Happy 3rd Birthday, Reid!

Okay, I give. Reid’s birthday was a whole month ago! I blame unemployment for completely turning all routines I once had on their ear. But did you know? My baby boy turned 3 on December 4.

THREE. The baby. Not so much a baby anymore.


Yes, folks, we celebrated the birth of a brand new threenager.

Proof. We give a slice of cake to a smiling, happy kid. Ready to make his wish and blow out the candles….


… until literally halfway through the “Happy Birthday” song, when he realizes that everything about this situation does not live up to his expectation. The song ends, Reid pushes his slice of cake halfway across the table and bursts into tears.


It is going to be a great year! Ha.

No, but seriously. All the lofty, fragile expectations and bold assertions that this year may bring, I’m ready.

To my Reid: you are an enigma. You have got this amazing spirit and fortitude. Quiet ambition. The smallest among us, you work so hard to look and play the part. You never wonder if you’re ready for something, you just assume that you are. Which means your Dad and I have to keep our eyes on you!

First name: “Reid”, Middle name: “Ready for Anything”.










The flipside of not wondering if you’re ready for something is: you assert when something is not for you. Two things you’re not into? Water and Noise. These are your kryptonite right now.



(Which made the water park vacation in the Wisconsin Dells a WHOLE NOTTA NOPES as far as you were concerned.)


Only by suiting you up in this ridiculous getup [above] were you able to splash (FEET ONLY, THANKS) with a tenuous smile. The rest of the vacation looked like this.


This year has been one of mastery and discovery. Toddler skills such as walking and feeding yourself having long been accomplished, you have started to truly enjoy your surroundings and be a buddy to all of us.







If there was one Big Reveal about you this year, it’s that you are a complete ham. We always pegged your brother for being a comedian, but you hold your own, young one.









Yet again – you bring balance to that goofy side with a sweet snuggly side.



You are definitely all about Dad right now. A total Daddy’s boy… many times to my detriment. You’ll be so passionate about Dad doing things for you that if I even attempt to help you, you don’t hesitate to ball up a fist and slug me hard. We’re working on that… Many mornings, you’ll toddle into our bedroom, walk right up to my side of the bed and say, “Mommy! I going to be nice to you today!” It doesn’t always last, but I appreciate the fresh attempt every morning.

You are also still big into your milk. You slam two sippy cups of milk a day – one in the morning, and one before dinner. We’re in the process of cutting you back now, but all year this year, you were not able to function without these daily doses of dairy. When it was time to make a cup, you’d watch us pour a cup of milk and wait patiently on the microwave to ding. You’d yell “Milk’s ready!” and we’d snap on a lid and hand it to you. Once the milk hit your lips, that cup stayed attached to your mouth until you’d completely drained the cup. After it was gone, you’d hold up the cup, shake it a little and yell, “Empty milk!!” then chuck the sippy cup as hard as you could across the room.



Big things for you this year?

You were cleared of all other allergies except peanuts, of course (oh, and cats). It was a huge thing – for Mommy at least – to be able to allow tree nuts back into the house. It at least doubled our cereal options alone!

No more diapers! You decided you were done with diapers late this summer. As with everything else, once you’d made up your mind that it was behind you, it was. Potty training was fast. You definitely made it easy!

Words, words, words. There is nothing you can’t say. You have a bit of a lisp, which is adorable. And right now you either start most sentences with “Because” or end them with “Though.” We’re not sure why except that you hear us using these words all the time and you think it makes you sound grown up. Examples: “Because I stayed dry last night! Because I didn’t wet my pull-up!” or “I want some milk, though.” Also – if something is big in size, you call it “a bigger”. So if someone calls you a little kid, you retort “No, I’m not. I’m a bigger!” Or if someone is trying to give you a small amount of milk, you’ll say, “I want a bigger!”

Kid, I can’t believe that just over three years ago I had no idea who you were. This strong, solid little boy who hits hard and hugs harder. You have an easy spirit. Also a temper that will burn hot then fizzle because you’d rather just make up and not fight anymore. You are this great balance of love and fury. Energy and joy. I am so honored to be your mom. Happy Birthday, big guy.

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut

I have to write this down, so that I can remember this allergy journey we’ve been on with Reid. Last year about this time, Reid – at 1.5 years old – was diagnosed with a peanut allergy. First with a food reaction, then with a positive skin scratch test.

