The Evil Peanut

Some of you may be wondering where I disappeared to.  Let me explain.  

My little angel got the stomach flu and that went on for about a week.  Poor little guy was pooping and vomiting all day long.  So because I missed work and school I had to make up some hours which made my week pretty jam packed.  Then just when I think things are calming down I get a phone call from my angel’s school.

This is where I will start for today’s post.

It was a Monday and it had snowed and was pretty icy.  My parents were in town visiting.  I dropped my angel off to school and then made my way to work with my folks.  It took us an hour and a half to make the usually 15 minute trip.  Slipping and sliding the whole way.  Not even a minute after I park, my phone rings.

“Your son is having a reaction to something.”

I tell them I’ll call them back as I scramble to get a hold of my husband.  I don’t take it too seriously but i figure I’ll never make it there fast enough so I send my husband.  An hour later I get a call from him and he seems concerned.

“I gave him Benadryl an hour ago and the rash has spread down his body.  I tell him to go to the doctor and plan to meet him there.  I start to feel it might be serious.

When I get to the doctor’s office I enter the exam room and don’t even recognize the child sitting there in my husband’s lap.  That couldn’t possibly be my child, that’s not what he looks like!  But it was in fact him, and I was in complete shock.  My normally healthy child was suffering from a food allergy and we had no idea what caused it.  He had already received a shot of Epinephrine and had just finished throwing up the Benadryl they tried to give him.  The doctor tells us that we have to take him to the hospital just to make sure his reaction doesn’t get any worse.  At that point it was fine to take him in our car.  Jayesh went home to pick up our phone chargers and a few things.  While he was gone, the reaction seemed to be coming back.  They gave angel another Epipen and called the ambulance.  Of course my mind starts racing as they tell me this is a pretty serious reaction and he could stop breathing.  I felt completely helpless as I cradled my crying son.  

Fast forward a couple of weeks, we have now figured out he has a peanut and sesame allergy.  That day it was sesame that he reacted to.  So when they tested he was 90% reactive to sesame and 100% reactive to peanuts.  This frightens me.  If that was a reaction to a 90% allergy, what happens when he has peanuts?

This is how I see peanuts now:

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So now we’re checking labels and thinking twice about what we eat and how we cook.  I can’t even begin to describe how scary this whole ordeal was.  The thought of losing my son is unbearable.  This little love of mine that I protected in my belly has an enemy.  He’s my little super hero and we’ve now discovered his kryptonite.  I imagine this must be how Superman’s mom feels.  The evil Mr. peanut is no longer welcome in our home.  Until my son can understand his allergies, it is my job to protect him.  I’m coming out swinging.  I’ll be damned if anything hurts my little Angel.  Mr. Peanut and his sidekick Sesame – beware.

A little love story.

It’s no secret.  I love my husband.  I make it very apparent in my blogs and in real life.  Everyone who knows me hears it all the time.  He’s my favorite subject and I could gush for hours.   But seriously…I love my husband.  So I’m going to indulge myself by dedicating this post to him and along the way I hope you find it helpful or at the very least, amusing/entertaining.

Our story is my favorite.

My grandfather told me I would meet a light eyed, tall man, with a good education.  He told me I would marry him by 26.  I was 25 when he told me this.  I kept thinking…I don’t have much time to meet this mysterious man!  My grandfather was gifted when it came to reading lives and knowing the future.  You can be a skeptic if you want, but I believe and the hundreds of people that he helped will tell you the same.  If I ever doubted him, my love story would be the reason I found faith.

After my grandfather passed, I followed his instruction and got on shaadi.com to find my soul mate.  Not even a month after I joined, I came across Jayesh’s profile.  I thought, wow.  Not because of anything in particular, but I was drawn to him.  For some reason I couldn’t connect with him.  So for a few days I would just visit his profile and stare at his picture.  I know that sounds weird, but I was so drawn to him.  I felt so connected to him and I can’t explain it.  After almost a week of stalking his profile, I considered just plunking down the money and buying a membership so I could write him.  That night I got online to make the purchase and I had a message waiting in my inbox.  My heart flew to my throat when I saw his user name.  With trembling hands I opened his message, and I felt in my gut that my life was about to change.

