Thoughts on the third pregnancy (so far)

I am a firm believer that you should expect the worst and then possibly be pleasantly surprised which is why I’m almost hesitant to say anything at only 18 weeks along, but….. for the most part this pregnancy has been much less terrible than I feared and even much less terrible than the other two.

With B and F I spent the first trimester so exhausted I never wanted to move and was crippled with back and pelvic pain before even reaching the second trimester mark. Every time someone told me how I was in the “blissful second trimester” I wanted to go back to bed with my ice pack and cry. Basically the fatigue and the pain just progressed until the end and I’m pretty sure these two were intertwined. When the very thought of standing up and walking three steps makes you cringe at the pain, turns out it also drains your energy and will to go on.

I've kept this as the first picture on my phone. It captures how I felt when pregnant with B. I meant for it to serve as a reminder never to do this again. *not an effective method of birth control

I’ve kept this as the first picture on my phone for 6 years now. It captures how I felt when pregnant with B. I meant for it to serve as a reminder never to do this again.
*not an effective method of birth control

So with that dose of melodrama, I’m happy to report I haven’t had bad fatigue or pain (YET) this time. Yay! “Luckily” shortly before getting pregnant this time I royally screwed up my back (again) and kind of thought I’d never walk properly again. When this happened I started PT with a really amazing therapist and the whole experience, although awful at the time, has done wonders for my entire life and definitely for this pregnancy (SO FAR) as I’ve been mostly pain free ever since including now.

Because the central tenant of my “I hate pregnancy” philosophy has always been it’s 9 months of awful chronic pain, I guess I can’t really say I hate it this time (YET.) In fact I actually forget I’m pregnant sometimes which has definitely never happened to me. I will not go so far as to say I’m enjoying this time but that’s mostly because I’m pretty scared that it’s going to get awful soon. But I can at least now see how someone might say something like that about pregnancy.

Given my life philosophy though, I’m uncomfortable being remotely positive about things so let’s move on to the bad stuff. I was definitely sicker this time and that was awful. And we’re not even talking nearly as bad as some people have it so I know it could have been a loooot worse but blech. Thankfully my sickness reached its peak the week after our Hawaii family vacation but it was definitely not good while there either. In between picturesque hikes on volcanoes and trips to the glorious pool, my kids watched a lot of Dinosaur Train while I laid in bed in the hotel. I’m so glad they are over it because if I ever hear that theme song I will definitely vomit.

The other “bad” thing this time is I have gotten bigger much faster. I thought after your first you were stretched out and that was that, but I guess there is still a lot of stretching to go? People who have had 4+ kids, do you look pregnant the second you think about trying? Does this mean I will be unable to get out of bed by the end? Do I just have a giant baby in there? Or really I’m just a floppy rubber band now and it will all even out in the end? I definitely looked pregnant by 5 weeks.  I got my first comment from a stranger at 15 weeks, which was just as shocking. (I mean not shocking because I know I’ve looked pregnant forever now but still really? I looked like I had half of a sandwich at 15 weeks with B.) The good news was she also asked if it was my first so I must still have that youthful-bagless-eye-naive-about-children-dewey-look about me (hahahahaha.).

Babies 1, 2, and 3 at 15 weeks

Babies 1, 2, and 3 at 15 weeks

I asked my midwife if this baby would be a giant because I’m bigger (and also because F was a lot bigger than B so does that just keep happening or what?) She (kind of?) gently told me the baby was normal sized and I was just a fatty who was too busy taking care of my existing kids to eat right or exercise. So that was nice.

To end on a highish note, everything people say is true in that this one is going by faster than the others. I’m not really sure if that’s just because it’s the third and the first two kids keep me occupied or if it’s because I don’t spend every moment in pain so I’m less obsessed with counting down the milliseconds, but either way I’ll take it. Although, sadly, it also means I have no idea what fruit size the baby is now.

Sorry, I can’t actually end on a high note. All I can think now is it will be fun to look back on this post in two months when I’m miserable and in pain all the time and hate myself for letting this optimism creep in even though I know better.

Obviously beyond worth it

Obviously beyond worth it

I can no longer be held accountable for my actions when…

I obviously knew this would happen. THE COMMENTS. The condolences when we found out we were having a third boy (WTF???) The shock and horror at THREE BOYS!

When the idea of a third kid surfaced I was already annoyed about it. I worried/worry whether three kids will be too many, whether the pregnancy and baby will be healthy, and after that about all of the asinine things that random people would say. Because although for the most part society has rules and people (sometimes) try to have tact, when you are pregnant or a mom it’s totally ok for people to verbally diarrhea their most judgmental and presumptuous thoughts all over you.

See, you may not be aware but every woman is secretly pining away for a daughter and every man a son. Parents of only opposite sex children are to be pitied and those of same sex children are over the moon. Parents with one of each have achieved the perfect harmonious compromise and should immediately stop having children regardless of how many they want.

You also may not have known that moms of boys spend the early years getting their high heels stuck in the grass at sporting events and chipping their nail polish digging their filthy kids out of the dirt. Later their boys replace them with horrible wives and never speak to their mothers again. Dads of girls spend the early years rolling their eyes in the corner checking sports scores while their daughters try on various princess dresses and twirl around. Later they just clean their shotguns and have nightmares about boyfriends. It’s a national tragedy.

