Monday, June 11, 2012

Allergic to dogs, what about a bunny?

I have been severely allergic to dogs my entire life.  And, when I say allergic, I mean wheezing, stop breathing allergic.  I can not even be in some homes that have dogs for more than 5 minutes without experiencing some asthma symptoms.  I am also allergic to other furry pets.  However, these allergies are not as severe and I can usually handle them with a antihistamine and limited exposure.

With 39% of U.S. households owning at least one dog, avoiding my allergies is always a chore.
We combat this fact by offering to host friends much of the time and doing a lot of outdoor activities with friends.  It is easier to deny yourself a pet as an adult than to deny a pet loving child.  We got around the pet request for a few years by getting fish.  And, for the first few years, it worked.  My kids were excited about them, fed them regularly, and watched the tank with interest.  Part of the reason may have been that we lost quite a few fish at first and were getting new ones on a regular basis.  This probably made watching the fish tank more interesting.  Currently, we have had the same fish for 3 years and let's just say that the kids are much less interested. 

With two of my kids slightly allergic to furry pets and with my severe dog allergies, getting a cuddly pet seemed out of the question.  However, their desire to own one did not wane.  Once my daughter with asthma got to the maintenance level with her allergy shots, we decided that it would be a good time to try a small furry pet.  We looked at hamsters first, but their nocturnal nature was not appealing.  So, we began looking into getting a bunny.

Although scratch tests show that I am allergic to bunnies, past experience with this animal has shown me that I can handle a bunny without a problem.  The concern now became the smell!  Could we control it?  Would it set off my asthma?  Also, what about the accumulated dander in our house over time?  Would we get attached to a bunny just to find out months later that it is a problem for me?

Our Lop bunny, Nibble

We decided to give it a try.  It is a lot easier gambling with my allergies than with my kids.  I knew that they would not be the first to react to this bunny which made it easier to take the first step.  We picked out a baby bunny and have had it about 3 weeks now.  We keep it in the house and do let it roam around a bit.  I, the one with the worst pet allergies, clean the cage and handle the bunny most often.  I felt this was important to find out sooner rather than later whether we would be able to keep this bunny or not. 

Well, three weeks in and the report is mixed.  I can clean the cage without a problem which was a bit surprising.  However, my allergies have kicked in the last few days.  They are most bothersome in the morning and evening.  Asthma symptoms reared their ugly head a couple times as well, but they have been slight.  I am still a bit nervous about the asthma symptoms getting worse, and may start allergy shots myself.

Before getting this pet, we went over and over and over the fact that we may need to give this bunny up mommy has a reaction to it.  It will still be difficult to give up this pet if need be, but the kids are well aware that this could happen.  We felt that it was better to have said we tried.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

I love you

This morning, I looked over at my young daughter and just had to tell her how much I love her.  "I love you (daughter's name)," I said.  She didn't even look up at me and just replied, "I know.  You tell me every day!" 

Why is it so easy to tell our children that we love them, and so much more difficult to share that same sentiment with adults?  After hearing my daughter's reply, I started thinking about the other people in my life.  Do they feel as confident about my love for them?  I know I don't tell the adults in my life that I love them nearly as much as I do my children.  I am sure they need to hear it.  It would be a good thing to do.  It just is not as easy to blurt out, "I love you," to an adult as it is to a child.  Maybe it's fear of being critized or maybe it's because it would create an awkward moment.  What would you do if your sister or brother told you they loved you out of the blue, in person?  Would it be awkward?

I venture to guess that many adults feel they shouldn't have to tell the people they love that they love them.  Those people should already know!  Your spouse should know this.  I mean you married them, the ultimate love commitment.  But is this enough?  How about e-mails that say, "I love you?"  Does that do it?  I argue that e-mails are good, but not as powerful as face-to-face declarations.  They certainly are not as awkward and are easier to do.  So, doesn't that make them mean a little less.

Valentines day may be over, but those you love in your life still need to hear you say those three little words once in a while.  I think that should have been my New Years Resolution, to say "I love you" to the adults in my life more frequently.  On that note, I could probably work on my reactions to those that tell me they love me, as well.  I hope I am not making it awkard.

So, "I love you Mom, Dad, Grandma, Kristi, Steve!"  Well, it's a start...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Your Peanut-Allergic Kid is the Strongest kid I know

I ate a lot of peanut butter and jelly lunches as a child, and I loved them!  Peanut butter is great on toast and can even make celery taste good.  I do have happy memories of eating peanut butter flavored snacks and PB&J sandwiches.  I also have happy memories of eating pizza, pudding cups, and the occasional grilled cheese for lunch.  So what? 

If the absence of peanut butter during lunch creates a great deal of suffering, then our society is creating some seriously altered views of entitlement.  Who is the weak one?  The person that can't live without a sugary spread on their bread, or the person that can?

Peanut products are everywhere and cross-contamination can be found in many items that don't even have peanuts in the ingredients.  For the peanut allergic kid, this makes food choices a minefield each time they eat outside of the home.  These kids need to a be smart, vigilant, and bold each time they eat!  How many of us can accurately say that we were able to stand up in front of our peers, as adolescents, and call ourselves out as different?

Food allergic kids are forced to accept their food allergy fate and wear it on their sleeve.  They get bullied for it.  Their parents get bullied for it.  They are forced to act mature and confident before they even hit puberty!

