Allergy Awareness Week 2017 – Monkey’s Diagnosis

Allergy Awareness Week 2017 – Monkey’s Diagnosis

This week is Allergy Awareness Week. Before having Monkey it’s the kind of thing that would have passed me by unnoticed. Now I understand just how little awareness of allergies there is and how important it is that they are better understood.

Before Monkey I was kind of aware that a few people may have allergies. I had no idea of how that affected their lives or just how serious it could be. I’m ashamed to admit I was one of ‘those’ people – I didn’t really believe in allergies. Surely nobody could be allergic to all that, they were just fussy eaters with over anxious parents weren’t they?

And then I had Monkey.

Monkey has multiple food allergies, GORD, eczema and asthma. And now I believe in allergies! There’s nothing quite like seeing your baby lying in a hospital bed to make you realise that allergies are a real thing and they are serious. Monkey’s problems started quite early. She was first taken into hospital at 10 days old due to concerns about her weight.

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Knowing what I know now the signs of allergies were there right from the start. Monkey seemed to have lots of ‘tummy bugs’ and although on the whole she was a happy smiley baby, when she cried she REALLY cried. It could go on for hours at a time and absolutely nothing would console her. I didn’t think much of it at the time though. After all babies poo and babies cry. Monkey was my first baby, maybe I’d just underestimated how hard it would be.

Then when Monkey was around three months old things really took a turn for the worse. She screamed constantly, we were going through a full pack of nappies a day and she was sick a lot. We spent a lot of time on the observation and assessment unit of our local children’s ward. It was at this time that allergies were first mentioned. I wasn’t convinced. Monkey was breast fed and not on solids yet – how could she possibly have food allergies? I trusted the doctors knew more than me though and agreed to cut dairy from my diet to see if it made a difference.

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A week into elimination we were out for a meal when Monkey’s feet began to swell and she started to wheeze. We took her straight to A&E and she ended up being admitted into hospital for a week. I think it was only then that I realised how serious things had got. Doctor’s were coming in from other departments to check she was ok as they had heard her crying and ‘it’s not a normal cry’. Dairy and soya allergies were confirmed. Weight was still an issue, at one point they were weighing her after every feed, nappy change or if she was sick. After those first 24 hours Monkey was weighed daily. At first we were told we would have to stay in until she was back on the growth chart. Thankfully they changed their mind and let us home as she started to gain. She wasn’t back on any centile for weight until she was almost a year old.

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The few weeks after we came home after diagnosis were probably the hardest for me. Allergens can take up to six weeks to leave breast milk so every time I fed Monkey I felt like I was poisoning her. It was horrible, I had to feed her but feeding her was making her poorly. With every week that passed it got a little easier though. The dietitian advised early weaning and prescribed a food called Neocate Spoon to help her gain weight and ensure she was getting all the nutrients she needed.

Weaning brought a whole new set of challenges. What should have been a fun and enjoyable time was full of fear. Every new food had the potential to make Monkey poorly and lots of them did. Food aversion can be a big problem in children with allergies but luckily though Monkey loves her food and we had the lovely people at Allergy UK to help – I spent many hours reading pages on their website in the early days and I still find them very useful today.

The early days with allergies, when you don’t know what’s wrong are so stressful. The next part of our allergy journey was learning to live with Monkey’s allergies which I’ll talk more about tomorrow.

Pretty clothes and party prep – Postbox Peeking 23/4/17

Pretty clothes and party prep – Postbox Peeking 23/4/17

Slightly later than advertised as I’ve been hit with the lurgy over the weekend but here I am with what we got in the post last week.

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Penpalling

I only had one penpal letter this week – from Marina in Russia. She was telling me all about her Christmas and Easter celebrations. I love hearing about the differences and similarities in the celebrations all around the world. She also sent me this beautiful Easter card.

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Charity

We received a letter from Regina, the little girl we sponsor through World Vision. Regina lives in Uganda and World Vision are doing fantastic things in her community. Regina told us all about her christmas and drew some pictures for us.

