Archive for the ‘kids’ Category

Be The Dad She Needs You To Be – Dr. Kevin Leman

Blog arise!

So it’s been a while, but life can get busy sometimes. My DW gave me this book for Father’s Day, and I intend to read it. Soon. We’ve been enjoying listening to Dr. Leman’s podcast, especially his “Have a New Kid by Friday” segments.

If you’re a father, or if your husband needs a little push, check out this book.

Be the Dad She Needs You to Be: The Indelible Imprint a Father Leaves on His Daughter's Life

Posterous is closing, and I’m moving back in!

I just got the news that Posterous is closing on April 30, and so I thought that it might be just nice to move things over here. While Posterous was nice to have a completely private website, it did tend to make me neglect it a bit, and so I’d rather share with more people. You’ll see a bunch of new older posts appearing as I import what was on posterous over here, and hopefully it won’t make too much of a mess!

This site is going to be my family catch all, and one of the new things I’ll be adding is photos in my “read the label” series, which will document ingredients labels of all the foods that monkey is not allergic to. So look for some of those new posts to hit this space shortly.

I’ll also be posting more updates about parenting and food allergies, so there will still be lots of those kinds of articles.

In any case, welcome back, and thanks for reading.

P.S. if you are interested in gaming at all, I have a blog called gamerparent where I write about how gaming and parenting go together. Check it out! Thanks!

Sing – “Over The Rainbow”

The girls appeared on “Over The Rainbow” on CBC for the finale!

wheat allergies and crafts

So our oldest just came home from school, and said, “Daddy! Guess what! we did paper mache today!” She held out the front of her dress, which was covered in white stuff.

“Oh cool! Wait, does paper mache have wheat? Did you use flour?”

She nodded.

I ordered her to the laundry room to take off her clothes and go change, and to not touch or hug her sister or anything until she was done. You see, her younger sister is allergic to wheat. She doesn’t have celiac disease, she isn’t gluten intolerant, she is allergic to wheat. She doesn’t have to eat it to have a reaction, it’s enough to just touch it on her skin, and in the case of flour, it’s easy to breathe it in as well.

That has some implications for school and any craft activities that occur there. It means that her classroom cannot have Play-Doh in it, as that’s made with flour and contains wheat. Other forms of play clay are ok. And now I guess it means paper mache will have to be made without wheat flour.

Boy, her Grade 1 teacher is gonna looove me…

Bedtime Songs

8:47PM. My 5 yo is not asleep yet. Or rather, she’s woken herself enough to realize that I’m standing by the door to her room and that she hasn’t heard me sing her song yet.

I sang their songs out of order tonight. Usually I sing the sillier one first, to get it out of the way. It’s “Hush Little Baby”. I’ve come up with an inordinate number of rhymes. In my version, Papa buys them coats of wool, bright red Chevys, shiny pots, puffy clouds… you get the idea. After that I go for “the closer”, a slow lullaby that usually puts them right asleep, and if not, awfully close. Tonight for whatever reason I sang the slow one first, and now the silly one hasn’t settled them down.

“I didn’t hear you sing my song yet!” she wails. Close to tears, my youngest daughter tells me that I can’t go, she didn’t hear me singing, and I have to stay. I weigh my options. If I go now, she won’t fall asleep, upset as she is. If I stay, am I being weak, giving in, a soft touch? Will I be easy pickings when she’s seventeen and wants to take the car for the weekend?

I decide to stay. Kneeling by her bed, I sing my silly song, quietly, sotto voce. She’s asleep before I reach the end. It must be one of the sweetest moments as a parent, sitting beside your child as they sleep. The time will come soon enough, when they won’t want me to sing lullabies to them, or read bedtime stories, or have anything to do with them at all.

Soon enough. For now, I still get to be Daddy.