If you didn’t know all of this that’s ok, I didn’t either until I had two boys. All of the time I get looks of sympathy and receive people’s condolences. My kids can be dressed in freshly pressed tuxedos, riding in the shopping cart with their hands clasped practicing their multiplication tables, and inevitably someone will say “Oh my, two boys, looks like have your hands full.” And then they give me the LOOK. Once, a cashier at Walgreen’s just saw my phone screen and said “Oh my, two boys, I’m so sorry.” I didn’t even have the little hellions with me! Garth can take them somewhere covered head to toe in dirt and blood, screaming at the top of their lungs, and hitting each other, and he gets practically cooed over and smothered with awwwwwws. “Two boys! What fun! Such a blessing! Oh hahaha boys will be boys you know!” (To be fair, I think this happens to a degree to all dads not just those with boys since we have zero expectations for men being able to care for children.)

While I have received condolences, pity, and “better luck next time!” over the third boy, Garth has only gotten congratulations, high fives, and the occasional “Umm is your wife really pissed?”

So, yes, going into this third kid thing I was preemptively annoyed at the additional comments we would get. And although we have only scratched the surface at this point, I know for a fact now that my annoyance was not unwarranted. In fact, the very FIRST thing anyone said to me at my last midwife appointment, the first appointment since we found out it’s a boy, was, “Well, looks like you’ll have to go for number four!”

I recognize for some people these comments are like a reflex and they don’t necessarily put a lot of thought into them, but nonetheless I wish they would stop. First of all, the implication is that I’m somehow dissatisfied with numbers 1 and 2 (and now 3 before even meeting him!) The only possible reason we could have wanted a third was to somehow right those first two wrongs. When this comes from total strangers I think, what in the world makes you think it’s ok to assume that?? And when it comes from people we know I wonder, have I in any way given off this impression or do they somehow find my first two to be lacking? God I hope not! And even still what makes people think it’s ok to imply this? Do I get to ask them, “Are you planning to try for a less annoying child next time? Looks like you’ll have to go for number 3 to get one that’s not so ugly!”

But anyways, ultimately what do other people’s opinions matter right? They absolutely don’t. Charitably, I don’t think everyone that makes these comments really means much by them or at least doesn’t mean it in the way I take it, but it honestly has made me wonder. Am I missing something? Am I crazy for not wanting a daughter desperately? So I work at not letting it get to me. Except when they say these things in front of my boys. That’s when I really feel like I might lose my shit. And in fact I did have F with me at the midwife appointment. Thankfully, for now, these things mostly fly under the radar for him (less so for B of course.) But they may not always go unnoticed and how, frankly, that doesn’t make it any more ok for someone to say it in front of them. They are not failed attempts at something better. They are not silver medals I received along my long and continuing quest to win gold. And mark my hormonal words they will never be made to feel like anything less than the best things that have ever happened to me.

Maybe this is silly but one of the biggest reasons I didn’t want a girl this time has zero to do with girls or boys. In fact I think girls are quite lovely, I am one and happen to know a lot that I like too. I sincerely worried that if we had a girl then everyone would slowly began to expect she and I to be close and for my boys to be close to each other or close to G. I actually cried on several occasions earlier in this pregnancy at the thought of them feeling second place and of losing the bonds we already have. Now maybe I will lose this anyways when they marry women that hate me (see above: this always happens) and maybe this is ridiculous as parents can be close with all of their kids regardless of gender, but these hormones make you feel all sorts of things. As do other people’s opinions. No matter how much you try to ignore them and how much you try to show your kids how you really feel, I know they still get to me and I’m worried they will get to my kids too.

So in conclusion, to everyone who feels like my life is a walking nightmare, keep it to your self or I might lose it, thanks :).


Hello again!

So ummm long time no post, oops. There are many reasons for that, laziness and apathy being chief amongst them, but here we are. Since this originally began as a pregnancy blog I thought I should pop back in since I’m pregnant… again! We are expecting our third boy in January and couldn’t be more thrilled about it!

Now to put this whole public blog thing to good use, I’ll publicly answer some FAQs.

Since I repeatedly and adamantly declared we were done after two I feel like I should explain. I always thought I’d have two because my parents did and that’s what you do, two in two out. Mostly though I hadn’t slept in 3 years and I was eating only 6 foods to survive so I actually feel like I was allowed to say pretty much whatever I wanted, yes? I just felt like I couldn’t spend one more second of my life in those trenches. However, one of the major life skills I’ve been slowly learning thanks to parenthood, is how to enjoy the good parts of things that are incredibly hard. You can’t say things like, “I will enjoy motherhood once my baby sleeps through the night.” Or at least you can’t if you’re me because your “baby” will be 2.5 and you will have missed everything. So in short, despite some challenges these have been by far my favorite years of my life and I’m just not ready to see them come to a close yet.  Plus, the results? They’re amazing. These babies have turned into marvelous little humans who I just can’t live without. I’ll take another please! So yes, to everyone that has already asked and everyone who will, this was on purpose. (My dad asked at least 5 times.)

Now to the other question I’ve been asked a million times and I’m sure will continue to field forever. “Were we trying for a girl?” First of all, I don’t fully know what that means unless people are referring to the centrifuge thing to scientifically guarantee a girl. So, no we did not do that or any other kind of sorcery. “Ok fine, but were you hoping for a girl?” No, we were not. We were fully aware of the possibility that we could have one, since we also didn’t do the magic lab thing to guarantee a boy, and if this baby had been a girl I am confident we would have fully embraced it. However, we were actually (gasp) both hoping for another boy.

