marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
2012-05-23 10:00 pm

Soy-free foods

For me, total soy avoidance (I have soy allergy plus intolerance, whee) was impossible until I lined up a set of convenience foods, packaged foods, snacky wags, treats, and sandwichy things so that I can continue to eat like crap while respecting my allergy.  For those who may be looking, here's stuff you can buy that is soy-free.  I'm not talking about cooking here, just buying stuff and possibly assembling it

Salad dressing:  Brianna's - every flavor I've looked at is Soy-free, and they taste good

Mayonnaise: Hellman's Canola Oil Mayonnaise

Tuna Fish: Starkist Yellow Fin Tuna in Olive Oil  (note: "vegetable broth" means soy, usually, so most leading-brand Tuna has soy. Also, broth-free tuna packed in plain water is flavorless, and tuna in regular oil is gross and that's probably soy oil anyway.  So tuna in olive oil is the way to go.)

Peanut Butter: JIF Natural

Bread:  Panera Country White Miche.  You have to go to a Panera to get this, so this might just be a midwestern thing.  I get a loaf and put subsets into ziploc pairs and freeze them, then defrost them in the microwave and toast them to make sandwiches. (I don't get sandwiches made at Panera because they would use normal mayo, alas).

Chocolate: Equal Exchange milk chocolate with hazelnut from Whole Foods.  This is the only milk chocolate in the entire united states that is soy-free, I think.   

Chips: Garden of Eatin Blue Corn Tortilla Chips

Crunchies:  Pirate's booty white chedder puffs

French Fries:  Five Guys fries (the awesomest fries in the world) or fries from anywhere else that makes 'em in peanut oil.

Microwave Mac & Cheese:  Velveeta  Shells & Cheese cup

Microwave Pasta: Barilla Pasta Thingies, they just started distributing these so I don't remember the name but they're not bad.

I am still on the lookout for soy-free packaged cookies, pizza (frozen or fresh) , and any kind of frozen dinner.

marydell: (charlie-superman)
2012-03-27 01:07 pm

So, it has come to this

Me: Ok, honey, say bye-bye, I have to go to work.
Charlie: I come with you? I come too, Mommy.
Me: sorry, I can't drive you today or I'll be late. Daddy's going to take you to school.
Charlie: No, Mommy, I come with you!
Me: Tomorrow, honey, not today. I have a meeting, I can't be late. Say bye-bye.
Charlie: No! No say bye bye! I come with you! (*makes incipient-tantrum face*)
Me: (noticing loose money in my coat pocket) ...How about if I give you this dollar?
Charlie: Okay!
Me: *gives him a dollar*
Charlie: Bye bye, Mommy!
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
2012-03-12 09:35 pm

Favorite app review

Looking at a Toca Boca Ipad game for ages 2-6 I found this review:

"I love all toca boca games and I am 10. I hate when people say u r too old to play I have all your games buy them please they are worth $5 all of them they are worth 5 stars I LOVE YOU TOCA BOCA I JUST LOVE YOU WELL I SHOULD GO NOW BEFORE I TURN 11."

Kids are awesome.
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
2012-02-19 08:45 am

Even more conversations with Charlie

Charlie, 8 AM: I want jello (brandishing a jello cup)
Me: you don't need jello, put it back in the fridge.
Charlie: I want jello.
Me: not now, you can have jello with lunch.
Charlie: I want lunch.
Me: do you just want lunch so you can have jello?
Charlie: Yes.

Charlie, playing with toy "Jokermobile:" Where guys?
Me: your guys for the car? (goes and finds Joker toy guy) here's the Joker.
Charlie: thanks!
Charlie: hey, where bad guy?
Me: bad guy? You mean Batman?
Charlie: yeah, Batman. Bad guy.
marydell: (charlie-twizzler)
2012-02-16 04:07 pm

More conversations with Charlie

What does a cat say?

Me: time for a bath, Charlie
Charlie: no want bath.
Me: you need to take a bath.
Charlie: No want bath.
(repeat times infinity)
(While Mike runs the bath, I try changing the subject to "animal noises" by asking about the toy cat he is holding)
Me: (pointing to toy cat) What does a cat say, Charlie? 
Charlie: (ponders for a moment) says No want bath.

Choo choos forever!

