Saturday, November 20, 2010

Internet Hodgepodge--November 20

Oops, it's been several weeks since I shared some favorite posts. Here's what I've been enjoying recently: Alicia's Homemaking shared her recipe for Super-Moist Pumpkin Cake. It looks soooo good!

Simple Organized Living has a great tip and a delicious-looking recipe for cinnamon bread. Yum!

Email Answer: Clean Freak? by Young House Love is a super helpful "how I keep my house clean" post (thank you, Simple Organized Living).
Top Ten {Tuesday}: 10 Things That Help in My Struggle with Depression by Tree Root and Twig is a great honest post, and it inspired me to write this post about my own struggles.
Stark.Raving.Mad.Mommy shared this video about ultracompetitive moms, that happens to interview an animated version of herself. Way cool.

Giving Up on Perfect is doing a wonderful series on Special Needs Kids. Go here for the latest post.

This post is linked to Saturday Stumbles at It's Come 2 This.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Young Adult Tales 6--Challenges

This is the last in my series of posts recounting my Young Adult Years, hosted by Ginny Marie (thanks Ginny!) over at Mommy's Piggy Tales. Inspired by this post by Tree Root and Twig, I've decided to write about my "challenges" that began in law school with the onset of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, followed by Depression and Agoraphobia--and how I deal with them today. Irritable Bowel Syndrome

I talked a little bit the history of my IBS in this post. Symptoms began my second semester of law school (although I can look back at a few weird incidents prior to that, but they were few and far between). We had a class called Torts that was immediately after lunch twice a week. A few minutes into class (like clockwork), I had to poop. Urgently. I couldn't hold it in. I had to leave class, use the bathroom, and return. {So embarrassing!} Weird, but it was only those 2 days a week and life went on. I don't remember the exact progression but over time these urgent episodes got more frequent and less predictable. By the end of law school, I was taking a lot of Pepto Bismol for diarrhea and Rolaids/Tums for gas.

During Bar review was when I started having episodes in cars--we would often have to stop at a gas station on the way from our apartment to class (about 20 minutes).

We flew from LA to Chicago and back around Easter of '99 (this was a couple months after Bar review). Sitting on the plane waiting to take off in Chicago, seatbelt sign on, I really really really needed to poop. I'm sure I took a ton of Pepto but still, this was really bad and I had this thought of I'm going to poop right here in this seat and make a big mess and it will smell and the stewardesses will know. It was awful. By the grace of God, I held it till the seatbelt sign turned off--but it was a long time before I was willing to fly again.

A couple months after that, we drove to my sister's college graduation. The drive was miserable, we had to stop a lot. Then the actual graduation ceremony was a disaster. The first time I had to use the bathroom, I discovered there was a long line for the ladies room. I managed to hold it, but there was no way I could stay in this situation where I couldn't get to a bathroom when I needed to. Anyway, the whole weekend was horrible and humiliating and everyone kept asking what was wrong with me, assumed I had a UTI or was pregnant (I was, after all, a newlywed)--just awful!

Back in LA, I finally saw a doctor. She diagnosed IBS and I think she prescribed Levsin. She also tried to figure out if it was tied to stress (no, the symptoms were always around whether high-stress (Bar review) or low-stress (being a couch potato)) or depression or what food I was eating (I did a diary, eliminated caffeine, nothing mattered). In the days following this conversation, I had a lightbulb moment--maybe I'm depressed. I talked with my doctor and she confirmed it, put me on Zoloft, and I started therapy. {More on the depression in a minute.}

Okay, so once I was diagnosed with IBS and Depression, things were better for a while. But symptoms went up and down, I tried different medications, this and that. I finally had a colonoscopy in 2001, it only confirmed that there was nothing wrong other than IBS.

Sorry, this isn't making any sense. I've had IBS for 13 years now, so I have to pick and choose what is worth telling. Here's the gist, by 1999 my symptoms were so bad I hated to leave my home. Once I was diagnosed and medicated, things got better, but I was still disabled by it, unable to work, to drive etc. But I learned to cope and gradually added more things I could do, like go to church. I could go places if Hubby drove. Etc.

