Catching Up..

I have been such a bad blogger :( Something came up with my wall guides and I’ve been working non-stop on a new project which has eliminated any “free time” I’ve had over the past few weeks.

There is so much to catch up on I barely know where to start!

First I have to go back to Friday June 22 when we took Jasper back to the ENT. It had been almost a whole year since we went last time (and discovered he was still suffering from reflux!) and his prevacid Rx was almost up. PLUS, he has lately been clearing his throat often, even though he had previously stopped almost completely after being put back on prevacid a year ago.

I dreaded the appointment because I knew he would use the nasoscope and every year that Jasper gets older it gets a bit more traumatic. And this time Jeff couldn’t even come to the appointment (and I couldn’t hold Jasper in my now non-existent lap!) so I had my dad come with us.  As predicted, it was horrible. Jasper launched into a full on hysterical cry as I watched helplessly.

The good news is that his redness/swelling from the reflux was much better than the last time. The bad news is that his adenoids are very large, which the ENT thinks is what is causing the throat clearing.  He gave us an Rx for nasonex and told us to come back in a month and also to schedule allergy testing.

Now I’m so conflicted because there is NO way in hell Jasper is going to take nasonex daily.  I mean, why would he? It feels wierd and awkward and thanks to the scoping he’s now terrified of things going up his nose! So I’m not sure the point of bringing him back to the ENT if we haven’t tried any therapy since the last visit, so I almost am tempted to cancel. Honestly, I don’t really care too much if he’s clearing his throat from allergies because it doesn’t cause long term damage like reflux. It does suck though because the clearing was his tell – I knew that if was clearing, his reflux was acting up, which was really useful when I tried to wean him off the prevacid a few months ago and the clearing started up immediately – I knew he still needed the prevacid. Now I have no idea and I’m so confused by the whole situation.

I also don’t really want to put him through the allergy testing scratch test thing, though they said the first set of tests is just drops of oil?  Does anyone know what the second phase is like?

After our “fun” afternoon at the ENT, I took him to get a haircut which he desperately needed.  His whole head was getting way too hot and sweaty and his “bangs” were hanging into his eyes! I wasn’t prepared however for the hack-job that ensued..she cut it SO short!

The please stop having a meltdown bribe..

I’ve never before allowed them to use clippers on him, but this time with the hair so short I figured it might as well get cleaned up. I really wished she hadn’t shaved off his sideburns though.  So it was a rocky start to the weekend, but then “Uncle Justin” came to visit and things started looking up!

Jeff and Justin went to art school together and were roommates when I met Jeff (when we all lived in the East Village.) Eventually we all (plus Justin’s girlfriend at the time Amy and another couple Sarah & Jay) ended up living together in a 3 bedroom apartment on avenue C.  Even though we were all so close, we don’t get to see each other very often so Justin’s visit was such a treat.  Especially for Jasper who took to him instantly – maybe a little TOO much, he wouldn’t leave him alone for two seconds!

Going to the carnival with uncle Justin.

Look at the adoration in Jasper’s eyes!

Saturday we had an amazing pool day and wrapped it up with a trip to yet another carnival. This time we were lucky enough to run into one of Jasper’s daycare buddies and family.. the boys had SO much fun together!

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This was the only “tame” ride of the evening. The little thrill seekers loved the roller coaster most of all:

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Sidenote: It’s REALLY hard to take images of a MOVING roller coaster in the DARK! I cranked up my ISO to 2600, which is fine because they are just snapshots.  I brought my trusty Tamron 28-75 because it’s a decent range for a carnival and it’s also soooo light, which is important for me because I definitely don’t need to be carrying around any extra weight right now :)

After the roller-coaster we spotted a “kid friendly” version of that ride with the swings on the chain.. you know what I’m talking about right?  This one was shorter than the adult one, but it went FAST and thank god Jasper loved it – even though Jeff and I both kind of were having heart attacks watching him go so high and fast!

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(that’s him above the funnel cakes sign!)

I think we were both just worried that all the sudden he’d start crying out of fear and there would be nothing we could do to rescue him until the ride stopped.  He wanted to go again but Jeff and I couldn’t take another round!

The following day we had Jasper’s day care friend Ryder and his family over to swim and it was another amazing pool day. I LOVE our pool and I’m so glad all Jeff’s hard work on it is paying off. It really feels like we are on vacation at home on the weekends!

He's going to fly to New York.

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This past weekend we drove to the amazingly lovely Rhode Island beach house of our friends Alex and Tamara.  We haven’t really gotten a chance to spend any quality time with them since their own 18 month old twins Max & Stella were born! It was like a little window into our future seeing them with the twins, and obviously I had lots of questions for Tamara! Jasper was very sweet with them, it was a really nice time even though we had to cut it short and leave Sunday morning.. Jeff had thrown his back out playing with Jasper on the beach Saturday and I was super uncomfortable on the beach.  Sitting in traffic to return Sunday evening (like the traffic we hit going on Friday night!) would have killed us both. I was really glad we got to spend some time with Alex and Tamara though, and that Jasper got in at least one great beach day- it had been way too long (over two years!) since he has had the chance to play in the sand and the Ocean.