We started emailing and on August 30th about 8 months before I turned 26 I talked to him on the phone for the first time.  I opened up immediately.  I felt so comfortable.  We talked everyday sometimes a few times a day.  I missed him when we weren’t on the phone.  After a few days of talking I booked my flight to meet him.  I was so excited and I couldn’t wait to see him.

September 19th just after noon, I met him.  We already had inside jokes and so that was how we started our initial meeting.  There was no ice to break, but we had joked that in order to break the ice we would slow motion run to each other.  Just something silly to get past the awkward first moment.  Only, it was never awkward.  My dad happened to be there on a business trip so he met us at the airport.  Yes, that’s right, just minutes after meeting me, Jayesh met my father.  My father, who never likes anyone, fell in love with Jayesh.  If not my instant connection, this was for sure a sign of good things to come.

We had sushi, we watched Rambo, we bonded.  It was the best weekend I had ever had.  We even cooked together.  There was this moment when I was sitting at the dinner table and Jayesh was going out to check on the steaks.  He very idly grazed my back with his hand as he was walking out.  There was so much love in that gesture and it was electricity through my body.  In that instant I felt linked to him.  I just knew my future was with this guy.  I just about melted with that little loving touch.  I looked around and suddenly saw his home in a different light.  That fridge would soon hold my favorite foods.  These closets would be full of my clothes.  Together we would furnish this house and turn it into our home.

Two weeks later I visited again.  I left my toothbrush and my hair products behind.  That Sunday night when I got home from the airport, we talked on the phone.  Not too much into that conversation we agreed to get married.  Just like that.  Four weeks after our first meeting, we decided to spend forever together.  It was so easy to say yes, I had no questions or doubt in my mind.  And although I didn’t know everything about Jayesh, I knew I wanted to spend my life getting to know him as my husband.

When we got off the phone, I remember going to the living room where my parents were sitting and telling them what we decided.  That moment is such a blur.  I wish I could remember it better, but I was still in shock.

That was October.  We got married in March, just after my 26th birthday.  We had a lovely honeymoon in Puerta Vallarta and in July we got married again, traditional style.

It was a whirlwind, but me and my gut-we’ve always been best friends, and my gut has never steered me wrong.

We often like to talk about how we met, because it was just all so meant to be.

Here is our story in pictures:

This is me with my bestest friend, right before I met my love.

This is our first concert and my second trip. I said ‘I love you’ that night!

Just like that, we were engaged!

He surprised me in India and proposed at the Taj Mahal!

We laugh a lot! So many inside jokes!

We play pretend!

This was our civil marriage.

This was our beautiful Hindu wedding ceremony.

We always have fun together!

We believe in forever. Jayesh designed our tattoos. Om symbol made with our initials. We got these for my birthday and our first anniversary.

We have a zest for life and we celebrate EVERYTHING. This was Jayesh’s 4th anniversary of his 29th birthday 😉  I was also about 4 months pregnant!

After a little over a year married, we were blessed with our angel. He was born just after our second anniversary!

I am so blessed to have this amazing man in my life. From all angles he is perfect to me. Even more so after we created our little angel.

After 4 years together, we still have such a blast. Baby, home, job, life – we still make time for each other.

When I first started seeing Jayesh, people would tell me it would get old.  That the passion would run out and I shouldn’t be so optimistic.  What a terrible thing to say to someone at the beginning of one of the toughest journeys.  I can be realistic and admit that relationships, marriages, are not easy.  It takes effort to make it work.  You have two different people coming together to live one life together.  There’s compromise and understanding, bending a bit here and there, and of course forgiveness and unconditional love.  It makes it easier when you’re very compatible with your mate.  To all those skeptics out there – if you’re out of passion, and not having a grand ol’ time with your partner – you’re doing it wrong.