I could write a whole post on why I love boys, and I think maybe someday I will, but for now my only answer to, “Why could you possibly want a third boy?” is : have you seen the first two??? As I was apparently very open about, I never wanted three kids until I had the two I have. And the absolute only reason I changed my mind is how much I love and enjoy them. Now I know all boys aren’t the same, my first two certainly aren’t, but they are both pretty great and I am over the moon to get to do it one more time. Bring on more Legos, trucks, baseballs, snuggles, and adoration. Plus, to be honest, I’ve been surrounded by boys for far too long now to learn new tricks or relinquish my throne.



It’s happening

You never think these things will happen to you. People talk about them and how they never thought it would happen to them but then it did and still you don’t see it. Countless moms have gotten that wistful look in their eye, gazed upon my baby/toddler/preschooler and said something to the effect of, “I remember when mine were that little. Enjoy it! It goes so fast!” Usually those comments are followed by a child throwing a tantrum or having a diaper blowout or screaming all night from an ear infection and I think to myself, “Ha! Fast!? That hour hand hasn’t moved in at least a week.”

And really, this time of life has been so consumed with babies and little ones that I truly can’t remember what it was like before and can’t picture a time beyond this so it does make it feel slow in some ways. It’s actually a good thing for the day to day because I completely have no concept of spending a moment alone, or going to the bathroom with the door closed, showering without a companion, or sleeping without someone’s toe in my ear.

But now we have started discussing schools for B. Pre-k and Kindergarten are around the corner. And those are full day, every day, and it has hit me like a ton of bricks. He won’t be home. I will only have lunch with him twice a week. We won’t wake up every day and decide what to do together, he will already have plans. He will have his own little life. And when you think about it, that’s good right? That is the whole point. They grow and they change and eventually they leave you. That’s how it is supposed to work and I don’t wish it were different but holy shit IT’S GOING SO FAST and I can’t even stop crying as I type this.

I love the ages my kids are at so much. B is 100% little boy. He is curious and busy and delightful. He’s old enough now to do Legos and get something out of museums and ask questions I don’t know the answers to so we can look things up together. But he’s still young enough that he loves me and almost always says yes if I want a hug or a snuggle. And he still says Mommy and not Mom. F is at quite possibly the most adorable age of the entire human life span. He is all the best parts of a baby, chubby and adorable and still so sweet and innocent, plus all the best parts of a toddler, walking and running around, and talking to us and figuring out the world without that little shithead streak they all seem to develop closer to 3.

I hope I’m wrong but it seems like this is it and this is the best things are ever going to be. Is this how everyone else felt during college? Like this was the peak and it will all be downhill from here?? I suppose I should be grateful I hated college and was able to put off this feeling another decade because although it’s awesome to be living it, it’s kind of a downer too.

So now I’m off to cuddle my babies, YES THEY ARE BABIES, research a few schools, and then decide how I’m going to adopt a dog, five kittens, and have three more babies when this time comes for F.

A family milestone

Something feels different in our house today. We’ve seen glimpses of it before. These two boys have always had such a fondness for each other, they want to be together at all times, and they’re even nice to each other for the most part. The nature of their “play” though has always been fairly one sided. B rules the roost. It has mostly been a benevolent dictatorship, but a dictatorship nonetheless. And really F hasn’t minded because he’s been so happy just to be included. To the extent they’ve communicated, a lot of it has been through me. B will give me instructions for what F has to do- probably because he has no faith in F’s competence to understand or obey his decrees. F will whine to me when he wants B to do something differently because, with good reason, he doesn’t believe B will honor his dissent.

BFF humans and bears

BFF humans and bears

Today, though, I’ve noticed a shift. F was awake first and when B came down they greeted each other first. “Hi Bebe!” F said with a wave. “Good morning, Finn!” B replied. I asked B if he needed a morning snuggle and immediately F answered, “nuggle Bebe! Usually in the morning they are both snuggling with me simultaneously but today they were snuggling each other and I was there too.

Later in the morning they somehow negotiated a game of chase. Like they for real spoke to each other both verbally and in that psychic brother way and decided upon a set of rules and roles and then they did it. And didn’t fight. Then B had the idea to make a petting zoo with their stuffed animals. He explained the rules to F and soon enough B was piling animals up on the coffee table and F was walking around and petting them. The unusual part, however, was when B had all 4 stuffed doggies in his arms and told F that those animals weren’t able to be touched yet. F, a diehard dog lover, protested by saying “Miiiiiine! Miiiiine doggie! Pet doggie!” Remarkably, B backed down somewhat off his hard line and said, “Ok Finn you can pet this one doggie for now but none of the others. Ok Little Pookie??” And then F said, “Mmmhmm.” This is noteworthy both because F took part in the negotiation and because B caved, albeit only a bit.

I can’t totally sugarcoat things as this eventually broke down, as these things usually do. B tried his same trick with trains, telling F that he couldn’t touch them, F freaked out, B backed down and said he could only have one, F said he wanted “twooo choo choo!” And then I had to be called in.

F did sneak back later and get his two choochoos

F did sneak back later and get his two choo choos

For a while, and maybe even still, I feared what would happen once F came into his own. I know as a country we are usually against dictatorships but sometimes those are stable dictatorships and once you topple them then the civil unrest starts. I am pleased to at least be seeing glimpses of democracy emerging here. It seems like F is discovering he doesn’t always have to obey and, most shocking of all, B is discovering that he has to keep the people happy to maintain control.

Still sort of a dictator though

I know as a parent you are supposed to view everything as a phase and never a new beginning of a continued period of bliss, but I am feeling pretty good about the fact that I was able to bake a pumpkin pie and write this post all while my kids played happily-ish together without me.

