21 July 2008


Every night this weekend I dreamed that I was out on a date. It's all a little fuzzy, but I remember that none of the dates were with people I know in real life, and all of them were quite innocent and enjoyable. I was happy in the dreams.

I've written here—quite recently in fact—that I'm not ready to date again. Perhaps the subconscious mind is trying to tell me something different.

I took the twins to the park on Saturday afternoon. We went to a local park that has an area with sprinklers and an area that's a regular ol' park with stuff to climb on and swings and such. We spent about an hour splashing in the water, then headed over to the swings and slides.

While Maddie and Riley were climbing around on some of the equipment, a girl came over and started chatting with me. She was tall and thin, very friendly and sweet. I would have guessed her to be in her early teens, although I gathered from our conversation that she was entering sixth grade, so she was likely a bit younger than I first guessed.

She was very encouraging to Maddie and Riley, saying things like, "Good job!" when they got to the top of a ladder, or making comments to me like, "Wow, they really like to climb." There was certainly nothing threatening about her; I got a vibe from her that she was lonely and bored and liked little kids. I asked her if she had brothers and sisters, and she wistfully told me no, only cousins who lived far away. At one point, she helped Riley climb up part of the jungle gym. He willingly let her help him, which surprised me as he will usually only let me touch him if I'm around and available. 

Part of me was worried about her. She had a wounded puppy kind of aura about her, and based on nothing more than my spotty intuition, I felt a motherly concern about the safety of her home. But it was also a little weird to me how she relentlessly shadowed us. To be fair, when it was time to go, I simply told her we were leaving and wished her a good weekend and that was that. But the whole incident felt a little strange. The more I think about it, the more it felt like a small cry for help.

Maddie, Riley, and I were having a tickle-fest on my bed. They love my bed.

"Maddie and Riley, would you like to sleep in a bed like Mama's?"
[blank looks]
"Where do you guys sleep?"
"In cribs! In MaddieRiley room!"
"Do you want to get beds, like Mama's?"
[shocked looks]
"No! MaddieRiley sleep cribs! MaddieRiley in own room! MaddieRiley no sleep bed!"

I was surprised, but relieved. Frankly, I have not given a moment's thought to the transition to big kid beds, so I'm not sure what came over me when I asked about it. 

When Riley was thirteen months old, I fed him peanut-butter toast for breakfast. He loved it. He also broke out in systemic hives fifteen minutes after eating it. Since that incident, we have avoided peanuts like the plague and I carry and EpiPen when we're out.

At the twins' two-year checkup, I had the doctor write us a lab requisition to have blood drawn to do a RAST screening for peanut and tree nut allergies. I got the results back today.

All negative. Even the peanut screen.

A nurse called me with the results, and she said that because of Riley's prior reaction to peanuts, the doctor would be calling me to discuss how to proceed. I'll likely have to take Riley in for a supervised "peanut challenge," meaning that he will eat some peanuts at the doctor's office to see how he reacts. If he has no reaction in the office, we'll be clear to go hog-wild with the peanut eating. 

I've really missed having peanut-butter in the house, and peanuts and tree nuts are a good source of protein and healthy fat for all kids, especially non-meat-eaters like mine. I'm cautiously optimistic about this news.


moo said...

I've heard that kids can "outgrow" an allergy ... that even if they react to it once, doesn't mean they're always going to react.

Maybe that's a myth.

But I hope it's true, for your sake.

Rachel said...

I've heard the same thing about kids outgrowing allergies. Hope it's true, because it is pretty hard to avoid peanuts all the time.

I've had similar experiences with older girls at the park. More than once. Some older girls just really like toddlers, which is awesome because toddlers really like big girls too. But I've also felt that needy-kid vibe as well. It's tough because they are strangers and you don't know exactly what is going on with them.

Jan said...

I think sometimes 11-year-old girls just don't quite have the social niceties down, even though they're starting to look and sound a little more grownup. My guess is that she was enjoying interacting with you guys so ... she kept interacting with you guys.

