Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Do you see what I see?



Click on images, then click again to see them in full view. Feel free to glance at our last results (which were awesome!) in this post.

The main thing we were testing for was to see if wheat (gliadin, gluten, and whole) rose on the test - why yes, they did! Also, it seems a month of wheat eating likely caused inflammation (celiac?) which caused a LOT of other foods to rise as well. I'm not going to lie, dudes - this sucks.

BUT, I have to remain realistic. Small signs were beginning to reveal themselves (change in skin texture, anxiety, less smiles) and I was trying to convince myself that I was paranoid. Mama-instinct cannot/should not be silenced. I'm very grateful for our naturopath (speaking with him tomorrow), these tests, and the symptoms that alert us that something is amiss. I vow, to myself, not to let others' opinions derail me from what I know is best for my child. I'd like to think he's like other kids who can eat everything other than their major allergens but the truth may be that he is not. Either way, I'm fighting for what he needs to heal, to the best of my ability.

Back to the drawing board. I was in a food rut anyhow, time to get back to BASIC basics.

ETA: Keep in mind that IgG and IgE are completely different. IgG levels indicate a delayed reaction whereas IgE (peanut, egg, dairy, etc - in our case) are immediate and not related to this test. This test is mainly a gauge for gut health, this change is likely a result of inflammation due to diet change (wheat/gluten being the change).

Monday, December 27, 2010

Banana buckwheat muffins

AKA: A slight variation of every cake-ish recipe I create...

Light crispy top, ooey-gooey paper wrapped edges - YUM

These turned out light and fluffy, moist and sweet, and they are made of really healthy stinkin' stuff! They are top 8 (plus corn) free.

1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp aluminum free baking soda
2 tblspns cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 smashed up ripe banana
1 cup vanilla hemp milk
1/2 cup olive oil

Mix together dry ingredients well, add wet ingredients and mix together until combined. Do not over mix. Fill muffin cups 80% full and bake at 325 degrees for about 35 minutes.

Cleaned up all our Christmas garb! It's beautiful for the first few weeks but the pine needles and sparkle make me pretty Grinchy after a while. Harvey managed to break at least ten ornaments and he and Jack dismantled a stuffed Santa. They unwrapped his "gifts" (oh boy, styrofoam!) which then of course turned into "snow" all over the living room. Blessed creatures.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Ten things I didn't have to ask Santa for:

LOL kittehs...
1) Happiness
2) Health (mental and otherwise)
3) Loving family/beautiful babies
4) True friendship
5) A new year (without resolutions)
6) Wheat!
7) Progress
8) Hope
9) World Inner peace
10)Faith

Wishing everyone a peaceful and positive Holiday Season! Looking forward to watching the boys' excitement in the morning, an evening with my family, and a full week with my husband at home!! With close to a week of record worthy rainfall, it seems we'll have a sunny So. Cal. Christmas after all...

Backyard beauty - Merry Christmas Everyone !!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Still allergic (duh)

About a year ago, Jack had a reaction to a product with these ingredients: rice, rice bran oil, nori, sea salt. I've suspected a nori (seaweed) allergy ever since. We didn't skin prick test it at his allergist appointment the following Spring, seaweed is an easy food to avoid for a three year old.

Last night I fixed easy food for the boys (applegate farms lunch meat rolls, carrot sticks, muffins) and Justin and I ordered sushi which came with a cucumber/seaweed salad. About an HOUR after we ate, a patch of hives caught my eye, on Jack's forehead. I was checking him out muttering "that's weird" when Justin told me he had kissed Jack above his right eyebrow. Ah! Mystery solved.

Now, Jack has been tested for shellfish so we know that wasn't the culprit. And he has previously reacted to nori so I'm pretty positive that's what it was. Thank goodness this was just a case of "wash him up" and nothing more taxing on his body. Contact hives used to happen a lot, especially when he was an adorable little baby that people couldn't not put their allergy laden mouths all over.

I felt a little unsettled. I think I was getting over-confident. I was so sure that eggs were the only thing that Jack was still contact reactive to. This just showed me that he's still sensitive and allergic, we're all just managing it really well and seeing less reactions due to that. I've been reading a lot about the inaccuracy of skin prick and RAST (blood) tests and trying to convince myself that Jack may be less allergic than previously thought. Those are nice thoughts but when you've seen your toddler covered in hives (after benadryl) from his eyelids to the bottoms of his feet and you've changed bloody diapers and helped him to master booking it to the potty again and again, there's just no peace of mind in test error statistics. He is allergic.

I find myself in a strange limbo of believing that he will outgrow his allergies, that his immune system will balance as he matures.....and then I feel the intensity of his reactions and shudder. It was recently concluded that allergists can no longer diagnose an allergy based on test results. I can't say for sure, but I doubt our allergist would consider giving Jack an oral food challenge based on his test results (and history). So unless the old one still stands, I guess this means we are without diagnosis. I hope we can still get our epi-pen (snarksnarksnark)!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Food Allergies and Me


Remember so long ago, when I mentally noted that I ought to write a Children's book on food allergy awareness? Well....I did !! This is obviously a subject matter that is so dear to me and I wanted needed to provide the market with a book that helped families like mine. The books I did find were about specific allergens, which is great, but my kiddo is allergic to many foods, and ones that aren't "mainstream". They were also about insects and woodland creatures who weren't necessarily the voices my child needed to be able to relate to and learn from.

My vision was to write about a child who is allergic to some top allergens and who demonstrates how that affects a child's life. I wanted it to be simple but fun, informative but not fear-inducing, and most of all empowering! I wanted the story to be appropriate for a child who has allergies and for children who know others who have allergies and want to better understand what it all means. I hope you'll enjoy it. This was not a profit building endeavor but a true desire to educate allergic kids and their peers. You can see it on Amazon here (the "look inside" feature will be activated soon): Food Allergies and Me

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the strain)
Ch-ch-Changes
Don't tell them to grow up and out of it
~David Bowie

I have been noticing some shifts in these boys o' mine.

Jack has developed a strong need to express himself, especially when he's been angered. He's even *ahem* violent about it. If you know Jack, you know this is very opposite to his nature. Sure, sure, he can pitch a fit about something but he never expresses that anger toward the individual, even if it's me. It's hard to discourage (though we try) because his "hits" are about as forceful as a falling leaf. The positive spin on this, is that it is providing more opportunity to discuss feelings! It's a window into the mind of Jack, and that is powerful. As he explains to me what I (or someone else) did that upset him so much, I get a new sense of how he interprets others' feelings and how those feelings affect his own.

