Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Know It All

Okay...I admit it.  I can be a bit of a "know it all".  But, in my defense, I always try to use my powers for good.  I love nothing more than to help a friend -- whether it's finding the best deals for "back to school" supplies, sharing where free family events are happening in our area or providing the name of a trustworthy plumber.  In fact, I actually enjoy coming up with creative solutions...for other people's problems.

So...your kid is 4 years old and will only poop while wearing a pull-up?  Have you tried having him/her wear one while sitting on the toilet (but don't let on that you've cut a hole in the bottom of their pull-up?)

So...you've forgotten to play tooth fairy and now your kid is a crying heap?  May I offer up some reasons for a tardy tooth fairy: perhaps her wing got tangled in a cobweb, or maybe she got caught in a rainstorm and can't fly with wet wings, or you've heard on the news that the price of glitter has skyrocketed -- forcing many fairies to use grasshoppers and dragonflies to complete their tooth missions.  But, those silly bugs can be so unreliable!

My bestest bud, who always follows recipes to the letter, calls me when her cupboards don't hold all the ingredients she needs.  I am a maven-at-making-do.  While another friend likes to challenge my party planning capabilities. A typical instant message from her on a Saturday morning, "Andrea - I have 15 family members in town for the weekend -- I need a plan!"

I love it!

What I don't love? Not having all the answers for my own dang problems.  Sometimes I'm such a hypocrite.  I tell my kids - if you don't ask for what you need, how can you expect others to help you? Sigh...I'm still a work in progress with this.

In the fall of 2008, I began a journey in asking for help from others. At the time, I was at an impasse -- I felt like I'd exhausted all of my resources in terms of books, teachers, therapists and what I could physically do for Noah. I was in a race, not only to reduce the gap between him and his peers, but also to close the emotional distance occurring in my marriage in part to the added stress. I was introduced to Action for Autism St. Louis, a not-for-profit organization created to help families fill in some of the gaps.  They offer financial support to families seeking therapies, summer camps and social skills classes not otherwise covered by insurance, but very much needed to address their children's developmental delays.

And, thanks to the generosity of people like you -- who have supported Action for Autism St. Louis and other charities like it -- children are thriving. Though Noah still has a long road ahead of him, his future and that of more than 200 children helped by Action for Autism, is also brighter.

On Saturday, August 24th, our family will be participating in Action for Autism's 5th Annual Family Fun Walk & Kid's Carnival to help give back to an organization that has given so much to us. If you are interested in joining us email me at andrea at therapyonwry dot com  Cost is $25 per person and includes a t-shirt and pancake breakfast compliments of The Pancake House.  Our family's fun walk goal is to raise $500 to help more children with developmental disabilities in our community.  If you would like to make a donation, message me or make a secure, online donation here.  Please put "Felgenhauer" in the comments section.

Thank you.
"We're finishers!" said Natalie
2012 AFA Family Fun Walk
Noah proudly shows off his medal
2011 AFA Family Fun Walk
Our family was chosen to help lead the walk.
2010 AFA Family Fun Walk
Stopping to give thanks and admire Noah's picture featured on one of the mile markers.
2009 AFA Family Fun Walk
My team...my family...my everything
2009 AFA Family Fun Walk

Musings From Natalie #62

"Mom, you are my favorite person in the whole world...I don't even care how you look."
(In her defense, it was morning and I was still in bed...I think I should be happy she didn't mention my breath.)

Natalie: "How old is God?"
Steve: "Older than the stars."
Natalie: "How old are the stars?"

"Mom, are there more objects than living things or more living things than objects?"

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Musings From Natalie #61

Natalie: "I wanna be 7."
Me: "You'll be 7 in November."
Natalie: "I want to change my number.  It's no fair you can only change on your birthday.  I'm changing to 7 now.  Would you like to change yours, mommy?"

After being awoken by Natalie for the second time, I gave up and crawled into bed with her.  Natalie reached for my hand and said, "Something magical happens when a mom sleeps with you.  All the bad dreams just go away.  It's only when I'm alone that they come back."
(Dang it...she's got my number.)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Musings From Natalie #60

Natalie: "Mom, who is the richest person in the world?"
Me: "Hmmm...I don't know.  We can google it to find out."
Natalie: "I think it's God because he has like 1,000 people...but you're rich, too."
Me: "I am?"
Natalie: "Yeah, cause you have me."

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Musings From Natalie #59

Natalie: "How many children does God have in his hands?"
Steve: "All of them."

After finishing her cheeseburger Natalie said, "I need a refill."

Natalie: "Did you  just eat pickles?"
Steve: "Yes."
Natalie: "I don't like to eat pickles but I LOVE pickle breath!"

Me: "Natalie, that's enough.  I'm at the end of my rope."
Natalie: "Oh, would you like me to pull you back to the beginning?"

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Musings From Natalie #58

"Mom, can I have your diamond ring when you're an old lady?"

"Mom, you are so cool.  We should put you in a museum...in the best place."

"Mom, when I have kids remember to go easy on them, ok?"

"Mom, do you like me more than you love me?  Or, love me more than you like me?"

"Mom, today is the best day of my life! Because today I get to do two fun things.  I'm going to wear my best panties."

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Awww Nuts!

Belonging...it's a basic human need.  But sometimes, being a part of a group can be lonely.