That voice in our head that tells us that other people are going to think we're insane shows up later in some people than others. :)

I have a friend whose little boy had what she thought was a peanut reaction. She kept him off peanuts until he was 3, then he did the peanut challenge. All clear, but the peanut challenge itself put the kid off peanuts for quite awhile! It's more and more and more peanuts until (to hear her tell it) the kid never wants to see another peanut again. Or they fail, whichever comes first. :)

I'm wondering now if perhaps I should try scheduling a Butterfinger challenge for myself ...

Astrogirl426 said...

I second Jan's idea - except for me, it's chocolate. Maybe I need to schedule a Godiva challenge. Yeh, that's it! A Godiva challenge!

Seriously tho, I hope your little one passes. It would make life a little easier if you didn't have to worry about it when they go off to school.

Beth A. said...

Young children can outgrow food allergies. My daughter was allergic to dairy and soy her first two years, but our allergist told us that if you're careful to avoid all exposure to the allergen, children can outgrow the allergy. She tested negative when she turned two. Which is good, because I've rarely seen a child more in love with cheese and yogurt.

Good luck with the peanut challenge!

Deanna said...

Awww....I know sometimes you just get a feeling about some kids and it always makes you wonder.

What a cute conversation about their bed situation :)

I know the scare of food allergies my daughter is allergic to all dairy --no chocolate, milk, butter, whey...and the list goes on. The simple pleasures in life she can't enjoy!!

You'd think she'd be my healthiest child --not a chance!!

Glad to hear the test came back negative ~jump in one foot at a time though....still could come back with over exposure. Good luck!!!


Heather said...

I'm sure I was that 11-year-old girl somewhere along the line. I loved kids, and was constantly begging mom and dad for additional siblings (they gave in when I was 13, and that kept me from bothering other mothers so much, though I doubt that was their plan). I just was excessively maternal from a young age -- started babysitting for money at 10, and started at a daycare at 15. Maybe she was just trying to make you see that she could interact with M&R, so maybe you would inquire about her babysitting them some time. Especially with it being the extra-boring summer time.

Just saying, rather than trying to find something creepy in it.

Caustic Cupcake said...

I really hope he passes the peanut challenge (why does that sound so intense, like it's something they'd do on American Gladiators?) so you can have peanut butter in the house again. I know you guys prefer vegetarian fare, and my sister primarily feeds her three-year-old vegetarian meals, too. Peanut butter is a protein-y godsend when it comes to tiny, picky eaters.

I like to use that excuse for eating it straight out of the jar. It's because I needed the extra protein. Yeah. That's why.

Amy E said...

I'm a new reader and I've loved reading about your wonderful family. Your kiddos are adorable and you are a great mother!

What a coincidence - today I mistook a very responsible 11 year old for being 13 or 14. These days, kids seem to look older than they are.

Ooh, wouldn't it be great if he had outgrown the allergy? I would miss eating a spoonful of pb as a snack.

I'm glad to hear y'all had fun at the park, and I hope you have a great week!

What A Card said...

Wow, that would be really exciting if he's outgrown the allergy! My b-man was sensitive to milk as a baby, but outgrew that. I can't wait for our next allergist appointment, although I'm really not expecting to get such good news for us.

Ah well, eat some extra PB for our house!

Ginevra said...

Yay! I was thinking about you guys and wondering what the results were. Just a side note to other commenters--nut allergies (or at least peanut allergies, peanuts being a legume) are often NOT outgrown the way soy or dairy or such allergies are. Just in case anyone's getting any wild nut ideas. :-) Here's hoping Riley is one of the lucky ones! Go Riley! The no-nuts thing is a pain. So often I've thought to myself, "If only there were a tasty, portable kid snack that's got some protein and a little fat for staying power ." Duh, that snack is called nuts.

Love to you all,

OTRgirl said...

In my neighborhood as a kid, there were various kids that liked to just hang out whenever our families were out at the playing field. A group of families from our church did intentional community in the inner city. Anyway, it felt like most of the kids had this deep hunger for attention, connection and a 'normal' family.

I was also the preteen who loved to play with anyone's kids at the park.

Glad the allergy might be clearing up! That's great news.

Julia said...

You know, some things still look more attractive in dreams than they turn out in real life. I am sure when it's time, you will know.