Thanks for the beach time Duker-Freumans!

So that’s been the last few weeks, I’m now 25 weeks pregnant and in shock that in less than a week I’ll be in my THIRD TRIMESTER!

Gigantic twin belly, 25 weeks...

Where has all the time gone?

The list of things we need to get done before the twins get here is overwhelming..I get panic attacks just thinking about it. There are rooms to be painted, cribs and carseats to be purchased, we have to go through all Jasper’s baby stuff and see what we still have and what we need..I could use about another 4 months, not just the two-ish that I most likely have left!

Ah well, I am nothing if not a procrastinator..have a fabulous 4th everyone :)

 

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Stephanie says:

I should clarify that we did the RAST test because my daughter is 9 and we did the allergy testing years ago (when she was three.) As I understand it, there is a newer blood test that is supposedly more reliable – I forget what it’s called – Specific IgE test, maybe?

Anyway, when my daughter was younger, the blood tests were said to be unreliable in babies and toddlers, whose immune systems are immature, because they can yield false positives. After age three, however, they were supposedly far more reliable than skin tests. I would imagine the same is true for this new generation of blood tests, post-RAST, but I do not know.

Basically, there are two types of allergies, environmental/contact allergies (an allergen is inhaled or touches your skin) or food allergies (you have to eat the allergen to have a response.) Doctors would refer to them as IgE and non-IgE mediated allergies/gut mediated allergies.

So, in my daughter’s case, you could rub cows’ milk directly on her skin and nothing would happen to her, but if she swallowed even a teeny amount, she would start wheezing/gasping for breath and break out in hives.

With skin tests, they scratch the surface of the skin, put a drop or two of oil containing the allergen (pollen, grass, pet dander, peanuts, etc.)on the skin and look for welts to form. The bigger the welt, the more intense the allergy. Where this can be unreliable is that a welt might not form for a food allergy because the allergen has not been ingested.

What this meant for our family is that when we would do a “milk challenge” in the doctor’s office, they would rub milk on my daughter’s arm, wait a few minutes and if nothing happened, rub it on her cheek. If nothing happened, rub it on her lips. If nothing happened, let her swallow a tablespoon of milk. Unfortunately, within a minute or two of swallowing it, she’d have a full-blown allergic reaction, even though nothing had happened when we rubbed it on her skin.

The blood tests (RAST or otherwise – people tend to still say RAST sort of like people say “Kleenex” or “Band-Aid” instead of tissue or bandage)rather than looking for a welt to form, looks for antibodies in the blood. If an allergic reaction has occurred in the past, there will be a concentration of IgE antibodies in blood which the body manufactured previously to fight off the intruder (the allergen.) So you don’t have to be having a reaction to something in the moment – the evidence of the allergy will be there from past reactions. And the higher the level of antibodies, the more sensitive to the allergen the person is.

As for how traumatic it is for the child, having blood drawn is no fun. That said, it is over in less than a minute. For the skin tests, you can plan to be in the allergist’s office for over an hour. They’ll do an exam, draw the grid, do the scratch and drop and then make you wait half an hour (checking in periodically)to see if any welts form. Then you get the debrief from the allergist before you can go home. (Plan to bring lots of books and distractions.) In the same amount of time it takes to do this, you can have the blood drawn, can go for ice cream and can be on the playground (blood draw all but forgotten) and they will call you later with the results.

As for the adenoids, they only remove them if they are interfering with breathing and sleep. Some kids have good luck using the steroidal nose drops for awhile because they can help shrink them. That didn’t work for us, but I hear it works well for some folks. If it doesn’t work and breathing and sleep are really suffering, they may recommend that the adenoids be removed (but only after doing a CT scan to see how large they are.)

It used to be that adenoids and tonsils came out at the same time, but the adenoid surgery is much less painful than a tonsillectomy and for most kids, it solves the breathing/sleeping/ear infection problems without messing with the tonsils.

I don’t know if either case is typical, but Chloe had her adenoids out when she was four. The same week, her friend Nina had her adenoids and tonsils out. Chloe had her surgery done early in the morning, slept most of the day and begged to go back to preschool the next morning. The only pain medication she took was some children’s tylenol on the day of the surgery. Nina was on painkillers for over a week before switching to tylenol and missed almost two weeks of preschool.

ariana says:

JB – they do seem to bond best with those we love most!

Sara B. – I seriously can’t believe that he’s so good about taking it! Maybe I could try like desert only if you take it (bribery as Kate suggested!)