Six years ago my daughter was drafted into one I had no intention of her joining -- nobody does.

The group I'm referring to is comprised of more than six million kids in the U.S. and is growing at an alarming rate...

food allergies

Natalie's entry into it began innocent enough.  As a newborn she was plagued with reflux and eczema, but by the time she was eight months old, her skin condition only worsened.  I left her first visit to the dermatologist armed with prescriptions for an epi-pen, three different skin creams, an oral medication and the knowledge that there are three types of eczema and my poor baby had features of all of them! We were counseled by our pediatrician to have her tested for food allergies because although at this point she was strictly breastfed, soon she would be introduced to solid foods and based on her skin sensitivities, was probably affected.  Unfortunately, testing on infants can be unreliable which is why both blood and skin testing is recommended to rule out false positives.  Eight foods account for 90% of all food reactions: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish -- with peanut allergies ranking #1.

With the blood test, she showed to be allergic to wheat, egg, peanut and tree nut.

I cried.

What the heck would I feed her?

What the heck would I feed Noah?  That kid was already such a picky eater, but there were two foods I could always count on him to eat...peanut butter sandwiches and cheesy eggs.

Was this a joke?

With the skin test, she was negative for wheat, but her reactions for eggs, peanuts and tree nuts remained high. I breathed a sigh of gratitude for not having a wheat allergy and we rid our home of nuts.  Noah transitioned pretty easily to sunflower butter with the understanding that peanuts were dangerous for his baby sister.  In fact, from that day forward, he made sure that anyone with food in their hands, knew of his sisters' allergies.

He has always taken his role as big brother seriously...and for that I am grateful.

But, knowing what your child is allergic to is only the beginning...the real struggle lies in educating others outside your group to not only understand the necessity of reading food labels, but to have empathy and compassion. Kids don't ask to be set apart, but oftentimes they are forced to be left out of celebrations because the foods being served are not safe for them to eat.

For instance, holidays like Halloween, Valentine's Day and Easter are often centered around candy and sweet treats.  This can be a nightmare for kids with food allergies. If you are a school room parent, may I suggest a "no food just fun" event centered around games, stories and crafts.  Or, if you must have sweets, check out these lists of allergy free candies. I know it's a pain and an added step - just do it and count yourself lucky that you don't have to carry an epi-pen or worry about things like "cross contamination".


I have a friend whose daughter's food allergies are so severe that she often has to leave her classroom when a birthday is being celebrated because the party fare is unsafe for her to be near.

Besides being scary...having a food allergy can wreck havoc on your wallet.  Oftentimes "allergy free" or "allergy safe" products cost more.  Imagine the money you would spend trying to provide your child with an "allergy safe" cupcake that looked similar to the ones being served at a classroom holiday party? I have a friend who does just that.  Prior to each and every school party, she contacts the room parent in charge of treats to find out the type of cupcake being ordered then she calls up an allergy free bakery and places an order for three (that's the minimum) similar-looking treats.

Talk about a pain in your pocket-book.

The other day Natalie and I spent five hours in the allergist's office to find out once and for all if she had truly outgrown her allergies.  While her blood work came up negative for all three allergens, when it comes to peanuts, an oral challenge is still required.  We were told that although her chances were very good, some kids who show to be negative with the blood test, still require an epi during the oral challenge.  Every 15 minutes Natalie was given a slightly larger amount of peanut butter.  She hated the taste, but in the end we learned definitively that she no longer has an allergy to peanuts.

I left the office feeling happy for her and for me...we were finally able to get out of our "contract", but I couldn't help feeling a little sad for those who will always hold a lifetime membership.

Deep Thoughts From Noah #33

Natalie: "Is there an end to outer space?"
Noah: "No.  There is no end...just like in Minecraft."

Friday, July 12, 2013

Musings From Natalie #57

"Mom, are there zombies in heaven?"

"Do you think I can grow up to be an entertainment person?"

Natalie wears our homemade chocolate mask while enjoying an in-home spa day.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I Know What You Mean #17

While viewing the exhibits at The Magic House Children's Museum...
"Mom! Look at the delightascope," cheered Natalie.
(Hmmm...I think she meant kaleidoscope.)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Musings From Natalie #56

At 3 a.m:
Natalie: "Mahhhm, I had a bad dream."
Me: "Alright...I'll come sleep with you."
 (dang you Scooby Doo...)

At 7 a.m:
Natalie: "Mom! I can't believe I slept all night without the nightlight!"
Me: "Do you think it could have been because I spent half the night in your bed with you?"
Natalie: "I had the best dream...about WORMS!  I dreamed about baby worms hatching from eggs.  The eggs had these little pink stripes on them and..."

Friday, July 5, 2013

Musings From Natalie #55

Me: "Natalie, please put your feet down at the table and sit like a lady."
Natalie: "Aww, Mom.  Being a lady is no fun...they don't even get to splash in mud puddles or be funny and tell jokes.  Being a lady is sooo boring!"

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Musings From Natalie #54

Natalie: "Mom, I am so proud of cows."
Me: "What do you mean?"
Natalie: "Their milk is just so delicious!"

Natalie: "Mom, are we related."
Me: "Yes."
Natalie: "Are you and Dad related."
Me: "No."
Natalie: "You aren't?...but you're married and you kiss a lot."
(Hmm...rapture, relish, regard, respect...but not related)