Book Nook

Looking for a birthday present for Kieran, I stepped into the parish gift shop after Mass and instructed Kieranand Charlotte to play in the narthex. Well, of course they followed me in after a bit, so my plan to get the book in secret failed. Therefore, Kieran received A Children’s Book of Virtues by Kay McSpadden early.

Rich Pianka / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

As those who know me know, I’m very particular about children’s books; I think I’m even more particular when it comes to religious books for children.  This one met with my approval, though. It contains abridged versions of various fables, myths, novel excerpts, and historic persons.  Each excerpt is included to teach about a certain virtue and can either be a stand-alone story or used as a starting point for the parent to teach more on that topic.  I love that it includes some classics such as excerpts from The Odyssey, Don Quixote, and Les Miserables.  Historical events include St Martin de Porres’ life and Roland fighting for Charlemagne (an excellent reason to break out “The Song of Roland”, though that chronicles a different battle).


Sunday Snippets – a Catholic Carnival

I know I’ve missed the last few of these – I’m enjoying my babymoon, adjusting to being a mum of 3, and sorting out Leo’s health issues. As a result, my posts, when I’ve made them, have been mostly about Leo. So here are the most recent posts. Be sure to check out the full carnival at RAnn’s.

– Two posts (here and here) about natural childbirth
– A post about my eldest
– The saga of Leo’s tongue tie
– Dealing with food sensitivity
– My mother’s influence
– Leo’s hazelwood necklace

Hazelwood Necklace

Desperate for relief for Leo’s reflux, I found myself wondering if his amber necklace would help at all.  I searched online and came across many sites telling me amber wasn’t the answer for reflux – but that a hazelwood necklace could help.  Well, I’m all for natural, non-invasive treatments whenever possible, so I did some more searching.  Some friends work for/with a small company called eLeMeNo-Pee. Since I like utilizing smaller, local companies when possible, I asked if they had hazelwood necklaces, and they do. Even better, though, is that they have hazelwood/amber necklaces.   I was sold, so I ordered one.

The kid has style

It arrived within two days, and I put it on Leo immediately. Now, I don’t know how much is the necklace and how much is my dietary changes, but his reflux is loads better.  I can’t say the same for his eczema yet, but he’s only had it about a week.  I still use eggs in some things, too, so that could explain the eczema.  I’d certainly recommend trying the necklace, though. After all, it can’t hurt, and it can help.

A Mother’s Influence

Our mother’s help shape us in ways we wouldn’t imagine. Now that I’m a mother, I can see my mother’s influence more clearly.  There are things I do differently, of course, but also similarities.  Perhaps the biggest influence she’s had on my parenting is in the area of breastfeeding.

I was born in the early 80s, the youngest of three children, the youngest grandchild on my fahter’s side and almost youngest on my mother’s side.  I grew up in a State that still has abysmal breastfeeding rates, with under 60% ever breastfeeding.  I don’t know what breastfeeding rates were when I was born, but I imagine that number was much lower.  Being the youngest means that I never saw my mother breastfeed, and I only have a vague memory of my aunt breastfeeding.  I can’t remember seeing anyone else breastfeed until my nephews were born, though I saw plenty of babies and volunteered in the nursery at our congregation.

While I didn’t see breastfeeding much, I often heard my mom talk about it. She talked about how much she’d wanted to continue breastfeeding my brother, but stopped after a short time because he wouldn’t latch on.  She talked about how she had longed to breastfeed my sister, but was on a medication that made doing so impossible.  And she talked about how she loved being able to breastfeed me and how I never had a bottle.  Because of that, I grew up hearing the beauty and normality of breastfeeding, and so I never even considered choosing a bottle instead.

Her influence goes beyond just the desire to breastfeed at all, to also influencing the length of time.  M mother breastfeed me for an entire year.  While that doesn’t seem long to me now, it is absolutely amazing.  Even now, the majority don’t carry on that long; it was even rarer then.  Not only did she carry on, but she did so in the face of people questioning when she’s stop. Her mother was a nurse and advised full weaning at 6 months, and still my mother continued.  Hmm, wonder where I get my stubbornness.  In doing that, she taught me that I needn’t worry about people’s questions when it came to how long I breastfeed.  I certainly received questions when breastfeeding a 2-year-old, but, like my mother, I carried on happily.  I am very thankful for the influence she’s had, just by being vocal about her own breastfeeding experiences.  Thank you, Mom.

When Baby Has Food Sensitivities

You may have noticed I haven’t been posting lately. Besides enjoying my babymoon and adjusting to having three littles, we’ve been trying to sort out Leo’s issues.  He’s doing well after having his tongue tie sorted, but he still had trouble with silent reflux, eczema, and watery poo. After spending almost n entire night up walking with him, we knew we had to do something.

As a baby, Charlotte had had some food sensitivities, as well. The biggest for her was bovine protein. It had taken me a long time to figure out the problem, but I finally cut out dairy and beef nd noticed n improvement.

Thanks to that experience, I spotted the signs of sensitivity in Leo much earlier (helps that his symptoms were also more pronounced).  My wonderful husband went out to pick up goat and rice milks for me, and I set out to craft a dairy-free, beef-free, tomato-free (I have a tomato intolerance) menu.  I discovered I dislike goat milk on Weetabix, but it’s fine for cooking. I think Leo has a slight sensitivity to the goat milk, too, but not as bad as with cow milk.  In fact, we noticed a marked improvement from the beginning, even though all the dairy wasn’t out of my system. I also discovered that airy-free isn’t as hard as I’d thought it would be, though I would like a good vanilla ice cream.