Me: (after playing choo choos on the floor for oh gods, an eternity it seems like) Ok, I need a break.
Charlie: No, Mommy, no break! Play choo choos.
Me: My back hurts, so I need to sit in a chair for a bit.
Charlie: No, Mommy, no chair! Come on, it's fun!
Me: What, do you want me to play choo choos forever?
Charlie: (latching onto new word) Yeah, forever! Play choo choos forever, Mommy
Me: Uh, I don't think so. I'm taking a break now, I'll play more later.
Charlie: (grumbling) *Daddy* plays choo choos forever.

marydell: (charlie-sillybandz)
2012-01-18 11:55 am

Conversations with Charlie


Charlie: I want go downstairs [to the playroom]
Me: No, we have to get ready for school.
Charlie: I want go downstairs!
Me: No.
Charlie: I want go downstairs.
Me: I said no. Stop asking.
Charlie: I want go downstairs.
Me: Ok, who's the boss?
Charlie: (thinks for a moment) You boss, Mommy.
Me: That's right.
Charlie: I want go downstairs.

Charlie: (discovers my watches in my jewelry box) Clocks! I want clocks.
Me: (puts 4 watches on his wrist while he waits patiently) Ok, you can try them on, be careful, those are Mommy's watches.
Charlie: no, these Charlie's clocks! (runs off with them)

Me: (heading to bed around midnight, finding Charlie waiting by the stairs for me) Charlie, why are you up? Do you need the potty?
Charlie: (delighted smile) Hi, Mommy! I got up!!
Me: Ok, let's go back to bed, it's the middle of the night.
Charlie: Oh, I can't sleep NOW, Mommy! (Proceeds to stay awake for 2 hours)

Me: Take off your [Mickey Mouse] shirt, here's a clean shirt
Charlie: No, I wear Mickey
Me: That shirt is dirty, Charlie, you need to put on a clean shirt (shows him clean shirt)
Charlie: (grabs clean shirt, rubs it on the side of his head) It dirty! It dirty now (flings clean shirt away).

marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
2012-01-09 08:38 pm

Tympanostomy Thursday

So my dearly beloved tympanostomy tube stayed in my ear for just over 2 years, instead of the normal 6 months.  My theory is that my eardrum knows it should have a tube in it, so hangs on to it.  Three months or so ago, I had a doctor check and it was still in there. Last week I was miserable with ear nonsense--vertigo, tinnitus, muffling--and my ear doctor was out of town and so I went to the prompt care/walgreens place, and the nurse said I have an ear infection and the tube is gone. The fuck? I can't go even three months without a tube in there?  So today the doctor came back to town and I decided to be a jerk and just go to the office first thing in the morning before they really opened to see if they'd make room for me in the schedule.  My reward for this was getting the first appointment of an otherwise totally full day, yay!

Doctor: Well, the results from audiology look pretty good; your hearing is ok and you don't have a lot of fluid in there, although there is a blockage.

Me: (*heart sinking silently because I think I'm no longer ill enough to get a new tube*)

Doctor: But...your ears, they're bad. You know that. So we can do a tube if you want.

Me: Yes please! it possible my eustachian tubes just aren't formed right, or something?

Doctor: Oh, there's no question. Definitely.

So, there it is. Bad ears.  It's kind of nice to have a doctor just say so.  So, on Thursday I go for my next myringotomy/tympanostomy--number five--and everything will be joyful again, at least in ear-land.

marydell: (charlie-superman)
2011-11-17 12:24 pm

Not actually a reward for anything, but feels like it anyway

So yesterday Charlie had an Echocardiagram (aka ECHO) (result:  good news, for those who can't stand suspense).  He was born with a small hole in his heart called a PFO (patent foramen ovale), which often can close on its own.  At a year old, however, it had grown, instead of closing, and at about half a centemeter was upgraded to being called an ASD (atrial septal defect).  If it continued growing, the doc told us at that time, it would need a repair when he reached 4 years old--a small screen inserted via cardiac catheter.  In the meantime it wouldn't cause any problem, but should be checked yearly. 

He should have had this ECHO about a year ago, but a year ago we were in the midst of random unpredictable violent mood stuff, plus regular vomiting and respiratory illness, so we focused on that instead, ultimately resolving it by treating his apparently very bad GERD and changing his antihistamines.

So, then he should have had this ECHO a couple of months ago, but he decided to have Scarlet Fever on the day he was scheduled, so we had to reschedule.

He should have had it at our local branch of the Heart Institute for Children, but they're booked through the end of winter, so we scheduled at a branch an hour away from home.

Mike was supposed to take him, and I spent a half week agonizing over what a terrible mother I am for conserving my last few vacation days (I have had 4 remaining through the end of March, whereas Mike has a bunch more than that and his roll over in January) in case Charlie needs to get tubes in his ears or some other drama happens before April.  I knew he'd be scared of the procedure and Mike is very comforting but I am Charlie's favorite security blanket.  But with difficulty I reconciled myself to being absent for this.

Then Mike got a cold.  Not a bad cold, but we don't go sit in waiting rooms full of medically fragile children when we have viruses, and this is a pediatric cardiology specialty office.  So I took the day off to take Charlie to his appointment, thus fixing my agonizing about motherhood and replacing it with worrying about my career instead.

