Friday, July 17, 2009

outsmarting the toddler

of course as a parent of an 18 mo old, i think he's amazingly smart (i think i can say that most parents think their kid is really smart, and can't believe how much they know---even though this is normal development, and in fact is likely just average). i am now spelling buzz words in conversation with chad that i don't want will to overhear. he's like our little sponge. now comes the hard part...he's already outsmarting me.
he figured out that if he does his sign for 'hungry' when we're putting him to bed, we'll take him down to the fridge get a snack, and thus buying him another 15+ min of hanging out time. he also knows, if he puts his binkie in his crib he gets to get up and walk around and play, because "binkies are only for bedtime." sure as he learned these two tricks, he's milking us for all we're worth. the bedtime routine has now lengthened in time and he's successfully pushed back his bedtime to 8.30 or later. well...let me tell you, i'm on to him (finally after a week or more of his shenanigans). it's all about 'love and logic' choice making. brilliant folks they are (though if you listen to their cd's they are a little patronizing, so you have to get over that). perhaps they are just average too, but in my world, trying to outsmart my toddler, their techniques are brilliant.
now when will is trying to ask for food, or ditch his binkie to get back up and play, i give him his choices---
"do you want to get in your crib, or lay here and snuggle with mommy?!" (what kind of choice is that for a 18 mo old mama's boy who loves to snuggle, albeit snuggling leads to falling asleep--you get the drift, and so does he, drifting off to sleep that is.)

Monday, July 13, 2009


will is an observer. it's part of who he is. he may get it from his mama. he may have also gotten the 'transition trouble' gene from me too. i do hate change, at least big change (like moving, starting a new job, starting at a new school).

chad wonders how i became such a social person that hates routine. not sure how i turned out the way i did, but at my roots i'm a shy observer that has the 'transition trouble' gene.

anyway...will has some of those genes too. he's currently working on going to a baby sitter a few times a month. (verses only with chad's parents and us) she's a SAHM with two kids. she's great. so patient, uses "love and logic" parenting, and hosts lots of fun play groups with the neighborhood. the kiddos are always dirty (in a good way), and exploring and jumping, and playing in water. everything fun about being a kid. will is a deer in headlights. he gets excited when we pull up. he points to her house, and is fine going in, but he looses it when we leave.
not atypical for a 17mo old. however, he's taking it to extremes.
today i kept getting text messages from erin. (she is very sweet to give me the blow-by-blow)

message 1 9am: he won't let me put him down so i've been wearing him in the ergo all morning.
message 2 10am: we went to the park, but will just wanted to be in the ergo and watch the kids
message 3 2pm: will's still sleeping (a 4 hour nap !!!)
message 4 2.30pm: will wont eat, he just wants to sit in my lap (still won't let me put him down)
message 5 3pm: still won't eat or drink
Phone call: i told erin to have him wave bye bye to his binkie and blankie, and then try a popsicle. worked. (though that was all that he ate/drank all day)
message 6 4pm: still holding to the airport to watch the planes take off and land
message 7 4.30: he smiled (first one of the day)
message 8 4.45pm: he'll let me set him down as long as i hold his hand will get easier huh?! poor will...poor erin...poor mom.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

cookies...i do love cookies...

those of you who knew me circa 2001 know that i didn't have such a great reputation in the kitchen. i couldn't really cook from taste, i'd make some pretty outrageous substitutions (pickled ginger is in fact VERY different from ground ginger), i'd regularly burn things, and just down right couldn't cook, and really couldn't bake.

those of you who know me in my more recent years may think i get around okay...or maybe even more than that. i actually enjoy to cook and even enjoy to bake (cookies that is). it's taken some time, practice, a handy watch timer (there were many things burned) and of course help from my friends. one of my biggest problems is that i have poor reading comprehension (yes, that's a pretty honest admission for being a speech therapist and all). i can't read, and stick to, a recipe to save my life. it does lend to some creativity...and luckily things seem to turn out better, more often than not.

so the last 5 years of so, i had somewhat perfected the chocolate chip cookie (thanks to my dear friend carlee). and i love the chocolate chip cookie. oh how i love the chocolate chip cookie. so the dilemma here presents ...the reliance on flour/ gluten for the chocolate chip cookie. damn!

i've tried a few times (ok, well just once) to make a gluten free chocolate chip cookie with my standby recipe and some 'gluten free flour'. well, no offense 'bob's red mill flour' but they were not good. they had this funky after-taste, and were flat, and all-in-all disappointing. i shared them with a friend who is GF"

tara: "the cookies were good"
me: "well, i'm trying, but they are not great"
tara: "it's amazing how much your standards lower with gluten free food"
me: ...but i have really high standards for chocolate chip cookies.... :(

so last week, i was picking will up at the babysitters. it was the same day as the 'pizza episode' and when i was picking him up there was a mom there with a plate of cookies. she asked "does will want a gluten free cookie?". will had never had a cookie up until that point in his life, but i automatically said "yeah sure" b/c he actually COULD have the cookie. the cookie looked like a real cookie. fluffy, textured, soft. i tried a bite, and i thought there was some misunderstanding, i couldn't believe it was really gluten free.

