THE BEAN

SPROUT

Thursday, September 11, 2014

No Answers

Or perhaps I should say no definitive answers.

We had a follow up with The Bean's pediatrician today to go over the results of his (second set of) blood work and ultrasound.

The ultrasound didn't show much.   A small blockage, likely because he had to poop, and some swollen lymph nodes in the lower right quadrant of his intestine.  These could be causing some of the pain he's been experiencing.  Unfortunately my question about how we could treat any potential pain resulting from this was met with a big shrug from the doctor.  Dr. Google tells me that warm compresses may help ease discomfort.  Jen started giving him warm compresses for his tummy a few weeks ago.  Score one for mom-tuition.

The blood work was not entirely conclusive.

I didn't get into the details last time, but one of the results that had shown up was anemia without iron deficiency.  Everything looked normal with his red blood cells this time, so we are taking that off the list of potential concerns.

Next there was some indication of eosinophilic enteritis.  Unfortunately something happened with the blood work (I have no idea what) and they didn't have these results yet.  The pediatrician was supposed to call this afternoon after the results came in, but no call.  Which makes me assume no results yet.  Basically they want to check whether the number of eosinophis is still elevated.

The final note worth point on the last set of blood work had to do The Bean's IgA levels.  The results had shown an IgA deficiency.  (They look for IgA antibodies when testing for crohn's/colitis.)  The second set of blood work showed the same thing: IgA deficiency.  There are a few things to note here:
-We will have to do a scope to see if the issues he's having are from crohn's/colitis.
-The doctors (The Bean's pediatrician and the allergist/immunologist he has on staff) want us to do more blood work to test for other Ig deficiencies.
-IgA deficiency is hereditary.  Jen's dad also has IgA deficiency which they discovered when he was diagnosed with bladder cancer last year.  We don't know if Jen does too, but we may request her levels be tested.

We currently have an appointment with a GI specialist schedule for the end of January, which is a horribly long time.  However, since the results are so bizarre, and our pediatrician has no idea what's going on he is going to push to get this bumped up significantly.  We plan on holding off on any further testing until after we see her so as to minimize blood-draw related trauma to The Bean.  He flipped out last time I took him in and we know she will order more  --better to get it over with all in one go.

So, for now, we wait.  Warm compresses on the tummy.  Immediate antibiotic treatment for any infections he may get between now and then.  Washed blood, should he (god forbid) need a blood transfusion.

Hopefully we get some answers soon.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Project 52: The Past Month

A portrait of my children, every week for a year.

33/52




The Bean: Our budding photographer.
Sprout: Little monkey girl.


34/52




The Bean: Loves spinning on the swings.
Sprout: Her thinking face.


35/52




The Bean: Was on his best behaviour to earn a ride on the merry-go-round at the zoo.
Sprout:  Not so sure about the merry-go-round at the zoo.


36/52




The Bean: The world is his playground.
Sprout: Sick little bug.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Good Things

I feel like I am long overdue on a real update here.  The end of the summer has been a bit crazy.  All the usual summer activity, but also trying to get to the bottom of The Bean's health issues, some welcome but exhausting days of work, etc. etc.  It's a bit hard to even know where to begin.  So, in lieu of a real post, here's a little list of some good things:

1) All The Bean's labs are done!  We should have results early this coming week and hopefully be able to address whatever it is that has been going on.
Not so good: He freaked out when going in for the second set of blood work.  I think he was very worried about the pain.  Fortunately the hospital staff though to distract him with an iPad.  Genius.  He calmed down and they were able to draw the blood without any additional distress.  He was a bit concerned about the ultrasound the following week too, but was fine once it was happening.

2) I got work!  Which means I made some money!  In some ways it was nice to have a "break" from the everyday routine, but the job was exhausting.  (Childcare on a reality television shoot.)  I ended up having to cancel my last day on set because Sprout had a high fever and it wouldn't have been fair to anyone to have someone else watch her.  She basically nursed and whined and slept the whole day.  Poor bug.  She still isn't 100%, though she is getting there.