So, Charlie was supposed to have the ECHO at 9 am.  We got to the place and the elevator wasn't working. People were taking the stairs and with the help of some M&M's I coaxed Charlie into the stairwell despite his protests of "too scary!" (This after several plaintive "I don't want doctor, no doctor!").  Walking up stairs is something he does happily enough, however, so he was ok with that part although my asthma was a bit annoyed with me.

We got to the office and there were only a couple of kids already in the waiting room.  However, when we signed in the receptionist told us something was wrong with the building power.  The lights were on but the elevator wasn't working, as I had already discovered.  What else wasn't working? ECHO and EKG systems, of course.

Power was restored about an hour later -- a truck had hit a pole or something, so they had to fix a transformer.  There had been kids waiting in the offices inside the whole time, so they still needed to have their procedures before we waiting room people could be called.  Thank god for my Ipad and for those obsessive people who make videos of trains.

Another hour or so and we got to go in and have normal doctor stuff plus the ECHO, which is a set of ultrasounds of the heart done from different angles.  Mercifully Charlie thought that was kind of cool, particularly because at one point it sounded like a train. Also helpful in keeping him from freaking out: my many promises of taking him to a toy store afterwards, plus giving him way too many M&M's and Dum Dums. 

I really, really expected to hear that the hole had doubled in size (Charlie has, himself, doubled in size, after all) and that he'd need surgery as soon as he got to be old enough.  I had just been assuming that and preparing to hear that, for months now. 

Instead, the doctor said the hole had gotten so small that it only showed from a couple angles on the ECHO, and wasn't visible from the other angles.  It's so small now that it's not considered abnormal or medically significant. 

"Goodbye; we won't need to see him again." 
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
2011-11-10 08:55 am

Scalzi gets it completely right.

Scalzi on the Penn State scandal; right in every particular.  

Warning - describes child harm, incredible moral turpitude.

marydell: (charlie-sillybandz)
2011-10-22 11:29 pm

Directives from a parking garage

1. Little boy, I am sympathetic to your fear of elevators and your declaring the crowded-n-dank elevators in this particular parking garage "too scaawy." I am so sympathetic to this that I don't mind walking up one flight of stairs with you and then pushing your stroller up an additional three floors of parking ramp, although my butt muscles definitely do mind. However, complaining during our climb that you want to go faster and get to the car sooner is SIMPLY NOT ON.

2. Lady in stairwell, I am sympathetic to your wanting to walk faster than a distracted 3-year-old when going up a crowded stair with lots of people behind us. I think passing us on the left is completely appropriate, which is why I made encouraging motions to all behind me to do precisely that. However, deciding that the lady on the left is also too slow, weaving around her between me and my child, and in the process sideswiping said child? Will result in a polite request from me of "how about you try not to knock my kid down the stairs, okay?" And MUCH ILL WILL, you freaking speed freak. (Fortunately he has the mass of a small planet at this point, so he kept his footing)
marydell: (charlie-superman)
2011-10-18 11:30 am


Charlie got to have cake for the first time at a birthday party on Saturday (Prior to this his egg allergy had been a problem, but it's diminished). He only ate a couple of bites and quickly figured out that the frosting is better than the cake, but even so didn't want most of his piece (I took care of the rest for him, a Mommy's work is never done). He's weird about textures so this was fairly predictable, and overall he didn't seem that impressed by the experience.

In the morning, however, he showed me a little set of stacked round blocks he had put together on a small platform and said "cake." This is a child who has never done anything with blocks other than stack them as high as possible and then gleefully knock them down. I said "are those candles?" and he nodded and blew on them. Then he sang happy birthday to me.

So apparently cake is AWESOME, although maybe not so much for actually eating just yet.
marydell: (charlie-twizzler)
2011-10-10 04:43 pm

Charlie's entirely reasonable objections to going to sleep

Thanks to spending his days in a room full of fellow chatty 3-year-olds, plus weekly speech therapy, Charlie is getting much better at talking. I sit in his room with him while he goes to sleep at night, and last night he wasn't tired and wanted to get out of bed by any means necessary. I took notes on his wheedles and lies:

I not sleepy.
I need TV.
I need dinner.
Look, binky!
Need more binky.
I want jump.
I crying, Mommy! I crying!
I need take off shirt.
I pooping!
I need McQueen [toy car Lightning McQueen]
I need shake [pediasure].
I need go that way [sleep with head at other end of the bed].
marydell: (charlie-sillybandz)
2011-10-09 12:34 am

I got cough, I need cake.