sure enough...gluten free. she told me about the website the food philosopher and sure enough the gluten free cookie has redeemed itself. i needed to tweak the recipe a little (what's new, i can't follow a recipe to save my life), but chad walked in on me giddy in the kitchen with my chocolate chip cookies, and now about to go to bed with a little bit of a tummy ache. horray food philosopher horray!

we ARE fam-i-ly

it's been over 17mos and on most days it seems as though will has been with us forever. then again, other days i just forget that we are a 'family''s funny the things that make me realize "oh my goodness, we are a family..." well last nite was one of those. chad, will and i left town for a nite of camping. we got into camp just before dinner. it was a a beautiful colorado day. we found a campsite on the creek and set up camp. chad set up the tent (our brand new tent---might i add), and will and i went scavenging for sticks for the fire.

(as a side note, it was a riot watching will be on a mission for sticks. he'd want to walk 20 yards, find a stick that was 5 inches long and want to walk it back 20 yards, drop it in the fire pit, and come back for another 5 inch stick---never-the-less, we were occupied for a while).

once we got back and sat in our camp chair by the creek, i looked over and noticed our tent (our non-back-pack-you-can-stand-up-and-fit-6-people-in-tent) and realized..."wow, that's a family tent"...

me: "chad, did you know we are a family?!"
chad: "yeah, it's kind of wild isn't it"
will: (high five to mom) and then grab mom's hand and bring it over to dad's hand (will loves to get chad and i to high-five...we always say it's good for our marriage; will just thinks it's funny)
mom and dad: high five

Monday, July 6, 2009

crying over rice tortillas (vs. spilled milk)

so yes, it's true, tonite i did cry over the rice tortillas. it wasn't really about the tortillas (though the were hard and crumbly, and really not quite like a real tortilla at all). it was about will and his gluten free, dairy free diet.
let me back up to say that will had some rough months early on. he spit up a ton, had some reflux, was colicky (not that i wanted to admit this at the time), and slept awfully. he'd wake up writhing. we'd try burping him, gripe water, tylenol, rocking him. some of it worked, but he'd still wake up again, seemingly uncomfortable. some people may say maybe we just needed to sleep train him and he'd figure it out. maybe he was just manipulating us so that he could be held, rocked, or get sugar water (aka gripe water) from a syringe. but our gut feeling just kept telling us it was something more. not to mention he would have a nite or two that he'd sleep great, followed by a night where he'd be up every hour or two. this pattern lasted until he was almost 15 mos. i stopped talking about it. i tried 'embracing' the moments i had with him all nite long, i tried to enjoy co-sleeping (though he'd kick me in the head or ribs or neck). i started drinking coffee. and more coffee. i tried to pretend he was sleeping just fine. none of which really worked. so i started a food diary. trying to track every ingredient of whatever he was eating. i started reading and researching food allergies/ sensitivities, and we started noticing some patterns (particularly with dairy and wheat...and then gluten (wheat, barley, rye and some oats). all the while, it was harder and harder to come up with what to feed him, with the constant stress of not knowing if he'd be up all nite or be fine. ...whether he was getting enough protein and calcium and iron...
i scheduled an allergist appt, but then found out that before 2 yrs old there are many false negatives and positives, and the skin pricks are sucky for anyone. so then we heard about entero labs and some of the gluten/ casein testing they do (using stool samples vs. blood samples for increased sensitivity, and doing genetic tests). it's a little controversial in the medical community (as no one really understands gluten sensitivity/ celiacs disease, until symptoms are full blown (and by that time the gluten has attacked your system to the point of damaging villi in the gi tract and all kinds of other not so great diseases/symptoms (cancer, infertility, gout, diabetes, ulcerative colitis, etc.). anyway...i read and researched, and decided it was a good option. then the results came back positive. he had genetic predisposition for celiac's disease and gluten sensitivity (meaning he got it from chad or I or possibly both of us) and sensitivity with cassein (a protein in milk). his stool showed an active autoimmune response to both the gluten and cassein as well (meaning his body is trying to 'fight' the gluten/ cassein). they recommended a life long gluten/ cassein free diet. the kicker is that once you go gluten free, your body's immune system becomes even more sensitive to small amts of gluten and tries to fight it off more vigorously. thus, no cheating. sorry will, no pizza, birthday cake, cookies (not to mention all of the foods that have hidden wheat/ rye/ oats/ barley). the neurotic parent is me says---am i robbing my child of his childhood?! not to mention...someday, beer (and everything else in between).