Last night, Jack's preschool put on a Christmas pageant. It was an evening of adorableness all around, and Jack did well through the excitement and crowd. Toward the very end, as things were wrapping up and people were beginning to leave, Jack came up to me with tears in his eyes saying that someone had yelled at him. I held him for a bit and then we made our way to the car. As we were leaving, Mrs. M asked him if he had a good time and he shouted "NO" (sorry Mrs. M!) and I knew he hadn't let the incident go. We got home and he was STILL fuming. We got jammied, we put Harvey to bed, we snuggled - he was STILL angry. We talked, he told me he was looking and looking for me at the party and couldn't find me. So it wasn't just that someone hurt his feelings, he was also angry that I wasn't right there to help him. We sat quietly for a while and Jack snuggled in to me and said "I'm sorry I yelled at you mama". All was well again. I'm confident we'll strike a balance, this surge of expression will calm a bit as he masters his new found ability. Miasm work? Maturity? I dunno.....steps in the right direction either way.

Harvey is quite the opposite. He is a force to be reckoned with. Some days he wins, some days I win. Last night was evidence to what we already knew - this kids WANTS preschool. He loves the atmosphere, the other children, and he ferociously absorbs the energy. All of a sudden (and hopefully for good), he has stopped crying for me in the night......he simply makes his way into our room when he needs me. He's still waking me often but it's much more peaceful. Waking to crying is nerve wracking! He is self weaning and asks for Justin at times for comfort! He also just finished cutting his final two-year molar which could be cause for the night time shifts. I'll take it!!

I love the hindsight of parenting. I'm learning (always learning) to really accept these stages of development. It's like anything else in life, you can't always see the purpose in something as it's happening. It's only when you stop digging for the purpose that you can step back and take in the beauty of God's work unfolding. We all grow and change in mysterious ways, I'm finding less need to pick and fuss and fix, and just let it be. Because what it IS, is good.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Makin' me a sandwich...


With real bread (aka - wheat bread) in the house again, I have recaptured my love of the sandwich. My only annoyance with making them has been the mayonnaise. I fear kissing Jack with my mayo lips. I keep meaning to pick up some veganaise...Jack can't have that either but at least it's egg free. I don't think he'd eat mayonnaise if given the chance which begs me to question: what came first, the allergies or the aversions? Is your allergic child naturally suspicious of foods they shouldn't eat??? Mine sure is.

And the mustard you see in the picture isn't very good either. Jack picked it because it has a hot dog on the label (those clever marketing execs), that's what happens when a four year old does your grocery shopping. Wait, I think he was three back then - ewww, I should really replace that mustard.

Another sad truth: you see that beautiful avocado? It's from Costco. Last week I bought some teeny tiny organic ones and they were bruised and stringy (ultimate blech to my sensory side) and tasted a little funky. So, non-organic it is, because I am going to ENJOY this sammich. Every wheaty bite!

Where's my flashlight?

Justin let me sleep in, yayayay...after several nights up with sick babes I needed it and that followed by several cups of coffee and my adrenals are pumpin' (can you tell??) which is good because the living room was pretty trashed by the time I got downstairs and of course after I picked it all up and managed to escape to the bathroom for a minute (heaven. forbid.) I was greeted by this disaster:

Ooh, he. is. pissed.

and he is the irritated one....because he dropped his blanket. *deepcalmingbreathing* I'll get right on that, Sir. Harvey. Who's anxious for Harvey to be feeling better??? I am I am I am!!! Then maybe I can switch back to half caf.

Jack's right as rain now and sleeping pretty good again. The light at the end of this tunnel is a faint but definitely visible glow!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Miasms

I promised to get deeper into my explanation of miasms in regard to our use of homeopathy. I think I've been avoiding it because it's a yogic mind stretch and my brain has been lazy. As you know, we have sequentially treated both boys by giving homeopathic remedies for traumas (injuries, drugs, etc) that have occurred in their lives. We first created time lines of those events and then treated from most recent to birth/pregnancy. At that point, we began the next level of the heilkunst protocol which is treating for inherited infectious diseases, or chronic miasms as named by Dr. Hahnemann.

I have heard miasms described as susceptibility - each miasm predisposes a person to a certain kind of dynamic in illness. The eight chronic miasms are: Psorinum (Psora), Malaria (Malaria), Tuberculinum (Tuberculosis), Ringworm (Ringworm), Medorrhinum (Sycosis), Carcinosin (Cancer), Syphilinum (Syphilis) and Lyme (Lyme). (got that? there's a quiz later!) The names were given by Hahnemann and some are quite obvious in nature while others are more mysterious - Sycosis is the Greek word for "fig" which is a shout out to small genital warts, apparently they looked like figs to Dr. H. I will never look at a fig the same.

So, in understandable language, let's say you are susceptible to sinus infections, acne, depression, or allergic reactions. You inherited that susceptibility and that is what miasms are targeting. Exciting no?

Jack is on the first miasm, Psora. Harvey has already trudged through psora, malaria, and is now working through tuberculosis. Now that I'm caught up on my homeopathy homework, time to give these poor sick kiddos some much needed mama snuggles!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Jack eats'a pizza!

He managed to eat around the sauce and veggies. Bah. I'm going to have to get craftier. Calzone? We sure had fun though and they were delicious. Didn't miss the cheese one bit.

I thought having a hand in decorating ("like a Christmas tree" he joked)
might encourage consumption.


Our pretty pies in my trusty oven.

Mmmmm....crust.

The fun ended around 8pm when he had a massive attack of congestion and fever. He also complained that his throat hurt which concerned me because strep is going around at his preschool. I googled a bit and found some comfort in reading that congestion points toward a virus, not strep. This morning his fever is gone and (skeptics skip over this section) our homeopath gave us a paper remedy for strep just to be sure. You write down the exact remedy and attach it to the body.


It's energy, folks, and it can't hurt! Besides all of that, Jack's recent miasm remedy typically produces heavy nasal congestion (we've been seeing this off and on for about a week - hence my dust mite rampage) and flu like symptoms. So it could be one of many things but we are armed with many resources and Jack is handling it beautifully. He even sipped on some sambucus for me this morning! I have a terrible fear of antibiotics (they wreak havoc on the gut) so we will do all we can to avoid them while keeping a close eye on our boy.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Conflict Resolution

Jack was hit on the head repeatedly last week by a brand new boy in his preschool class. We talked about it a lot and I could tell he wasn't too traumatized. These things happen. Especially when you're four years old.

