Monday, November 21, 2011


Something I love right now: when Jesse holds my hand and not because I am making him.

Last week was rough. Sunday Jesse had a fever. Not sure why, it was up to 102. I did the standard protocol, gave him Tylenol, monitored his temp, gave him a popsicle, gave him a luke warm bath, kept him hydrated, etc. I was able to get his fever under control and it never spiked above 102. Monday he still had the fever, but it was close to 100. Tuesday he seemed much better so we resumed the daily routine. Wednesday when he got up, he was covered in hives! I wasn't sure if the hives and fever were at all related and with my family history of allergic reactions and hives, I wasn't going to mess around. Jesse stayed home with Paul and I headed to the office. On my way I called the pediatrician's office and made the appointment. They were able to get us in at 11am. Since the pediatrician's office is near my work, I met Paul and Jesse there. When we got in the room and took his clothes off, the hives were considerably worse than how I had seen them in the morning. The doctor took one look and said it was hives. He said because Jesse had a fever earlier in the week that the hives were likely viral. The one thing that confuses me, viral hives are itchy and I never saw his scratch. They were hot, so uncomfortable for him, but not itchy.

I am skeptical about this viral hives thing. It almost sounds like an explanation for unexplained hives. I did some online research and I could be wrong, but I am just not buying it. I mentioned above my family history with hives and I'll explain. My sister gets hives, in a big way. My sisters started around the age of 2. She was sick and the doctor gave her a prescription, then she got hives. The prescription for hives made them even worse. They assumed it was from the color or flavor of the medication. By the time my sister was 4, they determined it was red dye. Since then, my sister has been in and out of the hospital because of this allergy, she even wears a medical bracelet that indicates her allergy... yes, it's that severe. So all growing up we had to watch what my sister ate. We all learned to read ingredients and to simply avoid certain products. This was back in the 70's and 80's before there were dye-free options like we have available today.

When Jesse was running his fever I made sure to keep him well hydrated, thus running low on apple juice. He won't drink as much pain water as juice or something flavored, so I gave him some watered down tropical punch kool-aide on Tuesday night. I had made it for Paul to drink and figured what's the harm? I guess Wednesday morning I found out what the harm was when my son was covered in hives. Coincidence? not sure. I mentioned my sisters allergy to him and he told me allergies are not hereditary. But when I was thinking about this theory of mine, I realized that Jesse has probably never had anything artificially colored. I feed him mostly fresh fruits and vegetables, he doesn't eat candy or junk food, I even give him no-added color freeze pops (made with fruit juice by Snapple). I really want to test this theory. I'd rather know now if he has an allergy to artificial color, before it does become life-threatening.

After the doctor's appointment he went home, got a dose of Benedryl and took his nap. He slept for several hours. When he woke he still had the hives, not nearly as bad as earlier. The doctor did say it would take a few days for them to go away. Here is what it looked like Wednesday evening. There were some really bad ones on his butt, but I didn't feel it was appropriate to be posting pictures of my kids butt on the internet.

Here we are on Monday, there are a few stragglers left, but most of the hives have cleared up and he's back to himself again. Just in time for Thanksgiving.

Yesterday we went to a friends house to watch the game and to get Jesse's hair cut. He looks more grown up.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Something Blue Images

My friend Maggie is an awesome photographer, mother and friend. She took these photos of us back in October and I had to share! If you are looking for a photographer in the Chicagoland or Milwaukee area, contact her. She's good!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Communication Breakdown

We've had a rough week. Jesse is at a point where he knows what he wants, but has a hard time communicating it. He points and goes, "me, me, me!". I have about 15 seconds to figure out what he's pointing at before he starts freaking out and having a 20 minute temper tantrum. Good times.

He has a very small vocabulary. There are just a small handful of words he uses that we can understand. I'm sure he's saying more than we know, but we can't understand him. The problem here is that he can't make sounds that involve blowing. We are talking about words that start or contain the letters /b/, /d/, /p/, /c/. I am sure there are more, but those are the main ones. What Jesse does, is he replaces those letters for /m/ or /n/. Our dog Coda, he calls Nona. That one we figured out. A ball is a "mo" and a pumpkin is a "momo", milk is also "mo". So as you can see, this translating can get quite confusing, they are all much different words that get the same label.

There's a lot of frustration around our house right now due to the communication breakdown. Jesse is frustrated because we can't understand him and we are frustrated for the same reason. When one of these cleft related challenges arises, I can help but get sad about things. I always get this feeling of guilt because I realize that we wouldn't be going through this if he wasn't born with clefts. Yes and no. Some kids go through this even if they weren't born with clefts, but of course in a moment of frustration, I don't reason that way. I also begin to wonder if his palate surgery was a success. Yes, this surgeon closed the hole, but is it working properly? My son can't blow. I know this. Maybe it's something he needs to learn, or maybe it's the muscles in his soft palate not working right. I just don't know, and time will tell. For now, we will try to use sign language as much as we can.

His speech therapist is well aware of all this, she gives us excercises to do with him that encourage blowing and making the sounds he has troubles with. I gave him a harmonica the other day to see if he would magically blow in it, but no. He held it up to his mouth and hummed. It was kind of cute, but did not accomplish the goal I was hoping for. I try random things because of our experience with the honey bear straw. I gave that to him and within minutes he was sucking through the straw, which he had never done before. Blowing is harder to teach. I blow in his face, I blow cotton balls of my hand, I blow bubbles for him, but nothing....yet! I have not given up! We will keep trying.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Halloween Happenings

I know I am a bit late on the Halloween post, so be it. I finally managed to keep my promise to myself (and my family) to take more pictures, despite of not having a fully functional digicam.

We did the pumpkin patch thing. It was a blast. Plus this was really the first time we had Jesse at a crowded public place without being in a stroller. He did quite well, and so did we. We managed to not lose him, or even have a scare. Parenting win right there. Ha!

The weekend before Halloween we carved pumpkins. I love this part. Jesse participated a little, he drew on the pumpkin with his crayons. He had the most fun putting the candles in them (battery operated for safety).

We love Halloween Day. We make an event out of it so I took a half day. The trick or treaters started at 3 and Paul got dressed up as usual. Forgot to get his picture. I probably took one last year and he's basically the same every year. I got Jesse dressed up, he was a pirate! Arrr! He wanted nothing to do with the hat. We tried everything, distractions, showing how cool Daddy was in his hat, nope, he wouldn't have it. So my idea was to try a bandana. Pirates wear bandanas right? Will it at least make the rest of the outfit look like a pirates outfit? Yes! otherwise it was just a puffy shiney shirt with a vest.

We actually did some trick or treating. We hit the immediate neighbors around us, then headed over to Paul's parents. Not like Jesse eats candy, but he had fun acrrying around the bucket. Grandpa did share some of his peanut butter cup though.

How's that for getting more pictures!?