To this day, when my husband comes home from work, I am excited.  When I hear the garage door open I get butterflies.  I rush to the door and greet him with a loving hug and kiss.  Occasionally we argue, but it ends so quickly I’m not sure you can call it arguing.  We disagree and then come to a compromise.  We both left our egos at the door when we got together and that is why I believe we resolve things so quickly.  It’s not about winning or who’s right.  It’s about what is best for US.  If someone wins, we both lose.  We are kind to one another, and we put each other first.  We have a balanced love.  Since I moved in, we have never gone one day without kissing each other goodbye in the morning.  It’s the little things that form the glue for our solid foundation.  Now that we have our son, I’m even more grateful for the love we share.  I am happy that my son will be able to learn from example what it takes to nurture a relationship.  Because the biggest lesson in all of this cannot be explained, it can only be witnessed.

Here’s my attempt at an explanation:

When you make each other a priority, far above anyone and anything else, a love grows that is indestructible because it is fortified with security.  When you are consistently kind to one another and only see the other in a positive light, there is no room for resentment, which is poison in a relationship.  Nothing stands a chance at tearing you apart because both people are so secure in the relationship that they know each other enough to ignore false information.

This all may seem like cheese-ball love, but it’s not.  It’s the glue.  So when my husband and I are faced with challenges, we instantly unite and we’re on the same wavelength.  I have so much respect for  him and him for me.  It is very apparent in how we treat each other.  On the same note, we don’t tolerate when the other is disrespected by someone else.  That’s a part of that ‘we are a team’ mentality.

The most important out of it all is honesty.  We don’t lie, period.

Also never bad mouth your partner.  It’s a form of betrayal.  Keep in mind that your love for them will allow you to forgive and possibly forget, but the people you tell your problems to will not.  Have each others back and praise them!

I’m his biggest fan, and he is mine.  I’ve heard people complain about outward shows of love.  That what’s ‘normal’ is to spend time apart.  This disappoints me every time I hear it.  We’re a package deal.  We’re best friends.  We actually LIKE spending every minute together.  If you don’t have that in your life, I’m sorry, but I certainly won’t spend this short life time loving LESS.

I wish all of you love, unconditional-sweep-you-off-your-feet love.  Everyone deserves their love story.

Cracka-lackin!

So that gastronomic journey I mentioned a few posts ago…Here we go.  I’ll go day by day because it’ll end up being a really long post.

So last month I surprised my best friend for her birthday.  It was a crazy journey which involved a flight to Texas and a road trip to New Orleans.  She was attending a wedding there and we just showed up!  So on the drive we kept seeing signs for “cracklins”.  My husband knew what they were and wanted to try them and I had no clue what they were.  He just kept describing them like pork rinds.  So we see some signs for a special meats store and curiosity told us to take that exit.  We walked in and were instantly greeted by an unfamiliar smell.  I’m going to say it reminded me of textiles.  Not sure what it was but it wasn’t really pleasant.  There were all kinds of things in this store.  Boudin Balls and Boudin were in the fridge.  It’s basically sausage.  There were different spices, but nothing that caught my eye.  The ingredients in their trademarked spice where nothing to hoot and holler about.  And then as we approached the front there was the case, similar to a popcorn machine, full of cracklins.  They were deep fried, golden brown, covered in spice, and looked yummy!  We got a bag full and some drinks and headed back to the car to try them.

Here’s the bag:

We both grabbed one and bit down.  They are crunchy!  The spices were really good and a nice cold coke just goes perfect with them.  I can see how it’s easy to snack on them while watching TV.

Here is me demonstrating how hard they were:

My husband said they weren’t that bad, but he has like animal teeth.  He could chew on rocks and be totally fine.

Here is a close up:

So as you can see it’s not just pig skin.  It’s actually the entire skin and muscle layer.  The skin part is really crunchy and the meat part is a bit more chewy.  It’s like fried bacon.  SO GOOD.

So if you live near NOLA or are heading that way, give it a try!

I’ll post soon about the amazing food we had in NOLA.  I’ve never had better seafood, and wait till you see the oysters.  They were as big as my face!  Well…my palm.

So the cracklins adventure was a success!

Itsy Bitsy Snot

My poor little angel is fighting his first cold. Amazing isn’t it. We made it 18 months without any illness. I’m pretty sure he picked up something at school. He made it through his first week and came home with a cold. It didn’t hit him until Sunday and then all night he was screaming his head off because he couldn’t breathe. For those of you who haven’t dealt with this yet, here’s some advice. Aside from medicine, just pick your child up and rock or bounce them. It helps the mucous move. When they’re laying down it just collects and they get panicked because they can’t breathe. All they really want to do is cuddle anyway.

