Saturday, January 21, 2006

Peaches No More

Effective immediately, we are changing the name of our younger daughter. Instead of using the nickname we have called her since birth (Peaches) we have decided that it should be Crabgrass (or Crab Ass when she's really bitched up.)

Crabgrass spends the majority of her days yelling, screaming, crying, fussing, shrieking, whining and caterwalling. It's all well and good to hear this from a newborn--you even expect it. But we already experienced this with her after she was born. We also dealt with her colic. Good times. While she has never been a true Peach as her nickname would imply, she has usually been good for a few giggles and grins throughout the day. Recently, they have become fewer and farther between. Unless, of course, I'm holding her or there is company. Like her sister, she loves to work a crowd with her charm and toothy grin. At home with the rents, it's another story.

What has added to the stress for us lately has been her gradual phasing out of food. About a month ago, we noticed that she was eating less and less--even the types of food she previously loved. We figured it was a phase, so we rolled with it. We thought that perhaps teething was a possible cause for her to violently throw the food at us that we had placed on her tray. Mealtimes became horrid, especially dinner because we (I particularly) was exhausted from the constant unhappiness being expressed by her all day. If she were my firstborn, I would have had her in to see the pediatrician after about a day. I'm a lot more laid back now that I have two kids. Plus, I was unsure as to what I should say to get an appointment.

"Um, hi. My 11 month old screams at me all day and doesn't eat. And her poop is blond because she hasn't eaten a fruit or vegetable in almost two weeks."
"She's teething. Good bye." CLICK.

While talking to June on Wednesday morning, she convinced me to call the pediatrician as she could hear CG's wailing during the entire conversation. I had also realized that she had eaten NO FOOD the past couple of days whatsoever. Only bottles. Not even a Cheerio. The pediatrician was nice enough to see us immediately. After an exam, he admitted that he is as puzzled as we are as to what the problem may be. I did tell him that we are in the process of weaning her off of soy formula and putting her on whole milk. While he didn't see any evidence of a rash that would indicate an allergy, he suggested that we go back to straight formula until her 1 year check up on February 3rd. If she is still not eating and has dropped weight, then he will do an allergy test.

Herr Hausfrau and I are frustrated, worried, sad and feel guilty. We're frustrated that her constant screaming and unhappiness makes us angry. We, in turn, start snapping at each other and at the girls. We're worried because she is not eating. We're sad because we have this beautiful little girl who is just so darn unhappy for so much of the day. I even asked Herr Hausfrau last week how old he thought a kid should be before going into therapy. And we feel guilty because, on more than one occasion, we have admitted to each other that we never would have had a second child had she been born first. We also feel horribly guilty for constantly comparing her to her sister. We never had these experiences with Baby Girl, so we feel like new parents. The one thing that seems to make Crabgrass happy is if I hold her all day long. And I can't do that. So she yells. And she screams. And she chases me. I can still beat her since she's just starting to walk. God help me when she starts to run.


wordgirl said...

I wish I knew what to say.

Sometimes when kids are exiting one stage and entering another, the transition is twice as bad as either the mental/physical place they're coming from or going to. Does that make sense?

Being as she is pretty much without the ability to articulate her frustration, it comes out in rage.

Kids know when change is coming or is already upon them and sometimes they respond in the only way they know how...which makes you as miserable as it makes them. They love the breast, but hate a bottle. They love the bottle and refuse a cup. Nothing seems to make any sense.

I'd say, listen to the doc, but find out if there's anything else that'll calm her down. Good luck!

kimmyk said...

Baby Orajel.

AND for you?

Nyquil with a benadryl chaser or tequila whichever you have on hand.

I remember when my son useta do this to me..and the only thing I could do all day was rock him and watch Lion King. It was a horrible experience, but we eventually survived it...we took alot of baths at that time too. Baths seemed to soothe him....and to this day Hausfrau, he takes at least 2 showers a day...he's stressed out I guess. I don't know..somedays I wish I could still rock him, others I'm so thankful I can send him to his room.

Good Luck!

Jenette said...

My heart aches for you (and I quake in fear as we await child number two) and Herr Hausfrau. I don't know what to say, except that it's GOTTA get better.

Earplugs might help you, if not Peaches :)

You're a good parent. You're a good mommy. You don't need to feel guilty for getting frustrated or angry. Yes,it stinks that you and hubby growl at each other because of the stress but as long as you realize that that's what is causing you to growl, then maybe you can laugh about it later. I hope.

Good luck. Lots of luck.

L. said...

Oh, how awful. I hope it gets better soon.

And as for, "...we have admitted to each other that we never would have had a second child had she been born first," don`t be so sure. I went for kid number two after The Baby From Hell (in fact, I was pregnant by his first birthday), hoping that another kid would distract him a bit, and maybe take a little of the pressure off me. I was desperate to try anything, and not thinking very clearly.

Crabgrass (the weed) is hearty and thrives. Hang in there.

