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When I picked Bear up from daycare on Monday of this week, one of the high school girls who helps out there after school looked at me and said, “She was hitting kids today.  A lot.”

We have had several occasions when I’ve received “Incident Reports” upon picking Bear up from daycare, and each time, I think, “Oh no.  My child caused an Incident.”  Every time, however, I am strangely relieved to learn that Bear has been the incident victim instead.  Bear must have learned to fight back this week, because surely any hitting from my sweet, innocent little girl would only be in self-defense.

On Monday night, my husband and I talked with Bear about how it was not nice to hit other kids and how she didn’t like when they hit her.  She quietly listened to us with big eyes, seemingly absorbing the meaning of our words.  The next morning, I asked Bear, “Do you promise not to hit anyone at school today?”  She replied with a definitive “yes.”

When I picked Bear up from daycare, I asked if Bear had hit anyone.  “Oh no,” replied the high school girl.  Before I could congratulate Bear, she added, “She scratched someone instead.”

I am going to have to expand the terms of our agreement next time.

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This weekend, my daughter showed me that she can think outside of the box.

By thinking outside of the box, she found a comfortable place to sit when she needed to rest.

She embraced creativity when the whim struck her.

And, she found a step up when she needed help reaching her goal.

I can learn a lot from my daughter.

Baby Toes, originally uploaded by Ryan Abel, Creative Commons, Flickr.

This morning, Bear woke up in a really bad mood. Nothing seemed to quell it. She was not happy after guzzling a cup of milk. She screamed as Daddy stretched and hitched up the dog for her beloved morning walk. After the walk, she stood at the side of her high chair and shook it yelling, “Baby! Baby! Babeeeeey!” Yes, the child wanted to eat. Unfortunately, we were not ready for breakfast. Daddy and I really needed Bear to wait until at least one of us was dressed and ready to sit in the kitchen with her while she ate. Besides, it was time for “Sid the Science Kid.”
Against my better judgment, but knowing that nothing other than food – not even “Sid” would be able to satisfy her – I filled a cup of corn puffs and set her down in front of the television in our bedroom to eat and watch “Sid” until one of us was ready to feed her a proper breakfast.

Now, these things that I refer to as “corn puffs” are just corn that is puffed. My husband brought them home from the grocery store last weekend in an attempt to find some processed (i.e., convenience) food that Bear can safely eat. They are not salty or sweet. In fact, they have little taste at all and tend to stick to your teeth. For some reason, my daughter enjoys them.

She seemed happy enough, munching and watching “Sid.” After a few minutes, I looked over at her to see that she was no longer eating. Instead, she was putting corn puffs between each of her baby toes and squealing with delight. I motioned for her daddy to watch, as we caught a little glimpse into our daughter’s psyche. “I’m glad to see that she has finally come to her senses,” I mused out loud. My husband looked at me like I was crazy. “Well,” I explained, “what else do you do with food that tastes like Styrofoam? Certainly not eat it!”

At this point, the dog burst through our bedroom door that doesn’t quite latch and headed straight for Bear with his tongue wagging. Within seconds, the corn puffs between Bear’s toes were gone. “See. Someone likes them,” my husband said pointedly; proud that his purchase was appreciated. “I’m just glad that the dog ate them,” I thought. It would have been bad to watch Bear eat Styrofoam but much worse to watch Bear eat Styrofoam from between her toes, but then again, there is no telling what the child has eaten when we weren’t watching!

Last week, I went searching for a book shelf for Bear’s room.  I am used to the all too frequent impulse buy at Target or the grocery store, but I thought that I would be safe shopping for furniture.  I was wrong!  Instead of coming away with what I went looking for, I found a sturdy, little rocker for Bear with a small book bin on the back.  My sweet husband just looked at me and only raised his eyebrows a little when he saw the receipt.  I was struck with buyer’s remorse as he began putting it together last night, but once I saw Bear crawl into it this morning, my foolish purchase suddenly seemed purposeful.

Bear immediately grabbed the books that I left for her there the night before.  She pulled herself up onto the seat and a little smiled formed on her face.  She grabbed the arms and moved her head back and forth to create a little rocking motion.  Her smile grew even bigger.  When it was time for “Sid,” she contentedly leaned back to focus on the television.  Her look said it all:  Finally, a chair for me!

I think that my husband might even approve!

Our new companion

 

A new friend of mine told me today, “don’t go looking for trouble,” in response to some questions that I was asking about food allergies, since we are frantically trying to educate ourselves on this topic.  

Two days ago, a nurse from Bear’s new pediatrician’s office called with the results of her CAP RAST, a blood test that the pediatrician ordered to give us a better understanding of some foods that Bear might be allergic to, in light of the soy milk debacle.  Although we are still trying to understand what all of this means, as the world of allergies seems to be a great unknown where nothing is black and white, her pediatrician believes that she has an allergy to soy and likely has an allergy to peanuts.  The test results and her reaction to soy necessitate keeping an EpiPen with her at all times.  Until we know more about her allergy, keeping her away from all soy will be quite difficult.  I suggest that you take a look at food labels next time you are in the grocery store.  Soy and its derivatives are in most processed foods.  