We gave him some benedryl to help with the congestion and just rocked him. He would softly ask for me to sing him Itsy Bitsy Spider. I would of course oblige. Not sure how a snot covered child sneezing and flinging boogers all over me is still so endearing. I couldn’t help but hold him and rock him, sing to him, and do everything in my power to make him comfortable. I rubbed Vick’s on his tiny chest and prayed with my whole heart that this passes quickly. We spent all night tending to him.

What an exhausting night. His first sick day. I see plenty of these coming now that he’s interacting with other children. Of course I feel horrible that he is so miserable, but I have to admit, all this extra cuddling is a bit of a positive for me. I can’t help it. I’m a cuddle-whore. I just love it. Someday he’ll turn to me and say “Mom, stop embarrassing me.” Until that time I will take every single moment of affection that I can-snot covered or otherwise. My lip muscles are quite adept, I’m able to fire off five kisses in rapid succession. He will not escape me!!

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First Day of School

Well, today was my angel’s first day of school, EVER.  He only went for a couple of hours because they start out with a phase in.  Slowly they will increase how long he’ll stay there and soon it’ll just be his new routine.  Today was a big day for all of us.  Little man cried his head off at first, which was really difficult to watch for Jayesh and me.  It felt like my heart was going to just drop out of my butt.  I felt helpless, but found comfort in comforting Jayesh.  Does that make sense?  Being strong and positive for him helped me feel better about what was happening.  I found perspective in that moment.  It was really difficult at the time, but I know in the long run my angel will really benefit from this experience.  He was fine within a half hour so as soon as we stopped hearing his wails from the other side of the door, we made our exit.  I ran a couple of errands and came back to get him.  Turns out he had a really great day.  He observed and explored.  I love his teachers and I’m sure he will too once he’s comfortable.

I think angel had the biggest day of all.  I realized on the ride home that he just had his first personal experience.  The teacher filled me in on what he did, but I didn’t experience it with him.  Only he knows what his day was really like.  Am I explaining this right?  Thus far, he’s been doing things with me or my husband so we’ve been a part of everything, but today he went and did this all by himself.  It’s his very own experience.  The first one to add to a bag that will be full to the brim with wonderful experiences.  Today he was a big boy and navigated a part of his day all by himself.

When we got home I could already see how much he had grown.  He had lunch and when he was done with his bowl of grapes he took it to the sink and dropped it in.  What a big boy!

My heart is swollen and my mind is vibrating.  I had prepared myself for the difficulty of letting go of my precious little man.  I couldn’t help but think about my pregnancy.  All the times I felt him kick and hiccup.  I could feel his every movement when we were one.  I remember so vividly nursing him and all those special moments in the middle of the night when it was just the two of us.  It brings tears to my eyes to remember the loving way he would stare at me while he was feeding.  I remember helping him crawl and then walk.  I remember all these fleeting moments.  Suddenly I feel the importance of all these moments.    I remember all the ‘firsts’ but I’m not honoring the ‘lasts’.  The ones that sneak up unannounced and rip my heart to shreds in their wake.  You see you can almost always tell a first is coming up because there is a lead up.  Like when he would teeter around the sofa or table we just knew he about to take his first steps any day.  The last time he ever does something doesn’t exactly come with an announcement.  It passes silently and then a while later I realize, it’s over.  Done.  No more crawling.  He used to do this superman swimming thing just before he started crawling.  He would lie on his belly and just frantically wave his legs and arms.  It was so funny and crazy adorable.  But he doesn’t do that anymore, and I couldn’t tell you when the last time was that he did that.  There’s so many other things just like that.  They don’t happen anymore and I don’t know when they stopped.

So on his FIRST day of school I’m eyes-open-ears-up.  I’m making the most of all these beautiful memories we’re making.  Sealing them away in the vault in my mind.  Taking pictures and videos of all the moments I can.  Some day we’ll be feeling the emptiness of the house when he moves away for college or work and at those times, these memories will give us comfort.  A hug from the past.

