Old-school teethers

My son, now 11 years old, has sensory processing disorder.   There are many theories on what causes this.   One is the lack of stimulation in today’s environment.   Babies’ world is all smooth plastic and cotton.  It’s safe, clean, and sterile.  Before plastic, it was wood, porcelain, wool, cotton, hay, leather, and dirt; many, many textures.

Whoa, 15 days later and I found this post half written and unpublished, not what I wanted to write on today, but still an important topic.  Lets see how fast I can finish it out as the the baby is starting to still this morning and, since she didn’t wake for her 2 AM bottle, I don’t expect her to play in her crib before crying to eat this time.  Maybe I’ll get to my ‘New Adventure’ post later today, maybe not.  I was excited to have alone time this morning, but that moment has passed.  Then again, daddy my have to wake & care for baby as I post from the bathroom since IBS-D has been plaguing me the past week and it is from there I post (I know, TMI).  Camping with the boyscouts this weekend should be lots of fun.

So Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD, previously Sensory Perception Disorder) what is it?  And not to be confused with Autism, although they commonly go hand in hand.  Many Autistic children can function very well once their sensory issues are addressed, often times their fear and anxiety are the result of sensory.  Sensory refers to our five senses-taste, touch, smell, hear, and temperature (I think, the fifth is alluding me).  Processing is just that, how our brain processes this information.  So, in SPD, we have a disorder of how our brain processes sensory information.  Either we over-process or under-process the information.  Sounds are either too loud or not enough.  Touch is either to harsh or not perceived enough.  So, for my son, he developed anxiety of crowds before he was 1 year old because the noise was over-stimulating, and certain sounds (like a ferris wheel) would send him into fits of screaming.  At the same time he craved the touch of certain textures (chenille of course) and hated tags on his clothes, hates the waste band on his underwear and seems in his socks.  Occupational therapy is great for all this.  Music Integration Therapy was the best for his sound sensory.  There are several places for help, contact your local school board to start, they can refer you out.  Here in Florida there is a referral hotline, under 3 years old, they go to Early Steps, after that the school board.  Elks Lodge treated my son.  Then he went to All-Childrens.  At the time CMS was a huge benefit, but now they’re just an insurance like Medicaid.

Now that I’ve covered what it is, how do you prevent it?  All babies are born with sensory, because they haven’t experienced the world, everything is new, their skin is sensitive, their ears are used to loud.  Even us adults develop sensory as a lack of sleep, you know the morning after when the sun is like God’s Flashlight shining in checking on us.  Everybody experiences sensory processing disorders off and on.  So we can help our babies not develop life-long disorders by introducing them to a variety of textures. What did they use before plastic?  Think old school.  I’m learning this as I go, and I’m learning from my new baby.  She doesn’t want to chew on her pacifier or that new teething ring, she wants to chew on my faux leather purse strap.  That’s when my mom tells me that babies used to chew on leather straps when she was little.  Oh really, I have a leather scrap kit… where did I put that.  So I tied the leather strap to Camo Puppy.  She chewed on it one day, then chewed on my purse strap.  And she chews on the diaper bag strap, and big brother’s back pack, and anything but what I give her to chew on!  She also had an old-fashioned clothes pin, that she likes, on of those wooden ones. You can find the on Amazon, they’re called space-men because the teachers use them in school when the kids learn to write for proper spacing in their sentences.  They’re just hard to find unpainted.


whew, made it to the end and baby just started crying.


Gluten-free Summer Camp

Or Spring-break, intersession, soccer camp, 4-H, Winter camp, whatever it is your kids do, most can’t cater to gluten-free. We are going to Cub-Ex this week.  I have to pack food for us and one other boy.  But gluten-free is sooo easy!  They just don’t realize that if you don’t eat junk, its gluten-free.  If they would just exclude sauces, gravy’s and pre-made seasonings then the food would be healthier and gluten-free, and probably safer for a bunch of other allergies, like dairy.  For example, mashed potatoes and gravy.  Ask for that in gluten-free and most people have not clue that gravy is thickened with wheat and they’ll tell you its gluten-free and you’ll have issues.  So, why not just serve the gravy on the side?  Then you can offer alternatives like butter or margarine, this way it also caters to low-salt and low-cholesterol diets too.  It also offers a vegan alternative, who!  You just created 4 special diets by offering gravy on the side!  Chicken alfredo? The sauce is thickened with wheat, its also gross and chalky, and you don’t even want to know what the ingredients are!  Make it from scratch and its simple, coconut, butter, and cheese.  In a can, it contains all kinds of allergens. But serve the sauce on the side.  Now you have diary-free chicken.  Again, you now cater to dairy-free, low-salt, low-cholesterol, gluten-free (if you also serve the pasta on the side).