Where I Am Now

If you've read my blog, you know I get around all the time, I'm constantly taking my kids to school, speech, doctor's appointments. I am not currently on prescription meds. I take Metamucil and Acidophilis daily and Imodium as needed. I take Imodium a lot, several times a week in the course of driving around, two pills per dose, and hopefully I can make it to a gas station in time.

Strategies: I give myself extra time to get anywhere I'm going. If a drive takes 30 minutes, I leave 45 minutes before I need to be there--because I might need to make a stop. If a drive takes more than 5 minutes, I may have to stop. L's preschool is 10 minutes from here, and sometimes I can't make it without stopping for a bathroom. I routinely (2 times out of 3) stop on the way to speech, about a 20 minute drive if the stoplights cooperate. It sucks. Especially with both kids in the car--I have to unbuckle and rebuckle two car seats--but this is how I get around. I know where all the bathrooms are--in all the stores I shop at, in all the gas stations and fast food places I might need to stop at on my routes.


I was diagnosed with Depression in the middle of 1999, but I can see, in hindsight, the onset of symptoms following my summer in South Dakota, fall of 1997. My first symptom was I didn't want to drive anymore. I put thousands of miles on my car in SD and I didn't want to drive from my apartment to school. WTF?! Ah, but there was a "reasonable" explanation--on my way out of Eagle Butte, I almost ran over a kid on a bicycle. (I saw him on one side of the road and slowed down and I thought he was letting me by, but then he darted across the street anyway. I was going slow enough that I stopped in plenty of time, but it still shook me up.)

I also lost interest in attending classes and doing homework. But again, this seemed reasonable. I'd worked superhard my first year and everyone around me was burnt out too.

Anyway, none of this was too bad or interfered much with life (other than Hubby (my fiance at the time) did all the driving and my grades dropped) until I was a full-time couch potato in '99. My doctor put me on Zoloft and within a few weeks I was feeling much better. She recommended I stay on the drug for at least 9 months to prevent a recurrence, so I went off Zoloft when 9 months were up. Oh and the therapy was nice too. I did that once a week or 2 until we left LA at the end of '99.

In 2005, after having my son, my Hubby and I were "on the lookout" for post-partum depression symptoms because of my history, yet we still missed them. My symptoms that time around were irritability and wishing to turn the clock back to pre-baby days. Anyway, I figured it out right before L turned 6 months (right before he got sick and our lives turned upside down). I went on the Zoloft again, because I'd had good history with it and it was safe for breastfeeding. Unfortunately, it increased my anxiety (previously, my anxiety had been all about the IBS and being away from bathrooms, now I was anxious even doing routine things that previously had not been a problem). In the fall of '06 I chose a new primary care physician--I showed up and said, "I have IBS, I'm Depressed, help me" and she's been great. First off, she switched me from Zoloft to Lexapro and that helped the anxiety. I was on that for a year or two and she helped me get off of it so I could conceive T.

When I was pregnant with T, I didn't want to hit bottom again with PPD. So I asked my primary doctor if she'd prescribe Lexapro as soon as I delivered. She said no, no meds unless/until I need it. So I asked my OBGYN what she thought. She said I could go on Lexapro immediately after T was born so I said great, let's do it. {Lexapro is not considered safe for breastfeeding but for EE-related reasons, I knew I wouldn't be breastfeeding anyway.} I definitely did develop PPD again--I started off on 10 mg of Lex at birth and a few weeks later had to up it to 20mg, I still have days I wonder if I should be more medicated. But I also know that self-care goes a long way to keeping up my mental health, as my doctor likes to remind me--I need alone time and exercise. I struggle with the exercise, but I've seen first hand that if I don't get out by myself once per weekend, I'm have a shorter fuse all week.


Okay, I know this post is super long already, but I have to tell this part of the story. So I was a full-time couch potato starting in '99, I rarely drove after fall of '97 (and pretty much never from 2000-06). When my fall '06 doctor put me on Lexapro, she made me get counseling. I love therapy but it was really tough without childcare, not to mention expensive. Anyway, so I started seeing this therapist and he basically called me agoraphobic and I was like "I go out all the time, just with someone else driving" (in addition to Hubby taking me places, I also had met a friend who would come pick up L and me to hang out and shop and do playdates, bless you, Catherine). Anyway, I learned that agoraphobia includes any avoidance behavior, so that would include me and my driving avoidance.