My little angel I love you more than you know.  You’ve done so much for me with out even knowing it.  You awakened a love inside of me that I didn’t know was possible.  Not only my love for you but my love for your father.  You see, I loved your father the moment I met him, but I finally realized how much when I saw the way he loved you.  You are growing up and although it’s hard for me to let go, I will, because I want you to fly freely without anything holding you back.  Your potential knows no bounds and some day you will amaze this world the way you already amaze me and Daddy.  We wish you the very best as you start your journey as a student.  You will be one forever, whether you sit in a classroom or not, so make the most of the knowledge you receive.  Love you my little angel, forever the most.

 

Please enjoy some pictures from his first year.

Teaching Children


As my baby becomes a full blown toddler I have taken on a new job and that is teacher!  Each day I get with my toddler is a new adventure full of discovery and amazingness.  What I’ve come to realize is that this new job is one that every parent must take on.  Not every one is cut out for teaching, so I’ll tell you what I’ve learned in hopes that it makes the transition easier for you.
While working on my Masters of Education I had a wonderful professor who taught me about patience.  Each class period we would have to present the beginning of a lesson and all our classmates were told to act like students and ask questions and be honest about whether the lesson interested them or not.  It was so much fun and so eye opening.  What I learned from this exercise is patience is key.  Many of you might be familiar with the frustration that goes along with teaching something.  I think that frustration comes from an imbalance of understanding.  What I mean is that one person has a greater understanding and one person does not and that imbalance creates frustration for both.  I believe it is the teacher’s responsibility to strike the balance and remove the frustration.

Teaching in a classroom and teaching your child are very different in that one offers more control.  In a classroom there is a specific unit and lesson and so everyone in on the same page about what is being taught.  With a child, it’s random and all over the place.  You have to search for learning moments and think on your feet and FAST!

When ever we go shopping for groceries I will see other kids and parents at the store and of course I notice other parenting methods.  I want to emphasize right now that there are many different ways to parent a child and none of them are “wrong”.  It all depends on your desired outcome, your goals, your child.  I’m only referencing these other parents because their style is different from mine and a pretty good comparison.  It might be working for them, but I know it wouldn’t work for us.  So anyway, at the grocery store I will see kids touching the vegetables or different items and the parents yell and tell them to stop.  My son almost ALWAYS reaches for a fruit or vegetable so I take that moment to teach.  I grab his hand and squeeze and bring it to our noses and smell and describe to him how to pick the right one.  He probably half understands what we’re doing, but he sees the action and so he repeats it and one day soon he will understand the concept and then he will know how to pick fruits and vegetables.  Some day I imagine his spouse will thank me for this wonderful lesson.  Other times he asks me for a cup and so I give it to him.  He promptly takes it over to the fridge and reaches up to fill it from the water dispenser.  He’s not quite tall enough to hold it properly so the water will come spraying down onto his tiny face and he squeals with laughter and looks at me with a huge smile on his face.  At this moment I’m not so concerned with the water all over the kitchen tiles that I now have to clean up.  What I see is that he understands that the fridge is where drinking water comes from and the cup is what you put it in.  He already has the basic building blocks there and now I need to help him fine tune his motor skills.  He’s a child, I certainly can’t expect him to do this perfectly.  So I grab his hands and help him with the motion so that he is able to do it on his own somewhat.

What’s most important here is that you bring yourself to the child’s level of understanding.  If my son takes his bowl of grapes and turns it upside down sending grapes rolling in every direction.  I can’t get mad at him for it.  He has just learned about gravity!  How can I be upset at him for something that scientists do for a living?  It is an experiment.  Life is an experiment.  It’s all trial and error and that’s how we learn.  I’m not perfect, I used to get frustrated until I realized the value of these moments.

What I’m trying to say is, sometimes it creates more work for you, but the lesson that your child is learning is worth that extra bit of work.  Children learn through discovery.  If I was to grab the glass out of his hand or take the bowl of grapes out of his hand before he tips it all the way, what will he learn?  He may even feel like he did something wrong.  But did he?  No, of course not.