I have been living and breathing food allergies for the past several days, and I will not even attempt to share what I’ve learned here.  Frankly, I’m a little weary of it.  

However, I have “met” some wonderful people over at www.kidswithfoodallergies.org, and they have been more than willing to share their knowledge with me, probably because they remember feeling exactly as I do now.  

When we introduced solid food to Bear, we followed the basic “rules” about solids.  We waited a week after introducing a new food.  We did not give her the big “no-no’s” of nuts, honey, and milk prior to when we were given the OK by her pediatrician.  We still haven’t knowingly given Bear nuts or honey, but I suppose that does not mean that she hasn’t encountered the food in some other way, perhaps prior to birth or through my breastmilk or cross-contamination or at daycare.  Neither my husband nor I have significant food allergies.  We have some family history of some minor food allergies, and I am allergic to certain drugs and a variety of other non-food items, but we were blissfully unaware that this did not really matter.  We had no reason to suspect that Bear would have a major food allergy.  

I feel like we went “looking for trouble” when we gave her soy milk in the first place, since we were concerned that she wasn’t digesting milk well.  Even if we couldn’t have known that we were “looking for trouble,” trouble found us.

4th of July, originally uploaded by Warren Brown Photography, available on Flickr, Creative Commons

We spent the 4th of July holiday at a small, local lake with my husband’s family. It rained most of every day and night that we were there, so the festivities were considerably dampened. On the evening of the 4th of July, there was a small clearing in the rain, so we were able to hop on the boat and head out to the middle of the lake where we could watch more adventurous folk shooting fireworks from all sides (and some stupid ones attempt to shoot fireworks directly at us – it is a small lake). I spent that brief interval between storms torn between enjoying the beautiful displays and the smooth water and hoping that each boom and zip did not wake up my sleeping baby when I was not home to comfort her, and I did not trust her grandmother to hear her cries should she wake up and realize that mom was not nearby.

Unfortunately, since it rained most of the weekend, Bear was not able to watch or appreciate the fireworks during her first real 4th of July. I was looking forward to watching her look of awe and wonder (and hopefully, not terror). Of course, she was around for the last 4th of July, but even I hardly remember that holiday since we were so mired in colicky babyness.

This weekend, Bear did not stop amazing me with all of her newfound abilities. I had purchased what is most certainly a torture-device of a life jacket for Bear to wear when she is at the lake, and for the first time this summer, I strapped her inside it and took her down to the dock to see the water. I had an entire conversation with her (one-sided, I’ll admit) about how she must wear the life jacket anytime we leave the patio and how it will keep her afloat should she ever fall into the water. I did not expect her to really comprehend any of my reasoning, however, a few hours later when we were back in the house, she carried her life jacket to me and gestured outside. She continued to this for the rest of the weekend when she wanted to go outside, and I was so impressed by her understanding and maturity! If only she had grasped that standing on a dock in the rain is not my idea of a good time!

Bear also learned to say (and sign) “please” this weekend. She now stands at her high chair begging to eat (on an hourly basis) saying “peas, peas, peas, peas.” At least the girl is polite!

Is it strange that I care what Bear’s doctor thinks of me?

I have internalized this fear, since childhood most likely, that unless I have an illness with a tangible symptom that leaves no doubt to the observer that something is amiss, that doctors will think that I am making up my problems.  It doesn’t help that the primary issues that I have been afflicted with have few tangible signs:  migraines (oh, you have a headache, people will ask?), polycystic ovarian syndrome (for me, a diagnosis based on the exclusion of other causes), and during pregnancy, unexplained bleeding (that was, well, unexplained).

Poor Bear is now bearing the ill effects of my insecurity.  I have no doubt that the response I received from her pediatrician when I called last week about my concerns regarding her digestive issues would have irked anyone.  But, a small part of me wonders if I am dwelling unnecessarily on issues that are not that big of a deal – that other parents wouldn’t think twice about – and therefore, the doctor’s annoyance with me was justified.  This said, Bear is clearly uncomfortable.  She beat on her belly the other night, right before we found floaters in the tub and after refusing dinner.  She wakes up from deep sleep to pull her little legs up to her belly.  She has bowel movements all day long.  And, of course, she reacted quite spectacularly and frighteningly to soy milk.  My mothering instincts, fledgling though they may be, tell me that something is not right, even if the problem is something minor, like consuming too much  milk at one time.

I took Bear to a new pediatrician today.  This doctor actually saw her in the hospital after she was born.  He is famously laid-back and also famously personable, and he was very nice to Bear today.  He did not seem overly concerned about Bear’s trouble with milk, and despite my continual back-pedaling and apologizes, he ordered a blood test so we can uncover any food allergies that she might have.

Although, this test is not exact and will not answer the question of whether Bear is intolerant to certain foods, it is a starting point.  And, I appreciate that, even if I am completely wrong about the cause of Bear’s symptoms, at least the doctor was willing to suggest something constructive.  Now, if I can just let go of my concern that he thinks that I am going to be a problem parent so that my idiosyncracies don’t make me one.