“Heeee, Heeee!”

This is what I’ve been hearing from Sweetness for the past 3 days and it is music to my ears.  I look at her and she smiles and does a throaty heee, heee!  She’s been doing it all day long and it is awesome to see her so happy.  Usually she’s yelling.  She loves to yell.  At me, at her toys, at her Daddy, the cashier at Target who takes too long to check out.  Typically, at the end of the day my ears have had all they can take of her yells.  Honestly, though?  I love it.  I love that she has such spunk.  I love that she doesn’t take nonsense from anyone or any of her toys!  More importantly, I love that she really knows how to get her needs met.  Even as a 3 week old newborn, she demanded to be held constantly by her Daddy or I and wailed until we did so.  Now as a 7 month old it’s morphed into you’re trying to eat dinner Mommy? Well forget it, I’m going to sit in my highchair and yell and fake cough until you pick me up!! It looks something like this:

fake cough

She really cracks me up!  I can see the hint of a smile on her face.  The girl knows what she is doing!  Seriously though, my hope for Sweetness is that she always has the ability to go after what she wants and is able to meet her needs.  I hope that as her Mom I can strike the right balance between helping her get what she needs/wants but not going overboard and turning her into someone that only cares about herself.  But for now, I welcome the yells along with the hee hee’s and cherish her moxie.

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My Sensitive Pup

Sweetness has always been sensitive.  She is now 7 months old and has eczema which apparently is very common in infancy and even more common in families that have allergies and asthma.  Yup, that would be us.  Let me say that I know in the scheme of things eczema isn’t that big of a deal and there are certainly more serious infant conditions out there.  Sweetness is a healthy thriving baby and that is what matters the most. But I’m her momma and I want to do everything in my power to help her.

Anyway, back at her 2 month well visit the pediatrician diagnosed her with skin sensitivities after seeing a mild red pimply rash on her face and upper body. Eczema wasn’t even on my radar then.  She seemed to get something on her face that resembled a minor heat rash every now and then, no biggie.  As time went on however, that inner mom voice was speaking up again: ya know, eczema runs in the family.  That looks a lot like eczema. I googled eczema and I couldn’t find a picture that looked quite like what she had on her face.  So I continued with the daily application of Aquaphor per the pediatrician and put it aside.

Fast forward to Christmas 2009.  We went to visit family 2.5 hours away for a few days and the three of us were stressed to the max and by the second day Sweetness’ cheeks were the reddest and bumpiest I’d ever seen them.  Then came the face scratching which made it even redder and bumpier.  I felt helpless and she was absolutely miserable.  The once magical Aquaphor cream couldn’t touch this angry red rash.

By the 6 month well visit her rash continued to worsen despite the constant moisturizing. I asked Dr B “is this eczema on her face and arms?” “Yes” he said sheepishly.  Ding! Score one for the inner mom voice.  He suggested hydrocortisone and caladryl sparingly for the itch and he emphasized sparingly.  I will say that the hydrocortisone worked beautifully however, the results only lasted about 3 days.

I came home and scoured the internet and sought the advice of some wise mom friends.  Most of the literature suggests that in addition to moisturizing, wearing 100% cotton and using fragrance free everything (which we were already doing), that breastfeeding moms (that would be me!) should eliminate wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, nuts and fish from their diet.  Really?!

This was really going to take a commitment from me and a lifestyle change.  I didn’t have to think very long to decide that I’d give it a try.  Lucky for me, a mom I know had already done some of the leg work for me since she and her daughter have food allergies and sensitivities. Her blog No Peanuts for Ella has been extremely helpful to me in getting started with recipes and pointing the way to websites that have allergen free information.  Thank you Ella’s Mom!  I’d be lost without your blog.

So it’s been 6 days and I’ve slowly seen improvement in Sweetness.  The eczema on her forearms looks less inflamed which is encouraging.  Her face is a little more stubborn, it looks great one day and the next it is red, hot and rough.  It looks sore and uncomfortable.  I know it’s just part of the cycle but it has me frustrated and wracking my brain for what could have caused that days flare up.

I am giving it several weeks to see if the elimination diet makes a difference.  Oh and on a different note, now I know why it’s called Whole Paycheck…..we took a trip to Whole Foods last week and I felt like I put two things in my cart and spent $65. Yikes! I’ll keep you updated!

My Inner Mom Voice

One night around 1:00 am when Sweetness was a few weeks old I had spent almost two hours desperately trying to get her to sleep.  I was walking the floors with her in my arms when out of nowhere I heard a quietly confident inner voice say hold her a little higher over your shoulder. Being sleep deprived, I didn’t question the unsolicited advice, I immediately obeyed and sure enough Sweetness settled in and got cozy.  A few minutes later she finally drifted off to sleep and I was getting ready to put her in her co-sleeper.  Hold her a few minutes more, she’s not yet fully asleep the voice whispered.  Again I instantly complied.  I stared at the clock while the minutes passed.  Ok, put her down gently.  I laid her softly in her bed and climbed into mine, exhausted.  I heard her squirm and panicked, she’s just getting comfortable let her be the reassuring voice piped in. I paused, then silence.  Ah, a sleeping angel.

That was my first experience with my inner mom voice or mother’s intuition, gut feeling, whatever you call it, us mothers have it.  We really do.  It is our own inner wisdom that comes to us in those moments we need it most.  You know, it is the voice that tells us when something isn’t quite right with our child and conversely, it tells us when things are just fine and we needn’t worry about our little one.  I’ve come to listen to my inner mom voice and trust it, so far it’s given me excellent guidance in raising my baby girl.  I hope you’ll trust yours too.