My Baby Has a Milk Intolerance – Now what?

My baby has a milk intolerance.  Yuck.  Like most people who have a child with a food allergy or intolerance, I have to say that I’m doing a lot of things differently already.  That Eudora has a milk intolerance has been a bit of a hiccup.  You see, the husband loves cheese.  So does Norton.  If I’d allow it, Norton would easily consume a gallon of milk a day.  He’s also a fan of yogurt.  I don’t think I’ve ever run into a dairy product that Norton doesn’t like.

Eudora, obviously, can’t repeat some of our practices.  By this time in Norton’s life, he was having yogurt for breakfast and was snacking on string cheese.  I made the mistake of giving Eudora yogurt once.  I wasn’t sure if yogurt would be an issue for her since it’s not for a lot of lactose intolerant people.  I asked the husband what he thought since it was Saturday morning and our next pediatrician appointment was a month away.  At that point in time, we knew that Eudora had issues with milk products, but we didn’t know anything about a milk intolerance beyond “we have to give her Nutramigen formula so she doesn’t barf.”  He shrugged and said “What’s the worst that could happen?”

Eudora ate that yogurt with great relish.  She was a happy baby.  However, about an hour later, she was gassy and the husband bounced her a bit to burp her.  She puked.  More to the point, she threw up everywhere.  The husband was calling for assistance while Eudora gurgled happily in his arms.  His entire shirt was covered in vomit.  And so was the carpet for about four feet around him.

So what are we doing?  Now that she’s bottle weaned and no longer on formula, she’s drinking almond milk.  She’s not getting the fats that she would get out of whole cow’s milk and she’s not really a fan of meat.  We’re feeding her peanut butter quite frequently.  We’re also experimenting with goat’s milk products.  We’ve tried goat’s milk cheese.  She wasn’t a fan of that.  The next on our agenda to try is goat’s milk and goat’s milk yogurt.  Fortunately, those are actually available at our local supermarkets.  Additionally, we’re trying to convince her to like avocado.

Have you had to cope with a milk intolerance in your family?  What adjustments did you make?


Norton & Eudora’s Birthday Party!

A birthday party can be an adventure.  Some parents want to plan a huge birthday party, complete with renting a hall and hiring ponies.  Some parents will just do a simple cake.  Others fall somewhere in between.  With Eudora and Norton’s birthdays only eight days apart and the in-laws getting ready to travel again, it made sense to do a joint birthday party… even if it was much harder on my husband and cake decorator.

This was supposed to be a Wordless Wednesday post, but I realized that I had way too much to say about the event to be wordless.  The cakes were both made at home and decorated by my loving husband.  No, it’s not his job.  He’s a systems administrator who does awesome Martha Stewart worthy cakes for our kids’ birthdays.

Norton & Eudora's Birthday Party!

Eudora’s smash cake, lovingly baked and decorated by her daddy.

Norton & Eudora's Birthday Party!

Norton’s Thomas the Train cake. It was going to be a 3D Skarloey, but we didn’t have enough red or black icing dye.

Norton & Eudora's Birthday Party!

What birthday party is complete without candles? Norton is getting ready to blow out some candles for the third time. (He kept blowing them out before we got a chance to sing.)

Norton & Eudora's Birthday Party!

Eudora started out picking at her cake… then she got a taste of it and really went to town!

Happy birthday to my beautiful babies!

Toddler Imagination Develops

Toddler imagination is an amazing thing to watch.  For a while, it was something that I struggled and worried over.  I wondered if I was supposed to somehow magically teach him to imagine things and I was somehow doing it wrong.  It turns out that I wasn’t doing anything wrong.  Imagination was happening.  I just needed to leave him alone to do it.

The first spark of toddler imagination started with abstract thinking.  Norton loves Matchbox cars and Hot Wheels cars.  He likes to drive them across the carpet and make car sounds.  However, we didn’t have a garage.  Norton didn’t let the lack of garage oriented things stop him.  He has a Fisher Price Little People barn.  He started using the little barn as his garage and decided on his own that the barn silo was the best place to store his cars when they were not in use.

Later, it progressed to picking up whatever object he thought resembled a phone.  Sometimes it was a real phone.  Sometimes it was a cell phone, or an iPod, or even a television remote.  He’d pick it up and ask, “Hewwo?”  Bonus coolness because he’d “answer” the phone the same way I do.  (Well, almost.  I can pronounce the letter “l.”)