At that time, I replaced my cheesy sandwiches with egg salad sandwiches, figuring that was healthier anyway. And I just love eggs.  Unfortunately, it seemed that also made Leo quite unhappy, so I cut out eggs. I still bake with eggs, but I avoid plain eggs and mayo.

He’s been much better since making these changes.  The eczema is clearing up, his diapers are normal, and the reflux is better, though not completely gone. I sometimes wish I could have eggs or cheese, but it’s worth the sacrifice for him to feel better.

I’ve certainly learned to read labels better, since dairy is sometimes “hidden” in things. I knew from my experience with Charlotte that even some vaccines, namely the DTaP, contain bovine proteins, and I know some are also contraindicated for those with egg allergies.  I suppose I should’ve always been good about reading labels for everything, but now I really have a reason to improve.  I do hope he outgrows his sensitivities as Charlotte (mostly) has, but if not, so be it, and at least I’ve found them early.

Posterior Tongue Tie

When it comes to breastfeeding, my first two children were pros. They latched on well the first time, which was immediately after birth for Charlotte.  Even with his more traumatic delivery, Kieran took to it immediately.  Both were above birthweight within six days of birth.  Yes, there were some problems (thrush, mastitis, biting, oversupply), but the children never had problems, really.

Because of that, I knew something was off almost immediately with Leo.  He had trouble latching at first, and feeding him hurt.  At first I assumed this was just because he was newborn and because I hadn’t nursed a child in months, so I didn’t think too much of it.  But then the same thing happened with every feed, and I could hear his tongue clicking during feeds.  He also developed reflux.  Thanks to various friends and blogs, such as Dispelling Breastfeeding Myths and The Analytical Armadillo, I knew some of the signs of the posterior tongue tie and I began to suspect that was the problem.

So at 3 days old, I expressed my concerns to the midwife.  She wasn’t surprised, and told me to discuss it with the pediatrician.  The pediatrician appointment was at 6 days old.  Leo was 5 ounces below birthweight, which worried me given that the other two were above birthweight at that age.  I mentioned my suspicion of a posterior tie.  Unfortunately, the doctor wasn’t familiar with posterior ties, just with the classic, anterior tie.  Since Leo could move his tongue, she didn’t think he had a tie. I should note that I really like the pediatrician; sadly posterior ties aren’t spotted as easily and so many doctors miss such ties.

Unwilling to accept that answer, I contacted an IBCLC.  When I enumerated the symptoms Leo had, she thought it sounded like a posterior tie and warranted further investigation. She gave me the name of a pediatric ENT.  It was a Friday afternoon, though, so I had to wait until Monday to speak to them.  In speaking with the receptionist, I discovered that the doctor doesn’t take Medicaid (I hate that we’re on it!), and suggested Nemours.  I immediately rang them and set up an appointment for Wednesday morning.  In the meantime, I went through a list of symptoms to note down I was seeing; incidentally, I ended up with a page-long list.  I was optimistic going in, but then the doctor looked in Leo’s mouth and declared that he didn’t have a tie because the frenulum didn’t extend to the tip of the tongue and Leo could extend his tongue past his bottom teeth.  While those things are true of the classic anterior tongue tie, it isn’t true of a posterior tie.  He then said he could snip it, but only under a general, which of course isn’t recommended for such a young child.  Since he wasn’t convinced Leo even had a tie, I wasn’t exactly confident.  I was also none too pleased when he just suggested bottle-feeding, admittedly with my own milk, instead of resolving the problem.  The appointment ended with me in tears and him suggesting that we just wait and see.  I fed Leo and then wept the whole drive home, praying for relief for Leo and begging Mary to pray for him, too.

Once home my husband and I decided to phone the first ENT again and just pay out of pocket.  Amazingly, the receptionist said they could work in Leo this afternoon, so off we went to another appointment.  I didn’t know what to expect, but the doctor came in and immediately recognized Leo’s posterior tie.  In addition, he also spotted a slight anterior tie that I hadn’t spotted.  He gathered the necessary instruments and, after applying a local, snipped the posterior tie and cauterized the anterior one.  He was pleased with the results, and we went home.  One of the first things we noticed was the absence of hiccups! Usually if he gets upset or in on his back, he gets violets hiccups, but he hasn’t had them since the division.  His latch isn’t perfect yet, but is definitely better.  Praise God!  I’m so glad the doctor could do it, and that I knew enough to keep looking for a doctor who would listen.

The Big Brother

This post is just to brag about my firstborn. Kieran is an amazing big brother.  Towards the end of my pregnancy this time, I was having a hard time keeping up with Charlotte.  More often than not, if she said she needed the toilet at Mass, she’d run away from me when I was washing my hands.  Kieran hates going in that toilet because there are hand dryers, and the sound bothers him.  Even so, he offered to start going with us so he could make sure Charlotte didn’t run.

Now that Leo is here, Kieran’s really shining as big brother.  His first words to me after Leo was born were that he wanted to see his brother.  He helps me with things as needed, too.  Today I’d asked him to get his socks and shoes so we could go.  I found him sitting on the couch, holding his socks, and just watching over Leo as he napped on the Doomoo seat.  It was the sweetest thing.  Truly Kieran was made for this role, and he is a wonderful brother.