Monday, September 21, 2009


Today we spent the morning at the Allergy and Asthma Clinic of Wyoming, getting Luigi re-tested for all that plagues him. I was hoping and crossing my fingers that he would have grown out of some of his food allergies, but it was not meant to be. Sadness. It looks like he will be celebrating his second birthday with yet another dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free (actually, as we all know, peanuts are a legume, so make that legume-free) concoction. We also tested him for goat's milk, hoping that would give him some yummy stinky cheese options, but it was a big no for that one as well. Mariah breathes a sigh of relief. Also slight allergies to corn and tomatoes, which is new, but not strong enough to steer completely clear of them. Have any of you ever been scratch tested? Lorna, I know you have sympathy here. He does really very well, and the scratching itself doesn't bother him much, but the hard part is not touching the area that is shot full of the offending ingredients until the timer goes off and the nurse comes back. We had to do the peanut one three times because he somehow kept rubbing it off (one time was a bit like Baloo the Bear rubbing his back up and down on a tree). I should have brought my camera so you could see his back: pen marks, poke marks, and then the enormous red reactions that swell. He zoomed around the office, which is conveniently shaped in a big circle, shirtless, charming waiting patients and staff, with me trying to catch up, for a large part of the two hours. Keeping a toddler entertained in a doctor's office is an exercise in creativity. How many verses of Wheels on the Bus are there? Find shapes. Find colors. Find the bathroom. Remove the cotton balls and Qtips from up his nose where he was stashing them like the end of the world was upon us and well, you're gonna need all the cotton balls and Qtips you can get. Read out loud from super outdated issues of Redbook magazine. Weigh yourself 15 times. Crinkle up all the sanitary paper on the examination table. Play your sister's DS until you stick the pen up in the same place the cotton balls and Qtips had formally been, and then you aren't allowed to play it anymore. But all in all, he was good. He didn't cry at all, although he did get annoyed, and he was happy to give everyone "sugar" when he left. Our allergist is great: he's Indian and has a heavy accent so sometimes I can't tell when he's telling me to "do" something, or NOT to "do" something. At the end of the appointment he asked how badly he confused me, but I assured him we were understanding each other quite well. I think. So now we stay the course, avoiding dairy, eggs, potatoes, and peanuts, just like before. We ate at McDonalds as a reward (for the under 30 crowd obviously) and spent half the time slapping french fries out of his chubby little paws. My next step is to get him a medical ID bracelet...because that's what paranoid moms do... And seriously, you can tell someone about his allergies 50 times before they pay attention enough to rethink the nacho cheese potato chip they were about to hand him the half second my back was turned. If anyone has theories about how food allergies come into being, no one in the medical/health industry knows, so I'm sure they'd appreciate your ideas. Some of them are:

A too sterile environment. Well, I am a rather clean person with plenty of pet peeves like keep your dishes out of my sparkly sink, people, that's what dishwashers are for, and I used to be infamous for vacuuming everyday back when I had carpet, and I think you can safely assume that my entire family bathes practically on a daily basis (hey, I said practically!), and maybe I don't wash my sheets quite as often as Martha Stewart recommends. But I'm not going to end up on a talk show panel with OCD tendencies, so I think that theory's bunk. I don't use anti-bacterial soaps either. And if you've spent time with me and my babies outside, I have no problem letting them eat a little dirt. Or straw. Or gravel. We're building up their immune systems! There's a leather strap on the high chair at my house that is as old as me (I used it as a baby), and every baby just feels the need to suck on that strap at some point in toddlerdom. It has got to be full of some real good and tasty germs by now. We call it the immunization strap. Well, I think it's funny at any rate. Bring your own chair then if you're grossed out.

Eating lots of crap when you're prego, thereby passing on allergies to the baby. I did eat a lot of Frosted Flakes now that I think about it... but only in between the tossed salads and homemade soups and lean meats. And I hardly eat any dairy myself other than cheese. I didn't go overboard with peanut butter although I probably ate a couple PBnJs during that nine months. There goes theory #2.

Introducing solid foods too early. We all know how long I nurse my kids and by the time I do introduce solid foods, we have passed the baby foods stage and gone straight to the good stuff. No go with theory #3.

Vaccines. Ha ha! If you've know me longer than 15 minutes you know where I stand on those (far, far away). Farewell theory #4.

A family history. Well, I didn't think this one applied to me and my little ones, but after telling the doc about my seasonal allergies, Mike's shrimp allergy, Cora's cat allergies, he held up his hand said, "that's a family history!" Or maybe he said, "that's NOT a family history," I'm not sure. So perhaps theory #5 doesn't bite the dust, and maybe that's the one that got him. Kind of like inheriting my height or Daddy's booming voice, the poor guy got all our messed up histamines as well.

So, armed with Epi-Pen Jrs in every bag, we march on through life, resigned to never making omelette's or hash browns for breakfast (unless he's happily occupied with oatmeal with rice milk), a name tag for the church nursery that reads "Gianni - DO NOT FEED," and the slightly odd information that LifeSavers Gummies are made with potato starch. Oh, and so is egg substitute. Nice. And we've had to limit our vodka intake. That was a joke. Vodka's made from potatoes, get it?

But in all seriousness, he doesn't seem to be one of those poor kids who go into antiphylactic shock when their cousin's aunt's dog's second wife went down the peanut butter aisle at the super market and then gave them a kiss, so really, we aren't complaining. We've never had to use the Epi yet and hopefully never will. And who knows, he may just grown out of them yet, and then all he'll have to overcome in order to become normal is that pesky fainting habit and the unsocialization that comes from being freaky/weird homeschoolers.


  1. Yes - I understand. An itch you can't scratch is a torture fit for Guantanamo.

  2. What an adventure! I'd love to know what you DO feed him. I'm sure there is plenty, but for the life of me that seems limiting.

    Also, I've seen a news story of a study done where doctors give kids tiny bits of peanuts little by little and they manage to overcome thier peanut allergy, and maintain it by eating a spoonful of peanut butter every day for the rest of thier life. Don't think it's widespread yet, but an interesting option possibly.

  3. Steph, I've seen that one, too, and I know they do it in Denver at one of the really big allergy hospital places. He does eat butter, which doesn't bother him, and the occasional piece of cheese.

    As for what we DO feed him...he loves fruit, most veg, and meat. Surprisingly he isn't a huge fan of carbs like crackers and breads and cereals, which is a pain, because he can actually have those!

  4. I was just wondering if you are familiar with the trick of using milled flax and water as an egg substitute? Syd has a boy in her class for the past two years who is egg, peanut and tree nut allergic and so all us mom's had to come up with creative ideas for baking snacks for school.

    Also isn't there some sort of resistance therapy that chiropractors do where you hold a vile of the allergen in your hand and then eventually you get over it or something? Who the heck knows! Best of luck friend....and your kids aren't weird homeschooler kids! We love them!

  5. Heather,
    I haven't heard of flax and water as an egg sub, but we do make yummy oatmeal cookies and banana bread without eggs. Thank goodness for the internet for recipes!!!

    And yes, Tawni told me about that kind of therapy that chiropractors do...sounds bizarre (i.e. right up my bizarre alley). Seems weird, but sometimes weird works.