Imperfect Mommy said...

Before you even got to the part about her food, the first thing I thought was food allergies. We have been through it with my daughter -- and she is allergic to dairy, eggs, and nuts. She had those bouts of awful behavior as an infant that seemed to make no sense. Inconsolable. And looking back, it was always related to what I ate (I breastfed). When I ate a nut product of any kind, her behavior would be just awful. Same for dairy and eggs.

I would push to have her tested with both skin and blood tests. Skin tests are generally more accurate, but also harder to get a one year old to sit through (though it can be done, trust me. and actually it was easier then then it is now with our four year old) Our daughter never had weight or thriving issues -- she always looked very healthy. It was entirely behavior and eating symptoms. And some rashes, but mostly just dry skin. Everyone is different though.

Please email me if you have any questions... kristincamplese at gmail dot com. We have been through this up and down and backwards and forwards. Good luck regardless of the outcome... I know how hard a crabby child can be!

mama_tulip said...

I, too, was thinking food allergies while I read your post. I've got an almost six-month-old son and for the first four months of his life he was just fucking miserable. It built up and built up to the point where he was screaming and pooping all day long, and I was unshowered and bordering on hysterics when my husband walked through the door after work. It was upsetting our entire household; our toddler was affected by it, as was our marriage.

Each child is different -- our son didn't sport a rash until the very end of my nursing stint but did get very red, angry and scaly patches of eczema all over his body. We put him on soy milk and the difference has been amazing, and having never been through anything like this with my daughter, it never occurred to us to think of a food allergy until later on in the game. I completely understand where you're coming from when you say if this was your first child you wouldn't have another...I felt the same way when we were in the middle of this with our son, and I do want more. All I can say is it will get better.

Mother's instinct told me it was a food allergy with my son and I saw an allergist just last week. The allergist did a skin test on him and she told me that at this age, allergies come and go, but in your case I think testing might not be a bad idea.

Hang in there...I really, really can relate to how you're feeling.

Andie D. said...

Wow. I too thought food alergies when I read the post. My only advice would be to trust your instincts, and push, push, push for tests, 2nd opinions, whatever it takes. Please let us know how she's doing.

Mary P. said...

How worrying! Every kid goes through food fads, but to not eat a nibble for a couple of days? That's not standard. Good call to involve the doctor, and I hope you get some answers soon

Candace said...

Yeah, what they all said, with one caveat: I was told that blood testing for allergies is more accurate for environmental allergies, and skin testing is more accurate for food allergies. She could have a combination or it could be one or the other, or it could be something completely different.

Speak to an allergist; it can't hurt. And if you don't get answers from your doc or an allergist, I see absolutely nothing wrong with calling Children's Hospital to see what the hell is going on.

Christina said...

I'll agree with everyone else to ask for the allergy test. Although it may just be a phase she's going through.

When my daughter was about 11 months old, she did the same thing. She had always been strong willed and cranky, but she took it to new levels. She wanted me to hold her or be right there with her at all times. She spent most of her days unhappy.

And my little piggy, who never turned down any food I ever gave her, suddenly gave up all meats and veggies. Her bottle requirements went up as well.

The worst part was that she was always at her worst at home. I started to wonder if she hated me, or if I was just a bad mommy.

It was a rough period that lasted for a couple of months. She's now 16 months, and starting to come out of it. She now likes to play on her own again, and is starting to experiment with food again and drink less milk.

Nothing seems to have changed to make her act different, other than she's older now. I think it's just a phase that kids go through, and those who are more, um, "fussy" tend towards the more dramatic.

I look on the bright side: at least the strong-will and determination my daughter shows will serve her well as an adult.

Good luck, and I hope you figure out what's bothering her.

Misfit Hausfrau said...

Thanks everyone for the advice. In the past 24 hours, Crabgrass has shown a marked improvement in her eating. She is still very clingy to me and always cranky, but that could be just how she is for now.

I will talk to the pediatrician about testing her--if nothing else, for the peace of mind!

The June Cleaver Diaries said...

Remember I told you about our 2 1/2 hour visit to the allergist's office last week? I learned a ton, they were incredibly patient with me AND they let me try the skin scratcher-thingy on my own arm---- it's painless, just annoying.

I can't wait until you tell me what the doctor says when you go back. Even if he doesn't think testing is needed, go ahead and do it---if nothing else, to put your mind at ease. ALex had the blood test only so far, and it was great for both food AND environmetal stuff.

Anyhoo, after the entire weekend at the hospital with the baby, I'm done talking medical for the rest of tonight. Off to watch Desperate Housewives. After that, I'll be up with The Devil Wears Prada. Mindless entertainment is far, far underrated.

Love the site re-do, BTW.

Jenette said...

I love the new layout too. That's all. :)

Andie D. said...

Sweet new layout!

I've been trying to insert a new banner on my site, and get rid of the title that is required by blogger. If you have any tips, I'd be most grateful:

Many thanks,


Stefanie said...