Well, the boy and Jack had a discussion about it today and lucky for me, his teacher was tuned in to the whole thing.

Boy: Jack, will you play with me and be my friend?
Jack: No, you hit me.
Boy: Will you play with me?
Jack: No, you really hurt me.
Boy: I'm sorry. Now will you be my friend?
Jack: Okay!

If only our world leaders had the diplomacy of these two!

Monday, December 6, 2010

What brings this allergy mom to tears?

My boys are eating fish sticks. The meal started a bit unorthodox - I smushed one all over Jack's back and waited ten minutes, just to be sure that hives didn't appear. He's been tested for cod but you never know what kind of crazy cross-contamination could be at play. We've seen that first hand.

Then I worried "will he eat fish??" but there they sit, devouring their sticks o' fish. And I'm crying. Tears of joy, for my boy, who once lived on bananas.

NO-TRATOR JOE'S

My faithful companion! Tomorrow, we eat pizza.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

How wheat it is....


After four days of stuffing Jack with wheat and seeing NO SYMPTOMS, we're feeling pretty confident about incorporating it back into his diet. Sweet!

I believe I can fly,
I believe I can touch the sky!

We're hoping to run another IGG test very soon just to be sure that ingesting wheat doesn't cause a dramatic spike in delayed reaction. I'm also still analyzing for digestive, behavior, and skin reactions. Losing reactions to wheat feels like pretty convincing evidence of gut healing!! And a healing/maturing immune system.

My "plan" is to use wheat as a vehicle for getting more nutrients into Jack rather than as a new food group of pre-packaged processed conveniences. Though it will be tempting! I need to find a pizza dough (mix or recipe) that is dairy, egg, soy, corn, and nut free. I think it'll be a great way to get some veggies into him. Anyone with ideas on that!??

This still isn't going to be EASY but we now have more options. And GOOD bread !!!! So, for today, I leave you with these wise words: rice bread SUCKS, man.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Going APE

Jack had his first A.P.E. (adapted physical education) today. The class had gone on a field trip so the teacher decided to take the opportunity to assess Jack a bit and give him a chance to get used to the facility before joining the other kids next Friday. Jack responded really well to "Mr. Chris". He wouldn't talk (he needs 15 min or so to warm up to someone and we were only there for about that long) but he nodded and participated about as enthusiastically as I've ever seen him. They played catch, galloped, hopped on one foot, walked across a balance beam, etc. Mr. Chris said Jack's gross motor skills looked really good. We'll see how he does when other kids are there next week, he tends to "pull inward" in social settings so this will be great for him once he gets comfortable! He happily waved goodbye to Mr. Chris and then as I was buckling him into his car seat I asked "Do you like P.E.?" and he said "Yeah, but I was too shy and couldn't talk, it just didn't work". I told him that each time he goes he'll be less shy and that he can talk when he's ready. I hope that gives him the reassurance he needs. I can tell he wants to talk so badly but needs more time to get there and in today's quickity quick quick society he rarely gets the warm up he needs to get comfortable socially. It's happening more and more easily over time and that is enough for me. So proud of that boy!

His A.P.E. class is at a nearby elementary school, the school he'll attend half a day next year if he's accepted into their PEP program (here's hoping!). We were leaving right as lunch time was happening and we had to walk directly through the lunch table area. It was hamburger day. There were buns on the ground to prove it. Kids crammed around tables full of chocolate milk and other obvious allergens. Totally freaked me out but I tried to keep my head on straight. Harvey chanted "Hardy need chee-burger" all the way to the car. Jack was absorbing the sites and sounds of so many kids, not paying any attention to what they were consuming. We're nearly two years away from that setting and the school that Jack will go to has a designated table for those with allergies if you choose that route. And who knows where Jack's allergies will be by then.

One day at a time.

No reactions yet to the wheat. I gave him some more today. I have so many fun ideas for nutritious food options should he tolerate it well!! Recently ran into this blog, just look at the gorgeous lunches this mom has created for her food allergic little guy! So inspiring! No reason to eat another kids food when you have an amazing lunch like that. The only concern would be keeping other kids' hands off it!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wheat Trial, take two!


Deets to follow - send prayers!

Jack gobbled these up and asked for more. Repeat, repeat. I finally applied the breaks because this is a trial after all. Then he said "maybe Santa will bring me more cookies?". Oh I really hope he tolerates these!! I want so badly to expand his diet to all things skin prick and blood test negative. Gave enzymes before and directly after. Hoping this trial isn't questionable like the last. So tricky when "reactions" are delayed and subtle.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sleeping with the enemy...

Got dust?

Not only do these guys look like an attacking sci fi alien army, they're real....and they're kicking my kiddo's butt. Jack has been waking every morning sneezing and congested. I suspect it's disrupting his sleep as well. Poor fella! So I'm going on the defense and washing every possible article of bedding, dusting, and vacuuming today to see if his symptoms lessen overnight. It got really bad when we pulled out our winter bedding and threw heated (dust mites lurve warmth) blankets under our comforter. We have covers on our mattresses/pillows and have an anti allergen duvet so I think the culprit is our heavy winter blanket (please please fit in the washing machine!) and mass reproduction due to the added heat. Plus even if it's the wrong environment for the mites or if you kill them with high temps or sunlight, their pellets (doo doo) are the main source of allergen so "Lucy, you have some cleaning to do!!". Nasty.

Wish me luck. And give me tips if you have any!! This. means. war.

ETA: That blanket did NOT fit in the washer. Had to wash in in the bathtub then run it through a couple spin cycles but it is clean as can be. Easily weighed a hundred pounds - giving new meaning to the term "wet blanket". Sheesh. Did my darnedest on those mites so I'm crossing fingers for a better night's sleep and the ability for Jack to breathe in the morning.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Mouths of my babes/Thanksgiving

While shopping yesterday we parked ourselves in a checkout line where Jack noticed a baby in a cart nearby. He was happy, totally bald, and heavy on the chubby cheeks. Jack loved him. The baby took a liking to Jack too and expressed it with high pitched squealing love noises! As the line crept forward Jack and I had this exchange:

Jack: But where is the baby going?
Me: He's going home with his mommy and daddy.
Jack: But I want him!
Me: Stores don't sell babies, honey.
Jack: Awwwww....(bummed to the max)

Had an unusually relaxing and especially enjoyable Thanksgiving. I farmed out as many dishes as possible and was left in charge of two things - prepping the birds for the fryer and making allergen free stuffing. The stuffing (toot my own horn alert) was SO GOOD. I will have to recreate it and measure this time as I pretty much just eye-balled each ingredient to taste. I usually take it all on myself to keep things allergen friendly but Jack has become so aware this last year that I didn't need to worry about him grabbing at food he can't have. Most years I'm so stressed about getting it all done that my stomach is cramping by the time we sit down and I don't thoroughly enjoy the food until the next day when I'm reheating leftovers. This year I relished every bite. YUM.

