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Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

Happy Halloween to all the monsters and goblins out there! We had so much fun trick or treating with our friends tonight and our toddlers stayed strong til the end!…Here are some of the highlights!

Seeing our pal Jack for the first time in a couple days…Elliott missed him tons!

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I was in complete denial the first time it happened…Elliott was barely 18 months old and had just discovered he had the ability to scale the sides of his crib. Freedom was now his. I’d read that often the transition from crib to bed can happen prematurely (and read all the accompanying horror stories of sleepless nights)  but there was no way my son was going to forget that he could climb out. He did so 3 times that first night and fell really hard on his last attempt.

I didn’t want to believe he could do it because that meant addressing the now inevitable – out of concern for his safety, Elliott was ready for a toddler bed. While converting the crib to his new bed was a breeze for Jon, my heart raced when we went shopping for the new sheets and pillow which would officially make this Eli’s big boy bed. I pictured him waking at all hours of the night and never wanting to sleep again! We followed the same bedtime routine, showed him how exciting it was for him to be able to climb in on his own and put him to bed. I closed the door behind me and immediately heard his footsteps coming towards the door. I waited a minute, went in and returned him to his bed. We did this same dance for approximately 20mins, at which point, he fell asleep…

And he slept the entire night. The next day for his nap, we dealt with the tears for 15mins and from that moment on, Elliott’s been sleeping soundly in his new toddler bed. My fears were reasonable, just not necessary. As with so many transitions in life, this one went much more smoothly than I had anticipated. Zzzzzz…

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While the Los Angeles Kings are celebrating their Stanley Cup win, I am also celebrating a win. I come from a large French-Canadian, hockey-loving family, who participate in an annual hockey pool. This year (I think it’s maybe the 6th?), we were 32 competing for top honors of said hockey pool. The rules are to chose 17 players among the 16 teams that make it to the playoffs. We are awarded 1 point for every goal scored and 1 point each for up to 2 assists. You may use any strategy when selecting your players; just make sure you win the most points by the last night of the playoffs.

Final Results From our Family Hockey Pool

Well, I’m delighted to say that this year, I have finished in 1st Place! And I must thank the Philadelphia Flyers for my win. Out of 32, only 5 of us chose the Flyers’ players to advance while the remaining 27 chose the Penguins. After the very first series, almost all of my competition lost 1/4 of their players. The other teams I chose were the Vancouver Canucks, the San Jose Sharks (bad call), the New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils.

The icing on the cake? That I narrowly beat my older brother and lifelong Pittsburg Penguins fan, Paul. Just don’t feel sorry for him, he’s already won twice. 2nd Place is a great consolation to losing to his little sister 😉 Xoxo

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The Tomato Bistro – Photo Courtesy of The Tomato Bistro

The Tomato Bistro, located at 102 Rector Street in Manayunk, has quickly become one of our favorite go-to restaurants. When we were experimenting with a gluten-free diet (in addition to being dairy, egg, nut, peanut and fish-free), we discovered the Tomato Bistro and were so excited that they made what turned out to be a really great-tasting gluten-free/dairy-free pizza! Now, whenever we’re not in the mood to cook, we head to the bistro.

The Tomato Bistro – Photo Courtesy of The Tomato Bistro

The staff here has been terrific when it comes to dealing with Elliott’s allergies. If there’s ever any doubt about ingredients or cross-contamination, they understand the importance of bringing these issues to our attention. Any parent of a child with severe allergies understands how tricky (and life-threatening) it can be to eat out at a restaurant. And while more establishments appear to be food-allergy conscious (new menus listing all ingredients, fancy kiosks where you can browse by specific allergen), in our experience, that almost makes it worse. You begin to trust that they know what they are doing and you let your guard down. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve sent back “plain” steamed veggies that were covered in margarine because the chef/cooks thought that that was an appropriate substitute for butter. (It isn’t.)

The Tomato Bistro makes us feel comfortable in a situation that is normally very challenging. And since we’re usually there around 5pm-6pm (earlier than most), the staff doesn’t seem to mind if Elliott wants to scale the 17 steps up to the 3rd floor and back down again…

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On Saturday, April 28, I ran my very first 5K race in Exton, PA. Having just recently began to run again after having Elliott, I wanted to challenge myself to do something new and thought the energy of a race would be very encouraging. When I searched 2 weeks ago for local races, my only criteria was that the race allow jogging strollers so Jon and Eli could also participate. I came across the 5K race for Mommy’s Light Lives On Fund and it quickly opened my eyes to what’s really important in life…

About the fund (from their website) “Mommy’s Light Lives On Fund– Bringing joy and comfort to children and teens by helping them keep alive traditions and simple pleasures they shared with their mothers. To support young people in adapting to their mothers’ illnesses or deaths, Mommy’s Light’s key initiatives include: (1) free Tradition Fulfillment Services to eligible children and teens; and (2) the development and distribution of education and outreach materials targeting grieving children and the adults who are likely to interact with them.”

