It’s been a while since I’ve posted about my son’s health. Technically, I haven’t done an update at all since his one year birthday, but since he just had his well visit with the pediatrician, I figured this is the perfect time to bring everybody up to speed on his health & nutrition.
Truthfully, I really haven’t wanted to talk much about his health because it makes me a little sad. Every day I look at my son and a little piece of my heart breaks for him. Every time he scratches his ankles until they bleed, I cringe. Every night and early morning he wakes up screaming, I fight back tears. Every time my husband and I have to cover his little hands with socks to keep him from itching, I feel like a failure. His condition enrages and deflates my soul with every flare up and struggle he endures.
If I’m really being honest with myself, I just don’t feel like I’m cut out for this. I feel like I’m waaay out of my league. I’m not disciplined enough to patent a child with this complicated of a situation. I’m too much of a screw up. Let’s face it. I’m not the most patient parent, and I’m not the most consistent, but I do love my son and I try to do everything in my power to keep him from suffering. I guess I’m working through this just as much as he is. And I’m still dealing with the fact that things are moving slowly and mostly out of my control. I want so badly to see more progress, but we just haven’t. It just makes me so frustrated and angry. So I’ve been avoiding the topic on the blog for a while. But today I’m breaking my silence to speak about his issues.
If you’ve been keeping up with me for a while now, you might remember that my son was labeled failure to thrive at his 10 month checkup. Since that time, he’s seen several doctors and we’ve discovered his weight problems are a reflection of his excessive food sensitivities. I addressed those additionally in his one year post here. After discovering he was sensitive to the top six food allergens and eliminating them from his and my diet (because I’m still breastfeeding), we’ve seen his skin get a little better. He has good days, and then he will have a flare up and have several days of misery. Even on the days when we are doing well though, we still aren’t making the gains that I really would love to see.
Because he hasn’t shown the improvements that we would like, I have decided to continue breastfeeding him. It was never my intention to nurse him this long, but I just cannot bring myself to cut out any additional calories from his diet. If I can continue to provide him with additional nutrition, I’m going to do so. He’s not ready to wean anyhow, so I don’t see how my decision makes any difference anyway. I’ll continue to provide for him as long as he wants and needs it, regardless of the sacrifices that I have to make. He’s worth it. I’ll eat pizza and drink lattes at a later time.
Weight & Height
His weight has barely moved up the scale despite our efforts. As of now, Harrison weighs 18.2 pounds and is 32 inches tall. At his one year update he weighed a mere 16.3 pounds and was 28 1/2 inches tall. So you can see, he’s had some progress, but he’s still below the charts of a typical healthy baby. At least he is getting taller, so that’s something to be positive about.
With all his allergies and triggers, we have a very boring feeding habits. On a typical day, he eats chicken sausage and bacon for breakfast, lunch consists of chicken and rice and dinner is a variation of whatever we have cooked for dinner, typically chicken with a veggie with rice or potato. He snacks twice a day on rice cakes and fruit with the occasional trip to chic-fil-a for grilled chicken nuggets and waffle fries.
Most nights he sleeps 12 hours through the night, but if he’s in the middle of a flare up, he’s more inclined to wake up uncomfortable from his eczema. He naps very well most days too, but again, that depends on whether he’s having an allergic flare up.
Very recently Harrison graduated into 18 month pajamas. He had worn holes into the knees of most of his 12 month pjs,probably because he’s been wearing them for close to a year, so I happily transitioned him into the longer size. His shorts and pants can fluctuate between 12 and 18 month, but he definitely needs the length for jammies. He’s still pretty skinny, so the onesies fit him very loosely, especially around the collar. I tend to dress him in t-shirts and overalls when I can because they look best worn loose and don’t accentuate his small frame. Of everything, his feet are probably the smallest thing on his body. He is just now finally growing out of his size two toddler shoes. I presume he will gain more stability and balance as his feet grow and catch up to the rest of him. His slow growth has definitely been one of the upsides to Harrison’s condition. We haven’t been required to update his wardrobe in a very long time. Currently, we are transitioning most of his clothes into the 18 month size though.
We continue to push the correct nutritional options, but he is a toddler, so that’s not always an easy path. I keep a food log of all his meals and snacks, and we’re trying to pinpoint more of his triggers.
