Holiday Break

Elliott had 2 weeks off of school and I loved it! It was a wonderful winter vacation for me.  No lunches to be packed, no time commitments, we didnt need to get dressed and leave the house. We could play together all day.  I kept Spencer out of school too.  It was so relaxing!

One of the days we spent at Old Town park running off the sugar from an earlier birthday party. 

I love these adorable boys! 

Spencer, my day dreamer

A boy with a smile always on his face.  So easy going.  My little dreamer.  A joker who laughs easily and is impossible to be mad at.   

But when he wants something he is very particular. He likes things orderly and his way.  He wants to make his own choices.  Stubborn and obstinate. 

I love this gorgeous boy. 

Happy 1/2 year Birthday!

Cuteness abounds! 

Current skills include sitting up, rocking back and forth on my hands and knees, putting my mouth on everything, and pulling myself up onto my knees.

I have 2 teeth coming in on the bottom.  I love smiling. And I am enjoying eating. 

I don’t cry often, but when I do I am usually tired or want to nurse.  I laugh freely, and can easily make my brothers smile.

Oral Food Challenge

When I took Spencer in for an oral food challenge this month, I was hopeful that he would test negative.  In fact, I felt fairly confident that he would.  Since he was 1 year old, we have attended yearly appointments with the allergist.  Skin tests have been administered for milk, eggs, shellfish, peanuts, etc.  He has always tested positive to peanuts, and we have always avoided them.  His skin test ranged, but it was generally 20/30 millimeters which is moderately allergic.  He has been allergic to milk since first ingesting it at 6 months.  But, the peanut reaction was always more severe than the milk.  The catch was that he had never eaten peanuts or PB. 
Top hive is the control, bottom is the peanut.
At our latest appointment, he again had a moderate reaction to the skin test.  We talked at length about any possible accidental exposure.  I relayed a story about me eating a PB granola bar, Spencer and I sharing a water bottle and him developing what I thought was a hive on his lips.  I noted it when it happened, but thought it could’ve been a fluke.  
Before we could do the oral food challenge, the doctor wanted us to get a IgE antibody (RAST) blood test.  He also mentioned a new molecular blood test called Uknow peanut.  We opted to do both.  The Uknow Peanut was $300, but was the latest and greatest in tests.  It would not only tell you if your child was allergic to peanuts, but what type of reaction they would have. 
He ‘passed’ both tests.  Which is to say–both tests said he had no response to peanuts.  Paydirt!  The doc approved the food challenge, and we didn’t hesitate in scheduling for that week.    
The food challenge is not without risk, of course.  And as such, it is conducted in the allergist office, and very tightly monitored over a 3-5 hour time period.  I brought a bag of toys and the iPad to entertain him.  The very first taste was perhaps an 1/8 of a teaspoon.  He reported that it made his tongue itchy.  I dismissed it, still in denial that he could be allergic. Every 15 minutes they check and administer another large dose.   After finishing the second dose he needed to poo.  Nothing abnormal for a 3 year old.  Except Spencer usually reserves his poo for at night, in a pull-up.  
The third dose he gets diarrhea.  I am not sure why at this point I can not see what is happening.  But, I am still blind to the signs.  Jeff has been with us up until now but he needs to leave to get Elliott from school.  I tell them to go ahead and head home after pick up and we will meet them later.  But, my Mommy intuition is sending out red flags.  I felt like asking him to come straight back and to hurry.  I felt nervous, very nervous.  But, instead, I ignore it.
The next dose, he says he might throw up, and starts coughing.  My anxiety level is high and all of the red flags have risen.  He then falls asleep in the stroller-there is a knot in my stomach. The nurse comments that he cant have an anaphylactic response if he is asleep.  I am only slightly relieved by her comment.  But also curious–is that true??
It is time for his next does, and when I wake him his eyes are red, swollen half closed and itchy.  There is a moment of panic amongst the doctors.  I feel like I might throw up, and feel like I am watching the events unfold from above.  They start discussing administering the Epi-pen, and I suggest we start with Benadryl.  I call Jeff and ask him to hurry back, I think he can hear the panic in my voice.  
The Benadryl kicked in quickly, thankfully!  By the time Jeff arrives at the office-it seems that the danger level had gone down from Red to Orange.  But, I was still a bit of a wreck.  Spencer on the other hand is up and around, playing and laughing once again.
This picture doesn’t capture the severity of his response.  But, it shows the swollen eyes and flush face.
We spent a total of 4.5 hours in the office.  Between the test and the post reaction waiting phase (for up to 4 hours after a food in ingested a reaction can occur) we spent the better part of our days there.  The doctors could not explain why he tested negative on both blood tests but positive on the skin test and food challenge. 
But the conclusion was that he is certainly allergic to peanuts.  The allergist suggested that he could be allergic to a rare protein in the peanut that the blood tests don’t test for.  He wanted to use our case file for research.  
I am pissed at myself for not listening to my intuition.  And for putting him through a traumatic and tragic experience.  It was super scary to watch, and heart wrenching when I look back on it.  I feel like I have PTSD from the experience, as every time I think back on it I feel anxious and sick to my stomach.  I am glad we know that he is in fact allergic so we can ensure he is safe in school and with others.  
The take home message for me was that he will have a reaction if he ingests peanuts, but it is a slow reaction.  Trust my gut.  And, science is awesome, but not always 100% conclusive.  Always carry Benadryl and the Epi-Pen.  

Princesses and Rainbows

We had the luxury of spending the weekend at my best friends house for their son’s 1st birthday party.  On the eve before the party my boys and their daughter were all playing dress up.

It is known around our house that my younger boy loves princesses, and both of my boys love dressing up.  So when he came out of the bedroom head to toe in pink ruffles and heals it was no surprise to me.

The crown, the dress, tutu skirt, and shoes were adorable.  But, the sword was out of place.  So, I asked him what his plan was with the sword.  He matter-of-factly responded with, “Mom, it’s not a sword” and then as if exasperated at having to explain such a simple concept to me, goes on to say “it’s a magic wand!”

Taken slightly aback, but not wanting to be bested by my 3 year old, I go on to ask my question again… “Son, what is your plan for your WAND?”  With a wave of the wand, and flick of the wrist he explains “It’s for making rainbows!!!” and then struts off to do just that.  Leaving the room to explode in shocked and adoring laughter. 

At that moment, I could not love anyone more.  I simply adore that boy.