on one hand there are some strong theories/evidence out that that over time an autoimmune response from gluten can break down your system on many levels---from a GI standpoint (with ruined villi leading to decreased food absorption, discomfort, extreme gas, IBS, diverticuli, etc), from a blood sugar standpoint (diabetes), from a neurological standpoint (trouble concentrating, seizures, MS), and so on. the list of symptoms/diseases related to celiac's and gluten sensitivity is LONG. many people have 'silent' symptoms for years, and then it isn't until something triggers (hormone change, surgery, trauma, etc.) that they recognize the symptoms. at that point they have already had years of autoimmune damage. why would i want to set my son up for this? (let alone is he now mostly 'sleeping like a baby' on his new diet. :)
and if i have the same makeup, why would i continue with a gluten diet. (not that it's as big of a deal for me...i've had plenty of pizza, cake, etc, and feel only slightly deprived---unless we are at a local brewery and i have to order wine)
on the other hand.... well food is a really big deal. food is social, it's part of who we are, it's a way we connect with others. it's a part of development and exploration. it's also a necessity, and the more limited we are with what we can eat, the more singled out we can be. i decided to go gluten free (given the fact that I gave will my genes and my family history with many 'gluten sensitive' symptoms ranging from gout, diabetes, cancer, IBS, GI issues, bloating, etc. etc.).
so finally a few months later, i'm figuring it all out. it's becoming less of a big deal....
and then i drop will off at a babysitters last week (for the first full day). there are 5 kids there having a great time. he's overwhelmed, taking it all in, and very shy...and then one of the dad's walks out with a pizza fresh out of the over. all the kids flock toward him. will looks at me and starts to make his sign for food...and then his sign for please....and then pointing to the kids...and the pizza. my heart breaks a little. this will be the first of many...i pull it together, until tonite. i'm already thinking about wed, when i'll drop him off again. so i start making rice tortilla pizzas with goat cheese...and they fall apart and are hard. and chad finds me crying over the rice tortillas. he says it's cute...and a little silly. and it is...but at the same time, am i doing the right thing? i guess this is just the first of many for me too...questions/ decisions in parenting.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

latest photos

here are some photos of recent

signs, signs, everywhere there's signs

so since i'm doing a not so great job at keeping up with will's 'baby book,' i feel the need to document a few things here.
1. he's 17 mos and not yet talking (though he says "hi" "mom" "uh-oh" (often in reference to the toilet bowl that is off limits), and "up" (though it comes out like 'ba' (which is not quite the phonological process we are working on)
2. this isn't really that big of a deal or that far outside of the norm, but heck his mom's a speech therapist, so...what's he waiting for...not to mention his dad is waiting for a little bit of glory..."da da" isn't that tough is it?!
3. given that i'm a speech language therapist, we work on language...language...and more language, and he is leaning the language part quite well---he signs, gestures, points, grabs our hand and directs us to what he wants, and when all else fails, he waves his arms around here and there, hoping someone will get his point.
4. if i were to fill out a 'language inventory' as of today, here are the "signs" he does:
(does this say anything about his priorities in life?!)

- more (hands together)
- please (patting his chest---though when he first learned this one, he'd pat/ hit my chest...

my M-I-L: "he keeps hitting me, im not sure why he's doing that?"
me: "oh, i taught him that (kinda sorta) it means "please"
my M-I-L: "so he hits us in the chest to say please?!"
me: "yeah, well...we're still working on that"

- basketball (yes he did learn this sign in march during all of that glorious madness, and yes he did think the sign for basketball and tv was universal that month- heck, so did we)
- fan (this was the first sign he ever used)
- light (second sign)
- on/ off (to go along with fan and light---our electricity bill suffered a bit the month he learned these)
- dog (snapping the fingers)---he gets quite a finger work-out at the dog park, talking about all of the dogs
- all done (motioning wiping his hands)
- open (hands together and then up and out)---this may be his current favorite as it applies to opening containers, tubes of paste, doors, drawers, and yesterday he even used it to open the computer (and even used "please" right after)- interesting he used "open" for the computer vs. "on" ...
- eat (this one has been especially helpful as of late...when he gets up in the middle of the nite, and we can't figure out what's wrong...last nite he finally told me right off the bat---of course i couldn't see the sign, so he kept tapping me on the shoulder and doing his sign---finally i got smart enough to feel around, and sure enough, that growing boy was hungry.
- no (quite a favorite)
- yes (a dramatic head back and then down--followed by laughing, and then usually 'no')
- bye-bye (he uses this to people, though his timing is sometimes off and he often waves after they've left. he also uses this to indicate he's about to do something that otherwise he wouldn't be allowed to do---like "bye-bye- im going to walk into the street now" or "bye-bye i'm going to walk around the block by myself right now"
and the newest sign (and my current favorite)
- pirate's booty (a yummy healthy kid favorite snack) which is putting one hand over his eye like a pirate. (i could only be funnier if i could get him to say 'arh' at the same time...we're working on that