that my family and I faced during my pregnancy and delivery with Randsom. God poured out His mercy and love over both Randsom and I, and He has never stopped. God has blessed me with the privilege of parenting and raising up His child, and even though I do a crappy job most days, God continues to pour His mercy over me. I had doctors tell me that my son was going to die; but today I got to struggle through ordinary parenting struggles just like every other parent.
What an absolute gift to have my son here to wake me up early, throw tantrums, and terrorize me with in terrible two antics.

I am blessed.
Mommy Little

Life Update: Puppy, Allergies, and We have a Home!

Hi Family and Friends,


While I doubt many of you are following our little family on this blog yet, I know eventually you (or maybe just me) will be looking back at this post and enjoying the story of how we got where we are.

First I want to address our puppy, or better stated, lack of a puppy. We brought Maverick home with us the day before Easter. Everyone loved him, and rightly so because he is adorable. Sadly it didn’t take long for us to realize that Randsom was allergic to him. This fun friend we brought home for our son was making him cough and wheeze. He had snot pouring out like a faucet and he broke out in hives when the puppy licked him. We waited 1 week, took Randsom to the allergist to confirm our fear, and that was that. 
Thankfully, my wonderful family graciously decided to adopt Maverick and give him a loving home. We are sad that Mav couldn’t stay with us and that Randsom won’t get to be around him much, but I know my family will love him and hopefully we will find a remedy for Randsom so someday he can play with all the puppies he wants.

Speaking of remedies for Randsom’s allergies, we are exploring our options. We have made appointments with several natural care doctors and we are hopeful. While I fully believe in the good that modern medicine does, I don’t want to discount anything that may provide relief just because it isn’t main stream. We will forever continue to see a certified allergist who works closely with a hospital, I know the risks my son will face everyday with his growing list of allergies and I never want to be without professionals in this field. But, Randsom would have to live in a bubble if his only form of allergy treatment is avoiding his allergens. I want to give Randsom the best chance at being safe and healthy. I know that I can’t keep him out of contact with every single allergen he has. Because of this I have decided to explore several safe, noninvasive, natural procedures. I will update more on what they are and if they work after we have finished. 

And for the final update…. WE HAVE A HOUSE! Purchased this month in Pullman, Washington. It’s a 3 bedroom beauty and I can’t wait to post pictures of all the decorating and updating I plan to do. It is a relief to know we have a place to live when we move in July. I can’t believe it’s only 3 months until we start our next chapter.

This was a long and rambling post and I’m impressed that you made it to the end.
Blessings,

Momma Little