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Brand Repping

We were super lucky and received two parcels full of gorgeousness from Little Mr and Miss Apparel this week. Monkey now recognises their logo on the envelope so was into them and had the clothes on before I was even home from work. I think the tutu dress was her favourite but she also loved the camera t-shirt and the red shorts which were a special brand rep gift and aren’t available on the website.

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Shopping

I’ve done quite a bit of shopping this week as I’m trying to get organised for Monkey’s birthday party. It’s not until the end of June but it will come round so quickly. This week the plates, cups, tablecloth, balloons and party bags arrived. There is now more Princess Sofia in my house than there is in the Disney Store!

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My penpal Elaine has just opened an etsy store and I bought these gorgeous party bag stickers from her. I also got address labels for me and Monkey.

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We had another party to prepare for this week too. One of Monkey’s little friends turns 3 on Thursday and it was his party on Saturday. I was having a slight panic that his gift wouldn’t arrive in time but Wingo from Cars arrived on Friday.

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Other Stuff

I’ve also had a union magazine and statements from all the candidates in the Manchester mayor election. Nothing exciting there.

What have you had in the post this week?

Mummy Meditations – Gentleness week 3

Mummy Meditations – Gentleness week 3

This week for our mummy meditations we’ve been looking at Galatians 6:1

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in sin, you who live by the spirit should restore that person gently – Galatians 6:1

Before I could begin looking at the verse with Monkey she needed to have some understanding of what sin is. We started by reading about Adam and Eve in various children’s bibles. We talked about whether they should have eaten the apple and Monkey decided they shouldn’t have because God told them not to and you should try to do what God wants even if it’s hard.

We played a game to show that sometimes no matter how hard we try we don’t always get things just right. Monkey had to try to throw her ball into a target. She tried very hard and managed to hit the target a few times. She also missed, a lot!

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As we are still looking at gentleness it was the restore that person gently part of the verse I really wanted to focus on with Monkey. We used play-doh and started by just bashing it and being quite rough with it. We had lots of fun but didn’t manage to make anything. I explained to Monkey that restoring something means making it back to it’s best and this verse says we need to do that gently. By being gentle with the play doh we were able to make shapes and patterns with it. It could do more when it was treated gently – just like people can!

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Mini Marshall – Living Arrows

Mini Marshall – Living Arrows

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth – Kahlil Gibran

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Monkey’s Daddy loves to run. I’m trying to learn to love running as I prepare for the Great North Run in September. Whilst I don’t always enjoy running I have always enjoyed going along to parkrun – a free weekly timed 5k run held in locations all around the world. It’s run entirely by volunteers and there is always a real sense of community at the events.

This weekend one of our local parkruns celebrated their first birthday so we all went along to the celebrations. Daddy ran and me and Monkey marshalled. She was very proud of her high vis jacket and loved ringing her bell and cheering for all the runners – especially Daddy and other people she knew.

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Friendship – Living Arrows

Friendship – Living Arrows

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth – Kahlil Gilbran

Living Arrows over at What the Redhead Said is a weekly celebration of childhood. Each Monday I’ll share a picture from our week.

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On Wednesday I took Monkey to a Cbeebies event over at Eureka. We had a wonderful day but really that’s a whole other blog post.

We met my friend and god daughter there. We live in Manchester and they live in Leeds so Halifax is a great place for us to meet up. Us mummies have been friends since we were at junior school together so it’s always nice to catch up but what I’ve really loved the last few times we’ve got together is seeing the friendship grow between them.

There is two years age difference between the girls, almost to the day. When Monkey was first born C was fascinated by her but quickly got bored when she realised she didn’t actually do anything. Then we had a bit of an awkward year where Monkey really wanted to join in but couldn’t keep up. Now at two and four they play together beautifully and love each other to bits. They were so excited to see each other and held each others hand for most of the day.

I really hope they will stay great friends as they grow up, just like their mummies did.

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Easter cards and a letter from Grandad! – Postcard Peeking 16/4/17

Easter cards and a letter from Grandad! – Postcard Peeking 16/4/17

It’s been another quiet week for post here. Me and Monkey both had post though so here we go with our usual look at what’s arrived in the post.