Since I am still breastfeeding to offer additional calories into his diet, there’s always that. Every day we slather him with oils and creams to keep him moisturized to prevent the irritation of the eczema. He takes a bleach bath a few times a month to prevent infection from the open skin. During a flare up, we diligently keep his hands and feet covered with socks to prevent him from scratching. His ankles and wrists are the main target of his irritation, so keeping gloves on him prevents him from itching. Sadly, “itch” is one of the more frequent words in his vocabulary.
We have since gotten rid of our dog, Stella. It broke my heart and I miss her dearly, but it had to be done. She now lives with my parents, so I still have visitation rights, so to speak. We had our carpets cleaned by a professional to remove all of her dander. It’s only been three weeks, so we are still waiting to see if that is going to make a difference. We have also removed most of the stuffed animals from the kid’s rooms. We kept a couple sentimental teddy bears, but bagged all the rest in the attic. Dust is one of his triggers, and stuffed animals harbor lots of dust.
Currently we are seeing a gastroenterologist, allergist, dermatologist and nutritionist. Our last specialist visit was with the allergist last week. She ordered another panel of blood work to test him for more environmental allergies. In addition, we are having a sweat test performed next week to check for cystic fibrosis. I am really unsure why we are testing for this because he has absolutely no other symptoms of this, other than the poor growth. I’m going to humor my allergist and complete the testing, because at this point, I’m desperate for something helpful.
We have been given the okay to begun offering him allergy medicine to help his reactions. We have Zyrtec on hand, but have yet to use it. We frequently give him Benadryl when he begins showing signs of a flare up to control his responses. Two creams and lotions have been prescribed to work towards controlling his itching and prevent infection.
- Walks and Runs independently
- Knows what ordinary thing are (phone, iPad, movies, blocks, balls)
- Throws a ball and can swing at the tee (Mommy and Daddy are real proud of our baseball hopeful for this)
- Talks constantly. Says dozens of words in both English and in Spanish.
- Follows directions (i.e. “Take this to your sister” “Bring mommy your shoes”)
- Points to body parts and recognizes parts of face.
- Recites alphabet when prompted with help.
- Draws and scribbles with crayons
- Eats with utensils. (spoon, fork, cup)
- Can walk up stairs on playground. Slides down independently.
- Had his first and second haircut at the big boy barber shop. Daddy’s barber, Jonathan, cut his hair.
- Wreck-it-Ralph and Inside Out He is mesmerized by these movies.
- Bing Bong toy (Thanks to Diane B. for gifting that to us)
- Music He falls asleep to music most nights and he dances to Daddy’s Latin music when awake.
- Lollipops Great distraction for desperate times.
- Boo Boo first thing in the morning. (From the moment he wakes up, all he says is “Boo Boo, Boo Boo” aka mommy’s milk)
- Loooooves his Papa & Nana and his Tia Ana
- To climb on top of the table and sofas
- To look at the “agua” (i.e. ponds, rivers, lakes, the ocean)
- Chicken, broccoli, bacon, potatoes, rice cakes, green beans, strawberries, grapes, steak, turkey burgers, pineapple, beans and rice.
- The playground slide. He calls it “wee” like the sound you make when you slide down it. It’s so cute.
- His sister. She’s his everything.
- The outdoors, although we think it may be harming him with all the environmental allergens. (sad face)
- Getting his hands covered with gloves/socks.
- His allergies
- Saying goodbye to visitors.
- Being ignored
- When Daddy has to work (working from home has it’s disadvantages- Harrison doesn’t understand why Daddy can’t hang out and play all day with us)
Overall, Harrison is a very happy little boy. He is not a shy kid by any means. Even through all the pain and discomfort with his eczema, he is mostly in good spirits. He likes to flirt and say “hi” to the ladies at the grocery store. He is not afraid to engage with other children at the playground. Whenever we visit the indoor playground, he always tries to catch up to his sister and the bigger kids. He’s very ambitious and unafraid. His determination is inspiring to me as we continue to work towards getting him healthy and on the path to conquering his allergies.
Right now, I just want to enjoy being his mother. I want to enjoy every adventure, every snuggle, and every happy moment we spend together. Because I know it will pass in the blink of an eye and I don’t want to spend my whole time worrying and miss all the good times we share. I look forward to so many more memories and can’t wait to see what the future has in store for our family.