The avoiding driving of course overlapped with the IBS getting worse and I hit a point where I thought "I can't drive, I have to concentrate on holding in the poop." And I have had one incident in particular where I was driving and needing a bathroom and I ran a red light (it turned yellow and I couldn't stand the thought of waiting at a long light when I needed a bathroom so I floored it, but didn't quite make it through when it turned red). That was a huge wake up call because the kids were in the car and I can't put our safety at risk like that. Worst case scenario, I poop my pants, but I will stop on yellow!

Then my husband was in a car accident. Well, first, my therapist had me practice leaving my house. I did a little driving-- once to Target, and once around the block several times, going home and leaving again each time--what was this called? Exposure therapy maybe. Anyway, so Hubby is in a car accident. The car was totalled and Hubby hurt his back. And it was almost Christmas. So one day I had to finish shopping in time to get a gift in the mail and I took L with me to Target and shopped and whatever. And I told my therapist about this and I was like "Why can I do this for someone else {meaning helping Hubby by not leaving the errand up to him} but not myself? Am I just lazy?" And he said "possibly." To this day, I don't know if he was serious, or this was reverse psychology, or sarcasm. Either way, it was eye-opening. So using his techniques and exposure or whatever, I gradually drove more and more. I still avoid freeways (which I've never liked, even when I was "normal") but otherwise I get around to quite a big radius these days. :-)

If you made it through this book-length post, I thank you! I thank Tree Root and Twig for spurring me to write this post, I hope it might help someone who is struggling with any of these issues. Feel free to leave me a question in the comments if something didn't make sense or I left something out. For more (hopefully happier) Young Adult Tales, go here. Thanks again!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Five Question Friday--November 12

Super simple post today because I find myself fascinating.... Five Question Friday hosted by Mama M. 1. What is the most physically painful thing that has ever happened to you?
Duh, labor of course. Both times, the anesthesiologist took his sweet time getting to me, so I experienced hours of contractions. I don't remember L's labor very well, but T's is still a vivid memory. I remember that in addition to the enormous cramping pain, I also felt a stabbing pain. Like knife in the gut, someone is stabbing me pain. Is this normal, ladies? Because I think it might have been gas related to my lovely and ever present Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Anyway, in case you're wondering why I go for the epidural, that's why. I don't need a medal, just give me the drugs, thankyouverymuch.

2. How much sleep do you get at night?
There is not enough sleep in the world! On a good night, we'll go to bed by 10:30 and the kids will sleep till 7:00 (on a good day)--so that's potentially 8.5 hours. But we aren't always so good about going to bed and the kids rarely make it till 7 (today it was 6:00). Anyway, if left to my own devices (as I was when I was a full-time couch potato), I'll sleep 10-11 hours per night. So 8.5 doesn't seem nearly enough!

3. How long did you believe in Santa Claus? How did you find out that he does not exist?
I believed for a very long time. Into junior high, I think. {I know, crazy!} I had 3 sisters (one older, 2 younger) and we all slept in one room on Christmas Eve and talked about waiting for Santa. One year, I heard "Santa" hit a key on the piano about 3am and I knew convincingly he was real.

I don't know how/when I finally figured it out. It wasn't one startling moment, I think I just outgrew believing in magic. Or maybe kids at school talked about how Santa is really your parents and it was like "oh, of course!" I don't remember.

Anyway, I had to continue to act like I still believed in order to keep getting presents. To this day, my parents won't let us talk like he doesn't exist. {Weird!}

4. What was the last movie you saw in a theater?
I believe I've only seen one movie in a theater since I became a mom {that's 5 years--so sad!} and that was Becoming Jane.

5. What do you wear to bed?
For a very long time, the answer was a t-shirt and shorts or flannel pants, but in the last couple of years, I have discovered the joy of matching pajamas. I have one set of summer pajamas and 3 sets of winter pjs, including my super favorite Betty Boop Coca-Cola pajamas. :-) Of course there are still those nights when I stumble into bed without matching. But waking up coordinated is kind of magical. I highly recommend it!