Well hello there

You know when you haven’t talked to a friend in a while but you keep not calling because it’s been so long that the catch up conversation would take forever and you can’t find enough time to do it justice? Then you just keep not calling for longer and longer and perpetuate the problem? You can see where this is going. So rather than catch up I’ll just share some bullet points, quotes, and pics and pretend like it hasn’t been 6 months since I last posted.

Bullet points:

-We like Seattle a lot. It’s basically a more laid back, hipster DC, which suits us quite well. Everyone is on a special diet and leggings are most definitely pants.

-B is in school now and he really likes it! He is a totally different kid there. Either that or they have me confused with the mother of some other child who really likes to clean up and work diligently on art and writing projects for lengthy periods of time.

-F is at the cutest age there is and we are eating him up. He is obsessed with balls and is actually pretty athletic with them according to other dads at the park who always say, “Whoa that kid can throw/kick!”  He is also obsessed with mickuh moooooowse (Mickey Mouse.) In my opinion, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is the worst children’s show in existence.


B: Mommy, how was the first human born if they couldn’t have a mommy or daddy?
M: Umm good question. We actually came from monkeys. Every time a new monkey was born it was a little bit more like a human until one day there were humans.
B: Oh ok. So how was the first monkey born?
M: <Thinks to self, oh crap what was the thing before monkeys!? Bears or something? Amoebas?> I’m going to order you a book on evolution so we can learn more about where we came from.
B: That’s ok, mommy, maybe I’ll just ask Siri.
This one happened over several days as he ruminated over this issue, but I’ve condensed it into one conversation. It basically demonstrates how I try to solve every problem by ordering something from Amazon Prime and B tries to solve everything by asking Siri. We are reading this now: . I have learned more from having kids than I did from attending school.

F: <points at TV> Waaa Mickuh Moooowww!!! (Watch Mickey Mouse!!!)
M: No more Mickey Mouse today, Finn.
F: Whyyyyyyyy?
M: We already watched one. All done!
F: <rolls around on floor shaking head> Uh-uh Mama!! Uh-uh Mama!!
Every.single.thing. this child does is adorable. Even his tantrums. I think it’s because he says “Uh-uh mama” with an Italian accent.


My brother and his family are finally back in the states and these cousins got to meet for the very first time!

My brother and his family are finally back in the states and these cousins got to meet for the very first time!

And these two got to rekindle their friendship and love of train movies.

And these two got to rekindle their friendship and love of train movies.

Yeah, we're still doing this. They fall asleep this way every night.

Yeah, we’re still doing this. They fall asleep this way every night.

Nice tail, Finn. Get it? Tailfin?

Nice tail, Finn. Get it? Tailfin?

Pumpkin decorating contest.

Pumpkin decorating contest. One participant had to be disqualified for excessive play-doh eating.

I can't say enough good things about this brotherly love. They seriously have the best relationship.

I can’t say enough good things about this brotherly love. They seriously have the best relationship.

A food update

I think I owe the Internet an update on our food situation after doing so much complaining here about that before. But I can’t manage to actually type one out so instead I’m going to just post an email I recently sent out to family. Basically I’m beyond thrilled and overjoyed with where we are because only 2 months ago I was seriously afraid he was allergic to FOOD. Basically anything not that would’ve been good news so where we are is really great news. Here is the lazy copy/pasted email!

Figured it was time for your semi-regularly scheduled Finn update. We’ve found a general care doctor, pediatric gastroenterologist, nutritionist, and allergist here in the area and Finn has now been seen by all of them.
It’s so hard for me to be brief on this topic so let me just apologize in advance. Long story short Finn is actually not allergic to every food but is unfortunately very very allergic to some foods (dairy, soy, corn, rice, oat) and those foods are very prevalent.
The good news
Finn is successfully eating a bunch of foods now with no allergic reaction whatsoever.
We keep this running score board in the kitchen.

We keep this running score board in the kitchen.

