It has been almost a month now since we decided to eliminate dairy from Simon’s diet, due to some allergy symptoms. During that time, his face rash has gone away completely. There were a couple of times that he had dairy when he was with other people, and the rash came back, which reaffirmed our suspicions. We are still feeling it out. We could be wrong. (I still hope we are.) But this is where we are at right now.
Learning to live without dairy, as I suspected, has been tricky. Weeks into this and I am still getting a feel for it. But I am glad to say we have made progress learning how to fulfill nutritional needs even better than we were before.
Here are a few of the things I have made for Simon over the past few weeks:
There has been a lot of trial and error going on, and we have tried some things and liked them, and other things we have thought were not good:
~’Earth Balance’ butter- This is easy to use, has a buttery taste, and can be swapped out in recipes for butter. I have been buying the one that is also soy-free.
~’Amande’ brand cultured almond milk yogurt-I think this yogurt is yummy and like it even better than dairy yogurt! The only trick is that is needs a lot of stirring when you first open the container.
~’Follow Your Heart’ brand mozzarella (or as we have been calling it: “faux-zarella”) is what we have used on pizzas. This was recommended by a vegan friend, and I think it is a decent substitute. It has a good taste, though not as strong as mozzarella, and it melts but doesn’t have that gooey, cheesy, stretchiness that is so lovely about cheese.
~’Daiya’ cheddar shreds. We didn’t like these. They melted to the consistency of velveeta when we put some in a quiche, and was quite oily. I tried making Simon pasta with it (see above) and he only had a few bites because he didn’t like it either.
~’Rice Vegan’ american cheese slices. We didn’t like these either. Simon called it “the yucky cheese” and peeled it off of his sandwich. I think it tastes like rice, not cheese.
Some of the items I was buying before, I had to seek out new versions of, such as rice cakes (who would have thought those would have dairy in them!?). Also, I have had to find non-dairy versions of occasional treats, such as the animal cookies we had at his birthday party. I have spent a lot of time searching for recipes that have good reviews, and asking friends who also eat non-dairy for advice. I am getting a little bit more comfortable now, and want to focus on expanding Simon’s palate, and getting us all to eat more fruits and veggies and less processed foods. I find it difficult to break lifelong habits, but it will be worth it for the well-being of our family.
On Simon’s Birthday I did a special birthday themed Storytime with him at home. Usually we read a book right before his nap, but since this was a special day, we read a whole stack of pre-nap books. He thought this was pretty fantastic, and it was a win-win situation because I am always happy to read him lots of books, and he is always happy to be read to. We had these birthday stories around for a couple of weeks, but they have finally gone back to the library and have since been replaced by books about bugs (his current burning interest).
Here are my picks for birthday themed books:
Happy Birthday, Little Pookie by Sandra Boynton. We love the Little Pookie books around here. The rhymes are clever and fun, and Little Pookie is an adorable character.
The Birthday Box by Leslie Patricelli. Patricelli is another author that we really like as a whole family. Her illustrations are clean and simple, yet very expressive and humorous. I love the imagination used in this story as the baby enjoys the box that a gift came in as much as the gift itself.
Happy Birthday, Moon by Frank Asch. I had this book when I was little, so I have a soft spot for it. In this story the little bear hears his own echo and thinks the moon is talking to him. The plot is pure innocence and gives you a warm fuzzy feeling.
Happy Birthday, Danny and the Dinosaur! by Syd Hoff. This book would be great for a child who is a beginning reader, but is also fun for littler kids like Simon. He loves dinosaurs, so the Danny and the Dinosaur books are really entertaining to him.
It’s My Birthday by Helen Oxenbury. In this story, various animals help a child gather the necessary ingredients to make a birthday cake. At the end, they all enjoy it together. There is also a recipe in the back to bake your own birthday cake, which would make a great tie-in for homeschooling or just for fun.
Do you have any favorite birthday-themed children’s books to recommend?
I haven’t blogged in a couple of days because I have been taking care of a sick toddler, and have therefore been distracted. My poor little guy came down with quite the crazy cold the night after his birthday party. Within mere hours he went from being totally fine, to having a stuffy nose, to total head and chest congestion and a robust cough. We have spent the last four days trying to keep him from overdoing it, and encouraging fluids to loosen up all the icky stuff in his nose and lungs.