So, I say that "Your Peanut-Allergic Kid is the STRONGEST Kid I know."

Friday, February 10, 2012


This is a big Kyrptonite for me when it concerns my children.  I will not tolerate them bullying other kids, and I will do all that I can to help them stop any bullying to which they are subjected.  Trying to walk through the bullying minefield with your child is just awful!  When do you step in?  What do you do when you decide to help?  There are no clear cut answers.  Yet, as parents we know that bullying situations can negatively impact our children throughout their life without appropriate intervention.  The pressure is enormous to handle these situations correctly!

Recently, my son was slugged in the face one to many times.  During a sports game in the front yard, one of the players got angry at the outcome and sucker punched my son in the face.  This particular bully has a history of slugging my child from uncontrolled anger at losing.  Since we live near this child, it is very difficult to distance ourselves from this behavior.  After the incident, I went over to the child's house with my son and confronted the issue with him and his parents.  My son has had so many years of this child's bullying he started to backpedal on his story of how he was slugged when faced with the other child's defensive version of the story.  Unfortunately for us, this child's parents have never acknowledged wrong doing of their child to me.  We have still to receive an apology for the strike.  Instead, all we heard was excuses and double talk about blaming on all boys for rough play. 

Come on parents!  Let's call a spade a spade and deal with the real issues.  You may not want to admit that your child did anything wrong.  It is difficult to hear that your child has been bullying other children, and our instinct is to defend our child and try to find a good excuse for their behavior.  That is the right approach if you want to raise a child with anger issues.  Take control while they are young!  Let your child know that you will not tolerate this them taking their anger out on other children.  You are not protecting your child by making excuses for them.

Let's work together as parents!  It would be nice if more parents would acknowledge these bullying situations for what they are and work with the other parents to find a solution.  If both children knew that both parents were working together, they would not be able to get away with as much.  The child being bullied would feel more protected and the bully would have more of a reason to stop his negative behavior.

So, get over yourself.  Your children are not perfect and neither are you.  Who cares what others think.  Take appropriate action where it is needed and do your children a favor.

What have been your experiences with parents when you approach them about their child's bullying?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cleaning vomit out of carpet

Last night, I woke up to a soft thudding noise coming from my daughter's room.  Thud..thud.......thud.  This is not all that unusual since my girls sleep in beds pushed up against the wall and tend to kick the wall during the night.  However, the noise didn't stop and so, I got up to check on them. 

As I walked into the room, I noticed an awful smell.   I looked up at the loft and saw my daughter's face looking down at me.  Then, she opened her mouth and down it came, smacking into the carpet below.  I think I stood there a little bit before I realized what was happening. 

No one tells you that you should have a ledge with some must have items up in a loft bed.  We have the shelf, but we were missing the small bowl that I now know is a must have! 

Well, my husband and I spent the next 3 hours cleaning up vomit from the carpet, sheets, walls, and toys that got hit by the spray falling from the bed.  Ugh!  What a site!  Did I mention that a small bowl is a must have in a loft bed?

Anyway, the other must have in this type of situation is baking soda and a good carpet cleaner.  Sprinkling baking soda over the mess helped neutralize the odor which is so important!  You do not want to get sick yourself.  Another trick is to spread some Vicks underneath your nose.  That Vicks odor is strong and much better than vomit smell.  As for the stain, my husband went out that night and bought a Bissell SpotBot.  It sucked up all the nasty stuff and cleaned the stain perfectly.  It even has an automatic setting that scrubs for you.  I love this thing! 

So, if you are thinking of a loft bed or bunk bed for your kids.  Remember that kids get sick and may not be able to make it down the ladder in time.  To avoid a nasty waterfall of yuck, put a small bowl up there and get a SpotBot! 

Friday, January 6, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

New Year's Aftermath

I actually look forward to New Year's Resolutions.  They give me hope for something better in the new year.  Once a resolution is chosen, it remains to be seen whether I will actually follow through.  My track record is not good, but the year always starts out with promise.

The key to picking a good new year's resolution is to find one that you look forward to completing.  This makes working out a bad new years resolution for me.  I rarely look forward to working out, but I do look forward to specific activities that involve working out.  Playing a sport, walking or running with a friend, and even taking on my daughter on "Just Dance" are work out options for me that don't feel like work.  I have a much better track record of completing "work out" resolutions when they don't involve a generic amount of type at the gym.  Those will fizzle out for me by February.

A new resolution we are making as a family this year is to have at least one family fun day a month.  I am hoping most months we are able to squeeze in more than that, but we will make sure at least one day happens!
I am really excited about this one!  I am hoping the whole family will look forward to what we will do each month.  Even though my kids are still in Elementary School, it's easy to fall into a rut doing the same things over and over again.  This resolution should help us discover new things that we like to do as a family.

Another healthy resolution that doesn't involve working out, does involve medication.  I am notorious about taking myself off prescribed medication early.  This tactic makes flare ups worse when they happen.  So, this year I am resolving to stay on prescribed medication for the period it is prescribed.  Seems easy enough, but we will see how this one goes.
What are your new year's resolutions?  I would love to hear them.  Maybe, you will inspire me to do something new this year.  Please share with a comment below, and Happy 2012 everyone!