I know, I know, I've been silent. And naturally, in that silence many things have piled high. Big day today, big week, big pair of weeks, oh me oh my.
First of all, let me introduce the latest character at Chez Imperfect, whome we shall call Q.G. Q.G. has inherited Mary Jr.'s spot in our home, namely as one of the folks who strive to keep me sane. Luckily for Q.G., she gets to do this by playing with the Toddles, so she's fairly far from the line of fire.
I knew she's work out just fine when she emailed me the following (slightly edited):
Today, I asked the Toddles where he came from. He said, from my mummy and daddy.
Then, I asked him, well, where did they get you?
Matter of factly, he said, from Trader Joe's.
Now, isn't that exactly the kind of thing you'd want to know about the Toddles? There are many praises to sing for Q.G., but that one rather speaks for itself. As for Trader Joe's, well, their new allergy labeling does make them more food allergy friendly, but I hadn't realized that they'd reached such corporate heights...
Okay, so let's see. I've updated the cast of characters, I've given you the standard yea-but-I-have-committed-sins-of-neglect bloggish viddui, and now it's time to tie up lingering bloggish threads. Right, then.
When we last left our heroes, the Toddles was clearing an allergen out of his system, the Eldest was considering the nature of the divine and reincarnation, and there was something grumpy and useful about Bachman vs Nabisco. Nabisco's approach to food allergy consumers was repeated this past week by General Mills (yes, but what exactly do you mean by 'risk?') but we can probably move on past that.
Briefly, then. The Toddles is not allergic to fish. Hallelujah and pass the bewildered headscratcher, because this makes NO SENSE. Worse, it's a touch embarrassing.
Here's how it went: we fed the Toddles fish. Meanwhile, we're watching redness around the cheeks and chin, flaring eczema, increased nursing and reduced food-eating, clear snot. Okay, so something allergic is going on. Then, on three occasions I gave the kid salmon, and we saw all of these symptoms, bang! appear on the spot. But why?
There's something wrong with me, said the Toddles one day. Mm, hm, say I, more interested in a clear mammogram than the person in the back seat. There's something wrong with my body, insists the Toddles. I stop musing about ultrasounds vs mammograms and start paying attention. The child is red-faced and clutching his tummy...Aha, say I (mentally reviewing the week's menu), it's salmon.
I checked dates, tallied symptoms with menu, and called the allergy clinic. We have an appointment in two days - a cancellation. Can you make it? We could. But once there, we had the attending who doesn't like to leap - or look, for that matter. Sigh.
The scratch testing showed positive for trout, tuna, and negative for salmon. This makes no sense, said I. We almost never eat trout or tuna, and the troubles have all corresponded to salmon. What gives? The attending leaned against the door, confident in the face of my perplexity.
Note: major negative points here for not sitting down. A doctor who remains standing is sending the silent message that s/he's got one foot out the door. A doc who sits is telling you that s/he's focusssed on you, and listening.
Well, said he, those tests are 90% accurate. So it comes down to this: who do you trust, the tests or you?
I stared at him, a little flabbergasted. Yes, it's true that this is exactly the question. But did this guy realize the kind of power politics he'd just invoked? I fought the urge to bop him upside the head, and said, evenly, Not to sound egotistical, but I'd go with me.
The allergy fellow (sitting down) raised his head at this and looked me square in the eye. I'd go with you, too, he said.
And that, I replied silently, is why we booked this appointment with you. This shmoe is a... bonus.
Thanks, I said out loud. I do appreciate the vote of confidence, but I would truly like to be wrong, as well. And it might be nice to have my nose rubbed in it - shall we do the RAST testing?
Nodding, familiar with the Imperfect way, the fellow started pulling out a lab slip. But the attending intervened. He offered arguments about avoiding unnecessary tests, insurance costs, and generally feeling that we already had the evidence we needed. Finally, he tried to explain about statistical variance, trying to warn me about what was a statistically significant number versus what was not. I smiled, pointed out that I was married to a statistician, and promised to play nicely with the lab results if we could only, please, have them.
He folded, I marched off in triumph, and the Toddles tested negative to fish. Ooops.
Oddly, the Toddles also tested very, very, very high for wheat (far higher than ever before), much higher for rye, barley and egg white, and just when I was about to say things about falsely elevated results, I saw that he's still very, very, very low for oats. Which means he's probably been exposed to the heightened allergens. How?
My money is on cross-contamination. We buy our fish mostly at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, both of which offer crumbed and stuffed fish options. I spoke to the fish dept. manager at WFM, and he explained that fish comes ready for sale in big tubs, one type per tub. If the person helping me changes their gloves and gets fish from the tubs in the back, we avoid the cross-contamination of the display case. So we shall try this - once we stop the Great Cow Bonanza over here, brought to you courtesy of a successful food challenge last week.
The Eldest, it seems, is no longer allergic to beef. And how lovely is it that his kindergarten class celebrated with him (as they did when he passed his chickpea challenge), with the shehechiyanu blessing. And that appears to have silenced our Mr. Nietzche for the nonce.
Today's favorite babywearing photos: a free trade baby carrier, which is nice in and of itself, but nice yet is the relaxed mama and baby in the pic.
Oh, but I'm eyeing these - the toddler design is lovely, though the baby design's fabrics are especially splendid - and plan to lust over them quietly for a month or so, before moving on.
Meanwhile, my thanks to Melissa of Lemon Balm Essentials, who came to the Eldest's school craft fair, and did a long and patient babywearing demo. She showed me the joys of the shortie wrap (3.5 m for back-carrying me) and the ruck (here's a splendid video of three ruck-style wrappings, plus footage of real babywearing!), a mei tai with nicely padded shoulders, talked about hybrid (mei tai meets ergo or other carrier of choice) carriers like the BabyHawk or the BBB linked to above. Yep, going to lust quietly. But enthusiastically.
Translation for the non-carrying: baby carriers come in a range of options. I started the Eldest off in a Baby Bjorn, and was in real back pain by three months. By four months, I was done and found a nice stretchy fleece sling. Babywearing is for folks who like to have their hands free, and will trade free hands for a snuggled close, non-strollering baby. And there's about three major ways to go: a wrap, which is a long piece of cloth that you wrap around yourself and the baby in any of a million ways (font? back? hip?) - customized to you and the kid each time; the structured carrier, like the backpack frame carriers you can get at wilderness stores; the soft-structured carrier (SSC), which has no frame or metal, but has straps and buckles. Faster and easier than a wrap, but somewhat less customizeable and definitely less pretty/funky. I think a mei tai is a SSC, and my ergo carrier is definitely one. Love my Ergo, but I find it a little bulky. Sooo, this week I'm happily using a plain, undyed wrap. The Toddles and I are ruckin'!