The Year Follow-Up

This May, we had our year follow-up with the allergist. We got to tell him about the time Reid bit through a Snickers wrapper and sunk his teeth into peanutty-nuggety goodness at Halloween. We chatted about Reid’s wheezes when he runs after his big brother down the sidewalk.

At that appointment, Reid had a blood draw. They submitted it for allergy testing of all tree nuts (which we were explicitly told to avoid last year) and environmental allergens. I’d been giving Reid Zyrtec for what I thought were seasonal allergies (turned out to just be a cold), and dingbat me gave him Zyrtec the night before our appointment, which pre-empted our being able to administer a skin scratch test for all these things.

That whole blood test/skin scratch test nuance becomes important later. Stay with me.

We left the appointment with a new asthma maintenance regimen to follow and made an appointment to follow-up with the allergist in a month to check on his breathing.

The Results are In

A week later, we got the blood test results back: negative for all allergies except for cats. The nurse relayed the message that we could now try tree nuts “safely at home” and that our allergist recommended we stick to individual tree nuts before moving on to mixes. Done and done.

It’s funny the mindset you get into when you’ve been avoiding something for a year as if it were basically poison. It seems almost unbelievable that tree nuts wouldn’t cause some sort of harm.

I know, I’m living the irony – the TORTURE that Facebook is to read sometimes because some folks are so fearstruck by absolutely nothing consequential when there is hard data available that reinforces that whatever it is is completely harmless. I’m now doing that very thing.

In fact, Andy and I did our little happy dance and immediately started to list all the breakfast cereals available to us given these test results. And yet weeks passed while I consciously opted out of opportunities to let Reid try nuts. We’re about to go on a long car ride… Camping really isn’t the time for this… yadda yadda.

Trial and Error

Honey Nut Cheerios was the first thing we tried. Success! He LOVED it. Devoured an entire bowl, in fact. And he didn’t explode! I mentally high-fived his immune system that day and crossed that off my long list of anxieties.

Last Monday, Andy came up to the bathroom where I was getting ready. He held Reid, facing out, in his arms and said, “Mommy… look at this,” then proceeded to lift his shirt which revealed a red rash covering his entire trunk. I blinked a couple of times, but my mind didn’t connect the dots until Andy said, “He just had a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds.”

The hives came shortly after. We gave Reid the Benadryl, per his allergy action plan, then watched him for signs of any sort of distress. None came, so we called the allergist’s office when it opened and followed their instructions.  Reid now fully medicated, he watched Despicable Me, and I googled error rates of food allergy blood tests (15-20% chance you’ll react to the actual food when you get a blood test negative, by the way).

We already had a follow-up with the allergist for Reid’s asthma regimen, so we tacked on “tree nut re-testing” onto the agenda for that visit. Good times.

Back to the Allergist

Reid had his allergist’s appointment today, and I’m more confused than ever. Reid doesn’t have an almond allergy. 

We tested him six ways from Sunday:

  • Skin scratch test for all tree nut allergens: negative
  • Crushed up almond, scratched on the skin: negative
  • Gave him an almond to eat: negative
  • Gave him five almonds to eat: managed to choke one down before refusing to eat any more because almonds are gross and ENOUGH WITH THE ALMONDS ALREADY YOU CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!
  • Crushed up remaining uneaten almonds into vanilla ice cream: negative (and DELICIOUS)

A half hour after the contaminated ice cream treat, Reid’s doctor told me with certainty that Reid isn’t allergic to almonds – or other tree nuts for that matter. We scoured the cereal’s ingredient panel for other possible reactive items, but cinnamon was all we could come up with. Reid eats cinnamon toast and other cinnamon-y things, so… nope.

My prevailing guess is that peanut in some form or another was accidentally introduced to the cereal. It can happen. I’ve seen how it can happen. We in the food industry try so SO very hard to make absolutely no mistakes where food safety is concerned , but it takes one guy not reading a label. Or a label not being where it should. R&D running a test for a new peanut cereal on that line and it not getting sanitized properly. I thank God that Reid’s allergy isn’t life-threatening. I can’t imagine what life would be like for us if it was.

Friend Lion (and YES, the Armadillo!)

This story has two parts.