This is HUGE for so many reasons. We/the doctors think that some, or all, of his issues tolerating foods in the past may actually have just been reactions to minute amounts of a small handful of foods (dairy, soy, corn, rice, oat, and possibly a couple others we don’t know about) as opposed to him being allergic to every food on the planet. We either mistook his earlier reactions to be reactions to the foods we were feeding him and/or his body was constantly being assaulted with small amounts of those few true allergens and that was keeping him from tolerating new foods.
Once we removed all traces of those allergens from his environment (more on how we did that later), he completely stopped having low level mystery reactions and has tolerated every single food we’ve given him. 8 new foods in a row! This would indicate that there are actually tons of foods he can eat and we are feeling very encouraged.
The other very good news here is that this almost completely confirms that he “only” has FPIES. Kids who are allergic to basically every food typically have several diagnoses. We are feeling pretty certain now that he is not one of those kids. Since FPIES is typically outgrown, at least to some extent, he has an excellent prognosis. Even in the very worst case scenario that he can never eat dairy, soy, corn, rice or oat, it is very possible to have a healthy and nutritionally complete diet without those things. Yay! (It also just so happens that Finn’s list of trouble foods lines up perfectly with Benny’s list which is somewhat convenient and definitely not a coincidence.)
Based on his symptoms up until recently, we didn’t know whether he would be one of those kids that is allergic to everything or whether he truly was just super sensitive to crumbs of certain things. Obviously both of those choices are unideal but I would prefer the latter one by a factor of approximately a billion because he can eat, grow, develop and be healthy. Also, he really loves eating so that’s pretty awesome too.
The bad news
Basically it’s not a good idea for him to even be around that small list of foods. Tiny crumbs of these things cause him to scream in pain and vomit and poop blood. The other bad news is, although we have no intention of ever testing this theory, his allergist and GI think he could very well be an acute (severe) reactor if he ever were to get ahold of even a small baby fistful of dairy/soy/rice/oat/corn.
An FPIES reaction is delayed, typically by about 2 hours after ingestion, so the allergist said if he ever does happen to ingest any measurable amount of one of those foods we should immediately drive to the nearest ER and wait it out in the parking lot. He said at Finn’s current size, once he begins to lose fluids it could get very bad very quickly and he could go into hypovolemic shock. Luckily the treatment for that is “just” IV fluids. We have a copy of a letter from his old allergist that we can provide to ER doctors in case this happens, as many docs are unfamiliar with FPIES and how to treat it. I keep a copy of it on my phone and have attached a copy here in case anyone wants to do the same.
How we are managing it
We now strictly keep all dairy, soy, rice, oat, and corn out of the house. Previously we were making a few exceptions and hoping that we could control things by only eating in the kitchen and vacuuming/hand washing after every meal, but this didn’t work. You can never get all traces of a food up and apparently he is sensitive enough that those small traces matter.
Unfortunately it’s not only food we have to worry about. Things like diapers, paper towels, toilet paper, stickers, sidewalk chalk, crayons, magazines, wooden toys, board books etc etc etc all contain one or more of his allergens. Like many things in life I guess, this all seemed incredibly daunting and overwhelming at first but has gotten easier with time and become our new normal. Now I am like the terminator and can walk into a room, scan it, and immediately identify all threats. Also, if there is ever a game show that requires contestants to list ingredients in random grocery items, I will win it.
What’s the big deal
Sure his reactions to crumbs aren’t severe but they do suck. The biggest issue is the one we’ve already dealt with, the fact that if he keeps encountering traces of his allergens he can’t eat new foods. That has many longterm consequences we’d like to avoid.
Also, it sucks for him to feel sick. He clearly is in pain when it happens. He is SUCH a happy kid for the most part and seeing him writhe and scream for hours is pretty awful. (It would be awful with a kid who was crabby too but as he is not one to complain about anything we know he is hurting.)
Each time he is exposed to a certain food his sensitivity goes up and the reaction gets a little worse. It’s easy to see where this is not desired.
Each time he is exposed to a certain food it also is likely to increase the length of time required to outgrow this. We want the outgrowing to happen ASAP.
Recently he put a single Cheerio (oat) in his mouth and didn’t swallow more than 1/8 of it at most, I don’t actually think he swallowed any but just held it on his tongue for a second before I fished it out. This resulted in a few hours of screaming, two pukes and some bad diapers. The whole reaction lasted two days. My mom even tried eating her dairy cheese outside at the park, then washing her hands before holding him, and he still got sick. Unfortunately these incidents just reinforce the fact that he really isn’t safe around those foods at all.
How you guys can help
We completely keep dairy, soy, rice, oat, and corn out of the house and for the foreseeable future we ask that everyone who comes to our house does the same.
We know it’s a pain and it sucks a lot, but right now it’s really the only way forward. It’s hard enough to keep a baby contained when we go out or to other people’s houses, much less a toddler and we really hate to have to do it. It seems inevitable that he will have some additional accidental exposures if we let him leave the house and have a mostly normal life (which is 100% necessary for everyone’s sanity) so it makes it even more important that this doesn’t happen in our house.
When we are at the park and kids start munching on goldfish crackers while going down the slide, then Finn has to be picked up and immediately removed. It sucks for everyone. Of course it’s not society’s job to protect our allergic kid, it is ours, but situations like this reinforce how important it is that he be safe to roam and explore like a normal kid in his own home.
If there is a food that you really can’t live without, just ask! We’ve probably already found a safe alternative. We already have a safe butter, cheese, plenty of wheat breads and cereals, milks, yogurts, pastas etc. Meat, eggs, fish, nuts, seeds, fruits, and veggies are all ok. Also, we do have a lot of good restaurants around, or so we are told at least, so no one has to go totally free of those foods while in town, just when in the house!
How long do we have to live without Ben and Jerry’s?
We have no idea and the doctors don’t either. There is not a lot of good data on FPIES as it’s quite understudied. However, the data that is out there suggests that about 80% of kids completely outgrow this by 1st grade. Those are pretty good odds. Also, the process happens slowly so it is possible (hopeful?) that in even less time Finn will have grown less sensitive so that he can at least be around these foods and be exposed to some crumbs even if he is unable to eat them himself. At the very least we do expect him to eventually stop trying to eat diapers and toilet paper so that will be nice.
It’s all a little bit insane but we really appreciate your understanding and willingness to learn with us as we go. I can’t tell you how great it is to finally see him eating and loving it!!! Although it sucks he’s so sensitive to some things it is far far far better than being allergic to every food. Finn is very much looking forward to sharing a meal with all of you soon!
Thanks and miss you all bunches!!!
P.S. no real need for a Benny update as he’s doing great! He gained 3 lbs between 1 and almost 3 and has now gained 6 lbs in less than a year on this new diet. Now he just has to keep catching up in growth and get stronger, which he is definitely doing! Yay!