The boys had all their favorites around so needed very little of my attention. Didn't even hear ANY crying unless there was an owie (which happens when you wrestle big giant uncles). Grandma and grandpa, my aunt Jodie and her husband Craig, my cousin Cody (Toady), and my brothers and sisters all were there. My niece Jillian is so good with the boys - so sweet and far more mature than her age of nearly five. Here we all are:

The fam. (minus my sister's fiance and my brother Martin)

Craig, Jodie, Cody

My little brothers, Sam and DJ

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving

Bird's a thawin', house is "clean",
Fire's cracklin', like Jimmy Dean.

Poultry seasoning, sage smothered pork,
Boats of gravy, WHERE'S MY FORK!?

Mashed potaters, cran-ber-ies,
Yams n' green beans, Yes sirees.

Apple pie with latticed crust,
Pumpkin spice, whipped cream - a must!

Loving family, loud with cheer,
My boys are happy, when grandpa's near.

Thankful me, for you, you and you,
For all you say, write, share, and do!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Weather or not!

So cal got a good washing this weekend (we needz it) and we enjoyed every wet minute of it. Spent Saturday with my sis-in-law and her family. They have two boys and another on the way so it's a noisy time when we're all in the house but they were squeals and shrieks of (mostly) joy. My oldest nephew is not yet seven years old and he's up to my chin - going to be tall like his uncle Justin (6'5"). After lots of play and filling their bellies, we filled the couch to the brim and watched a bit of a movie before bed.


Yesterday we had plans to go to SeaWorld with some good friends but it was raining whales and dolphins so we opted for some indoor holiday shopping instead. Got Harvey down for an early nap and when he woke up the weather was clear so we bundled up and headed out. Best day to go to SeaWorld? A rainy one! There was no one there.

Sky ride over the bay

Close up seats at the whale show

WHAT!?!? Santa is here!? We slowly made our way over to the door thinking the boys might head for the hills. The overzealous toy soldier didn't freak them out so my confidence was rising. Elf? Unfazed. Live jack in the box? Amused. Then Jack spotted the main attraction and his face lit up like Rudolph's sleigh guiding sniffer. The expression read: Hey! I know that guy! He made his way over, they chatted, he even sat on his lap. Harvey wanted no part of it but tolerated a little lap time. No cameras allowed and their picture didn't turn out. We'll try again - we have a MONTH after all.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Muffins, man..

A chilly indoor pajama day (sigh). Yesterday was Jack's last day of preschool before the Thanksgiving break so they ended the day with a feast - and we were invited! Jack loved having us there and it was really fun to have the opportunity to see him in action. He was so comfortable! Even though mama was around he happily followed the rules and routine. Highlight of the party was the song singing - it. was. adorable. But, back to today. While Harvey napped, Jack and I baked muffins. We used that steady eddy cake recipe. He actually helped a lot! Placing the paper cups in the pan...


And making sure the dry ingredients were mixed well. He even poured in the wet ingredients (couldn't take pics as I was supervising those maneuvers). But what a guy!


The aroma must have awakened Harvey because he came downstairs just when they were cool enough to eat.

Nom nom nom

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Time of morning


I was never a morning person. My energy seemed to flow in the evening, so I'd stay up late watching tv, snacking, journaling, tweezing my eyebrows, planning outfits, organizing, making lists of things to do - the next day and maybe even for the year ahead. My roommate was a morning enthusiast. Even after a late night she would bounce out of bed, make coffee, open the windows, blasting praise music, and perfecting her look for the day. I would stay in my dark cave of doom for as long as possible and then make my way, squinting, to the bathroom where I'd splash some water on my face before considering my work day. I used to feel guilty about that - I'd start my day feeling lazy and un-put-together (which is probably why my evenings were so "get it in order" oriented, so many good intentions). Even when Jack was tiny I had him on my preferred schedule of staying up and sleeping in late. We'd lull around until eleven o'clock or so in our pj's - friends knew not to call before ten.

That loveliness couldn't last forever and while Jack still sleeps in a bit (seven or so), Harvey has always been an earrrly riser. Common in homeopathic sulphur constitutions I'm told. He wakes up absolutely excited about life (like my old roommate!) which helps take the edge off my squinting grumpies. My night energy went out the window years ago, leaving an inertia-like pull toward my pillow in it's place. But I've finally fallen in love with morning! Everything is fresh - air, mood, opportunity. I like that I get a good hour or so to breathe, drink coffee or tea, browse email, facebook, and the blogosphere, and take a moment to stretch my body and mind before the to-do list begins. I'm still not exactly "put-together" but I don't feel guilty about that anymore. Happiness is the new pink in this season of my life. Priorities feel semi-aligned. Counting calories is a thing of the past too (whew!) which is why, when Harvey shared a cookie with me this morning, I hungrily named him "Biscotti Bear" and gobbled him up!

I bid thee farewell

Monday, November 15, 2010

YO(ga) GABA GABA

Yoga's ability to improve mood and lessen anxiety is linked to increased levels of a critical brain chemical
November 11th, 2010 in Medicine & Health / Health

Yoga has a greater positive effect on a person's mood and anxiety level than walking and other forms of exercise, which may be due to higher levels of the brain chemical GABA according to an article in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

Yoga has been shown to increase the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, a chemical in the brain that helps to regulate nerve activity. GABA activity is reduced in people with mood and anxiety disorders, and drugs that increase GABA activity are commonly prescribed to improve mood and decrease anxiety.
Tying all of these observations together, the study by Chris Streeter, MD, from Boston University School of Medicine (Massachusetts) and colleagues demonstrates that increased GABA levels measured after a session of yoga postures are associated with improved mood and decreased anxiety. Their findings establish a new link between yoga, higher levels of GABA in the thalamus, and improvements in mood and anxiety based on psychological assessments. The authors suggest that the practice of yoga stimulates specific brain areas, thereby giving rise to changes in endogenous antidepressant neurotransmitters such as GABA.