Part 1: The Acquisition of Friend Lion

We had a family errand run yesterday. First stop – get Graham’s hair cut. Reid and I stopped in Anthropologie to pass the time. Anthropologie is also known as the place where Reid calls all the clothes “jammies”. Hilarious if you’re familiar with the store.

There, we happened on a stuffed lion. I held it out to Reid and said, “Look Reid, a friend!” Reid took this about as literally as anyone could. He hugged it tight around the neck and didn’t let go. He carried it around the store, introducing “Friend” to every shopper he saw – complete with a huge double-dimpled smile.

Ultimately, it was time to put Friend away and leave the store, but we all know where this is going. Reid dutifully  put Friend back where we’d found him, patted him on the head, said, “Bye, Friend,” and walked away – shoulders slumped. I checked Friend’s price tag, and found that he was 50% off. Thus, our latest acquisition.


I’ve never seen Reid buddy up with any stuffed animal like this. Friend is real, you guys. He takes naps, needs to be buckled in shopping carts, gets hungry for breakfast – you name it.

Part 2: Guilt

Last night, after a happy homecoming with Friend lion, I read Reid a favorite book, But Not the Hippopotamus.

If you’re familiar with this one – it’s about a bunch of animal friends doing fun stuff with each other around town… but this poor hippopotamus is left out of everything. Spoiler alert: the animal friends come around and ask the hippopotamus to join them.


It kinda takes this dark turn at the end though, because after the Hippopotamus joins his new friends, we find out that they all left out the Armadillo.


And yes, that is how sad and pitiful the poor armadillo looks at the end of the book.

After I closed the book, Reid immediately hopped off the chair ran over to his cache of stuffed animals and plucked out this stuffed armadillo that I’d bought him just before we moved out of Texas. Reid has never paid any attention to the thing before, but now that he is aware the emotional turmoil of being left out, I think he doesn’t want the armadillo to be sad anymore.


This was Reid, after breakfast. Armadillo and Friend lion slept in bed with him last night, ate breakfast with him, and subsequently rode to school in his lap.

Because no book is going to tell Reid who to be friends with!

The Kid Loves His Dairy

I took Reid in for a recheck on his breathing at the doctor today, and – Hallelujah – the medicine cocktail/regimen we have him on appears to be working! This marks the first cold he’s had in I-can’t-remember-how-long that we haven’t landed ourselves in the doctor on Day 10-or-so for some sort of medical intervention. (I make that distinction – this was just a recheck after all.) His doc also said that if the nebulizer cocktail is working, there is a chance we’re going to avoid ear infections (someone tell me how that works) in the future. Which means maybe no second set of tubes. :::fingers crossed:::

That makes this a good day.

Reid and I marched victoriously out to the waiting area to collect our coats (because all good Wisconsin public places have AMPLE coat hooks/hangers at the ready and yes, WE ARE STILL WEARING COATS SOMEHOW), and Reid smiled sweetly at me, raised his eyebrows and said, “Go home now?”

I explained that, no buddy, you are going back to see Mr. Danny and Ms. Emily at school. He looked so disappointed, so he tried again. “No school. Go home?” Again with the raised eyebrows.

I elaborated further with an artificially gung-ho voice, “Nope! You’re going back to school! We’ll see friieeeeends and play tooooooys and eat lunch…”

Reid looked at his feet for a minute, then looked up at me again and said, “Eat lunch?” “Yep, eat lunch.” Because of course that’s what he latched onto. He considered that then with fresh hope said, “CHEESE?!”

I shrugged and said, “Maybe?” Reid looked at the door and yelled, “LET’S GO!”

Silly Baby

Reid is home with me today. Wheezing again. He’s taking it like a champ, but we did go see the doctor today to see why his Flovent/albuterol cocktail doesn’t keep him breathing easily during a flareup.

Clearly, he takes this all in stride – as demonstrated below.

He thinks he sounds funny when he’s wheezing, and he has this funny little chipmunk laugh that he does. I wanted to get it on video and ended up just rolling tape and getting a good collection of Reid’s daily antics. It’s perfect. He is a little hamball. Just imagine what it’s like when he and Graham get together! We get nothing done!

On the breathing front, we now have a higher dose of Flovent, and we now have a nebulizer to administer meds when he has a cold to hopefully get his two medicines administered more effectively. Here’s hoping!