Here’s another brilliant idea, serve rice whenever you serve pasta, a gluten-free alternative!   Serving spaghetti for dinner?  Sorry, you have to check the labels on this one, some do have wheat in them.  Or, just skip the meat flavored & sausage flavored, and generally your OK.  If you do that, you know have a vegetarian option too.  Instead, serve meat on the side, if you want to put meat in it, that part gets expensive.  If you don’t want to do all that, just go with Ragu, they don’t thicken with meat, sorry, its more expensive than the canned crap, but it tastes much better, BONUS!!

Don’t fry foods with breading or floured.  Believe it or not, food cooks just as well without being floured or breaded, WOW!  I deep fry chicken all the time,naked, think naked hot wings.  Baking them is different, they need something, like mayonnaise or butter, coconut oil works best, or they come out dry.

Bake in oil not sauce.  Or just use a baking bag, there are BPA, but your only serving for such a short time, the exposure is minimal.  This is going to depend on other allergies, you just need a separate pan for your gluten-frees.  Coconut oil really works best on this, but, if you have a nut allergy, things get crazy.  Butter is the next best alternative.  Mayonnaise works extremely well in this arena too and can go on any meat, its generally made with eggs & olive oil, so shouldn’t affect allergies either.  Of course, you could just keep it simple & use olive oil.

So, quick summary of super simple gluten-free for serving the masses.

  1. serve sauces & gravys on the side
  2. serve pasta on the side, offer rice as another option
  3. don’t use seasoning blends (better yet, don’t use any seasoning & put salt & pepper on the table)
  4. Don’t use meat flavored or sausage flavored tomato sauce (AKA spaghetti sauce)
  5. Nothing breaded or floured.  Fry food naked, it works just as well.
  6. Bake with olive oil or a baking bag instead of sauces to keep it simple.

Thats it, easy peasy gluten-free.

Feeling Better, Feeling Worse

I didn’t realize how much better I felt after the baby was born, and perhaps whole pregnant.  Perhaps the fatigue was different.  I had thrown myself into boyscouts and 4-H, had returned to work.  Then, suddenly, in August,  the migraines returned.   Then I started back on my migraine prophylaxis.   The first time I started on it, I had suffered a migraine for 2 years.  Yes, I wrote that correctly,  a migraine for 2 years, not migraines for 2 years.  I was in the emergency room every 2 weeks.  Any relief was better than the migraine.  So I didn’t notice any side-effects.  This time, I hadn’t had a severe migraine in a very long time, so when I started back on the topiramate,  the side-effects were life-altering.  The fatigue is over-whelming.  Let’s add to that, my personal conclusion that I don’t have fibromyalgia, I have migraines,  all my fibromyalgia symptoms are actually from the migraines or the medications.   I didn’t suffer overwhelming fatigue until I started back on the topiramate or after a migraine.  I’m not in a lot of pain (except for my back) except before & during a migraine. When the migraines are coming one on top of the other, the before, during, and after symptoms all collide.

Baby Monitors 

Call me ‘old school, but I fail to understand why my baby monitor needs a video feed.   All I need to know is if my baby is crying then I will go check on her.   I have no plans on leaving her alone to play and needing video to see if she’s safe. Or perhaps this is a ‘helicopter mom’s necessity.  And I haven’t figured out how to use my phone. Do I prop my phone in front of my baby then generate in front of the computer?  Or does this trick require 2 phones?  At any rate, I lack the addiction to sit in front of electronics  that   much.  My husband would probably love it though.

Perhaps some of you younger whipper snappers can educate me on this necessity.  Or how to use my phone as a baby monitor.   Until then, I’m going old school and buying a 900 MHz dual channel baby monitor.   Not Wi-Fi because ours is so flakey.

Better Bonding over the Bottle

I would never encourage a mom to bottle feed ‘Just because’ sometimes it is necessary.  I breastfed my first for 18 months,  but with my new baby, I had to let go at 3 months.  I lamented and tortured myself over this decision.   My 2 biggest fears were the health of my baby and our bond.   Let’s cover bonding first. 