I'm on my 4th day of prednisone because of a flu-related asthma flareup, complete with constant coughing from hell. So I figured screw it, I'm having a piece of chocolate cake, what are my allergies going to do about it with prednisone crushing my entire immune response? Yay, chocolate cake. Charlie, (who is not sick) apparently noticed, however, because at bedtime he put on his best wheedling voice and said "I need cake!" and when I said no he didn't he said "I got cough! I need cake!"
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
2011-10-03 08:13 pm

New Rule

I generally try not to invent rules for the boy when I'm upset about something he's done, as that tends to lead to overly punitive and specific rules like no more spumoni on Tuesdays. That said, I stand by last night's new rule: if you want to sleep upside down with your feet on the pillow, you need to go do that in your own bed, not mine.

Also when Mommy says "ow, you kicked me in the face," you are not allowed to laugh.
marydell: (charlie-sillybandz)
2011-09-12 04:14 pm

Good times at the ER

Resident physician: "eczema flareup, fever for 3 days, crying, stuffy nose, sore throat...I think this is a virus, it doesn't look like a bacterial infection. I'll prescribe a stronger antihistamine for his rash and then you can continue to give him motrin for the fever and let the virus run its course. Let me just talk to my boss, the attending, and he'll be in to look at him soon."

Attending physician: "You say the eczema flared up after you got a new pattern on his diapers--a lot of kids get rashes from the blue dye in diapers. This rash on his legs looks like it could be from that, and you say it's getting better since you changed diaper brands. This rash on his stomach and armpits, though...and this here inside his elbow...I'd like to do a strep test, because this looks like it might be scarlet fever. "


Guess who was right?

Of course, that's why the attending is in charge, and the resident is still studying.

Because we were in the ER, whence we had hightailed when he wouldn't stop crying (he is normally angry when sick, not sad), we got a choice of antibiotic treatments: either 10 days of the pink liquid twice a day, or one big honkin shot for the whole thing. As Mike puts it, "Two out of three Dells voted for the shot."  Charlie didn't get a vote, but he's on the mend and much happier now despite being pretty pissed off about the shot at the time.

marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
2011-08-29 06:17 am

Snakes, I mean Chocolate; why did it have to be Chocolate

So I've been tinkering with my various chemical intakes to try to resolve my fatigue problem. I'm off of HCTZ (diuretic) and my blood pressure is holding steady thanks to the other BP drug I'm still taking. I haven't had an antihistamine in 3 weeks. I tried to stop taking Zantac as well, but that's been declared a failure so I'm back on it as of last night.

Last Tuesday I stopped drinking Diet Coke*, which was my main caffeine vector. Thank God for Advil. All of the changes helped to take the fatigue down to a manageable level, but I still haven't felt what I would call energetic - haven't had a day where I managed to do all three of 1. work at my job 2. feed and bathe the boy and 3. cook for myself. With the idea that removing spare neurotransmitters seems to be helping, I haven't had any chocolate since Thursday. Recently I've been having some every day, since I've tested as no-longer-allergic to it and since soy lecithin isn't reactive for people with soy allergies, per various studies.

Saturday I took Charlie to the doctor, and then to the zoo, and then to lunch at McDonalds. Sunday I took him on some errands, and I did laundry and cooked. Both days I got a crapload of work done on my current graphics project.

So. I just can't have chocolate any more. I don't know what mechanism it's using to fuck with my brain, but it clearly is, because the fatigue seems to have just up and left. And I definitely felt better than I have recently, during the years when I didn't eat chocolate because of allergy.

On the one hand, I feel physically pretty good right now. On the other hand, I am in such a bad mood.

*Deja Vu: I did this last winter as well, and whined about it here, but had to get back on caffeine again as my tiredness started to interfere with driving. Going off the antihistamines seems to have fixed that enough that I can manage sans caffeine again.
marydell: (charlie-twizzler)
2011-08-22 10:13 am


If you have siblings you probably have gotten elbowed a lot in your time, and if you don't have siblings you probably still have endured a fair amount of elbowing from random folks, friends, classmates etc. I grew up in a family with 7 kids, plus a live-in Aunt and grandparents at various times, and we had a big round dinner table, so the elbowing, both accidental and deliberate, was constant.

Being elbowed without being allowed to elbow back is a form of injustice, in a large family, and generally retaliation was allowed as long as it didn't result in excess noise or pestering of any adults. As the youngest person in the family, my right of retaliatory elbowing is sacrosanct.

So it's a bit of a problem to have an affectionate--nay, clingy--child whose left arm ends at the elbow. There is no non-elbowy side to this arm. OMG THE ELBOWING IS EPIC. Including from 3 am to 5 am this morning when he got in bed next to me and kept snuggling up and elbowing me in the kidney.

And I'm totally not allowed to retaliate. Grump grump grump.