I told you, I'm fascinating! For more Q&A fun, go here.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

When I Became a Grown-Up

I am participating in Young Adult Tales over at Mommy's Piggy Tales. The story I'm about to recount took place when I was 31 years old, so maybe I wasn't technically a "young adult" anymore, but I count it as when I became a grown-up, although most days I still feel like a big kid. This is also a story that needs telling as background here on my blog of how we began our journey with Eosinophilic Esophagitis. Enjoy! December 24, 2005. L had just turned 6 months old and he started vomiting. We called to get an appointment with his pediatrician but she was booked and told us to go to Urgent Care. We went to an urgent care that was located down the hall from the ped's office, so while we were waiting at UC, Hubby walked down the hall to try to get us in to see the ped. He succeeded--we saw our doctor who diagnosed a stomach bug, said to keep going with the pedialyte etc. He seemed to perk up that afternoon--he sat contentedly in the bouncy while we decorated a Christmas tree.

Christmas morning he vomited some more and then improved again. A few days later we went back to the ped for his 6 month well visit. He had thrown up that morning, but she said he seemed fine, probably his stomach was still sensitive from the recent virus.

He vomited off and on the next few days and we'd call the nurse line and were always told "unless it's green or projectile, don't worry." Meanwhile, my mother- and sister-in-law came to visit for New Years.

December 30. We were hanging out with the family that evening, and L got hysterical. By then we recognized the pattern --he screams, screams, screams, then vomits. This time, I spread out some towels on the floor, and sure enough he puked--and it was green and projected a good 3 feet so we headed to the Emergency Room. {I took the towel with the green puke with us to the hospital, determined to be taken seriously.} We chose to go to Scottsdale Healthcare Shea because we trusted that hospital (we had recently moved further west in the Valley so there were closer hospitals, but we headed to Shea).

We went to triage and the nurse asked if he's always this pale. We said "yes, this is his normal skin color." People were always complimenting L's porcelain skin.

The rest is kind of a blur--I guess pretty much from that first moment, they suspected L was anemic. We went back to a room and they tried to draw blood. They couldn't. They tried and tried and L was crying and crying, but no one could find a vein. I remember nervously laughing and saying, "he must have blood cuz he's alive." Eventually, they called down someone from pediatrics to find a vein, even she struggled. At some point, someone found a vein in his head. That was a shocking sight!

At one point, a doctor came in, before the bloodwork was even back, and said he suspected he was anemic and would have to go to Phoenix Children's Hospital (PCH). We were shocked! Was it really that bad? We're just here for vomiting. He was very kind and said that for pretty much anything pediatric, they send you to Children's.

At some point the bloodwork came back, I'm not sure if we were told numbers at that point; if we were, we didn't understand the gravity at that point. We were told he'd need transfusions, and then they'd have to figure out how he lost blood.

So they sent L to PCH in an ambulance. Another shocker. I was 31 years old and had never been in an ambulance, here my little 6-month baby was in one. They strapped him into his infant carseat and then onto a gurney. I traveled with L in the ambulance and Hubby followed behind in our van. He wasn't sure of the route so he wanted to follow the ambulance, but the paramedics warned him, they weren't going to slow down and wait if they got separated.

Now, I have a bad case of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I do not like riding in a car (like a cab, bus, shuttle) where I can't stop if I need to poop, but I just had to suck it up and get on in that ambulance with my baby.

The paramedics we rode with were very nice. The guy in the back with us was encouraging that anemia is easy to fix, he'll have blood transfusions and be fine. The harder part would be figuring out the cause. {Yeah, he pretty much hit the nail on the head on that one!}

We arrived at PCH and were admitted to the Pediatric Intesive Care Unit (PICU). By this time it was about 3am, I think. Oh and L was starving--they hadn't let me feed him {I was breastfeeding} because they were planning to do an abdominal xray or ultrasound or something. I remember a nurse coming in and giving us a little orientation and mentioning there was a lactation room if I needed to pump--and yes, I was quite engorged by then--so she set me up with that. I think they fixed his IV (found a vein in his ankle so he didn't need the one in his head) and we waited for doctors.

