Tuesday, April 17, 2007

unravel'd sleeves and drummers

Thanks to everyone who commented on or emailed me about the allergy 101 post. Keep the comments coming - it helps immensely to know what kinds of information you guys want. A permanent link to it is now on the Things I Look At list. And now, back to the blog:

Recently, after a long and frustratingly awake afternoon with the Toddles, Mary Jr. had a brainwave.

I sat on the bed with him and read books until I was done, she told me. Then, I looked at him and said, okay, we're going to take a nap now.
I waited for the punchline.
And he did.

Sensibly, I chalked this up to one of those magical things that children will do for grandparents and caregivers, but never for their own, loving parentals. Today, however, I was grey with tiredness, and collapsing into my third? fourth? cup of coffee. By 11.30, I was well aware that naptime was a one-shot deal: when I laid him down, I was going down with him. The possibility of a sleeping parent and a shriekingly happy (and awake) toddler was very real.

So, I tried it. I read him a couple of books, then informed him that it was time to sleep. And glory be, but he did.


Sleep is the silent price that allergy parents pay. A child reacting to foods in his dinner is going to have a long, unhappy night. A child with allergy-triggered eczema is going to wake himself up, scratching in his sleep. One allergy mom told me that she was just too tired to think: He sleeps for two hours, max. I know what he's allergic to, but I'm so tired I can't figure out what to do about it. Stomach aches and severe itchiness scoff at sir Ferber and his kin. There is no sleep training that will help a miserable child sleep, and the risk is that they will develop poor sleeping habits, reinforced with each exposure. For us, it was three years before the Eldest broke his 2 hr 45 min max, longer before he woke only once per night - a pattern that we ducked by identifying the Toddles' allergies earlier and by responding more aggressively.

Still, both boys would - and do - scratch in their sleep, waking up with bloody little tattoos and wailing. For the Toddles, a single exposure means three lousy nights of sleep - a hell of a price to pay. Individual slip-ups aside, habits are hard to break even when you remove (I hope) the cause. Nice to see that we've come so far in our efforts that a firm, practical voice can help shape sleep.

Wonder if it'll work again?
And now, a couple of cute kid stories:

The Toddles has broken new verbal ground, and discovered: the sentence! He's now talking thoughtfully, practicing with the construction and combination of words. Today's gem:

Eep. Now. (a slightly smelly pause) Boop? Eep boop?

Translation: I'm going to sleep now. (pause) I think I have poop. Can I sleep with poop/Poop while sleep/does poop sleep?
Explanation: the Toddles is unclear on the distinction between poop and gas.
A couple of weeks ago we had a rare nice day. It was so nice that a woman took herself and her drum out to the park near the Eldest's school. When the Toddles and I went to get the Eldest, we walked past her, sitting on the grass, practicing. When we returned, Eldest in tow, she was still there.

The son of a human beat-box, the Eldest was entranced. Not only was she playing a drum, she was playing a janggu or changgu drum, a strikingly different drum played with a sort of flat stick in one hand and a thick, rubber tipped drumstick in the other. She played steadily, pausing occasionally and almost seeming to rest on the drum.

Shy, the Eldest wanted to wait until she was done until he could ask questions. So, for about forty minutes he circled her carefully, keeping a respectful distance. Eventually he decided that she must be nearly finished, so he spiralled towards her, until he was simply standing a few feet away. She finished, and the Eldest asked her about the drum.

Lovely, nameless person this one, for she gave a drumstick to one child, and the flat stick to the other, and let them try them out for a bit. My thanks to you, lady - you taught my boys all sorts of little lessons about the unexpected places where one can learn, discover, and the kindness of strangers. Well, strangers with drums, at least.


For months, edamame have lurked in my freezer. Finally, erev Pesach, I decided to use them up. Here's what I tried, and my guinea pigs thanked me for it:

Edamame-Avocado Soup (9 happy servings)

  • 1.5 lb frozen, shelled edamame (green soybeans)
  • 3 c water, more as needed to achieve a smooth, pleasing consistency
  • 1/4 c scallions
  • 3 ripe, peeled avocados
  • 4 Tb lemon juice
  • handful (1/3rd cup?) fresh parsley
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Put edamame in microwave, covering beans with water. Zap for about 5-8 minutes, or until soft. Drain and set aside.

Toss scallions and avocado into food processor. Puree. Add everything else and puree. Taste and adjust seasonings, using extra lemon juice and parsley to balance out the scallions. Cover and chill.

in case you were wondering, beer is back, baby! Typically made with glutinous grains, Anhauser-Busch decided to try making a sorghum beer. According to the reviewer, the beer is a little sweet but entirely pleasant. On the other hand, he admits to not having been a beer-drinker in his gluten-containing life. So you decide.


dykewife said...

alas, so long as beer has hops in it i shall itch after imbibing...well, were i to imbibe since i don't like the taste anyway. heh! never mind :)

dykewife said...

you probably already know this, but i just made a discovery...maltodextrin is an addition to foods for fibre addition, it's made from corn. very sneaky.

mama o' the matrices said...

dw - hops make you itch? What is a hop, anyway?

Yes, I did know that. Sneaky stuff, corn. But I should add a link to the corn post on the allergy 101 post...hm. Self-referential, but at least it's not repetitive.

country girl said...

Thanks for the soup recipe. We love edamame and avocado so it's perfect.

mother in israel said...

I was in a health food store in Bnei Brak yesterday, and they had an aisle full of gluten-free products. I thought of you.

dykewife said...

hops, a plant, is one of the flavouring components common to most, if not all beers.