So be patient and find the learning moment.  You really have to think fast because these moments go by so fast and sometimes our natural instinct takes over and we miss the moment entirely because we were too caught up on trying to avoid extra work.

I let my son make the mess and then I show him the way it should be done and then he copies.  He sees the consequence and then he learns.  He also sees me cleaning up and learns to do that as well.  He actually cleans up on his own now.  He seems to have realized that things have their place and trash belongs in the garbage.

Another moment we had was with a pot on the stove.  We were cooking dinner and he insisted I hold him so he could watch.  He likes to stir the food and “help” make the food.  Sometimes he puts ingredients in the pot for me.  He’s a wonderful helper.  Now the biggest danger here is the heat.  I don’t want him to burn himself and perhaps the natural instinct here is to aggressively pull his hand away when he tries to touch the hot part of the pot.  I didn’t do this though.  He was ever so slowly trying to touch the side of the pot.  (We’ve held his hand near heat before to show him that something is hot and not to touch).  His curiosity ALWAYS gets the better of him so I thought ok let’s see what happens if I just let him.  He very gently touches the side with his finger and then immediately pulls away and looks at me with a surprised face and says the Gujrati word for hot.  YES!  He understands this is hot.  He doesn’t touch and reach for it anymore.  He points instead and says ‘hot’ in our language.  To which I reply, ‘yes, that’s right, it’s hot’.  Lesson learned.

I’m not saying put your child in harms way.  By no means let him run in front of a bus so that he knows to look both ways.  But sometimes just letting them make the mess, or get a little close to danger teaches them first hand.

This doesn’t work for every child, and it takes A LOT of supervision.  I am always focused on what my son is doing and it’s all about him.  If he is in real danger I don’t allow it, it’s the little dangers that won’t really harm him that I allow with EXTREME supervision.  If I have to do something while I’m with him like laundry or dishes then I involve him.  I never take myself away from him to do something.  Unless of course he’s watching Bubble Guppies and learning from Mr.  Grouper.

Having kids is work, no doubt.  That is to be expected.  The challenge lies in meshing that work with our busy schedules.  I know sometimes you just need to get things done or get out the door, but it only takes a minute or two to set the example.  Don’t under estimate the effect of brushing off these learning moments because you’re busy.  Put it in perspective.  Obviously when you’re leaving for work in the morning is not the time to hand your child a bowl of grapes to experiment with.  You do have some control.  But do take the time to teach.

Having kids is a learning process.  For both child and parent.  No one is perfect at it and there is no right or wrong way.  Don’t let anyone ever make you feel like you’re doing things wrong.  People always have a bag full of unsolicited advice.  Listen patiently and nod and smile.  Sometimes there’s pearls of wisdom and sometimes it’s just irritating because they don’t know you or your child.

There’s nothing like the feeling of your child acquiring a new skill.  And it’s even better when you had something to do with it.  My little angel is rapidly growing independent and it’s scary and exciting at the same time.  We want to make sure he’s a good man to his friends and family, a wonderful husband, and a loving father.  He’s got the perfect example in his daddy.  🙂  Yea, yea I know, my perfect husband 🙂  But HE IS!

I hope this helped or at least gave you a different perspective.  A little patience goes a long way.  Good luck!

I’m baaack!

I just went on a wonderful gastronomic adventure!  I will post about it, I took pictures of most everything I ate!  But while I’m trying to catch up after having a week off, please give me a few days to get pictures uploaded and write you a wonderful story about what I experienced.

Vacations, I love, it’s the aftermath that makes it crazy.  I had no worries all week long and then I come back and realize I have so much to do to catch back up.  I have to make up hours, catch up on work things, and get things together for school.  Not my school, but my SON!  AHH!  He’s starting school next week!  I have mixed feelings.  I’m really happy about it because I know he will learn and grow and really benefit from the environment change.  I feel a bit sad because my baby is rapidly becoming a little boy and soon he will be graduating and we’ll be dancing at his wedding.  Time goes so much faster with a child.

Those of you parents out there that just experienced the first day of school…I am on your boat.  This year I wish my angel valuable learning moments, wonderful friends, and fun times!

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Stay tuned I’m working on my post for the easy peasy apple cake…YUM!