Now I see toddler imagination developing to the point of having entire pretend conversations with the phone in his kitchen.  He’s always talking to Bwama (Grandma) or Cucker (Grandma’s dog Tucker) and the conversation always goes the same.  “Hewwo?  Yes?  Okay.  Bye-bye.”

He’s also having a ball with the train bits that he’s gotten for Christmas and as rewards for good behavior.  He loves to play with “Kar-whoa-ee” (Skarloey) and Thomas on his wooden track.  They make train noises and travel.  It’s just brilliant.

And of course, there’s the toddler imagination of the animal sort.  Norton has been delighting us with making animal noises upon request for quite some time now.  But now he’s improved upon it by doing things spontaneously.  When he makes the elephant noise, he pretends to have a trunk.  When he makes the frog noise (which is pronounced “rye-ett”), he jumps around like a frog.

I love watching the direction that his toddler imagination takes.  I’m curious to see what it’ll become.

What parts of toddler imagination did you find the most fun?

Toddler Imagination Develops (Motherhood Looms)

To some of us, it’s a funnel. To Norton, it’s a telescope and a hat.

Toddler Jealousy – Now What?

Toddler Jealousy - Now What?

This is a rare moment of peaceful interaction.

I knew that we’d have some changes in life as Eudora became more mobile. We’d have to get used to having a tiny person who puts things in her mouth. One thing that I did not anticipate was an unbelievable increase in toddler jealousy.

Norton has always had issues with his baby sister. Granted, the birth and homecoming wasn’t exactly what we’d had in mind.  Our plans for a VBAC didn’t work out.  The husband was so sick with a stomach flu that he couldn’t come get us. My mother-in-law had to pick us up.  I was also starting to come down with that same stomach flu.  In short, Norton ended up spending five days at his grandparents’ house.  It was the longest that he’d ever been away from us.  Then he finds that little baby sleeping in his old room and riding in his old car seat.  Toddler jealousy was pretty rough for that first little while.

For a couple of months, we kind of reached a sort of uneasy truce.  Norton had stopped napping altogether.  Eudora was still taking two naps a day.  We usually had our Mommy and Norton time while Eudora took a nap.  Then all at once, Eudora started crawling and dropped a nap.

That was was the end of the truce.  Norton was no longer able to just ignore her.  Oh, he’d try, but Eudora would commit the intolerable acts of touching his toys and petting his puppies.  That was what caused the resurgence of toddler jealousy.  At first, it was manageable.  He’d snatch a toy from her.  Maybe he’d push her if she touched something of his.  It was always dealt with swiftly.

The more mobile Eudora got, the worse the toddler jealousy issues got.  Now I can’t turn my back for a second.  Even going from the living room into the kitchen to get a bottle is enough time for toddler jealousy to rear its ugly head.  He’ll push her or hit her.  Eudora is no angel, either.  She will pre-emptively scream like he’s killing her because he brushes up against her or even looks at her.

I’m completely at my wit’s end.  I can’t get anything done.  My house is in shambles.  I have to try to minimize bathroom breaks even.  And him telling her “no no” when she does anything (including climb on me or play with her own toys) is getting beyond old.  Sending him to his room for timeouts has no effect.

Have you ever had to manage toddler jealousy?

Choosing a Convertible Car Seat – Decisions, Decisions

We’ve come to that point.  Eudora is nine months old.  While there’s still plenty of time left for choosing a convertible car seat for her, it’s something that’s on my radar.  Right now, Eudora is using a Graco SnugRide 35.  There’s no way that she’ll outgrow it before she’s a year old.  However, it’s getting heavy and I don’t like to carry it, so I’m interested in us choosing a convertible car seat now rather than later.

With Norton, choosing a convertible car seat was easy.  I wanted him to have a Britax Advocate, and that’s what we’ve got.  The Britax Advocate is a great seat, and we got it on sale for $100 off.  I was also doing a lot more paid writing then, so money was really not an issue.  I wanted the best convertible car seat that I could get for him.

With Eudora, I find myself thinking more about what we should do.  I have three ideas for choosing a convertible car seat.

1.) Skip the Convertible Car Seat

Choosing a Convertible Car Seat – Decisions, Decisions (Motherhood Looms)  One thought I have is to skip out on choosing a convertible car seat altogether.  Instead of buying another convertible seat, just buy Norton a Britax Frontier XT.  The Britax Frontier XT is a front facing only model, which is not a big deal.  Norton is already forward facing in the Britax Advocate.  The Frontier XT can be used as a five point harness front facing car seat for up to 65 pounds and as a booster seat for up to 120.  If we did that, we’d just put Eudora in Norton’s Advocate.

