rebel66, thanks for your comment: I hadn't realized that Sarah's article was out. Hat tip!
It was a treat to see Breeding Imperfection featured in the magazine, and odd to see my voice - and paranoia about privacy - in print. (pause. sigh. return to keyboard.) You can see Sarah's list of blogs to follow here, and hello, Imperfect blog! I'm tickled that she put it on the list, but I note that modestly, she didn't include her own. So, allow me to inform you: Sarah's blog can - and should - be found here.
So, to anyone who trailed over from Barnard, welcome.
I have an irk where St Valentine's Day is concerned, and it's probably an unfair one. I know, I know, it's a pin in the calendar, a reminder to be loving and that love will follow, and yes, that sometimes a flower or a yummy help show that you care.
But I married the chocolate allergy guy, and with the boys' allergies? it's a savoury edible love for us, and we'll try to overlook the whole Saint bit on the Valentine's Day. (um) Cobble something together? The more traditional and chocolate-enabled might want to peek at this post, by the inestimable Shauna. She includes a range of suggestions for recipe tweaks, including one that's both gluten free *and* vegan.
Good for her.
[sidebar: If you are hunting down the same path, I should tell you that I had a lovely chat with the folks at Walden Farm. They have a chocolate dip that was labelled as gluten free, dairy free, and generally looked perfect for the Toddles' preschool. Laughing at my own paranoia, I called the company anyway. Oh, said an infuriatingly calm woman. But there's egg white in the dip. We changed the label to include it. I checked my label, read off the UPC code, and noted a general, freakin' scary lack of egg white on the ingredients list. Caveat allergic emptor, people.
Admittedly, I voted for skipping the cobble-and-overlook this year. Bah, humbug to cupids with sagging diapers. Phooey, piffle and scoff.
Had we been bold enough to venture out, we might have tried a newish, nearly vegan local spot, the Red Lentil. I'd gone there with friends, shortly after they'd opened. It's a small, snug place - except for one chilly table by the door. But we found a spot near the kitchen, and admired the lavishly delicious, vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free range of foods, then applauded the dueling, invented-on-the-spot desserts that were offered to an allergic friend. The waiter lingered, explaining the provenance of the avocado dessert that he'd made, while the chef smiled, then vanished. His dairy-free, eggless panna cotta needed no interpretations. Except, perhaps, to explain how he'd made it.
((parens of explanation: I may have Hawaii on the brain. This is entirely the Eldest's fault, as I'll explain in a future post.))
Or we could have laughed at the constructed couples-only romance of St. V's, and taken the boys with us to celebrate Starbucks' new pilot program: Lucy's cookies! Peanut, tree nut, egg and dairy-free, the cookies are also gluten-free (but contain a small amount of oats). Phooey on red roses and black dresses, let's go with the ripped jeans and a burbling group of loved ones. At a cafe. The mermaid coffeehouses might be oh, yawn for you, but consider: what can my children ingest at a cafe? A box of 100% juice, sitting at a diaper-wiped table? We can make merry with that, adding something munchable from my ginormous mom-bag, but it's giddily fun to be able to spend money on a snack.
I called the S'bx people to tell them so, startling the woman who answered the phone. Oh! I thought you were calling with a complaint. Hardly. And while I might quibble over the cost (three cookies? $1.75?), I think they've firmly claimed their niche market. Last time, I bought two extra packages - on principle.
But no, we chose to skip St. Val's altogether. Instead, we celebrated with the Eldest's first sleepover. Sitting in the study, waiting to be called by a sobbing, sleepless child, the Man and I filed old papers, talking until the wee a.m.s. I fell asleep, caught between two thoughts:
2004 sucked, people.
That was the year that the Eldest coded in the ER, turning blue, then horribly grey from a massive allergic reaction to an antibiotic sent directly into his heart.* That was the year of multiple surgeries, scrambling to learn to use the kid's veins and a bargain that was truly born of desperation. We put a needle in the kid's hand, in exchange for a needle in our own. A crazy deal, paired with an unthinkable decision to try for another pregnancy. A roiling, razored, loving year.
Of all the years, it was that year that passed through my hands on this night.
But as the phone sat silent, as the Man and I talked and wished and grinned at each other, as the sun rose on a sleeping Imperfect bed - sans Eldest, plus slightly confused Toddles - I had a second thought.
It is laughable to even type it - ridiculously obvious - but in case you didn't know that I know, this is not 2004. And with the Toddles curled, fiercely independent-needy in our bed, it's not a classic Feb 14th, either. But I'll absolutely take it, any day, as a celebration of our love.
*via port-a-cath. For those of you familiar with ports, I should note that this could have been avoidable, had a number of pieces fallen politely into place. It happens to be that the broad spectrum antibiotic that we were using - had used regularly - belongs to the cephalosporin family. And that the Eldest, scion of a family of enthusiastic penicillin allergies, was at risk for developing an allergy to it. Had we not pumped the stuff directly into his heart, had the Eldest not had so enthusiastic an immune system, had we not been exactly where we needed to be - in the ER - well. It would have been different.
And I'm still a fan of ports, if only because the icy, razoring fear of that night is separate from (balanced by?) the crucial, steady work that the port allowed; the eighteen months of teaching the Eldest's stubborn body to accept his clotting proteins. Tolerizing him incompletely, but sufficiently to allow him to play. To leave us overnight, and sleep on top bunks, shriek with laughter and tell the grownfolk to get out of the boy-room.