Wednesday, October 28, 2009

One roll forward, one roll back

This past Sunday Amalie rolled completely over from her back to her tummy for the first time. She's been working on rolling for several weeks now, but just couldn't figure out how to surmount the obstacle of her bottom arm. Way to go, Peanut! She also makes crawling-like motions (especially with her legs) when she is on her tummy. It is possible that she'll figure out this crawling thing early, even though the rolls came a little behind schedule.
Unfortunately, we have been unable to surmount a much more daunting obstacle: the mystery illness. We have switched my diet to dairy-free and replaced Amalie's formula (she usually gets one bottle per day from Dad) with this awful amino-acid based formula that smells and tastes, strangely enough, like the sugar beet plant near my childhood home. (Aminos are nasty. I used to work with powdered amino acids in my old pharmacy compounding days, and they are like a buffet from a bad dream. A feast of rooty, poo-ey, earthy surprises.) But the changes have produced no detectable changes in Amalie's condition, at least not yet. If anything, her diapers are a little bloodier than they were, and she is becoming slightly more uncomfortable every day.
The pediatric gastroenterologist urges patience, as it takes several weeks for cow milk proteins to clear the body. But it is a wait that no parent wants to make. What if we are wrong about what is causing the blood? Does she really need to experience this discomfort for two weeks? I have begun cutting soy out of my diet too, in case she's also allergic to it.
If Amalie's condition does not improve soon, I think we'll be back in the specialist's office, demanding a scoping and allergy tests. We'll figure this thing out as quickly as we can.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Poor baby... mystery illness

For about the past ten days, we have been finding blood in Amalie's stools: first just tiny little bits, but then more. As the blood increased, so did baby's discomfort.

Three visits to the pediatrician and one visit to a pediatric gastroenterologist later, the most likely explanation is that Amalie has an allergy to cow milk protein. The best way to test this hypothesis? Two words: elimination diet. Hers and mine.

One does not realize how ubiquitous cow milk proteins are in a typical American diet until one has to avoid them. I originally figured that heck, regular milk can be replaced by soy milk, butter and margarine by vegan "butter-like" spread, and cheese by no cheese, and that will mostly do the trick. But then I realized that most baked goods have dairy in them. And then I started to read labels. Off limits: processed lunch meats, hot dogs (even Hebrew Nationals!), all of the chips in the house (ranch, sour cream and onion, cheddar), pesto sauce, biscuits and all of the other breads we own, chocolate (duh!).

Amalie's health is well worth the sacrifice. Happily, there has been no blood today. I hope we've found the problem, or that she just had gastroenteritis from a tummy bug.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Learning, growing...and growing teeth

Our little Peanut is rapidly approaching four months of age...I can hardly believe it. We have watched her gain an understanding of cause and effect as she frantically kicks at the kickpad on her Gymini and learns how to shake a rattle properly for the first time (no, it does not have to be bashed on the forehead!). She is making all kinds of new syllables and noises, including an awesome gurgling noise.

On our trip she rolled onto her side...once. Now she is doing it regularly. She hasn't made it all the way to her stomach by herself yet...darn that pesky trailing arm!

I believe we are on the verge of an additional milestone...teething. Yikes! Amalie is drooling like Taughannok Falls, she is chewing on her hand (and us), and she is being difficult when we try to feed her. Tonight we gave her a frozen washcloth and she chewed on it frantically. I guess this means we're in for some difficult nights soon!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Baby's first trip

At 3 1/2 months old, Amalie is at a wonderful age for traveling. Although she will not remember the sights and sounds like we will, she will at least tolerate the journey in relatively good spirits. We figure that as soon as she's crawling and walking, she will want to plan her own travel agenda, which will make carrying out our agenda a little more difficult.
The plan was to spend three days in Seattle, drive along the coast of Oregon and Northern California, and then finish up in San Francisco for two days. In the end we could not adhere to the ambitious schedule completely, so San Francisco got shortchanged. However, we had a fabulous time meandering at our own pace.
She fared well, consisdering that we drove 1,100 miles over 9 days. A bit of diaper rash and a little fussiness about riding in the car near the end were the only outward signs of road wear. We slowed our pace and tried to give tender bottoms as much airing out time as possible, and the rash cleared by the time we flew home.
Here is Amalie with Jon in Seattle, aboard a state ferry to Bainbridge Island.
Pike Place Market is a massive open-air market in downtown Seattle, famous for the fish vendors who toss their wares through the air, but offering much more. Think giant farmer's market, arts and crafts show, and Renaissance festival all wrapped up in one. This giant piggy bank houses donations for the poor, but it also doubles as a photo op for little ones.
From Seattle we traversed southern Washington, all of the Oregon coast, and northern California via Highway 101. Along the way we encountered sea lions, lighthouses, spectacular ocean cliffs and roaring waves, and giant, majestic redwoods. It was cold and windy along the Oregon coast, so we had to limit the length of each outdoor excursion. However, we saw plenty of breathtaking scenery and met many wonderful people along the way.