3) The potential for more work!  One of the schools I subbed at last year has added me to their list again and already booked me for two days later this month.  Another school, the school I interviewed at when I was newly pregnant with Sprout, also is adding me to their sub list.  I am SO happy that I am going to have the opportunity to work there.  It seems like an amazing school.  Not to get ahead of myself, but I there is the smallest sliver of hope that this could some day translate into a full-time position at there, though at this point I'd take a full time position just about anywhere.

4) I have the best wife ever.  She watched the kids solo for two very long days while I worked and then took the day off work to watch them for a third day when our babysitter wasn't available.  It certainly wasn't convenient for her, but she was so understanding about it.  Also, she cooks and cleans and gives really good massages and reads the kids books using funny voices.  

5) It's almost fall.  To quote Lola, who one of The Bean's current favourite storybook characters, fall is "my favourite and my best."  Crisp air.  Colourful leaves.  Mug after mug of warm tea.  Yes: favourite and best.

6)  I've been crocheting a little bit.  and reading a little bit.  I still need to get away from browsing the internet during my downtime.  It's really is such a waste of time.  But yay for crochet and books.

7)  Ani DiFranco has a new album coming out.  'Nuf said.

8) Friends getting married.  Friends having babies.  Friends who are happy and enjoying life.  It makes me happy too.

9) Baking!  Yum.  Found a new recipe, which I seem to enjoy more than anyone else, so likely won't be making it again any time soon.  But also there are some over ripe bananas and a can of pumpkin puree just waiting to be made into breads.

10) A trip out to see family soon.  A friend coming to visit soon.  Looking forward to spending time with people we love who live too far away.

And on that note, I need to go get ready for #8, part 1.  (A night out!  Can you believe it?!)

Friday, August 29, 2014

{this moment} dish washers

A Friday ritual. A single photo  - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 


If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sprout is Twenty Months Old!

Today Sprout is twenty months old!


The past few weeks, whenever people have asked me Sprout's age (as parents in parks seem to do) I've had to think for a minute.  I can't quite seem to wrap my head around the fact that she now twenty months old.  Well on her way to two.  While she'll always be our baby, her baby days are coming to an end.  That's a bit hard for this Mama to believe.

Sprout continues to be her sweet, stubborn, silly self.

-Words.  She says many.  As I mentioned before, it's not the easiest to understand all these words, but if you're clued in to the way she says things (without s's for example) you'll pick up on them.  She tends to stick to one word phrases, but is occasionally putting two words together.  The longest string I've heard her say is "each peach pear plum" (or rather "pum" but we know what she means) --the title of a favourite book.

-She LOVES books.  While she has always enjoyed bringing us book after book to read, she hasn't always sat to listen to them in their entirety.  That's changing.  She still won't listen to all The Bean's stories, but an age appropriate board book (or twenty) will hold her attention to the end.  The Zoe books continue to be favourites.  She's also been enjoying the very simple photo/word books where she now points and says what the photos are of.

-Aside from books, her great love is her babies.  Jean Luc, The Bean's baby, in particular.  Fortunately he doesn't seem to have any issues with her adopting him as her own.  She also likes stuffed animals.  The past few days she has taken to nursing almost any baby/animal that she is toting along with her.

-Speaking of nursing, though she has really only been nursing around sleep times for quite some time now, she is asking to nurse A LOT.  Almost always when she's fallen or been bumped.  Often at other times too.  I will concede occasionally, but more usually just tell her, no, milk is for when she is going to sleep and offer her a sippy cup with milk or other distraction instead.  I'm not sure what the story is exactly, if it's an attachment thing, something she's going through developmentally... I just don't know.  She gets lots of cuddles and kisses and reassurances, so hopefully that fulfills whatever she is looking for when she asks to nurse because I cannot handle being 24 hour diner or the on-off-on-off thing.  