"This is important work that establishes some objective bases for the effects that highly trained practitioners of yoga therapy throughout the world see on a daily basis. What is important now is that these findings are further investigated in long-term studies to establish just how sustainable such changes can be in the search for safe non-drug treatments for depression," says Kim A. Jobst, MA, DM, MRCP, MFHom, DipAc, Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Just another hint from the universe.....dooooo yoga. Winter bogs me down a bit. Sure the holidays are lovely (if not slightly stress inducing) but the chilly air makes me cold from the inside out and when I'm cold I'm cranky. Ask Justin. And the dryness has set in - my hands are so papery I've been drenching them in pure shea butter (think vaseline). I've got to give yoga a boost on my daily to-do list. I drag my feet and make up excuses (how do I fall for my own b/s?) but feel so flexible, physically and psychologically, afterward. Mission: Do yoga once daily. Even if it means tuning out a little Nick Jr. in the other room!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Allergy Spectrum Disorder

I have been thinking a lot about where we stand in terms of the autism spectrum. I'd love to just say "hey, they say he isn't - moving on" but that is so unrealistic. I've become entrenched in awareness. Awareness of a community that is fighting for services, hoping for conclusive research, and embracing their children all the while. It's important for me to note that I know how unique our story is. Our very allergic child developed symptoms of autism and our fight to heal his immune system seemingly alleviated those symptoms. It's impossible to say what has helped the most and why. Jack's allergies were worsening and all the allergists had to say was "maybe he will outgrow them, maybe he will not, there's no way to know" and when I asked why they were getting worse their answers ranged from "there have been studies to suggest they get worse before getting better" to "we just don't know why".

When we dipped into alternative medicine the answer was further testing and tools to alleviate inflammation - tools to help his immune system balance. Tests (lab tests - at the hospital - not crystals and dead chickens if that's what you're thinking) revealed allergies to foods that the allergist said were "probably okay" to eat (hence the inflammation), pancreatic dysfunction (hence the pale and undigested food filled bowel movements - sorry!), and results that showed that Jack's thyroid was producing antibodies (attacking itself). Addressing these changed our situation but Jack's health is still a work in progress (just like the rest of us!). However, I am fully aware of the fact that not all children with symptoms of autism have immune system issues, some do and some do not. And I know lots of children who have allergies without neurological symptoms. I read a blog entry by Susan Senator, author of Making Peace with Autism and I think she explains the "debate" so well that I'm going to paste her words right here. To see the actual post (and her lovely blog) you can click here.

A New Spectrum Disorder?

It is no secret that I do not take sides in The Autism Debates. This is because I know and love so many people on both sides, and I am a Libran, so I see worthy points in both of their arguments.

Today I was thinking more about the side in favor of biomedical inteventions because I heard from a reader who was so enthusiastic about how the DAN! protocol “worked” for her son, in that it helped his functioning and communication levels. It dawned on me that I should blog what I was thinking: that there might be many conditions out there being called “autism” but that are possibly something else that just manifests as autism.

We are all aware that there are many more kids with allergies today than there used to be. Unlike autism, it is much easier to diagnose an allergy. No one can claim that the rise in allergies is about better diagnosing, because most of the time having an allergy is a clear-cut thing, where you get some adverse reaction that is pretty straightforward and unmistakable anaphylaxis or something like that.

Or so we think. What if there were something called “Allergy Spectrum Disorder,” where you have a much larger spectrum of allergic response, from sneezing at pollen all the way up to autistic-like symptoms from eating gluten? I think that this is the ASD that some parents are looking at, frankly, and not the ASD my son was born with. It is hard to ignore the scores of “success stories,” where you hear of a kid becoming so much more verbal within a few weeks of discontinuing gluten and casein. There must be some explanation for that.

I think there are three possible explanations: 1) The diet helped the child’s allergic symptoms; or 2) The child was improving on his own and had a burst of development that coincided with the use of the diet; or 3) The child has not improved much, really, but the parents are so happy and relieved to be taking action that they feel differently and see things differently, and see their child with new, positive eyes.

Any of the above are happy occurrences, when you think about it. The problem comes when one side wants to make a claim that would become a generalization for all kids. Once the biomedical side claims that all autism is is a form of environmental poisoning for all autistic kids, and that we all should act now to obliterate autism, that is when the the trouble starts. Once the autistic-rights side claims that there is no way to address autistic-like symptoms with biomedical interventions, and that we should stop trying to find a cure for autism because that is an insult to all autistics, that is when the trouble starts.

Parents must find the right balance between trying to improve/alter their child and trying to give him the skills to have his best shot at life. Society must find the right balance between trying to include and accept people with disabilities and differences, and trying to ameliorate the conditions that cause disorders (cure them). These are tall orders for a human race that is all too human and racist to begin with…

Maybe what we should be looking to understand is HSD: Human Spectrum Disorder.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The small stuff...

Big or small, good or "bad", I'm always paying attention to the shifts and changes in these boys. I want to remember the little things, lest I forget them and have nothing more than melded vague memories to look back on. For starters, Harvey has been a bit of a beast. He literally roars at us when we upset him. He charms me with his wit and good looks - I'm putty in his chubby little hands. Of course I'm not when it really counts, when he hurts his brother or acts destructively, but let's just say it's come to my attention that way too often he is getting exactly what he wants. How delicate is the balance of gently disciplining a two year old. And in some ways, I'm still new to this because Harvey and Jack are so different. I'm grateful for Harvey's language and I reward it - I reward what most parents take for granted and the result may be spoiling him more than intended. Some self entitlement is obviously age appropriate but still - I want to work toward more patience, gentleness, and kindness. Advice? Oh and his sweet little curls are growing back again. I am SUCH a sucker!


I noted that Jack was "whiney" the other night. Putting things into perspective (as I often do) I found such gratitude that we were even able to discern a possible 72 hour later reaction. Attempting food trials like that would have been futile a year ago because whining was par for the course of any given day. Tantrums and digestive issues too. In hindsight (as always) I'm pretty sure it is the last homeopathic remedy at work. He's experiencing the trifecta of a remedy much needed - a little anxiety, digestive funk, and extreme thirst (he's had about 40 ounces of water already today and it's 9 am). The anxiety lasted one evening (and yes, of course, could have been triggered by something else) but was followed by pure awesomeness. We've been playing dragons with his dragon figurines and we'll each choose one and then have them talk to each other and fly or fight or hug or pay one another compliments. This is a new and GORGEOUS development. And the why questions keep coming. Last night he was laying next to me, playing a knight game on his iPod touch, and said "I got to this door and it's locked, see? Why can't I open it? I need to get inside to the maze". Then proceeded to figure it out on his own so a few minutes later it was "Look I did it, I'm in the maze now!". So proud of my little buddy! Sign that he's improving OT-wise? He's doing things all by himself, without frustration!