Dr. Watanabe, a hematologist, came in (was this still nighttime or the next day? I think we met a different doctor earlier?). He sat and talked with us, quizzed us on anything and everything from L's first 6 months of life. Eventually, we learned the numbers--L had a hemoglobin of 3 and iron of zero. Normal hemoglobin is 13. 9 gets you a transfusion. By 6, you're (usually) too sick to get off the couch. L was at 3! He was critically ill.

They began the blood transfusions. Creepy! When morning broke, I called my parents and told them a short version of what happened. That was the last time I talked to them during the ordeal. The reason I call this post "When I became a grown-up" is because I was unbelievably strong. I'm usually quick to cry but I kept it together the whole time. After I talked to my parents that one time, I made hubby talk to them and anyone else going forward--because I recognized that I was unusually together and knew that if I talked to anyone, I would break down. And I couldn't afford to do that. I was keeping it together for my son.

We stayed up all night and eventually went home for a few hours that day. When we returned I noticed how red L's lips were and thought, "poor kid, now his lips are chapped." Nope. We learned that being pale has nothing to do with skin color (L will always be fair-skinned) but has to do with lips and cheeks (cheeks should be rosy, lips should be red). It was early in December that I'd thought what a pretty pink color of lips L has. (From looking at photos, we can see that L started getting more and more pale beginning in October. And he'd seen his ped in October and both those times in December. Yeah, she wasn't our pediatrician after that.)

After 2 nights in the PICU, L graduated to the "Hem/Onc" floor {Hematology (blood) and Oncology (cancer) shared a floor--so we saw little baby cancer patients, so sad}. There, he had a roommate. Anyway, I don't have to tell all of our hospital stories.... The point is, my baby was in the hospital and I had to grow up fast. Listen to the doctors, take care of a sick kid (he was still sick when we took him home, he continued to vomit until we figured out he had EE 2 months later), give him iron and a laxative, take him to lots of doctor appointments (first with Watanabe and then to his gastroenterologist). The night he was on the Hem/Onc floor, we left him overnight (I think we left him the 2nd night in the PICU too)--so hard to leave him and he wasn't sleeping through the night yet.

And of course we had guests at home and it was New Years Eve and it just was all around chaos. We just let my in-laws fend for themselves (my sister in law was enjoying bubble baths in our huge tub while we shuttled bak and forth to PCH) and went to bed early on New Year's Eve. I remember they pestered us to open the Christmas gifts they'd brought from all the family members--that was the last thing we wanted to spend time on, but they were relentless. Just a really bad time.

So there you have it, the night I became a grown-up. A short synopsis of what happened next: Watanabe pretty much guessed it was a gastro problem, after ruling out a bunch of stuff, and eventually the GI did upper and lower endoscopies that found the Eosinophilic Esophagitis. I was ordered to wean him cold turkey and he stopped all food and we put him on the Neocate (elemental formula) and Prevacid. And he started to thrive.

Our best guess as to what happened (how did he get a hemglobin of 3?) is this: his body was reacting to the food he was eating (i.e. my breastmilk) by attacking his esophagus, causing erosion and bleeding. The bleeding was microscopic in quantity (I never saw blood in his diaper) but over time, he became more and more anemic. Another piece of the puzzle may be that at 3 months old, babies' bodies switch from fetal hemoglobin to making their own--so you have a natural dip in hemoglobin, so losing blood after that could make for a really low score. Meanwhile, he lost blood so slowly, his body compensated fairly well so, while we don't doubt he must've been in much pain that we didn't know about, it wasn't as bad as you'd expect for such a low score, plus we don't believe there was any brain damage from lack of oxygen in his blood. {That's the most sense I can make of it all, as a non-doctor.}

For more on our adventures with EE, you can click on the "ee" or "about" tabs in my sidebar. For more Young Adult Tales, go here. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Young Adult Tales 4--Life on the Rez

