Monday, October 22, 2012

Dairy: This Is the End

I feel like it has been a long road of nursing with George. From those first two months when I knew that something was wrong with my baby but couldn't figure out what it was, to the decision to eliminate all forms of dairy from my diet, and then throughout the next six-plus months of adhering to that decision, it really has been interesting. I know more about milk proteins like casein and whey then I ever knew I could, and I have learned that milk is in an enormous amount of food. And now, here we are; the first line of Adele's new superfly James Bond song has been repeating in my head all afternoon and evening: "This is the end."

Poor George before I cut out dairy

Do you know the feeling of carrying in heavy groceries that you know you're about to drop? You feel them slipping from your hand so, if you're like me, you pick up the pace dramatically to try to get every step underfoot possible before the peanut butter and lunchmeat hit the floor (okay, maybe it's just me. Maybe I load my grocery bags too heavily.)? Well, this is where I am with the no-dairy diet. These days, every week underfoot is considered a victory to me. In the beginning and middle of this journey it was fairly easy. When the pediatrician looks you in the eye and says that your son has a better chance of overcoming this allergy if you will just eliminate cow milk from your own diet and continue to nurse, rather than putting him on alimentum formula, how do you not choose this for your child? So, the choice was easy. Sure, I had weeks that were hard, like when those Doritos Locos tacos first came out, when I drink disgusting black coffee, and when I think of Pioneer Woman's Potato Leek Pizza. But I can say that I honestly held strong with no slip-ups, except for once when George was four months old and I ate a single hush puppy that I knew had milk in it, just to see if such a minute amount would make a difference (He was covered in a rash the next day and ended up needing prescription steroid cream. Yeah, this kid really has/had an allergy.). Now, these moments of weakness are coming every day. I am starting to feel consumed by the decisions about food, thinking about dairy versus non-dairy, and thinking about the foods that I crave and cannot eat even in moderation. The absurdity culminated the other day when I caved in and put a dairy item (a McDonald's french fry, if you must know) into my mouth, chewed it, and then spat it out. This hasn't even been one of my cravings, and now here I was impulsively shoving a fry into my face, feeling like a fool, and then spitting it out and brushing off my tongue with my paper napkin! Other people must have thought I had a problem, and they were probably right.

Add to this the physical stress that I know my body is under. I seriously don't know how vegans do it. Since the day I checked into the hospital to give birth to George, I have lost 65 pounds (including George himself); 34 of these have come since the day I decided to go dairy-free. I just can't keep the weight on, which doesn't sound like a problem but is not characteristic of my frame. Not sure if it's my imagination, but I think my teeth feel a little different. And the kicker was at a doctor's appointment today when the dermatologist told me that the itchy, bleeding rash I have had on the palms of my hands since April is undoubtedly a result of having eliminated dairy from my diet. She advised, "Your baby will be okay. I suggest that you take care of you so that you can keep taking great care of him."

Happy George now

So this is the end. Next week, Sommer and her lovely family are visiting, and we have a delicious meal planned at our favorite Mexican restaurant. The pediatrician told me to eat dairy on purpose when George turns nine months old (which happened last week) so that we can see where he stands, and I have been planning this meal for five months: chips and queso, and sour cream chicken enchiladas. Lifting that fork to my mouth is going to be one of the harder things I have done in recent years; after having so vigilantly watched every single morsel going into my mouth for seven months and reading every ingredient label so closely, now I'm going to put the allergen there on purpose. Hopefully, George has grown out of his allergy, and I can incorporate dairy back into my diet while continuing to nurse. However, if George shows signs of reaction, I will go back dairy-free for a week or two, just long enough to wean him, and he will then be put on formula because I just don't think I can do this anymore.

I feel racked with guilt about this decision. I feel nearly certain he will still show allergic reaction, and that I'm going to have to guide my baby to a bottle rather than my breast from now on. This honestly breaks my heart because we both love to nurse, and I love the benefits that come from breast-milk, like extra immunities. But the price just seems higher and higher to me these days, and so I'm hoping that ten months of breast milk will be enough in the end.

Friends, do you have thoughts?

Saturday, October 20, 2012


I have about ten favorite days in the calendar year (family birthdays, Christmas Eve, the day of BCS bowls, Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day are some, if you must know), and Walkaround is one of them. Every year as a kickoff to OSU's Homecoming, Stillwater puts on a remarkable Walkaround festivity where we all get to return to our college home, walk the streets around campus, and take in all of the awesome house decorations. When asked to explain what these house decorations are like, I explain the facts of them: they are huge, made of tissue paper stuffed into chicken wire, and move around. But that just sounds like something, well, crazy-like. Giant pieces of tissue paper that move around like chickens? Um, no. Here is an example of what some of them this year looked like:

We never miss Walkaround. Now that we have kids, we arrive there early and leave a little earlier, but you'll find us there each year. Silas particularly enjoyed our time this year. Some of the house decs were exciting to him, especially the one that had moving puzzle pieces and the one that had a moving front-end loader. He liked looking at the camels in the carnival area, throwing sticks into Theta Pond, viewing Pistol Pete (albeit from afar), eating popcorn, and watching the tubas in the OSU marching band (a shout-out to Hooge is appropriate here!).

Time with the boys at Theta Pond really brought back memories, as always. I could practically see my 19-year-old self reading about the Rwandan genocide on a bench by the water, and getting bit by the local swan as I tried to walk through heading to the NSC one day (that son of a bitch drew blood on my leg, and I was minding my own business!). Go Pokes!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Day Out With Thomas

It's been a long time since I have blogged. At this point, I honest to God have a list of about eight topics that I want to get up and running, but time is ridiculously limited. Between raising two children, working (albeit part-time), building a deck, and the laundry list of house projects I always seem to have us completing, I'm finding myself short on time these days. I just had to share some pictures from early October though, when Grammy and Pop treated Silas, George, BJ, and me to a Day Out With Thomas. He received the tickets for his birthday in May and had been eagerly awaiting the day that he could meet Sir Topham Hatt and ride Thomas in a blaze of glory. BJ's parents joined us for the occasion, and we also got to spend our time there with our friends Jeremy and Laurie and their kiddos. We find it pretty neat that BJ and Jeremy were friends when they were Silas' and Miles' age, so the tradition will hopefully live on with friendship being passed down.

If it looks like we're cold in these pictures, it's because we were. This year we had the coldest weather on record for October 6 in Oklahoma City, so we spent the rest of the day hanging out by the roaring fireplace. Silas' often bland look is the result of both camera-shyness and illness at the time. Don't let the pictures fool you; he had a ton of fun!

Waiting to ride on Thomas

Seeing Thomas at last. Silas was cracking us up...
as we parked and slid open the van door you could 
plainly hear Thomas' "peep peep" as he was pulling into
the station. BJ and I excitedly asked him, "Do you 
think that's Thomas?" He said, as though guarding 
his emotions, "Uh....maybe."

Even Georgie got in on the fun!

We got to ride up top...even had to climb a ladder to get up there!

It's a good thing that my boys look beautiful in orange. 

That 'James' tattoo was a source of pride for some time
before it eventually got scrubbed off in the bath. On 
one hand, the tattoo, and clutched tightly in the other 
was the toy "Diesel" engine that Grammy and Pop bought
for Silas in the gift shop.

A giant thank you to Grammy and Pop, and to all of you in Silas' life that share his enthusiasm for Thomas with him. He loves talking about Thomas. If you missed the Thomas Masterpiece some months back, you might want to check that out for your edification as well.