So many concerning behaviors have slowly melted away. His talking from the side of his mouth when stressed, scared, or sick. His looking at us from the sides of his eyes, his scripting out of context - gone. And his nervous hands have settled down a lot, instead he crouches a bit and puts his hands close to his chin when anxious. We didn't do anything to prompt away these behaviors (that never works! he needed those behaviors for whatever reason!). He has a tendency to not want to use words for about the first ten minutes of being around someone (preschool, grandparents, friends etc), though he IS eager to interact. He uses mime (pointing, gesturing) to engage them, so if you walk through our front door and say "Hey Jack! How are ya?" don't expect him to return the lingo right away. Do expect him to make his way over to you with a toy to show you or a place to lead you. Communication, we've learned, is so much more than "how are you? what's new? nothin' much. how bout yerself? blah blah blah blahdiddy blah blah".

Today is Veteran's Day and I'm happy to announce that tomorrow my brother Sam will be home safe and sound from Afghanistan! We love you Sam - you are as sweet and tender as you are strong and brave! See you SOON.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Grumppopotamus

Jack was whiney last night. That combined with digestive issues had me concerned. Then he kept telling me that I was hurting his feelings which made me feel like a big ole pile of you-know-what. I slipped into a funk yesterday afternoon. Can't slap a label on it but I was just overwhelmed with feelings of all I do is DO and all I get for it is MORE to do. Don't get me wrong, I find great thanks, reward, and satisfaction in serving my family. It's a job I wouldn't trade for any other and I'm thankful to have it. So when my thinking falls into that dangerous kind of place I am quick to lift my way out of it. We're also having our bathroom cabinets refaced today and tomorrow which means stuff out of order, people in and out, and chemicals in my haven. I'm easily derailed by that sort of thing (I have anxiety too). I realized that Jack was feeding off my energy. He missed his happy and playful mama and having me serious-faced and patience deprived was really getting him down.

Today I did some early morning thinking (thanks time change) and I'm trying very hard to be the mama I know I can be. I started the day by warming two blankets in the dryer for a few minutes and wrapped up my little boysicles all cozy on the couch. Jack dropped one of his "fish balls" (cod liver oil supp) and I ran around saying "I'm a super fast fish ball, you can't catch me". He was rollin'. It's easy. And it's not. But I will be a monkey's uncle if I let my petty little mood affect my baby so greatly. And I need to work on outlets of my own.....I keep waiting for a leaping off point to get into yoga again. Maybe yesterday was it.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Wheat? What?? Why???

Because because because because becauuuuuuse......because we had to at some point! And an opportunity that felt natural just happened.

I was making Harvey a slice of bread with sunflower seed butter on it. The bread is organic (non-gmo), whole grain wheat, oats, and seeds. I just started buying it because none of us can stomach the rice bread and we deserve a little bread in our lives. It's very nutritious and yuh-meee. I had just fed Jack but he came into the kitchen and said "Mama, I want some of what Harvey has!". My brain went into offer an alternative mode but then I said "okay" and fixed him a slice. -- It felt like a Skippy commercial - you know the ones where the mother or grandfather takes out a fluffy slice of bread and frosts it with a thick layer of creamy peanut butter then finishes by lovingly etching a heart into it? -- I handed the bread to Jack and he gave me a commercially cute kid reaction, a look that said "it doesn't get better than this!".


It has been over 48 hours and we've had NO reaction. No rash, no behavior, no digestive weirdness. In fact, he slept great and his attitude, mood, and response to stressful situations has been fantastic. Whew! I'm not going to start loading him with wheat or anything but I just needed to know that it was more of a leaky gut and poor digestive issue than the opiate type of sensitivity that some individuals have. We know Jack can't have a lot of grains - but it's nice to lose the fear of wheat, the worry that a cross contamination could pose a threat. The more variety of grains we can offer in a relaxed rotation the better! In the past I have worried that giving him rice bread, rice crackers, rice cakes, and RICE is just way too much of one thing - and a thing without much nutritional punch. Celebrating a healthy gut! So happy for you little Jack man!


ETA: Jack may have had an almost 72 hours later reaction. Funky poop and whiney weirdness. Could have been caused by something else but we just won't know until we get him baseline again and do another trial. It's NEVER simple.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Krauting


Jarred up a new batch of sauerkraut today. The whole shebang takes about an hour so I have to let the boys participate - fascinating process that it is. Harvey was all about it, scoopin' and snackin'. Jack tried a couple scoops but it was making him gag so he hung out on the other side of the kitchen. How did an ox belly like myself birth such a picky little guy? Just goes to show you it ain't ALL nurture. I eventually had to pry the ladle away from Harvey to which he scolded (with that furrowed brow of his) "I very upset you mommy!". My giggle was hard to conceal so he quickly followed with a "it not funny ANYMORE!". I gave him a bowl of kraut and let him lick his wounds with some Curious George.


This batch turned out better than the last, I used the previous batch's juices as a starter culture and let it sit a little longer. Not sure why but reaping the rewards of making something on my own always inspires me to get my raw on. Inspires me to seek energy from something more than just my morning mug of varnish remover.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Homeopathy Summary


We began Sequential Homeopathy in April of this year and are now officially finished going through Jack's timeline. Harvey's too! This meant that we gave homeopathic remedies for specific traumas from most recent all the way through birth and pregnancy. After our next consult we'll begin going through miasms. This will treat the inherited conditions that we're all born with (because they exist within the history of every family tree). I'm especially excited for this phase because allergies and anxiety are predispositions. And there are conditions in our family tree (like schizophrenia and depression) that we simply cannot predict. There have been studies that link schizophrenia with high histamine levels and heavy metal toxicity. Genetics always play a role and that's why treating miasms is so important for us. Soon I'll post a rundown of what the miasms are specifically.

From the start I have been jotting healing reactions and gains down on a calendar so I wanted to create a summary of it here so that I can look back on it if necessary. Will be long and snooze-worthy but I need the documentation.

April:
Started daily remedies as well as the first specific trauma remedy which was for an antibiotic. Jack had disrupted sleep that night and the two nights following which was out of character for him. Seventeen days after starting Jack had severe diarrhea and the following day he had anxiety like I had never seen from him before. He was so sound sensitive that he was clamping his hands over his ears because of the sound of the car on the road.

