Saturday, February 19, 2011

Doctor Appointment Round-up {Pulmonologist & ENT} and Dairy Free

This past week was a little busy for us as Luke had Speech Therapy on Monday, a hearing test on Thursday and a routine visit to the Pulmonologist on Friday. Throw in Valentines Day, and a couple of picture perfect 70 degree days which required trips to the playground, and it was a crazy-fun-busy week.

The hearing test went so-so. He wouldn't wear the headphones, so I sat in the booth with him, and they played weird sounds over the speakers. The sounds would start out low and gradually get louder. I noticed right away that he wasn't reacting to the lower sounds, and only turned to find where they were coming from when they got to almost full volume. She measured the level of pressure in his ears, and it was on the higher end. An hour or so later we finally got to meet with the doctor. He asked me why we were there, and I told him that early intervention said he should be tested due to the speech delay. The doctor said he was happy they did that, because Luke's hearing was below the "normal" line, and that at his age, it should be above it. He looked into his ears, and said there was lots of fluid.

He gave me two options - prescription nose spray which may reduce the amount of fluid, and help him to hear better, or tubes. I told him that Luke is on Nasonex, and has been since September, and he said he definitely recommended tubes then, because it's what he would have put him on. So Luke is scheduled to have tubes put in on March 4th. We're crossing our fingers that it helps a lot with his speech.

The pulmonologist visit went great. She was impressed that he hasn't needed albuterol in the last two months, and brought his inhaler dosage from 110 back down to 44. She also gave me a prescription for a different nose spray that has a generic, which will save us quite a bit as Nasonex is pretty expensive. Not only that, but she gave me a one month full size sample of Flovent and Nasonex. Love that office! They really are awesome.

Now on to the dairy. On Monday Luke will be taken off of Cow's milk and yogurt. This is my decision, as a one month trial to see if it helps with his delayed food allergies. Since birth Luke has had constipation, sometimes going 7-10 times a day, tiny hard pellets each time. The GI doctor put him on Miralax last summer, but it's not something I want him on indefinitely. I would love to be able to find what's causing the constipation, and eliminate it so we can get him off Miralax. So dairy is the first target, and then we'll go from there.

The biggest challenge will be making sure that he gets the vitamins, calories and fat that he needs. I'll make sure that it happens though =)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Teaching Mama

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it on here, but Luke has been in speech therapy for a month or so now. Tomorrow will be his 3rd session. He has made some small improvements since starting. He has moved on to saying mommy and daddy instead of mama and dada at times, says papa now, and has started making new vocalizations, although we can't tell what he's using the sounds for yet. Thursday he has an appointment for a hearing test to rule out any hearing problems.

Speech therapy mostly means that she observes him, and shows me how to work with him. Things such as repeating words (such as when we walk downstairs with him, we say down, down, down, the entire way), and giving him 2 choices (do you want car or truck?). We're also not supposed to use long sentences with him, to stick with 2-3 word sentences. Which has proven to be hard with me. From the time Cody was a tiny baby, I've spoken to him like he was an adult, same with Luke. So going from a full sentence such as, "Do you want cereal Luke?" to "want cereal?" has been a little hard. Speech therapy is supposed to happen every other week, for an hour each time.

Last week Luke also started Occupational Therapy. When we met with the county's early intervention folks in December, it was for speech. During the assessment though, they noticed his thumb. He has had problems with his thumb since birth. It folds into his palm at a somewhat odd angle, and he tends to not use it. For awhile his orthopedist that was treating his feet was also keeping an eye on the thumb. When he last saw the orthopedist in the fall, the doctor decided that all was fine with it since there was such a huge improvement, so it wasn't high on my list of worries.

OT was a success. The therapist gave me ideas for how to get him to use his thumb more often. For example, when he eats something such as Cheerios, he tends to use his four fingers to rake the food into his palm, then stuffs the food into his mouth. Her idea is to put cheerios into an egg carton, so that he has to use his pincer grasp to pick them out. I'm also to find some Crayola egg shaped crayons to strengthen his palm. There were other things such as pop toys, lacing beads, etc, to help him. Because of this, I started looking into some homeschool type blogs, and found this one that I'm very interested in - 1+1+1=1.  It has me excited about working with him more through their Tot School ideas. I like that it's learning through play for the little ones. Occupational Therapy is scheduled for every other month, an hour each time. I'm hoping that using blogs such as 1+1+1=1 will give me even more ideas to help him improve, both for OT and speech.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Egg, Dairy and Nut Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yesterday was Cody's actual birthday, and he wanted to take a treat into the classroom to share with everyone.

I was originally going to make Bakerella's Cake Pops. Normally you would buy Wilton's candy melts for the outer layer, but they have a peanut warning on them, so they're out. I found some info where you can combine safe chocolate chips with shortening to replace the candy melts, but I was a little wary of that as I was short on time and didn't have the patience for any messups :) I'll have to eventually give it a try though.

So instead I turned to my newest allergy free cookbook, The Food Allergy Mama's Baking Book: Great Dairy-, Egg-, and Nut-Free Treats for the Whole Family. Cody and I decided on The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie You'll Ever Have recipe. SO GOOD! I used Divvies chocolate chips, and I really prefer them over the Enjoy Life chocolate chips that I have used in the past.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Trash Truck Birthday

{many thanks to my wonderful friend Caitie for this picture, I love it!}

Yesterday we had a full house to celebrate Cody's 5th birthday.

Trash Truck invites, from BabadooDesigns 

Trash Truck Cake

I used this Egg-Free, Dairy-Free and Nut-Free Cake recipe. We don't normally need to avoid dairy, but one of Cody's friends has a dairy allergy. I liked that the recipe didn't call for any unusual ingredients, just items that were already in my pantry. I also used this Best White Icing Ever Recipe. It was another dairy free recipe that didn't call for anything unusual. Both recipes were yummy, and I recommend both!

I made the houses on the cake using this Sugar Cookie recipe from Annie's Eats. I attempted to make Vegan Royal Icing. I had issues with the consistency, and wasn't able to "flood" the cookie, so I just went with the outlining and called it a day =)  I am looking forward to giving this icing another try someday though, and hopefully getting the consistency right.

For food, we ordered from Papa John's to make it easy. I also had Hebrew National Mini Hot Dogs (dairy, nut and egg free), and I made a couple of appetizer recipes. Italian Sub Dip, which I served with various crackers and Zesty Sausage Cheese Balls. Neither were dairy free, but both were egg and nut free, and were definitely for the adults and not the kids!

I made goody bags...

And filled them with Crayola crayons (bought at Target last August for $.25 each!), Trash Truck Coloring Page, Matchbox cars Trash Truck, a bag of Lucy's Grab and Go Chocolate Chip packs (allergy free) and a Yummy Earth Organic/allergy free sucker.

It was the first birthday party we've had with more than just 1 or 2 kid guests, and I was a little worried about keeping them entertained. Never fear - they made sure they were well entertained!

It was definitely a successful party!

Luke loved the balloons...

Cody loved the cake...

And the presents too!

Thank you to everyone that made his day so much fun!