Kate – LOL@ DILF.. I’ve never heard the term applied to men. He does look pretty dreamy!

Stephanie, I’ve always heard the blood tests were unreliable, how confusing to hear the opposite (and yikes to poor Chloe’s horror story!) I’ve actually never (gasp) had Jasper’s blood drawn, the idea of that also makes me nervous, but I’m clearly a wimp about such things.

As far as I know, Jasper hasn’t had an unusually high number of ear infections, sleeps fine and he snores a little but nothing terrible so I’m not sure how much if any harm the adenoids are doing him..do they get smaller on their own without removal or do they grow into them later?

Kate, I’ve seen those cribs they are adorable! I’m actually a fan of cribs on casters having witnessed how easily our daycare providers get the kids to go to sleep by “rocking” them on the wheels.. the thing is that I also really appreciated that Jasper’s crib was convertible into a toddler bed. For most kids the need to transition immediately from crib to toddler bed happens overnight (when they try to climb out!) and having the toddler bed essentially THERE and ready to go vs having to go out and buy a new bed is lifesaving! Not sure I’d want to give that up..even though I think mini cribs are so cute!

kate says:

Ariana, I hope you don’t mind if I put in my unsolicited 2 cents for the cribs too ;-) I think the Bloom Alma mini-cribs are absolutely adorable. They are small enough to fit through doorways (bonus) and are on lockable casters, so you can move them all around the house, if you need to. If one of the babies is having a fussy night, you can move her crib to another room. The price at bed, bath and beyond is $340 (plus 20% coupon) yet it’s $400 in buy, buy baby (??). They also come in a variety of colours but I am especially partial to green.

Stephanie says:

Such a cute belly, Ariana! :)

When Chloe was 2 1/2 we did the scratch tests and later did the RAST (blood) test for allergies. For the scratch test, they drew a grid on her back and numbered each box. The scratch the skin (they don’t cut it – she didn’t bleed or cry) and then they put a few drops of each allergen on each scratch inside each box. They check after 5 minutes, 20 minutes and 30 minutes and write down any reactions and tell you to call the next day if you notice a reaction that develops after you leave the office. Some places don’t use squares – just numbers. But basically, they are looking for anywhere a welt forms (which will be itchy, but not painful.) It looks like this: http://i68.photobucket.com/albums/i1/trooser9/backprickweb.jpg

Anywhere the skin turns red is considered a reaction (the person in this photo is obviously much more prone to reactions than most people.)

The skin tests are not nearly as reliable as the RAST test. I could share a horror story, but won’t. Let’s just say that we needed the RAST test after a severe allergic reaction to something the skin test said my daughter was not allergic to. After that experience, I always encourage people to press for the RAST test and bypass the skin test if possible. Having blood drawn stinks, but it’s over in a few seconds and there are no itchy welts to deal with for days afterwards. Plus, the results are more reliable.

As for the nose spray, our ENT had us try steroidal nose drops for a month to see if they would shrink the adenoids. Didn’t work for us and our daughter ended up having her adenoids removed (but not her tonsils.) It wasn’t particularly painful (in fact, she was ready to go back to preschool the next day) but it was life-changing. She stopped snoring, slept better instantly and had far fewer ear infections.

As for the cribs, so many twin mamas I know have said their twins prefer to sleep together (like the did in their mama’s belly) and that a second crib wasn’t necessary for months.

Carseats are another story, however. :)

kate says:

That is one gorgeous belly! And to be honest, not much bigger than I was with ONE baby. How has your weight gain been compared to last time? You look beautiful.

I know this is not the proper technique but regarding getting Jasper to use the Nasonex, I’d be tempted to use bribery. Can you wrap up small little toys/ treasures and allow him to open one every time he uses the Nasonex without a fuss? It’s how my MIL potty trained my husband and I always thought it was a cute idea. Probably not “ideal parenting” though ;-)

Um, Jeff on the beach is kind of a DILF, no??

Sara B. says:

The 2nd round of allergy testing is RAST scoring, done through a blood test. I understand your hesitation, but, wow, Nasonex has worked wonders for us. Marino has been on it 3 1/2 months and his breathing is soooo much better. I thought my kid was never going to breathe through his nose until we started it! His asthma has improved as well. And he could care less about taking it, but he’s pretty good with any kind of medicine – he accepts it as inevitable. You may want to give it a try.

You look adorable with that belly!

jbhat says:

I think his haircut is extremely cute. A big change, sure, but he looks totally adorable. And you! Your belly is totally adorable too! You look great, and I hope that you are feeling okay too.

Our kiddo has the same adoration for my husband’s best guy friend. It’s like no one else exists when they are together. It’s pretty cute.

jbhat

Rose says:

Well it does sound like you have have your hands quite full and I am right there with you on procrastination. If I can find an excuse to put it off, it will get put off.

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