F at 1

I guess due to second child syndrome and/or the fact that my kids don’t feel the need to ever sleep at hours where I’m awake, this blog has gone almost radio silent. And when it does briefly come alive it is to bitch about allergies, which has really left a lot of delightful stories of F’s first year to go undocumented. Unless you count overposting on Instagram. So more of a relative undocumentation for kids in this era. Right, so about that. Let’s talk about F!



My baby just turned 1 and I have a lot of cliched feelings about it. In so many ways it’s been a blur because with the second you don’t have time to obsess over their every flail and coo. We’ve also had other things going on like a big move and the underlying worry that we may never eat food again. In other, yet still cliched ways, I can’t believe it’s only been a year as he feels like an integral part of our family and I barely remember a time before him. I worried so much about how we would handle two and where he would fit and what the dynamic would be like but, and I know this is yet another cliche, but he just fit right in like he was the missing piece.

IMG_3500 IMG_3415

The best way to describe F is that he is happy. Always always happy. He is so happy that we tell him, “You are so happy!” several times a day. B even says it to him now, I assume because we say it so much, but it’s true. He just likes everyone and everything and he totally rolls with whatever. You can wake him up out of a dead sleep, rush him into his (gasp) car seat and take him to the grocery store and he acts like you bought him a pony. It is the greatest.

"These are the greatest spoons in the whoooole world!!!"

“These are the greatest spoons in the whoooole world!!!”

With B I remember he had definite favorite things by this age. Favorite types of toys, favorite toys in every category, favorite books, favorite songs, etc. I have no idea if it’s a second kid thing or just his personality but F is not that way. Sure he likes things more than others but he mostly likes everything and really mostly just wants to play with people, or whatever B has.

He likes books and he likes being read to but more than that he likes to take the book out of your hand and throw it. Or open and close the pages. Or take it and give it back to you. He wants to move and he wants to interact. If you did have to pin him down to a favorite toy though it would without a doubt be a ball. He can entertain himself with any kind of ball for actually a really long time for a baby. He scoots it around, kicks it, throws it, plays fetch with himself, and cracks himself up. When he sees a ball, he points at it and says, “Baaaaaah!!” with the exact same intonation I would use if I saw a tiger walking down the street in high heels. That is just how in awe of these objects he is. Yes, G is quite pleased. And yes, he does like to kick them and even say, “Kick!” as he does so. He isn’t walking on his own yet though so you have to hold his hands while he dribbles around the room and that’s a little back crushing, but G is especially willing to put in the time. He has taken a few steps on his own so we expect him to be dribbling independently and shooting goals in no time.



Probably my favorite thing about F (ok one of my favorites? do I need to pick?) is how affectionate he is. I am about to compare my baby to a dog and I realize that’s weird and maybe even insulting but let’s just go with it. I am a total cat person and B is a total cat but I finally get what everyone likes about dogs. F is always always always happy to see you and greets you with smiles, hugs, and kisses and it is totally wonderful. It doesn’t matter if he hasn’t seen someone in days or minutes, the reaction is the same. It doesn’t matter if you just told him no or took something from him, he’s not mad, he just loves you.

Plus he'll get you back.

Plus he’ll get you back.

And speaking of no, for a while I wondered if he maybe wasn’t understanding much of what we were saying because by this age B totally understood (and obeyed) nos. I’ve basically described him as the dog from Up so far who also happened to be dumb but this kid is far from it.

Dug the dog


I mean how cute of me to assume other children have any interest in compliance. He definitely understands. When we are at the park I constantly follow him around saying, “No mouth!” He needs to learn not to eat things off the ground at the park. I know dirt won’t hurt and all that but parks are littered with Goldfish crackers and Cheerios and ending a park trip with an ER visit would be a total bummer. Anyhoo, so I tell him no mouth and he just crawls really fast away from me, turns his back to me, and eats mulch. Then he smiles or even laughs when I scramble to stop him. So yeah, he gets it he just doesn’t care. I know this is “normal” but it is outside of my experience so it still surprises me. Every kid has a way of getting you at some point or another. He’s been such a delightful and easy baby but I fear he might be a bit of a feisty toddler. Stay tuned.

He figured out how to open the gate after we had it for maybe a week.

He figured out how to open the gate after we had it for maybe a week. I picture him saying, “Hellooooo danger.”

There is so much more to say about F but I suppose I’m lucky I’ve gotten this far! No discussion on him is complete without touching on allergy issues, although I really wanted to actually say things about him that are NOT food related since that is not even a little bit who he is, so I will just briefly share the good news that he is eating 9 foods and doing great!

Ok, really trying to stick to F, but again the discussion can’t be complete without a mention of his soulmate, BFF, constant companion, and idol.  I wondered how I’d possibly give a second kid as much attention as a first or keep giving the first as much attention as he was used to and the answer is just that I definitely don’t. People told me ahead of time that trading that attention for a sibling would be worth it and I didn’t get it but now I do. It’s worth it for them both. B has an incredibly long list of nicknames for F and they include: Chubby Chubby Choo Choo, Little Guy Spruce, Lake Washing-Finn, Chubby Chubbo, and Destructo. We don’t yet know what F will call B but I’m pretty excited about it and every single brother moment to come. I picture them getting beers together when they’re older and making fun of me and maybe even ignoring my calls as I call one and then the other, and that vision makes me strangely happy.

Just two brothers sharing some wheat bread. And personal space.

Just two brothers sharing some wheat bread. And personal space.

In conclusion, F at 1 is awesome. To know him is to love him and I can’t believe my luck that I get to do both.

Happy birthday Chubby Chubbo!

Happy birthday Chubby Chubbo!