That girl sounds so sad. I can't even begin to guess at what is going on, but I think I would be affected too...

Yay for the allergy clearance. Crunch!

Sandi said...

Were any of those people you were on a date with George Clooney?

buddha_girl said...

Here's to hoping that the peanut hell is behind you! Buddha would live on peanut butter and cheese if it was socially acceptable. Har! The kid at the park - I bet you made her day regardless of her home life. I bet she's got a great heart - Riley's reaction to her is my gauge.

AnonaMum said...

Your experience with the girl at the park sounds a lot like a lonely child wishing for siblings. Twins would be especially attractive, I should think. I worry sometimes that my own daughter, who will be an only child we expect, will feel that longing.

Keen said...

Hahaha...a peanut challenge! That sounds AWESOME. Seriously, though, I hope you get to keep peanut butter in the house again.

My boys came back from vacation and Primo is in the big bed for good. I took his crib apart and I'm giving it to a friend. Secondo, on the other hand, makes a beeline for his crib and, says, "¡Quiero ir a la cuna!" every time we go into their bedroom. It's like he's terrified that we're going to make him sleep in the big bed like his brother...so I have no idea when he'll be ready, and I'm not about to push it.

Giovanna said...

Great news about the peanuts!
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that you will soon be a full-fledge peanut eating household.
I could only wish!

Mar said...

I am SO pleased to hear about Riley's peanut results -- I remember that post from way back and had had been meaning to ask about it. My son -1 month younger than M&R - had a reaction to walnuts a couple of months ago and I'm hoping that he'll out grow it. We'll test with the allergist again next year. Will you please update with what his doctor says? Hoping for the best. It's hard to avoid nuts and takes the fun out of so many treats.

django's mommy said...

What moo said- kids can absolutely outgrow allergies. At least based on my highly scientific study with an N=1 (my sister). She was allergic to strawberries, citrus, and tomatoes as a kid- broke out in an impressive rash. Now it's not an issue at all.

Also, Snick, we must be getting our dreams from the same video store or something- I've been dreaming about my 'future husband' (?!!!) despite my insistence that I am nowhere near ready to date.

Emily said...

Along the lines of that girl in the park...When I'm out walking my dog occasionally we will come across these two young girls. Guessing 7 and 9-ish. They politely ask if they can pet my dog and then go about nearly smothering her to death with their attention and wants for her attention. It overwhelms me very quickly and my dog is the best sport but it gets old for her quickly as well. My first thought about those two has always been that there is something off in their home life that would create such overly affectionate, attention seeking little girls. It makes me sad for them and now I avoid walking by their house because of it. I certainly hope for their sakes that I am wrong. But it still makes me wonder.

Amy said...

It is possible that girl in the park is trolling for babysitting jobs. i found 2 of my best babysitters at playgrounds; one was 11 and one was 12. They had gone down there with that intent, hoping that some mom would see how awesome they were with kids and then want to hire them. It's tough to get babysitting jobs at 11 or 12, but starting them that young has been wonderful for me--they tended to babysit longer for me (as in their middle teen years) and also knew my kids so well at that point that they were really capable kids and could make meals for my 3, bathe them, and put them to bed with no trouble at all. I started the 11 year old out as a mother's helper, then started leaving her for an hour or so when i went grocery shopping, etc. My kids are 17, 15, 13 now and one of my babysitters has 2 kids of her own--but boy, they were great.

If you see that girl again, you might want to see if she's interested in hanging with you on some outings.

Pauli said...

We JUST ordered a bed for Ella this weekend. She is 3 1/2. A while ago, I told my OB/GYN that we were thinking about it, and she said (from experience), "Keep them in cribs for AS LONG AS POSSIBLE! You never know what will happen once they are in beds." Of course, for you it may mean that Riley just comes into your bed without waking you up with screams and calls. We're hoping that Ella won't suddenly decide that she wants to sleep in our bed. =)

Kellie said...

Hope you are peanut allergy free!

We just moved our twins to toddler beds... We only moved them out because one was banging his head and we were afraid he would break the crib and hurt himself. I would stay with the cribs as long as possible, at least you know where they are at night! :)

I can't believe they are 2 already!

Take care