Today he finally seemed slightly improved, and his Daddy took him outside for some fresh air for a short time. I am hoping by tomorrow, weather permitting, we can go back out again for a short trip, and that by Friday he will be well enough for his music class. In the meantime, we’ll be taking it as easy as possible.
I hope to be back on track tomorrow with a more organized post.
Simon: A boy and his balloons.
Simon only asked for two specific things for his birthday: a tiger cake, and balloons. Cake and balloons were all he requested last year too. He has already told Jeramy that he needs to have balloons for his birthday. If we are out somewhere, and they have balloons up, he always points them out excitedly. He loves balloons.
He is my crazy child. He is so imaginative, always making up stories, and inventing reasons for things. Everything has to have a reason why for him, and he always wants to know. He is inquisitive about the way things work, and loves to take things apart and see their inner workings. He loves to play, especially outside, especially in the dirt. He collects rocks. Rarely does he come into the house from outdoors without stopping to pick up another perfect rock that he wants to keep. He likes toys with wheels, especially tractors and construction vehicles. He also loves books. He prefers paint and playdough to crayons, and doesn’t much care for coloring books. His favorite color is still yellow, though occasionally he chooses green instead. He has a wicked sweet tooth, especially for chocolate, and would eat pancakes every day if we let him. He sometimes naps, sometimes doesn’t. He can be quite hot-headed and angry. He always lines his toy animals, blocks, cars, etc. up into long, straight lines. He really hates it when Mumma is not home, especially for his bedtime. He wants hugs, kisses, and cuddles on his own terms, and will get mad if you try to sneak in a kiss. He is taking his time with potty training, but is almost there. He loves to jump on our bed and hates to sit still.
We will be having a little get-together this weekend with a proper birthday cake and more balloons. Not a big, fancy party, just close family and friends to sing “Happy Birthday” and share the cake with us. However, we still wanted him to feel special on his actual birthday. So, Jeramy brought home three balloons for the birthday boy from work, and I hung a big, glittery number three on the wall. I made his favorite food for dinner (pancakes, of course, but this time I made them dairy-free and added vegan chocolate chips), and we lit candles. He was delighted. We also had a few little presents from us for him, and when he opened each one he gasped and said “Thanks!!!!”. After supper we all walked to the playground and had fun playing together. He showed off all of his new skills at climbing and going on the slides by himself. When we returned home there was coconut milk ice cream.
In the blink of an eye my little guy is another year older. I am continually amazed and delighted by him, and the little person he is growing to be.
The Spring weather lately has been just begging us to spend time outside, and on Saturday we found ourselves with free time together as a family. Jeramy and I asked Simon: “What do you want to do today?”, and he answered: “Go to da beach.” My parents generously bought us a year-long pass to a local place that has hiking trails, fields, scenic spots to explore, and a sandy little beach. That is where we ended up.
The water is still very cold this time of year, and there was a strong breeze, but that didn’t stop my little explorer. He wanted to walk right into the water, chasing the little fish, splashing, and gathering buckets of water to bring up onto the beach and dump out on the sand. We had the whole beach to ourselves for a while, and then a few other families came with some older children who were armed with frog-catching nets. They brought over all kinds of creatures for Simon to look at, and Simon wanted to run off with them into the tall reeds. He walked up to a boy who is probably about two years older than he is, and proudly announced: “I have a bucket too. It’s pretty, see?” The boy smiled, and splashed past in the tall grass.
We started to build a sandcastle, but it changed into a volcano, and then Simon filled in the hole, so I suppose it was a mountain in the end. Jeramy and Simon went and walked the perimeter of the pond a bit, while I sat, relaxing on the warm sand and did some people watching.
After a couple of hours it was time to gather up the buckets and shovels, change our mud and water covered toddler into some dry clothes, and head home to make some supper. We all got a good fill of fresh air and sun, and had a great time being outside.
Simon: Tiny child, big nature.
This is how we spent our afternoon on Saturday. It was sunny and warm, and Simon asked us that morning to go to the beach. So we went to a nearby pond that has a bit of sand and spent time in the outdoors.
More about that adventure tomorrow. Until then, check out more from the 52 project this week by clicking on the image below: