Friday, July 31, 2009

"I Hit"

It's a phase most kids go through. Hitting, I mean. Most toddlers strike out in anger or frustration at their parents, at each other, at their pets.

What's intruiging about our son's strikes, though, is that they are often unprovoked. Oh, yes, he's doled out his fair share of smacks when he feels justified (ie. when the doctor comes at him with a needle.)

What surprised me yesterday was seeing him walk up to another kid, announce politely "I hit you," in his calm voice before reaching skywards and coming down on the poor kid's arm. I didn't have time to intervene. My brain barely had time to translate toddlerspeak into English.... I was just piecing together the fact that "I hit" wasn't a memory but a direct threat when the hit happened. I immediately ran to Little Man and pulled him away from the other child. We talked about how we don't hurt our friends, used my hands over his to "be soft" etc., etc.

He just looked up at me with his giant eyes and said plainly "Momma, I hit."
And then he hit ME!
ME! His mother! What on earth?! Yes, I'd been swiped at before. For tending to a diaper rash. For scrubbing too hard at his face after spaghetti dinner. For being his caregiver when he was overtired or sick. When he got too excited or didn't get his way. But never for no reason!

I gasped. "That's naughty! Hands to self!" I exclaimed.

Again, the saucer eyes came out. "No no. Momma, I hit," he said calmy, getting his arm ready for another swing.

"Oh, no you don't," I retorted, taking his hand and giving him a high five instead.
"Okay, momma. Hit all done." He grinned devilishly. "High ten!" he said, raising both arms up in innocent expectation. And I did what all parents do... I allowed my toddler to hit me repeatedly (albeit on the palm of my hands).

Is there something wrong with this picture? Nope, as long as he keeps his hands to himself when hits are concerned, he can high five or ten me all he likes.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

From Ah-choo to Anaphylaxes, The Not-So-Wonderful World of Allergies

I've previously lamented our lack of medical history for our 20 month old son. But our visit to the allergist yesterday brought the issue back to the forefront. It's not that his health history is a blank slate; he has a story, but we can't read it. The writing is obscured.

We can't anticipate any illness or predisposition, because the information is not available to us. So his health care has become a guessing game. I wish it didn't have to be that way. I know it's standard to ask birth families to provide as much medical information as they can, but it's not required. Do our children through adoption not have a genetic right -- if not legal right -- to know their birth family's medical history?

We have no idea what our son's genes hold for him in terms of genetic predisposition. I couldn't tell you if his great-grandparents lived til they were ninety or died of a heart attack at fifty-five. I won't be able to warn him to go for early screenings for genetically predisposed cancers, and I had no idea if allergies ran in his birth families or if he will someday outgrow them.

So we go for extra tests, more tests, early tests. Spend more time in waiting rooms then we should, but we have to because his health is too important.

At the allergist yesterday, we got some answers. The following is not a complete list. But we learned that our son is allergic to the following foods:
peanuts (severely, which we already knew)
milk/dairy (we already knew this, too)
and soy.

Soy? Excuse me? He's only been drinking soy milk for the past 14 months!

The allergist indicated that because his reactions were so numerous, we should "go with" whatever foods Little Man can tolerate. Most of the foods he reacted to had been previously offered to him and promptly rejected (with the exception of apples, which he loves.) Our only instructions were to avoid peanuts at all costs, and try to and get him off of soy since he did react to it, and he consumes it multiple times a day.

So last night we heated up a bottle of hypoallergenic *stuff* (I think the main ingredient was tapioca!) to feed our Little Man.

He held the bottle with both hands and stared at it. "Boh-yul, Momma?"
"Yes, honey, it's a new kind of bottle for you. Try it."
He stuck the nipple in his eye. "Ow."
"Drink it, silly man."
Poor trusting babe... he took one swig and gagged. "Sick!" he exclaimed.
"Come on, hon, it's good. Drink it!"
He made one more valiant attempt before hurling the bottle across the room. The bottle ricocheted off the TV and landed in a plant.
"Disgusting!" he screamed. "Gross! Garfage!" [garbage]
Ooooo-kay. Not a fan of the allergy formula. Got it.

For now, we're back on the soy. And we're considering ordering him a medic alert bracelet that reads "Allergic to everything".

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hitched without a Hitch... well, okay, Maybe a Few!

Wedding day was wonderful! We awoke early on Saturday. We overstuffed our compact car with baby goodies and wedding gifts for our nomadic journey to the Islands. After three or four cups of coffee and a light breakfast, we hit the road.

Our aim was to catch an early ferry out of Tsawwassen, but wouldn't you know it, those ferries were overbooked. Instead we took the scenic drive through Burnaby and along the #1 to Horseshoe Bay.

Little Man hates the lineups but loves the ferries. He gleefully staggers around on the outside deck chasing his shadow until his hair looks like Kramer's and his mother looks like a see hag from the high winds.

On Saturday, however, our chase-fest was cut short since I had a speech to finish (okay, START) for the wedding that afternoon. Instead Little Man walked around inside with his Daddy saying "hi, lady" or "hi kids" to everyone on the boat. His friendliness attracted everyone's attention... which was a good thing otherwise we might not have bumped into my brother!

We had a great visit with "Uncle Steve" and got to see pictures of his new baby daughter (who at the time was STILL nameless). Little Man suggested "Ta-da!" but Steve just shook his head and smiled.

The real fun began, of course, when we got to the wedding.

First a disclaimer:

Please note that no wedding is easy to organize. However, organizing *anything* in our family is like herding cats. Only these cats are high on catnip and have eight legs a piece and they're hearing the can opener at the neighbours at the same time as a three day old case of tuna falls off a truck at the end of the block.

Case in point:
*Two members were abandoned at a ferry terminal in their track pants after gardening all morning. (Don't worry, it was the right ferry terminal, and they had a change of clothes under their gardening gloves in their backpacks!)
*One teenager arrived in a flowing white dress only to be gently reminded that usually just the bride wears white.
*One bridesmaid didn't know she was a bridesmaid, as she had been asked while under the influence of painkillers following dental surgery. (She just happened to have a brand new dress in the appropriate colour hanging in her closet!)
*One bridesmaid nearly forgot her dress at the ferry terminal, and had to rely on a ten year old to remind her to go back and get it. (OKAY FINE!!! It was me!)
*The same bridesmaid was abandoned after the ceremony (along with her husband and young son) when her ride forgot to return to the ceremony site and pick the young family up. She missed an hour of the reception but arrived just in time for introductions, a few photos, and of course, dinner!

But we all got there. And a wonderful time was had by all.

The outdoor ceremony was a hoot. I mean that joyfully, without a hint of malice. It really was FUN! The flower girl had just finished an acting class, and thought it fit to add some melodrama and ballet moves to her procession up the aisle.

Guests came as they were -- it was Gabriola, after all, and it was delightful to see the contrast of people standing in the crowds. From a few gentlemen in suits to a human tie-dye exhibit (hot pink hair included) or my personal favourite; a thirty something guest whose face was painted up like a butterfly!!

The bride and groom were ridiculously in love. Made me a little nostalgic for my own wedding, and a little jealous that we hadn't opted for an outdoor ceremony!

And the reception was great... we had more than three baked potatoes, but I was right about the pasta salad!!! I stopped counting at four salads, and heard there were several more in the fridge. The chocolates didn't melt, and there was a smorgasbord of choices for dinner. There was enough cake to go around, and happy smiles from all throughout the reception.

I gave my little speech, and heard a delightful dedication from the groom's sisters to their big brother. The clouds opened up just after the bride and groom made their speech together, revealing a gorgeous rainbow through the window behind the head table.

When we headed for an early ferry back to the big island, we were entertained with the most beautiful thunder and lightning storm I'd ever seen! I was worried the couple would think it was a bad omen... but they thought it was beautiful; a natural fireworks show to top off a perfect evening.