“Hush little baby, don’t you cry… Mommy loves you, and so do I.”

setbacks in “growing out of” food allergies

Today we went out for lunch after church. To Vietnamese, where you can get rice noodles, and grilled meat, and if you ask they’ll leave off the peanuts on the order.

On paper, the dishes seemed safe.

According to the waitress, the dishes should be safe.

Unfortunately, just an hour and a half after eating, she started to complain that her nose was itchy. Then her underarms. Then her elbows. Then she started crying that she was itchy all over.

Time to get the Benadryl.

Then it was into the bathtub for a cool water bath.

Then it was no end of trying to distract her from scratching herself raw by letting her play with my Blackberry. Eventually she fell asleep with me holding her. At least then she wasn’t scratching anymore! Kind of heavy, though. And as we were sitting at the kitchen table, on a somewhat uncomfortable chair… sigh.

On a side note, if you want the kids to be knocked out, Benadryl will definitely do it… not that I am advocating that you should use it for any reason other than its intended purpose… 🙂

When your food allergic child is having a reaction, it’s a bad feeling as a parent. Bad because you know that it was your job to make sure that she doesn’t eat anything that she’s allergic to, and bad because YOU SHOULD KNOW BETTER, and bad because your child is crawling out of their skin with itchiness, and bad because you just may have caused her to be allergic to whatever it is for the rest of her life because of your carelessness. “Aaugh!!” as Charlie Brown used to say.

The prevailing thought is that how a child ‘grows out’ of an allergy is through complete non-exposure, and given that a child’s immune system is not fully mature until around age 5, if the child has not been exposed and has not had a reaction, when the body’s immune system does ‘set’ itself, it will do so with a reduced reaction or possibly no reaction to that particular allergen.

You can see how our anxiety is pretty high about these accidental exposures, and how disappointing it is when she does get exposed. I kind of view each one as a sort of setback, and it’s painful because you don’t know if this will be just a setback, or the straw that broke the camel’s back.

As I write this our daughter is sleeping peacefully, the bedtime dose of Benadryl having its effect. Hopefully the symptoms will stay away. I guess I can’t dwell on it too much. We just have to try our best.

road trip survival tips

Having recently returned from a family trip to Grosse Pointe, I thought I’d distill for you (and myself) what worked and what didn’t work while driving for extended periods of time with a 4.5 yo and a 6.5 yo. It’s only a 4 hour drive from Toronto to Grosse Pointe, so this isn’t a super long drive, but with the kids, it’s long enough!

What we learned from last time:
– the kids are likely to get motion sick, so bring along kids gravol/dramamine
– stop for a bathroom break a little ways before the border crossing, (or even at the border crossing) in case the line up is long
– don’t bring books or small things for them to do, because they get motion sick

New things we tried this time:
– audiobooks on CD from the library of their favourite children’s books
– a throw up container handy just in case
– closed back type headphones for each kid, a splitter, and an iPod with kids podcasts and music
– had the kids make their own creative maps of our trip beforehand, so they could look at it during the trip and see where we were

Did it work?
– the headphones were a success, we used them only once, but while listening to stories they fell asleep! Yes! And as an added bonus, we didn’t have to listen to kids stories, we could listen to grown-ups music. Headphones FTW!
– the maps were extremely helpful, instead of the kids asking, “Are we there yet?” they could ask, “Where are we?” and we could give them a concrete answer, then they could know whether we were halfway there, or almost there, or just out of the driveway… 🙂
– our oldest commented that she enjoyed the drawing toy (magna doodle), mainly because she used it to write out words that we were ‘testing’ her spelling with

All in all, it was a good trip, and these tips helped pass the time on the drive.

When She Was Two

Talking at Age Two from div_conspiracy on Vimeo.

My oldest, when she was two. She talked. A lot.

Stingray Bay at Toronto Zoo

Stingray Bay Toronto Zoo from div_conspiracy on Vimeo.

a day for costumes

Costumed child number one. on TwitPic

Costumed child number two. on TwitPic