May:
Gave remedy for Jack's chin injury (stitches). On day eight and again on day eleven Jack had severe diarrhea and was very moody. By day sixteen his mood was better than ever and continued! He had a few days of talking a lot in his sleep and became very physically affectionate.

June:
Gave remedy for antibiotics and strep throat. Jack immediately developed a monster thirst and got several pimples (detox signs?) He started stripping off his clothes like he did in the past and had a strange phlegmy cough in the night. Day eight he had terrible anxiety and was very oppositional in school which was uncharacteristic. The cough continued here and there but only in the night. Day twelve he found a stick and held tight to it for several days (and nights) which was a huge past behavior.
Gave remedy for benedryl and diflucan. Had broken sleep again and some obvious rigidity but had great language and otherwise great behavior. On day eight he carried his potty out to the backyard and pooped in it. Old behavior and VERY random (or not?). A lot of voodoo the month of June.

July:
Gave remedy for an x-ray that Jack had and started Harvey on homeopathy giving him his first remedy for cortaid that I had used on his eczema. Around day eight Jack seemed disregulated and developed a bit of a feisty attitude.
Gave remedies for antibiotic that I took while breastfeeding for Jack and tylenol for Harvey. Two weeks later Harvey's eczema was GONE.

August:
Gave remedies for circumcision for both boys. Gave remedies for mylicon, mylanta, and tylenol for Jack and oxygen for Harvey (he had the cord around his neck at birth and was pur-ple). Right around this time Jack began preschool and also developed "nervous hands". Language also took a leap and the boys played together amazingly. Jack was noticing things I wouldn't expect him to (like new drapes) and he wasn't getting upset over things he had been in the past.

September:
Gave remedies for vitamin k shot for Jack and birth remedies for Harvey. Gave remedies for Pitocin for Jack and ultrasound during pregnancy for Harvey. Great behavior and "connectedness" all around. Jack also wanted to breastfeed and climb in our shirts. Voodoo?

October:
Gave remedies for heavy metal exposure and an antibiotic for Jack. Harvey started the first miasm.
Gave remedy for doppler usage during pregnancy for Jack. He again developed a monster thirst and also got some weird bumps that look like bug bites. Rudi explained that they are a detox sign, "purging" he called it.

November:
Gave remedy for chemical exposure for Jack and the second miasm for Harvey. Jack had a short string of very emotional days, the slightest thing brought him to tears. Two days later he asked his first "why" question! ("why is Buzz dancing?")

Current state as we get ready for miasms is fantastic, I would say. Jack is doing well in preschool, playing great with Harvey, and his behavior in the home is good - far less challenging than that of his little brother. We've seen dramatic change in immune system/allergies both with IGE and IGG. I'm so pleased with where we are! Miasms here we come!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Harvey - the "baby"

My boy he's a growin'. A growin' and a changin'. I know it must be so but please please say it isn't !!! No, I do enjoy it. I love and delight in the charisma that just oozes from his every pore. His language is unstoppable and oh so amusing. And inspiring. Last night he was ready for bed and Jack was already asleep in their room so I told Harvey we needed to be quiet going in there. He said "yeah, need be quiet, need tip toe"...I'm not sure if it's the use of words I've never heard from him or the confidence with which he uses them that gets me.


And THAT face. I have a serious case of puppy love for it. I'm painfully aware of the fact that in the proverbial blink of an eye this face, towering over me, will be roughened by beard and slower to give me grins and kisses. Speaking of kissing, you see that chubby jaw line - that's where I plant the most smoochies. The perfect amount of squoosh to bury your kisser in. I will miss that. Someday.

Today I vow to cuddle extra. To drink in the sensations, sounds, and smells of the baby he still is. My Harvey, my baby.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

100th post

In the wee hours of the morning I found myself dreaming of playing on the beach with my family, a warm and delicious to the senses fantasy. We strolled along the waters edge until we found ourselves amongst a group of others in a walled off area of the water. The other swimmers were enjoying themselves so we stayed but suddenly large swells of ocean were coming toward us! The people around us squealed in delight and Justin held my hand as if to say "it's safe, it's fun" but the water rose high and broke over our heads. For a moment we were under the water but in a pocket of air against the wall and with a child in each of our arms we knew when to swim up back to our precious oxygen. It was fun and we played this little ocean peek-a-boo game again and again.

Until I woke at 6:19 am gasping for air. Tears streaming down my face, retching in gag, there was something (sheet fuzz?) in my lungs and it hurt! I felt like I was dying, partly because of the stark contrast to the peaceful ease I was awoken from. I thought to myself "be quiet, everyone is sleeping! but for the love get this thing out of your lungs, you can't die like this - death by sheet fuzz particle!". So I trudged downstairs, got some water, coughed a bit, and slowly made my way back to bed. I couldn't get back to sleep and definitely couldn't get back to that dream but I laid in the quiet and found my peace again. My throat still hurt a bit but the pain was slowing and my thoughts were relaxed enough to find the happiness between that unrealistic dream and the agony of waking in pain. I was even able to get a little more sleep before my day began.

A metaphor for the last couple years of my life? I'll say. Sometimes blog posts write themselves, sometimes at 6 am. It's okay if you're scratching your head. This blog has been for me all along. But I'm happy to share because, well, that's just who I am.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween


Could the difference between last year and this be ANY more dramatic? No, it could not....we had so much fun! The boys were as ecstatic as they were adorable. Jack was the polite and responsible one while Harvey was the.....two year old. Harvey tried every time to take as much candy as possible and then wanted to open and eat them immediately. Ha. I did open an apple laffy taffy for him to which he said yuck! and passed it off to me - should have given him (me) banana. We kept their mouths busy with lollipops and confiscated their loot.


At the end of last week Jack's preschool had a little Halloween party and he was so excited and had a blast. I packed him a special cupcake and gave the okay on a pumpkin shaped jello jiggler. He loved the jiggler (ignored the cupcake) and wore his costume all day! I think this is the first year that holidays have really been memorable for him and preschool has had a lot to do with that. He surprised us with songs:

Mr. Pumpkin, Mr. Pumpkin
Eyes so round, Eyes so round
Halloween is coming, Halloween is coming
To my town, To my town!