Continuing to recount my young adult years, I bring you my summer in South Dakota. For the rest of my walks down memory lane, click on "MPT" in my sidebar. For others' tales, go to Mommy's Piggy Tales. Thanks to the tv show LA Law, I decided in high school that I wanted to be a lawyer. Who doesn't love to argue, right? Then in college, as I was pursuing my interest in Native American history and culture, my advisor mentioned she knew a former student who was practicing Indian law. What? I could combine my interests in Indians and law, who knew?! From that point on, that became my goal.
What is Indian law? Basically, it's advocating on behalf of tribes, either working for a tribe or working for an organization such as Native American Rights Fund (NARF). Issues include treaty rights, water rights, gaming etc.
Just so this story doesn't take super long, I'll cut the chase--in the spring semester of my first year of law school, I looked for and applied to summer jobs in Indian law. The job I got was working for the Attorney General of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in South Dakota. I received a Student-Funded Fellowship that paid me a little bit of money to support myself while on the (unpaid) job. And I bought a car, because I had no way to get myself out there. A friend (and her dad) and I caravaned to SD (she drove onto Montana for her summer job).
On our way, we drove down to Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge reservation. The poverty was immediately noticeable and I started to worry about what I'd gotten myself into. {Shannon County, where Pine Ridge is located, is one of the poorest counties in the US.}
Okay, so I drove on to Eagle Butte, the town where I'd be spending my summer. I followed the directions the AG (Steve) had given me and arrived at the administrative building. I remember meeting the secretary and then I met the only intern who'd arrived before me, Paul. They should have known I was coming but nobody cared, apparently. The dorm we'd be staying in wasn't available for another week. Paul was staying with the AG's brother (Tom), the tribal attorney. They were kind enough to offer me the couch (in the middle of the living room) while Paul slept on the floor of an empty bedroom. Great first impression.
Eventually the dorm opened and more interns arrived--Katherine and Chris soon after and later Christine and Truc. Becky, a young law grad, also arrived. She'd interned previously and now began working as a lawyer for the tribe.
Steve was a jerk who buddied with the guys but didn't have much use for us women. The work was poorly divided and I never got to do much "legal" stuff during my time there--Katherine and I spent most of our time doing secretarial work on a case that had already been to the appellate level. So I won't talk about the work and my boss.
Life on the rez. Eagle Butte had a population of about 2000 people--my high school had 2700. There were two grocery stores, one restaurant (and a bar that served frozen pizza), a couple gas stations. Only half the residents of Eagle Butte were tribal members, the rest were white, so I sort of blended in, although I think I stuck out as "city folk." {One time, I was talking on the pay phone in the gas station and these two boys looked at me funny and asked if I was speaking "Mexican." No, but I guess I was talking faster and different than they were used to.}
It wasn't as destitute as Pine Ridge (or at least my brief impression of it), thank goodness. Tom had a nice house. Most of the houses were owned by the tribe. When Becky arrived, she had to be issued a house by the tribe. She moved in and her parents came out to help her clean up and paint the walls etc. The dorm we stayed in was for the high school, where kids from outside of Eagle Butte would live during the school year. Other than finding an enormous cockroach one night, the place was in good shape.
There were about 2 main north and south streets in the town. The main center road had everything on it: gas station, our office building, then the post office, laundromat, drugstore, a grocery store at either end. To the east and west were residential areas. Then on the main east-west road was the restaurant, another residential neighborhood, and two motels.
Eagle Butte had running water but smaller nearby towns did not. One of our secretaries did not have a home phone. Everyone had a propane tank sticking out of their lawn. I'd never seen that before.
The interns and I left town pretty much every weekend. We went to Rapid City a few times, including once we camped and went to a pow wow. We went to Deadwood, which is an old "ghost town" with casinos. We went to Hot Springs and enjoyed a warm-mineral-water-filled pool, that was fun. We traveled around the Black Hills and saw buffalo and prairie dogs. We had to drive across the state to Sioux Falls to pick up Truc and I think that's when we went to the Corn Palace in Mitchell. We camped in the Badlands. We arrived when it was dark and set up our tents and woke up to the most amazing landscape! Really spectacular terrain (they film movies there to look like other planets). We hiked that--man, it was hot.
One time in all this driving around, we were in Chris' car and got a flat tire and Chris couldn't figure out how to get the spare out from under the car. I was the only one with a cell phone (this was 1997, I had borrowed my parents' phone for the summer) but I couldn't get reception to call AAA. Thankfully, a family driving by stopped to help us--the dad got out, I think he even had tools in the back of his truck, and he freed the spare and we were on our way.
The traveling was by far the best part of the summer. I think I put 8000 miles on my new car that summer! We saw Mount Rushmore; went to two pow wows (Rapid City and Pine Ridge); the scenery and wildlife in the Black Hills were amazing.
Those are my memories from my summer in South Dakota. It was a priceless experience, most affluent white kids from suburbia don't get to see reservation life up close. I wish the job aspect hadn't been so negative, that was unfortunate. But it was a very valuable experience.
Okay, folks, I'm asking for your help once again. I have 2 weeks of these young adult tales yet to come and I'm open to suggestions on what to write about. Here are some choices:
-My wedding and/or honeymoon (to Whidbey Island, WA)
-Our vacation to Charleston, SC
-My 6 weeks in France in college
-Something about growing into either my appearance or personality over the years
What strikes your fancy? Tell me in the comments what you'd like to read about. Thanks!!!
Thanks for reading--come back next week for another installment of my Young Adult Tales!