Pros – The Frontier XT would be the last car seat we’d ever have to buy for Norton.  It lasts for nine years, which would put him at eleven when the seat expires.  I also don’t think that he’ll be able to ride in the Advocate until he reaches 65 pounds.  (Note: while the Britax Advocate is rated up to 70 pounds in the US, Canadian laws and standards are different.  Here, it’s the Britax Advocate CS 65.)  I expect him to hit the height limit long before he hits the weight limit.

Cons – How would Norton feel about Eudora ending up with his old seat?  Would he be jealous over it, or would he pitch a royal fit because it’s “his”?

2.) Stick with what we know

Choosing a Convertible Car Seat – Decisions, Decisions (Motherhood Looms)I already know that I love the Britax Advocate.  That seat is like a tank.  Granted, it weighs about a billion pounds (okay, really, it’s more like 22 pounds, but the point is, it’s no light and flimsy thing), so I’m not inclined to move it from car to car, but we’re a one car family anyway.  At the end of the day, I know that the Advocate is a great seat.

Pros – That seat has better lumbar support than the driver’s seat in my van.  In fits awesome to rear facing.  And it would be strictly Eudora’s, so we wouldn’t have to put up with Norton feeling slighted because Eudora is using his old seat.

Cons – It’s expensive.  Really expensive.  We’ll eventually have to move up to booster seats for both kids anyway.

3.) Go for different

Choosing a Convertible Car Seat – Decisions, Decisions (Motherhood Looms)Everyone I know that has the Diono Radian RXT (formerly known as the Sunshine Radian XT) loves it.  It would be the last car seat that I ever buy for Eudora, as it’s valid for nine years.

Pros – It’s a highly regarded seat by everyone except for Consumer Reports.  It’s reasonably priced for something that she’ll use until she’s outgrown a seat.  It has a weight range for up to 120 pounds.  It’s a narrower seat, but still quite safe.

Cons – I’ll still have to get Norton a booster seat eventually.  And I have to admit, I do feel exceptionally secure with putting my child in that huge, hulking behemoth of an Advocate.

Honestly?  I’m thinking now that I’ve talked myself into either the Radian or the Frontier… but I’m still not 100% for sure on which one will serve us best.  Which would you get?

Update: Ultimately, I did go with the Frontier, and I’m happy with that decision.

Wordless Wednesday – Christmas Cuties

Norton opens gifts

This was the first time that Norton actually opened presents. He was mad at me at first, but once he realized that there were toys to be found, he got much more interested in tearing off the paper.


Eudora in her pretty red dress.

Eudora and Norton checking out Eudora's My Pal Violet

Eudora and Norton checking out Eudora’s My Pal Violet


Vtech Baby’s Learning Laptop – Sturdy and Durable

For Norton’s first Christmas, we went a bit overboard on buying presents.  Granted, my family tradition is excess, so it’s not surprising.  We still have Norton’s toys from that first Christmas.  Some he still plays with, others he’s outgrown and have been passed on to Eudora.  Then there are those that they “share.”  The Vtech Baby’s Learning Laptop is one that they “share.” [Read more…]

Thomas the Train is a Big Winner!

Thomas the Train is a Big Winner!

Norton’s first train

Last week, I’d mentioned that we were thinking about getting some Thomas the Train toys for Christmas this year… in spite of the complete and utter lack of interest he had in train sets last Christmas.  We went to Gingerbread Toys, our local toy shop yesterday, so that Norton could investigate their rather amazingly well set up Thomas the Train wooden track table set up.

This year’s reaction was far different than last year’s.  He loved it.  We don’t watch Thomas and Friends or Chuggington, but he was still absolutely riveted by the set.  He spent his time putting the trains on the track, connecting them, and moving them through.  The look of intent concentration on his face while he focused on not derailing his line of trains as he pulled them around a curve and through the tunnel was phenomenal.  And I loved watching him try to puzzle out why a particular car was too tall to fit through the tunnel.  (There was a giraffe in the car.)

He was also thrilled by Harold the Helicopter, as helicopters are one of his favorite things.  (That’s because he likes to watch his daddy fly RC helicopters around the basement.)  It was the perfect set of toddler toys.