And knew to say "trick or treat" AND "thank you" and his excitement set the stage for Harvey's enjoyment of it all as well. He just followed his big brother's lead!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Wheat

Oh wheat....what are we going to do with you? To be determined... Both my babies were sensitive to it through my milk though I brought it back in at 9 months with Harvey and he tolerated it from there on out. I think it's an immature gut thing with some babies. With Jack we've continued to avoid it but now that Jack's gut is in better shape I'm sensing that he'll be able to eat it again since it doesn't show on allergy tests.

I'm not anxious to add it into his diet but we did trial play doh and it has been SO MUCH FUN!


It's been a couple of weeks and we've had no reaction - YAY! A trial that didn't fail !!!! When we do decide to trial it back into his diet we'll go slow and organic. Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Afterthoughts

With a couple days of perspective under our belts, Justin and I are feeling anew. Monday's evaluation was in no way the end all, be all. In one way or another we will always be evaluating and appreciating the progress of Jack (and Harvey for that matter). What the psychologist had to say felt like deja vu, feelings I had always had about Jack's persona. The onset of concerning symptoms, the exploration of their causes, and feelings of self doubt, they had their way with us. We've been given what feels like a fresh outlook, a fresh start.

The psychologist referred me to the writings of T. Berry Brazelton who, upon googling, I learned a bit about. A pediatrician since 1940 he is most known for his studies of neonatal behavior and child psychiatry. Titles of "how to get your child to sleep through the night", "the difference between boys and girls", etc had me feeling unenlightened but his take on what early behaviors reveal about a child's temperament and personality got my wheels turning. From very early on we knew Jack was sensitive and introspective. We were quite content to embrace the quirky - I happen to like quirks! But as time passed our sensitive babe became affected by his environment (food allergies, environmental allergies, toxins, heavy metals, medications) and he developed symptoms of those insults. When the word autism entered our lives so did the concern for his neurological health and our journey took a wide detour.

Over the last year we have witnessed all symptoms dissipate and, while it's been slow, as we look back on where we were and where we are now the change is dramatic. Removal of allergens, treatment of leaky gut, an organic diet, and use of supplements like fish oil and vitamins have aided in the growth and maturity of our little man. Homeopathy has already surpassed my expectations and we still have a ways to go. While we're still experiencing some anxiety and delays they are manageable, predictable, and IMPROVING. I know, on some kind of cosmic level, that Jack's immune system and allergies are healing as well.

This is an excerpt from an email Justin sent me this morning:

I also wanted to tell you that this morning driving into La Jolla I could see the ocean without clouds for the first time in about a month. The environment was suppressing the beauty. It was really beautiful, and reminded me of Jack. It's like he's always been such a beautiful little guy, but when the environmental suppressions are removed is when we really see him.

The observations of the Regional Center psychologist aren't rock solid determinations or revelations but they are evidence of what Jack has achieved. We have always fully embraced, accepted, and loved who Jack is but our vision of him had become suppressed by symptoms of duress and fear for the darkness it left us in. How pure and beautiful is the boy we see before us!!!

Get your quirk on!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Regional Center Evaluation

Four months ago I called our county regional center to request an evaluation. Mostly because our school district has been dismissive. More on them in a bit.

Three months ago they agreed to see us and scheduled me in.

Two months ago I attended their mandatory shpiel and gave them all the necessary intake process paperwork.

One month ago they interviewed Jack (and Justin and myself) for about an hour and a half. Jack did a pretty good job in the interview. He whined about wanting to leave almost the entire time (good display of anxiety), continually requested a small black crayon which was missing from their supply (good display of rigidity), etc. When he asked Jack if he had any friends Jack (very quickly) responded "no". Had to chuckle. However, our case worker/interviewer repeatedly commented on how well Jack was doing so I wasn't sure whether or not we'd be given an evaluation.

Last Friday they called and this morning we went in for our evaluation. Again Jack showed his anxiety asking over and over again to go to preschool. He did the puzzles and answered their questions but in almost each activity his "non-compliance" eventually appeared and he'd ask again to leave so we could go to preschool or he would make it seem like he couldn't do the puzzle (or whatever) and would squeal and say "it's too hard, we need to leave". By the end of the evaluation I was even more prepared for a diagnosis than when we arrived and by this time Jack was laying on the floor lifting his head occasionally to ask if we could leave. I answered countless questions, drawing upon his most concerning of behaviors, his scripting, his delays, the difficult time between ages two and three. The psychologist explained to me what she perceived and she was indeed thorough. She explained that Jack did not exemplify autism, PDD-NOS, or asperger's and why. We went over the symptoms he has and therapies and activities that we can be doing to help with them. She felt strongly that many of Jack's symptoms stem from anxiety and gave me the names of some books to read and some resources to look into.

When we were standing in the doorway ready to leave she touched my shoulder and said "I think it's time for you to put autism out of your thinking and focus on these specific areas of concern". That line hit home and I took a new kind of oxygen into my lungs. To say I feel relieved doesn't fit. I do, however, feel empowered. I feel that we have made progress with the things we have currently set in place and that we have even more resources to explore. Last Friday Jack's OT (occupational therapist) said she felt Jack's anxiety was keeping him curled in and making it difficult for him to expand and take hold of his environment. That may sound vague but it makes a lot of sense and having his anxiety pegged as a road block twice in the span of a few days feels like a new neon sign on my radar. We've been aware of and working with Jack's anxiety for a long time and it's something I have experienced and waded through in my own life. I am very inspired to dig even deeper into it!

We haven't had our annual IEP meeting yet with the school district but it is around the corner and they approved Jack for 30 minutes per week of OT and also 30 minutes per week of adaptive PE for this year. I asked for "homework" and was given a lengthy list of activities we can be doing at home and we've already implemented several. Harvey gets in on the action too and we're making it lots of fun. Off topic, preschool is still going just great and I am so grateful for it! Expect an "ode to preschool" post in the not so distant future!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Our boy can PAINT

Just gotta show off some of Jack's paintings. Here we have a couple of faces: sad and happy.



And getting in the holiday spirit he did a pumpkin and two happy ghosts! The faces were done with his left hand and as you can see, this one was done with his right.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Chocolate Cupcake Recipe


I ate three before posting this just to be sure they're good. All in the name of research. And devotion to the blogosphere. Now fetch yer fat pants!

1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
4 tblspns cocoa powder
1 cup vanilla hemp milk
1/2 cup olive oil

Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. I used a well oiled stainless steel muffin pan and removed them promptly from the pan. I also dusted them with a bit of powdered sugar instead of using a frosting. I'd like to come up with a chocolate glaze of some sort. We'll see how this chocolate trial treats Jack's tum!