Monday, November 1, 2010


Lots of wild stuff going on around here! I know I have a totally random blog and don't talk about at-home stuff a whole lot. As in all things, I blame my lack of time management skills. Anyway, I hope you will rejoice in these triumphs with me even if you didn't know about our trials.

First off, L is finally pooping on the potty!!! That's right, he is 5 years old and not totally potty trained. Clearly I am the world's worst mother, go ahead and judge. We've tried various things, gotten advice from both his pediatrician and his gastroenterologist, but ultimately he wasn't ready.

So how did this miracle happen? Well, it seems to have been a combination of the end of naps (I would put him in a diaper at naptime and that's when he'd poop, but now he no longer naps), some particularly urgent poops, and peer pressure. I hope it helped that I'd been sitting him on the potty each day, maybe that got him comfortable with the unknown. And it certainly helped that once he'd done it the first time (one of those urgent poops) he got lots of cheers and prizes.

Within ten days of that breakthrough, he gave up bottles!!! I've talked several times on here about his Eosinophilic Esophagitis and that he drinks this really awful formula (Neocate Jr.)and we're really fortunate he has never needed a feeding tube, but the flip side is he continued to drink from baby bottles, even at 5 years old. Again, we've tried a variety of methods (and cups, straws, etc.) and two feeding therapists, but ultimately it was just about L being ready. Two weeks ago, he put his 8pm bottle on the counter and said "Hmmm, bottles are for babies. I am not a baby." And I jumped up and said, "would you like to use a cup instead?" and proceeded to go through the cabinets offering all the different and cool cups and straws we own. He sat down with an extra cup of formula and drank it and said "mmm, this is so good!" and daddy and I sat there with him talking about how he's such a big boy and no more bottles and we'll go shopping tomorrow and pick out some new cups.... Oh and of course we gave him a prize. :-)

We worried about what would happen the next day. When he got up, he was willing to have a cup instead of a bottle and he got a prize when he finished. (Thankfully I'd just stocked up on prizes when he started pooping the week before.) He has kept it up ever since. No bottles for over 2 weeks!!! And unlike the time we took the bottles from him on our initiative rather than his, his volume hasn't significantly dropped. Instead of 7 bottles a day, he gets 7 cups. However, the downside of the transition is that he could drink a bottle in 5 to 10 minutes, it takes him much longer with the cup--so sometimes he doesn't finish in time to head to school or to speech and that is where his volume has dipped a little. We're hoping his speed will pick up with time.

After a few days without bottles, he said to me "I'm a big boy now: one, I poop on the potty, two, I can open the white gate {this is an odd thing for him to list since he's been opening our baby gates for a long time} and three, no more bottles." And I replied, "yes, I think we should have a big boy party." So I guess we'll be having a party soon (when the grandparents visit next week).

The transitions have been a little tough, as I think transitions always are, because I am a creature of habit and rely on my routines. Drinking cups can take a long time and I often have to remind him to "drink, drink, drink." And of course pooping is still new and different and causes us all to stop what we're doing when L says, "I've gotta go poop." But it's all for the good and we rejoice in these huge successes for our big boy. Yea!