Recliner injuries

G has pointed out a few times that a good proportion of my favorite memories involve me laughing at him. I was under the impression laughter was an important part of a good marriage? I also like to think at it as laughing with him, since he usually ends up laughing at me because I’m laughing so hard I can’t breathe.

So on that note, one of my favorite memories of parenting happened the other day ( Yes, it’s a fresh memory, I just already know it will be a lasting one.)

F has been sick with a list of things. It started as a GI bug which seemed fairly mild. He threw up and G didn’t tell me because he thought I would freak out about FPIES (!!??) It continued to be mild, then morphed into more of a cold with a fever. Then it morphed into kind of an exorcist screaming level type of performance, so I’m guessing ear infection? Anyhoo, because he is feeling less than his best, let’s say, I’ve been holding him in the rocker most of the night all week. It doesn’t make any sense that this works since he typically sleeps in our bed, meaning I hold him all night every night anyways. I think since he feels worse than usual he just finds it somehow more comforting that I am also more uncomfortable and not really sleeping along with him. Solidarity!

Womp womp

Womp womp


Even at his worst, he likes to put his own safety in question several times a day.

So the other night I was in there with F and G came in around midnight just to check on us. I asked him if he could scoot the recliner (we call it a rocker but it’s really this fantastic lazy boy type thing that we can’t live without) away from the wall so I could recline it fully and try to sleep. I had no idea how I thought he was going to accomplish that with the two of us in the chair but it seemed reasonable at the time. G got underneath the front of the chair to try to get at the actual base, gave it a big bear hug and a tug, and of course SCHWACK, the footrest shot out with the force of a catapult. It was pitch black so I couldn’t see but I heard G hit the ground several feet away. My entire body was shaking I was laughing so hard and I couldn’t even tame the squeals of joy. G is a large man and the vision of him flying across the nursery as if in some bar fight with the chair was too much for me. Some combination of those things woke F up but I didn’t even care because I was laughing so hard.

It was actually just what I needed after the drudgery of our nights lately so even though F and I were fully awake I felt better. Then G realized he couldn’t find his phone so he went back downstairs on a search. Eventually I called it for him. When I heard the vibration coming from inside F’s closet across the room I lost it again just picturing G being propelled so hard across the room that his phone actually flew out of his pocket. Cue giggle fits and annoyed baby.

Then just to overachieve, after I was fully reclined and had F back to sleep, G leaned in to kiss us goodnight and in so doing leaned on the top part of the recliner, tipping us back towards the wall. I can envision no other scenario in which waking up a sleeping sick baby 3 times in 15 mins would be me with anything other than blind rage. But, again, I couldn’t control my laughter.

Totally unrelated but let's talk abut how normal this kid is with his spaghetti and store bought cupcake. We reintroduced OMGluten and he's doing great. And the hippies here have perfected and mainstreamed dairy-free, soy-free, rice-free baked goods.

Totally unrelated but let’s talk abut how normal this kid is with his spaghetti and store bought cupcake. We reintroduced OMGluten and he’s doing great. And the hippies here have perfected and mainstreamed dairy-free, soy-free, rice-free baked goods.

This post wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the whole reason I feel alive enough to write it. My mom is hands down the most incredible person on Earth. She slept here to help with F because G and I just can’t hang anymore (how did we survive B’s entire first two years when it was like this most nights!!??) We handed her a screaming-bloody-murder baby at 9:30 last night and I awoke at 5:45 (!!!!!) to see them snuggled and asleep on the couch. There are no words.

F U Food

I figured an update on F’s food issues was overdue but I keep not writing one because, well, it’s not superb news, but also we just keep learning new things so any update will be quickly obsolete. So keeping that in mind, here is where we stand:

We are still waiting to see a GI here but based on guidance from doctors in SLC and the general consensus amongst the FPIES community, the way this all works is not quite as straightforward as one might like. There is no absolute list of foods that F is allergic to and list of foods he can tolerate, if there were it would be as simple as just trying a billion foods until we found out which ones work and which ones don’t. Basically we/doctors think that it’s much more complex, a dark art if you will. There probably is a list of foods that F can’t tolerate no matter what, but outside of that is where it gets murky. The theory goes that once his system is too irritated from whatever offenders he’s been in contact with, he just can’t tolerate a new food, any food. If his body has time to heal, recover, and get back to normal then his chances of tolerating a new food dramatically increase. For a lot of kids, once they get through a good period of “gut rest” then they start being able to tolerate new food after new food and really get on a roll, so it looks like achieving actual extended gut rest is what we need to commit to.

"Gut rest!!"

“Gut rest!!”

For a while we thought a few foods might be ok with F, peas and bananas specifically. He had a few symptoms with them but nothing too severe so we figured that was better than nothing. Turns out that’s not really true and the symptoms for those foods got worse with time and bigger portions. I’m happy to elaborate on those symptoms for anyone who is curious but I figure for the sake of F’s middle school experience let’s not go there on this public blog. All in all we’ve tried probably 10 different foods on F directly, mostly fruits and veggies but also wheat and pork, and he hasn’t tolerated any of them so something isn’t working right.

"Really guys, avocado? We think this will go differently than the last 15 times?"

“Really guys, avocado? We think this will go differently than the last 15 times?”