The only downside was that Norton was so engaged that he threw a tantrum when we tried to get him to leave.  The husband started to walk towards the front of the store and said, “Bye, Norton!”  Norton didn’t even look up; he just said “Bye bye, Daddy!”  We even tried to bribe him into leaving by buying him an Early Engineers Thomas the Train.  No dice.  In the end, I went up and bought the little engine in hopes that it would be helpful in settling the tantrum in the van.

So, yup, we’ll definitely be investing in some other train bits.  He’s been hauling around his little train since he’s gotten it, rolling it along and saying things like “Choo-choo!”  He went to bed with the little catalogue the toy store included.  He was looking at the pictures of the other trains with great delight.  With that in mind, we have to have more Thomas the Train Christmas gifts under the tree.

Is your little one a train fan?  Where did you find the best supply of trains for the buck?

Thomas the Train – Coming Soon to a Christmas Tree Near Me?

Last year, I wanted so badly to get Norton hooked on Thomas the Train.  I took him to Gingerbread Toys, the local toy store (yay for supporting small local businesses!), and was crushed when he had no interest in Thomas the Train at all.  This year, I hadn’t even considered getting him Thomas the Train.  I figured we’d get him an awesome kitchen set and other things to go along with that.  You know, things that will facilitate imaginative play.

While I was out grocery shopping at my local big box store, Norton spotted some Thomas the Train engines on the shelf.  He got so excited when he pointed to them and shouted “Train!”

We don’t watch Thomas in our house.  Actually, about all we watch is Sesame Street.  However, we do live near train tracks that are part of a rather busy shipping line.  (In Prince George, it’s not so much a “wrong side of the tracks” thing as much as it’s a symptom of Prince George being a huge railroad and forestry town.)  Every time Norton hears the train, he yells, “Bye bye, train!”  He’s also delighted when we drive away and see the train along the road.

So with that in mind, I’m thinking that maybe we need to get some Thomas or Chuggington in the house.  I’m leaning towards some kind of train with the wooden tracks because they’re compatible with each other, generally better made and more sturdy, and have a better resale value for when my little ones are no longer little enough to be interested in Thomas the Train.  Besides, I keep thinking that the Misty Island Adventure Set would be something really cool for us to play with.

Thomas the Train – Coming Soon to a Christmas Tree Near Me?

How cool would this be on Christmas morning?

Or perhaps we’ll consider getting Melissa & Doug or Brio wooden train sets.  After all, Thomas, Chuggington, Melissa & Doug, and Brio are all compatible.

Do you have a wooden train enthusiast in your house?  Which train product do you (or your enthusiast) prefer?

LeapFrog Tag Junior – Not this Christmas

LeapFrog Tag JuniorWhile the husband and I were out together (without children!) doing our Christmas shopping, we stopped and looked at the LeapFrog Tag Junior.  The LeapFrog Tag Junior is an interesting little device.  Like the first LeapFrog toy we’d ever had (for Andy, around ten years ago), it’s a device that will read stories to your children with a pen touching the words.

For Andy, we got it with the hope of it helping him read.  Instead, though, he dragged the pen across the page and let it read to him.  (Back then, it was a terribly monotone voice thing.  The newer incarnations of LeapFrog reading devices have gotten much better.)

Considering how much I love everything else that we have that’s by LeapFrog, some might be surprised that we’re skipping the LeapFrog Tag Junior… especially considering Norton is the right age for it now.  So why are we skipping an awesome tech-y gadget?  LeapFrog Tag and Tag Junior read to your child from expensive books with technology built in the pages so that the pen sensor can “read” them.  In essence, it will read to your child for you.

I don’t want gadgets to read to Norton for me.  I want to spend that time with Norton to read to him.  I want to do what I can to promote early reading.  I want him to sit down with my husband for story time, too.

Some of the most wonderful fun times that Norton and I have together are when we’re snuggled up over a Spot the puppy book.  When we read a Spot Loves story, it always ends with that grown up snuggling up with Spot or giving him a big hug.  Norton will turn to those pages repeatedly because I snuggle him and give him kisses when we read that part of the book.  I don’t want to blow off those occasions with a pen.

My husband and I have agreed that we never want to have the “problem” of being too busy to read to our children.  Maybe when Norton is starting to learn sight words, it’ll be time to consider a Tag device.  But not right now.

Do you have the LeapFrog Tag Junior or Tag?  How do you (and your kids) like it?