-Sleeping in the kids' room is going well.  I nurse her as an end to the bedtime routine and then put her in her crib.  Sometimes she is already asleep, but usually she'll cry or more recently just talk and roll around for a very short time and then go to sleep.  Sometimes she and The Bean talk to each other.  Often he comes out to tattle on her for standing/jumping in her crib, but when we send him back into the bedroom, we can her him egging her on.  This girl and her brother.  They're quite the pair.

-She has really started mimicking behaviours.  Her brother's in particular.  She ought to have a shirt that reads "monkey see, monkey do" because really, whatever it is he is up to, she thinks she should also give it a go.  Most of the time it is quite amusing.

-She loves being outside and has really become quite adept at navigating the playground equipment --climbing ladders and slides, wanting to do monkey bars (with help) and slide down poles (ditto).  She loves being pushed super high in the swings.  Of course, water play is still a big hit and I'm sure we'll try to make it to several more splash pads before they shut them down for the season and we have signed her up for swimming lessons which begin in a few weeks. I imagine we'll spend a lot of time dancing and creating obstacle courses out of our living room furniture this winter.

-She is friendly, but reserved.  When we come out of the bedroom in the morning she gives Jen and The Bean a big "HELLO!"  She's also picked up on The Bean's habit of greeting our neighbours from the as they make their way to the subway in the morning.  She sticks pretty close to me in unfamiliar situations.  Even when she wakes up from a nap she'll often want to snuggle or sometimes will request "back" which means she wants me to wrap her on my back.

-We continue to keep the potty as an option, though she is almost always in diapers.  She does want to sit on it often, but if we let her go diaper-free for any extended period we end up cleaning up puddles while she exclaims "pee!" in surprise.  She has shown more awareness around BMs and will tell us "poo" before she goes.  She has no interest in sitting on the potty to poo.

-Much to my chagrin, she can be quite particular about her wardrobe choices.  Her favourites right now are her (Mickey) "Mouse" shirt, which she insists on wearing with her mouse socks, of course.  And an Elmo shirt of The Bean's which is at least two sizes too big, but she loves.  (Oh, and his Batman pajamas, which I am pretty sure she wears more often than he does.)

-In addition to loving Mickey Mouse (who she has never seen on television) and Elmo (who she has) she also really likes fish, bunnies and horses and will point them out in books, etc.

-No big changes on the food front.  She isn't a particularly adventurous eater, but she eats fairly well.  I'd like it if we could add a few new things to her diet, so we'll keep offering them and see where that takes us.

-The final thing that I can think of to mention is that she has started singing.  The Itsy Bitsy Spider is her "best" song, but there are definitely others that she's trying.  Twinkle Twinkle comes to mind.  The ABCs.  --She also recognizes letters and will go "a a a a... Mama!" almost, but not quite managing to copy The Bean spelling "m a m a... Mama!"

She's a funny one, this Sprout.  She certainly makes us both laugh and shake our heads at some of her antics.  Of course, we wouldn't have it any other way.



Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sick Kid

A few weeks back now The Bean had a terrible stomach virus.  He's never been that sick for that long.  He could barely eat, had zero energy, and was obviously distressed.

After this had been going on for week Jen took The Bean to the urgent care.  Likely a virus, they said, but best to have some labs run anyway.  We also booked an appointment with our pediatrician.  We decided to press (again) to have the ongoing issues his had with his digestive tract looked at more carefully.  

Maybe because of the extreme nature of the virus, or maybe because we've brought it up so many times now, the pediatrician agreed that we should try to get to the bottom of what's been going with the Bean's GI tract.  

We left the office armed with kits to collect stool samples, and requisitions for blood work and ultrasounds.  

It took a few days to get everything done. The Bean was amazing (amazing!) during his blood draw.  Six vials taken by good (but not great) nurses.  Obviously uncomfortable but so, so brave.  He only complained a few times afterwards that it had hurt.  