For now we have taken him off of all solid foods and he is only breastfed. We are taking a bunch of measures to keep him from getting ahold of anything and reacting. From a general health perspective, he is doing fine, even great, which is something to be very grateful for, but he really needs to eat food eventually and we are sort of running out the clock on the whole surviving on breast milk thing. Not to mention my health and sanity, I can’t take this forever either. With those eventual goals in mind, the steps we have taken to get him healthy are:

-I am eating only coconut and peanuts (and coffee and the occasional white wine!) Let’s just not talk about that. It sucks a lot but we are running out of options so whatever. It seems like the only way to move forward is to take a temporary step back. I found out that several commercial olive oil brands are actually mixed with undisclosed soy oil which could explain why cooked veggies were sometimes troublesome and other times not. All of the fruits I was eating myself I eventually gave to him and he reacted so I can’t have those anymore either. I would love to sort it all out and expand my diet yesterday, but I really do feel time pressure to get F eating some solids before he starts to suffer nutritionally. I know I will eat again some day.

-We do not allow F to touch anything in the kitchen. We’ve gated off the entire thing, which was much easier in our new house thankfully. He can come in if he’s held or in his high chair but he can’t touch the floor, table, counter, etc.

We call this the Great Baby Gate of China

We call this the Great Baby Gate of China

-We keep all soy, rice, corn, and oat out of the house, no exceptions. I’d love to keep dairy out too but then we wouldn’t have any family or friends left so we make an exception there as long as it’s not in powder form. Cheese, milk, yogurt, etc. are ok but no baked goods with milk in them, for example.

-We vacuum the whole kitchen 3 times per day and vacuum the entire lower level of the house once per day.

-We’ve tried our best to remove all soy containing toys. Board books, stickers, anything printed with ink or painted with paint (yes, even Melissa and Doug) has soy in it. Either my kid is a pirhanna or all babies are eating these things and no one cares, but regardless he’s reacting. Obviously we have to strike a balance here with fairness to his brother. B is of course keeping his trains and some other things that aren’t safe for F, we just try to keep them in his room and keep an eye.

We had to ditch the fancy wooden cutting fruit in favor of plastic.

We had to ditch the fancy wooden cutting fruit in favor of plastic.

Wooden fruit casualty.

Wooden fruit casualty.

-We (try to) always watch F like a hawk. He’s also eaten toilet paper, paper towels, printer paper with soy ink, a piece of foam from the trampoline, cardboard boxes, and countless other things that are more trash than food. Because it’s America most of our trash is, however, made of corn and soy in some capacity and that is a problem. The poor kid just needs a bubble. This morning, while ignoring F for a moment in order to explain to G how stressful it is to always watch him and always worry, F was around the corner sucking on a toy traffic sign with a sticker on it that said “Yield”. I guess that’s funny?

Just had to use this picture again. It's not really relevant except for the fact that the grocery cart is almost certainly covered with allergenic crumbs from all the other kids.

Just had to use this picture again. It’s not really relevant except for the fact that the grocery cart is almost certainly covered with allergenic crumbs from all the other kids.

So that is pretty extreme, but that’s where we are. On the other side of the coin, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to handle the rest of the child, you know the actual person and not the illness. He’s getting older and is going to start to become more aware of all this stuff and probably figure out he’s different and aging me at a record setting pace.  I think the most important thing we can do is be honest with him but also act like it’s no big deal (because in the grand scheme of things it really isn’t. I’d pick this disease over thousands of others any day.) For a while I was planning on not doing a 1st birthday party for him- it seemed silly to invite a bunch of people over to the house to eat food and make crumbs that put him at risk so that we end up restraining him in his own house, and to sing to him and serve a cake he can’t eat. He is only a baby so he won’t care. But I realized he will care. He will get older and he’ll figure out we had parties for B and not for him. So I’m working on a plan for a party. We will do it out of the house, serve food that is free of his major triggers, and put a candle on something else other than a cake. We will celebrate and he will have fun!! It is only food after all and he will only think this is a big deal if we teach him that it is.

I probably should have left things there on a fairly positive note, but I feel like I should address the biggest question we get. Will he outgrow this? The answer is, of course, we have no idea. Most kids who have been studied do outgrow it, like 80-90%, and those are good odds. Most kids who have been studied, however, have one or a small handful of foods they can’t eat. There are other kids out there like F, we even have a friend here in Seattle with a similar case! But little is known about what happens long term with kids like this who are seemingly allergic to everything. It does seem very promising that they outgrow it to an extent. We really believe that F will eventually eat, we just don’t know how many foods and how old he will be when it happens. The allergist guessed he would probably start to outgrow it around school age, so 5 or 6. Meaning maybe he could have B’s diet by the time he’s in Kindergarten. I’d take that for sure! There are of course kids out there who are 5 and eating 1-2 foods, and kids out there who are 5 and making huge strides with up to 100 or more foods. Unscientifically, just speaking to other parents, it does seem like the key to making progress is keeping them from reacting, hence all of our bubble precautionary measures. At this point we have to give it a go.

Just from a personal standpoint, I feel like a lot of people focus on the fact that he will outgrow it. They ask what’s happening, I explain it, and they say, well he’ll outgrow it right? That’s great! It takes the wind right out of my complaining sails. I get that they are trying to be positive and that’s probably exactly what I’d say in their shoes too. And, again, in the grand scheme of things this really is not that huge of a deal and it’s wonderful to think he will likely outgrow it, but sometimes it does get a touch annoying. Even if we “only” deal with this for 6-8 years that is a freaking long time to take these precautions. I feel like B has been with me forever and that is twice his entire life. I don’t actually know what else I want people to say, except maybe “Well that sucks, want to go out for some peanut butter sometime?”

Good thing he's so cute!

Good thing he’s so cute!