I wish you luck. That seems like a tough phase to being going through since even when they aren't being difficult it's still difficult. Hang in there. It will change. Hopefully for the better. And at least American Idol is back on!

LoryKC said...

My daughter was colicky and cranky before we got to solid foods. As it turned out, she had a dairy allergy. She wasn't getting milk directly yet but I was breastfeeding and eating plenty of dairy myself. We did not figure it out until she could eat cheese herself.
You're taking your daughter off of soymilk. Putting mine on was the best thing we ever did!

Other question though: before she started phasing out food, did she try something new? If something makes my son gag, he doesn't want to eat again for a day or so.
This is more than a case of a sore throat, yes? Reflux is one other possibility. (The food would irritate and that could cause a sore throat too...)

GOOD LUCK!!! You are a very good Mommy.

Imperfect Mommy said...

Yes, skin tests are definitely better for food allergies. However, as one allergist told me, the only true test is what happens when they eat it. It is just one more piece of the puzzle.

If they don't want to do skin tests (more intensive), just do the blood test anyway, b/c if she has any decent level of allergies, it will probably show up both places. You may just get a better indication of severity with the skin tests. For example, my daughter's dairy allergy is considered elevated on a blood test, but on a skin test, you can see it is ten times as big as the control.

Hang in their regardless... you may just want to try soy milk anyway. It may just be easier to digest, especially if she is used to soy formula. (they also make stage two soy formulas that we kept our daughter on until at least 2 years old).

Misfit Hausfrau said...

We've always had her on soy formula because she did better with it, Now we are putting her on a combination of soy formula and soymilk so that we can still work on weaning her off of formula. The past couple of meals have been a marked improvment for her, but we are holding our breath. She has always been a persnickety eater. On Monday she'll love carrots and Wednesday she throws them at us, etc. We'll see.

stefanierj said...

So glad she's doing better on the soymilk. Enhanced Silk and Sontyfield O'Soy yogurt are good friends around here. Occasionally we have cheese, too (which Crabzilla could probably do if her sensitivity is to lactose rather than the milk protein itself). But you know, our guy was also pretty dahn grumpy from 11-12 months. And yes, it made me crazy and yell at my husband. But it's like the D-unit reached 12 months, looked at the calendar and went, "oh, well, I guess it's time to stop being a butt." Who knows?

I just hope it gets better for you soon!

Susan said...

Should I tell you that Charlie seems to be going through the SAME phase! Excpet he's three and a half! And weighs nearly 40 pounds! But otherwise! Same deal! Want to be carried, cries about EVERYTHING (until he is distracted by something really fun, like a bed to jump on or anything resembling a sword to hit Henry with), won't nap, won't stay in bed . . .

Gah. I wish you were my neighbor, I really really do. I'll be thinking of you.

Kristen said...

Oh, Hausfrau, I'm so sorry! I'm glad she seems to be improving a bit, but it's so hard to deal with the chronic crying and clinginess. My first son had MAJOR food problems (so badly that he was in speech therapy for mouth muscle exercises, etc. from 14-18 months), so I know how it feels to be agonizing over food. He's 4 1/2 now, and we still worry about it because he's more than just nitpicky - he's obsessive and has a very limited diet. It's so hard. Hang in there.

The June Cleaver Diaries said...

Okay, this has NOTHING TO DO WITH YOUR POST, but I keep forgetting to ask you this on the phone, and I don't have time to log into email----Did I leave my brown J Crew cardigan at your house??? My mom can't find it, so I thought may be it's there.

Misfit Hausfrau said...

Sorry--you didn't leave it at my house.

TB said...

I'm so sorry, it sounds just awful. I don't have any advice or words of wisdom, so I'll just say hang in there and I'm sending good thoughts your way and I hope things get better soon.

The June Cleaver Diaries said...

ARGH!!!!! It's lost in the pit of chaos that is my parent's home!!!!!

the weirdgirl said...

My heartfelt sympathies and commiseration!! I think my son is starting to enter this stage. He's suddenly just not as interested in food that he used to love, but he will take a bottle. I'm not sure if he's being picky about the food or if he's just not very hungry in the morning (that's when it happens), but I don't want him going ALL DAY without food. And he'll have one day where he's fine and the next where he is just very clingy and whimpery all day. It's so frustrating and on the bad days I'm just at wit's end! I talked to my pediatrician about the eating thing (he also will NOT drink liquids other than formula) and she suggested that I was being "controlling". *throttle throttle throttle*

Rita said...

Poor baby. Poor mommy.

I'll bet something big is going to happen soon. Lots of kids get clingy, crabby, irritated when they are about to make a BIG leap developmentally.

If the constant holding gets to be too much, a sling might come in handy. Being close to you probably makes her feel better, more secure.

This will pass quicker than you can imagine, and you will soon have 2 kids in elementary school, and only good memories of their baby days.