Yesterday we had the follow up with our pediatrician.  There were some odd and potentially concerning, but not entirely conclusive results.  We are going to repeat the blood work.  Since I accidentally handed in the ultrasound requisition with the last set of blood work, we will take him to SickKids and have everything done there.  

If things come back the same, our pediatrician is going to request our appointment with the GI specialist be bumped up from its current late-January date.  He doesn't have the expertise to know where to go next with this information.  

I am trying to stay away from the computer and search engines that tell me that this could be Bad.  Hopefully we'll have more answers soon.

(In the mean time he is eating and sleeping and running and climbing and singing and chatting chatting chatting and doing all of the usual Bean things.  Surely it can't be that bad, right?)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Our Runaway Rainbow and a Giveaway from Sarah's Silks

Rainbows have a long tradition of being used to symbolize diversity, inclusiveness, and hope.  Though we've never owned a rainbow flag, bumper sticker or other rainbow paraphernalia, when my wife and I went to buy The Bean his first playsilk, it was the rainbow silk we were drawn to.  It seemed fitting for a little boy with two moms; but even without that as a factor, it was too beautiful to pass up.  

It quickly became the go-to for a game of peek-a-boo.  Then it became a ghost costume.  Tied around his shoulders it was a cape.  Around his waist it was a skirt.  On his head it was his princess hair.  The versatility of this "toy" is one of the reasons we wanted it for our son in the first place.  It proved a good choice.  Two years we had added another playsilk to our collection so that The Bean and Sprout could each have one for some creative play.

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When we were invited to participate in WorldPride this past June, our host asked us to come decked out in rainbow gear.  I immediately though how perfect it would be to put the playsilk over the canopy of our stroller as we marched down the streets of Toronto.  Unfortunately in the hubbub of getting downtown and in place to march our beautiful playsilk blew away.  By the time we realized it, it was too late.  We tried to backtrack, but it was gone.  We were more than a little bit upset, but tried to get over it quickly as upset is not the mood one wants to be in at a Pride celebration.    

Even without the playsilk decorating our stroller, the parade was amazing.  

Still, we wanted to replace our playsilk.  While browsing, I saw that Sarah was looking for bloggers to review her products.  Hopeful, I reached out to her.  She graciously agreed to send some products to review, and even suggested a giveaway for our readers!  


The Bean was so excited when we received the Sarah's Silks package in the mail.  He eagerly tore into it and wanted to play with the new toys right away.  I draped the silk scape over our dining room table and the kids hung out in their "fort" while I grabbed some sweaters so we could go outside.  



Once outdoors, The Bean and Sprout ran in and out under their new rainbow silk scape, giggling joyfully.  The Bean then donned our starry night playsilk as a cape, while Sprout put on the rainbow cape and grabbed the other wand we had and then took turns turning me and each other into different animals.  After a short time that turned into more running across the lawn, this time with capes and wands trailing behind them.  Since then the playsilks have been used as blankets and babycarriers.  I'm curious to see what they get used as next.  


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If you think your little one(s) would enjoy playing with one of the items at sarahssilks.com, please leave a comment  on this post saying what you think they would like best.  A winner of a $50 gift certificate (courtesy of Sarah), will be randomly selected a week from today.  Good luck!  

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Project 52: The Last Two Weeks

A portrait of my children, every week for a year.

31/52




The Bean: Thought he was well enough to enjoy some of his cousin's birthday treats. (He wasn't.)
Sprout: Hanging out in a bin playing with a toy house.  Naturally.


 32/52





The Bean: Honing his Spidey Skills.
Sprout: Getting her first haircut.


