Today has been a very scattershot day. We rode the emotional rollercoaster, we bought the cotton candy, it made us sick, we're going back for more. Here are a few quick snapshots:
flash! The oven smelled of gas when I turned it on. No, lady, we can't come see you until Wednesday. No, don't use the stovetop until then, either. I snarl at my hapless four year old about cleaning up his toys. Minutes later, he will survey the situation and attempt to placate his mother with a sweet, if fake smile. I feel immediately guilty re:my coping skills, but know I'll fall into the same trap again.
flash! I realize that the baby's skin, which had been recovering from allergy-induced eczema, was looking pebbled and rough again. Why?
flash! My four year old draws endless pictures of me: Mummy with four babies in her tummy, Mummy with the four babies coming out of her tummy, following a line as they exit on the right and left, Mummy with the four babies outside of her tummy, and one is a big brother (he has long hair, long arms and legs), Mummy with all of the babies, who are now big brothers, too. And finally, Mummy over and over again, drawn simply as a squarish circle with eyes, a smile, and tiny legs and arms. We discuss the possibility of hair, and how to draw squiggly hair.
The part of my brain that won't shut up asks: what does the young social scientist see? His object of interest is clear - his mother - but what is he trying to understand? His attempts to make me happy are obvious and a little sad, and I see him trying the same tactics on his baby brother, when that individual lets out a rare roar of complaint. Is this how the over-responsible eldest is shaped?
flash! The allergist calls: the baby is very allergic to dairy and eggs, but not to soy, mold, wool, dust, peanuts and tree nuts. In one of my rare good-parenting moments of the day, I call a family meeting, and we talk about the baby's allergies and how we'll keep him safe. I remind the four year old that we already protect each other from allergies, so now we can do it for the baby, too. It's surprisingly positive, and we all beam at each other.
I'm feeling less flattened by the allergies today. Another hemophilia mama called and reminded me that having another child with allergies is a lot like having another baby with hemophilia: at least you know what you are getting into. And that's true. But I do mourn for my baby, for the potential that his life will be circumscribed as his brother's is, and of course I grumble selfishly, for myself and the loss of my beloved dairy.
flash! We break out the ice cream maker, and start making cranberry-strawberry-ginger sorbet. The ice cream maker was a daddy gift to my partner, when the baby was born. Okay, so it was a gift much in the same way that the waffle maker was a Chanuka present to me last year...but still. With rare exception, dairy free ice creams are made on machinery that also manufacture dairy items, or in factories that also manufacture items with nuts. No, they are not required to note this on their labels, as the FDA has not yet determined what quantity of nuts/dairy/etc qualifies as possible allergic risk.
Hello? What quantity? Do you people know nothing about food allergies? There is no real quantity that is safe, as there's bound to be someone, somewhere who will react to it. I'm willing to cut companies some slack on the level of 'my employee had a pb&j sandwich for lunch,' but if you have one of the Big Eight being processed in your plant and especially on the same machinery, then yes, that qualifies as a risk. And please note: this is me being nice. Frankly, I think Europe was right in expanding the Big Eight to the Big Twelve...
So we're making our own sorbets, just like we make our own breads, sauces, etc - it's actually rather fun!
Ah, the rollercoaster ride of the day. And just think: tomorrow we get up and do it all over again. Only this time, alone, as my partner escapes (giggling quietly) to Atlanta for "work." Um, right. Ah, well. Time to kiss the baby's head as he grumbles in his sleep, and to tuck myself in.