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Penpalling

I had letters in from Canada, Malta and the Czech Republic aswell as two from the UK. I always love hearing from my penpals so it’s been nice to get lots of letters especially with having a bank holiday during the week.

I also received these lovely Easter cards from two of my penpals.

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Charity

We got an envelope full of stamps all the way from Canada to help us with our fundraising for Allergy UK. We’re nearly ready to send our next lot off and receive more funds.

A very special letter

I’ve mentioned over the last few weeks that Monkey hasn’t had much post and hasn’t been happy. She was so happy this week because her Grandad Tom wrote to her. He told her all about the sponsored swim he is doing to raise money for Allergy UK. She was so excited to get a letter from him.

What have you had in the post this week?

Mummy Meditations – Gentleness week 3

Mummy Meditations – Gentleness week 3

This week we have continued looking at the fruit of gentleness, focusing on 1 Peter 3:15

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. – 1 Peter 3:15

This verse was a real challenge for me. Normally I look at the verse with Monkey, talk about what the verse is telling us and most importantly what it is that God wants us to do. But this week was a little different. How could I ask Monkey, who is not quite three, to do something I’m not sure I do well at all?

The first line was not a problem for me, I revere Christ as Lord and try to live my life in a way that shows it. However I’m not sure I am always prepared to give a reason for the hope that I have. I’m not even sure people know about the hope that I have. I know I have friends who don’t know about my faith, I’ve had friends who are shocked to find out I’m a Christian.

I don’t speak about my faith enough. It’s something I find difficult to do. So how can I expect Monkey to? And how can I make it easier for her than it has been for me?

Before I even looked at the verse with Monkey I spent a lot of time praying over it. I spoke to friends about it and I turned to the bible for advice. I found a lot of comfort in Luke 12:11-12 When you are brought before synagogues, tulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say. I understood this verse as Jesus telling me that no matter where I am or who I’m talking to, he will be there to help me talk about him.

I decided that talking to Monkey about my faith would help me find that confidence. And if Monkey grows up talking about her beliefs maybe she won’t struggle like I do. The last line of the verse was important to me when talking to Monkey. I wanted to be gentle with my words and careful about the images I was painting in her mind. I needed to respect her opinions and questions in order to be able to have a conversation about faith.

So what is the hope that we have? It’s knowing that you are loved and that God’s love will always be there. That’s a pretty amazing thing to get your head round. I asked Monkey how she knew God loved her and she answered “Because of the rabbit song”. If you know Monkey in real life you will know that there is always logic to what she says, but sometimes you have to do a lot of digging to get to that logic! Apparently the rabbit song is actually Jesus Loves Me because the Listener Kids version she likes watching on You Tube has a purple rabbit in it.

We watched the video again together and talked about how she knew she was special to God, just like it says on the plaque above her bed. These were the reasons for our hope.

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I wanted a practical way to explain hope to Monkey so we went outside to do the diet coke and mentos experiment. We talked about the bottle only being half full and that sometimes our heart doesn’t feel full. I explained that if we have the hope of Jesus in our hearts amazing things can happen. We used mentos to represent hope and as we put hope into our heart (the diet coke) it exploded. As Monkey said “that was an amazing thing!”

I shared this video on facebook and one of my friends suggested we sing Jesus love is a-bubbling over. It wasn’t a song I knew but a quick google and we were soon singing it and doing all the actions.

We talked about hope a lot this week but the focus for the month is gentleness. I wanted to talk about using gentle words and how it’s not always easy to take words back once we have said them. Monkey squirted toothpaste to show the words. She had lots of fun with this and it was easy for her to do. I then asked her to take the words back. I gave her a cotton bud, lollipop stick and a spoon and asked her to put the toothpaste back in the tube. This was not so easy! I explained to her that real words are just the same – easy to say but hard to take back – and that’s why we need to think about whether something is kind or not before we said it.

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The start of this week was a challenge but I have really enjoyed looking at this verse and thinking about just what it is that makes my faith so important to me.

You can find out more about Mummy Meditations here.