Friday, August 8, 2014

{this moment} Helper

A Friday ritual. A single photo  - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 


Okay, just a few words...  I was cleaning up breakfast dishes and heard The Bean saying, "This is how you do it, my sweetie.  Put your foot in here."  I turned around and saw this.  Sprout often refuses to let me dress her, or even help her get dressed.  Especially, for some reason, with pants/shorts.  I guess her big brother is allowed to help though.  I'm glad.  He's been so difficult lately.  This is a good reminder of what a sweetheart he can be.   

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Rough Patch

We've been having a pretty great summer, but this past week and a bit has been anything but.  I know I've taken a step back from this place, but I really haven't had the energy or emotional reserves to process it all.

Of course we are still feeling the absence of our cat.  Even Sprout is looking for her now, questioning "Mo? Mo?" when she wakes up from her naps.  Pointing out the cats in her books and asking "Kitty?"  The Bean tells us a few times a day that he is sad because our cat is gone.  We are sad too.  My dad called yesterday afternoon and I ended up crying on the phone with him for twenty minutes.

On top of that we have been dealing with The Bean being sick.  Concernedly sick.  He seems to be on the other side of it now, thank goodness, but it was pretty awful.  I haven't written about it at length here, but he's had pretty persistent stomach issues for a good two+ years now.  At first we thought he was having a bit of a flare up --we'd been travelling.  Off our schedule.  He threw up.  We worried, but didn't worry too much.  He had started to have bad diarrhea.  We wondered if it was food related.  We booked an appointment with our pediatrician for Celiac (etc.) testing.  Then he started vomiting again. He threw up once a day for five consecutive days.  When we were out running errands.  When we was on the couch chilling out.  When he was sleeping in our bed.  He was barely eating.  He had next to no energy.  He'd wake up, go lie on the couch, and request to be covered in blankets even though it's the middle of the summer.  Jen took him to the urgent care.  They ordered more blood work and stool samples.  They took his weight and Jen noted that he'd dropped over 5lbs.  That's quite a bit percentage of body weight for a kid who just broke the 30lbs mark.  Anyway, things have been improving over the course of this week.  We still don't have any answers as to what it is/was, but I'm glad the worst of it seems to be over.

However, his  behaviour has been SO difficult.  Perhaps we were too forgiving of his moodiness and demands when he was sick.  We have had a lot of ignoring our requests the past little bit.  A lot of yelling.  Even quite a bit of kicking and flailing.  It's awful.  It's exhausting.  I've tried giving him extra attention.  Talking to him.  Listening.  Compromising.  I've tried ignoring.  Threatening.  Taking away privileges.  Nothing seems to be working consistently.  Jen and I were trying to brainstorm about what approach to take last night and after a little bit of talking I told her I was too exhausted to think about it any more.  Hopefully I'm able to gather my reserves and we can decide what we're going to do soon.  We can't let this go on.

On top of it all, it's August.  August is when I'm supposed to be thinking about starting back to work.  Only I'm not starting back.  Again.  And while we agree that me staying home with the kids and Jen working full time (gods willing) is what makes the most sense right now, it doesn't really feel like a decision.  It's more of a default.  Because truth be told there are no jobs in our city in my field that I am able to get.  I can't quite answer why that's the way it is.  I can't even get an interview with the public boards, and the job postings for the private schools are few and far between.  My fingers are perpetually crossed that something changes and I do get an amazing job at an amazing school and there is space for our kids in the daycare that we love, but it's not likely.  Which makes it hard not to think about next fall when The Bean starts kindergarten and what will happen then?  What if nothing changes on the job front between now and then?  What do we do?  Do I stay home until both kids are in school full time?  Do I apply for a job working the cash at a nearby store?  Day shift or night?  Do I take more courses?  Do I go back to school?  Again, we have no real answers here.  And honestly I find the whole thing completely overwhelming.

Anyway, that's sort of where we've been the past few weeks.  There have been some great moments to, to be sure.  And I will try to update on those before too long passes.  Concerts.  Parks.  Visits from family members.  Parties.  Play dates.  Hopefully things which stick in my memory more than some of this other stuff.