I believed that a mom bonded over breastfeeding, we are indoctrinated into this faith.   If you don’t breastfeed,  you don’t get the same bond.   Well that’s just silly,  I carried this baby one my belly for over 9 months, we’re bonded!  Babies love their mom’s no matter what, because they’re mommy.  You can beat, abuse, and starve your baby and she will still love you.  So, if, like me, you feel guilty that you won’t be able to bond with your baby because you’re bottle feeding, relax.  In fact, I find the bond is even better than breastfeeding, I’ll go more into that later.

As for babies health, everyone knows breastmilk is best, it’s made just for babies by nature & God.   It has immunity & the perfect balance of fat, protein, etc.  And everybody knows that formula-fed babies get sick more often.  Or do they?  Baby fry has been sick once in her whole 5 months of life, and she was over it in less than 24 hours.  So that fear was unfounded.  As for the nutritional value, she was starving to death,  literally, on my breast milk.  She has feeding issues that prevented her from properly stimulating my breasts.  Then, she didn’t,  still doesn’t,  eat enough, we have to put extra calories in her formula and still struggle to make her growth curve go up.  So breast isn’t always best.

And now for the stat of the show, bonding over the Bottle has been so much stronger,  fun, better, than it ever was breastfeeding.  That’s right, the bond us BETTER!  I never would have thought it possible.   How so you ask?  When you breastfeed you stare lovingly into that big beautiful eye.  The other eye is somewhere under your boob.  And, have to look down,  turn your head.   When you bottle-feed, you hold baby in a hug, look into both, big gorgeous eyes, she stares lovingly back, my heart melts.  It’s just so much more comfortable (We still use a pillow by the way).  Also, she is closer to my face.   If you thought that tiny little hand on your breast was cute, OMG, it doesn’t compare to that little hand reaching up and patting you on the cheek!  I almost died of cuteness. 
So, mom’s, if your babies health or your health is at risk due to breastfeeding, don’t sweat it, bottle feeding is truly awesome.  I’ve done both.  The only thing I miss about breastfeeding is not having to make bottles in the middle of the night (and the money)!

If your having difficulties breastfeeding, there are several resources.   Free resources are Healthy Families,  Healthy Start or WIC (Our didn’t have a lactation expert,  but they could refer us to resourced). Your doctor/insurance may refer upu to an ENT (needs a referral from your pediatrician,  a feeding specialist  (this is a specialized occupational therapist, speech language pathologist,  also requires a referral and prior authorization).  La Leche League usually charges a few, as does your local hospital or birthing unit.

Lessons Learned After Irma

We are finally back home after evacuating from Hurricane Irma, and, as with each storm,  I’ve learned a few things from the evacuation.

  1. It’s not a sudden emergency.   All this packing and preparation I’ve done every June was over kill.  I’m going to have a week to prepare.  The reason you shop in June us because there isn’t enough for everyone the day before the hurricane.  If everyone in the USA went to the store today & bought 1 gallon of water,  there wouldn’t be enough, yet everyone thinks they can wait until the hurricane comes to go shopping.
  2. With my fibromyalgia, I can’t just pack up and leave.  That means we have to leave earlier & stay closer.  We need to leave earlier, stop more, and spend more money on hotels.  On the way out, it was a rush, we waited,  so we had to drive straight through.  When we stopped, I couldn’t walk.  I had to stand & lean against the van for several minutes until my back & legs could bear weight, much less move.
  3. Only Verizon works in North Florida.   We had a 3-car caravan & lacked the ability to communicate.  So everytime granny had to pee, we would look in our rearview and realize we’re a car short.  Which also meant doing the ‘cell phone juggle’ to determine which phone we could use for GPS.  Paper maps would have been useful could we have found them.

Diapers & Hurricanes 

What do the two have in common?  Lots of traveling.  I’ve been meaning to wrote this for a long time, now I’m bored, and, after a 7-hour road trip turned into 12 with a 5-month baby, I figured now is a good time to share.   For those who don’t want to read on, our favorite is Huggies,  they are the least bulky & the least leaky.  Kerp im mind, every baby is different,  their skin is different. My one girlfriend had one baby get a rash from Huggies & the other from Pampers.  Babyfry reacts to Luvs and develops a rash overnight.  If you’re really strapped for cash, generics have improved immensely since my son 11 years ago & we have had no problems with them. Our only complaints are that they tend to fit poorly.  The Members Mark tend to get crooked & crawl up her but.  Parents choice was a very comparable diaper.
A great way to save money on diapers is Amazon Prime Autoship.  I made excel spreadsheet,  compared prices, and this really is the best deal.  Buy the large pack, 200-300 diapers, and it’s cheaper than buying in store.