After registration, we walked around the square where the event was being held and I think I was too anxious about the race to remember what the cause was about. As we lined up behind the starting line, I stood next to a group of people, including a young girl (no older than 8/9) and her father. It was only while I was running near them, at mile 2, that we passed a few volunteers that were taking photos of the race and supporting the runners, that it hit me. It was obvious that these volunteers knew this father-daughter duo and my heart sank. My eyes filled with tears as I tried to keep my composure but I knew in that instant that they were running for her late mother…These are the people in need of the comfort and joy that this foundation provides.

The whole experience was so positive and uplifting. I hope to find other ways to help Mommy’s Light. I know I held Elliott just a little tighter and a little longer before bed that night…

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Even on a warm Saturday afternoon when everyone is longing to be outside playing, the Smith Playground is so large that you can always find a nook to call your own. The Smith Playhouse and Playground is quickly becoming one of my favorite places in Philadelphia…Oh, and Elliott loves it, too!

As described on their website:

“Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse opened its doors in East Fairmount Park in 1899.  Funded by Richard and Sarah Smith, the site was dedicated to the memory of their adult son, Stanfield.  Smith’s beautiful, 24,000 square foot Playhouse was designed solely as a play space for children by one of Philadelphia’s most prominent late 19th century architects, James H. Windrim.  The Playground is situated on its original historic landscape – 6 1/2 acres of open fields, wooded terrain, and sloped hills – and is home to the century old Ann Newman Giant Wooden Slide, a treasured play experience for generations of Philadelphia’s children, as well as other unique pieces of play equipment.

Smith’s mission is to provide children 10 and under from diverse backgrounds with free and accessible one-of-a-kind play experiences that meet their physical, behavioral, and developmental needs.”

We are now members at the Smith Playhouse and plan on spending many days – rain or shine – playing in this wonderful mansion.


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I know better than to give Elliott foods without checking the list of ingredients – with the many allergies that he has (and that I have), it’s becoming rather automatic. But it only takes one moment of carelessness to remind you of the importance of checking these lists every single time…

Jon had prepared tomato soup for just the two of us while Elliott ate a sandwich for lunch. After Jon left for work, I gave Elliott a few spoonfuls of the soup and didn’t think twice about it. I nursed Elliott for a short while and once we were done, I almost immediately noticed that his breathing sounded congested. His face became very red and I knew something was wrong. I found the discarded soup container and as I had feared in those brief seconds, the package said “contains milk”. I tried to give him a dose of Benadryl but with his dislike for that medicine and the mucous that was covering his mouth and throat, it was nearly impossible for me to give it to him successfully. I looked at our food action plan posted on the fridge and called 911.

Dialing 911 and knowing that I was most likely going to have to administer the Epipen Jr was so frightening. Elliott was gagging, trying hard to get a air in and out of his lungs. I thought he would vomit but instead, a large amount of thick mucous came pouring from his little mouth. The moment I told the 911 operator what had happened, that Elliott’s breathing was beginning to be compromised, she confirmed what I already knew – Elliott was experiencing Anaphylactic shock – I had to inject my little guy with his Epipen.

I laid him in between my legs on the floor, removed the Epipen from it’s plastic case and took out the blue safety-release cap. I was crying at this point, everything was happening so quickly and with such urgency. And while I’ve practiced with the dummy injector numerous times before and knew exactly how to use it,  I was concerned that I would somehow miss his little thigh muscle. With the operator in my ear, giving me the much needed support to save my baby, I injected the epinephrine into Elliott with one quick and strong motion. I held it there for at least 20 seconds while he cried to be released…

We were brought to the hospital by ambulance and during the next 10 minutes after giving him the shot, Elliott’s color returned and his breathing improved dramatically. Jon met us in the ER just seconds after we arrived. Once they observed him for the 4 hours, we were able to be discharged with orders to continue giving him daily doses of steroids and Benadryl during the next 3 days.

Elliott is sleeping soundly right now. Everyone tells me I did exactly what needed to be done. And though it kills me to know I could have prevented this entire situation, I feel comfort in knowing that I reacted with clarity and without hesitation as soon as it all began.

Even if it’s the 10th, 100th or 1000th time I’ve read the same ingredient list of any product, I will be reminded of this situation and will read it for the 1001st time…

Elliott will be wearing these AllerMates awareness bracelets as soon as they will fit onto his little wrists (around 2 years of age).

AllerMates Bracelets Bring Attention To Your Child's Allergies

 

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