Climb aboard the food allergy train

   

Part of my day to day navigating life business, I navigate a silly amount of food allergies. Some for me, some for the kids and our baby.  As part of finding gratitude in all things, I have to say I’m thankful that none of these are life threatening.  However, if I slip up and give one particular child foods he shouldn’t have, my own life is threatened. He loses all control and turns into an aggressive, mean beast, and threatens to kill me. Nice!

The most difficult part of dealing with food allergies and kids, is actually breastfeeding a baby with suspected allergies.  The early days are the trickiest when you aren’t sure exactly what is upsetting their system.  You cut out the usual suspects of chocolate, dairy and soy (most of this family can’t handle those foods). The reflux and unsettled behaviour improves, but you can tell something is still upsetting them. They have a particularly bad day and you blame yourself, desperately trying to analyse everything you’ve eaten in the last few days.  This is a rather difficult task when you are so sleep deprived. You are already doing silly things like accidentally reaching for a nappy to put on yourself instead of underwear.  Trying to remember what you ate yesterday is a hard task, as is remembering to write down everything you eat to help you track it. Anyway, I’m over having to analyse what I eat and trying to cut out suspect foods.  I’ve been doing this for 8yrs and it doesn’t get any easier. So far, we are dairy, soy, chocolate, banana and gluten free.  That’s all the good things.  But, oh the guilt you experience when your baby has a flare up and is chocking because they can’t breathe because of their reflux response to whatever you’ve eaten, helps you stick to this silly diet. I’m trying so hard. It’s just hard to see milk that should nourish this little guy’s body, cause pain and discomfort. It’s not fair.  Even if I decided to give him formula, the hypoallergenic one he’d need is about $40 a can. That is just not an option.

So, as I starve because I’m out of food ideas to eat, and plough through the food detective game filled with guilt and sadness to see a little one in pai, I will continue to work on being thankful for our little guy and foods that we can actually eat without pain. Just praying that all milk he drinks will be a blessing to his little body. Who would’ve thought breastmilk would need this kind of prayer?

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Half of my story.

As I sit here ready to type my long overdue entry, I can’t help but feel frustrated.  I have to be very cautious about what I write in my blog because of consequences that could arise of being too honest.  I find this pretty tricky, to not really be able to share my stance on the situation here.  I just have to remain quiet, which makes me feel even more frustrated, particularly with the upcoming Australian elections.

It certainly is tricky to not be able to share a huge part of my experience here.  If you are interested, we could probably chat honestly over Skype, Voxer or Facetime about my experiences, but I can’t here.  Anyway, so I’m kind of left with sharing half of what I’m thinking and doing here.  Here I go…

We are entering into a new part of our journey.  Max has graduated preschool.  We were keen to keep him at Sunshine for another year, but he announced to his class he was moving schools.  We figured he was ready for Kindergarten at ‘big’ school.  He is excited by this change.  He has a great teacher, and a great Aussie therapist helping him to regulate his emotions a bit more, and cope better with transitions in his world.  James is going to stay at Sunshine.  He has had a great year with Miss Abeer.  He has grown very fond of her.  He is proud of his recent achievements of being able to write ‘J’ and draw a person. He has become quite firery and is being a pest.  Interestingly, his behaviour reminds me a lot of my brother Brent.  The middle child syndrome perhaps?!  Cam, Cam, I’m sure is a song writer or singer in the making.  He is always singing and making up new words for songs.  It’s soooo cute to listen to.  Cam goes to a playgroup once a week, which he loves.  He is always talking about his friends and singing songs from playgroup.

On the church front, we have decided to commit to a Lutheran church in the Old City.  It has a great welcoming community.  I also attend a fortnightly study with Lisa which has been an awesome time for me in growing in faith and passion.  I love hanging out with Lisa, sharing our daily highs and lows, prayers, going to the gym together, and I’m forever grateful for all of her support and prayers  .

We have just started our summer holidays.  Think I must be ready to return to work, as I’m madly preparing a summer program (although, I am using the term loosely!) to keep the boys entertained and myself sane.

Joel is going well.  He is playing with a band which is a lot of fun and a group of very talented musicians. It’s great that Joel has his band, although I think the act of just getting to the practices can be quite overwhelming for Joel, trying to fit everything in.

That’s us in a nutshell.  Cruising along nicely, although slightly chaotically.  I have to say, I never feel in control of the whole parenting/mothering thing.  I certainly don’t try and live up to some Supermum title.  I more just try to survive each day.  I would love to do a bit more of thriving, rather than just surviving, but maybe that is just what life is always like for mums of 3 or more kids 5 and under.  Thank goodness I have the gym and possibly netball.

Too long. Way too long.

It’s been so long I even forgot my user name and password!! There have been some requests for more blog entries (and Bec has also inspired me!).

I loved visiting OZ atChristmas.  I realized that I was on a massive high from meeting up, and having some exceptionally great nights out with friends.  It was such a special time, but I realized arriving home, although very homesick, Jerusalem is home.

My home here is a different way of life filled with tension, security txt messages about places to avoid, car and bag searches when I go shopping, and feeling uneasy when I hear lots of airplanes  going over my house in a short space of time, and my most hate, frequent loss of hot water for days.  I have gotten used to the kids washing my hair in the basin.  Whilst they do an amazing job, Id much prefer my shower.

i am settled here, and feeling even more at peace since taking a break from Arabic lessons and spending time being a stay at home mum.  I feel so at peace in this role, like Im supposed to be doing it.  I do miss one to one teaching, but have enough challenges with my own kids to keep me busy right now.  With all our park visits, Im also guaranteed to have conversations in Arabic on a daily basis.

We are happy here.  As expected, Max has taken some time to settle back in, but I know with time, prayer and patience, we get there.  Until then, I will continue to end up emotionally exhausted every day and question my skills/strategies as a mum.  James’ cheekiness and craziness has stepped up a few notches since getting back.  He is so crazy! Cami is very cute, demanding and independent.  He is running, climbing ladders and ready to give riding a crack.  Speaking of which, Max has started riding without training wheels…very cool!

Living in a war zone

Whilst I’m not technically living in a war zone, I am experiencing some of the tension and anxieties associated with one.  In the last 3 days I’ve experienced an air raid siren, bunkering down in our laundry (safe room), and watching the news and Twitter constantly for updates. It is certainly a challenge, trying to live life normally and avoid talking about it all in front of the kids, but they are obviously sensing that something is up and have created their own war zone here in our house.  Just perfect! I guess it’s difficult for them because while Joel is home, he is constantly on the phone, TV and Twitter getting updates.  While this is fair enough, it’s tricky for the kids to understand.

We are all pretty exhausted and highly strung at the moment.  The thing that is really grating on my nerves is the kids normal, daily fights over things like the Ipad.  I just want to scream at them, ‘don’t you get it, there is a war in this country RIGHT NOW’…but I bite my tongue.

It’s interesting how some people react.  I get the whole trying to live life normally thing, I do, but having a wedding is going a little far.  I saw wedding cars cruising around in a Jewish Orthodox area today. Really, a wedding during a war, really?! I guess we did get home delivered dinner during the air raid on Friday, so I guess anything is possible!!

The streets in Jerusalem are quiet, but people are still playing at parks and going shopping. Although we are, we aren’t venturing far from home.  I went out for a coffee last night and found myself on the edge of my seat wanting to get back home to my family.  Guess that’s where my heart lies, not a bad thing really, although that hot chocolate was damn good.

It is certainly tricky living in this environment.  I’ve learnt that living in a war zone (or close to one) is so unpredictable.  We never would have thought that Jerusalem would have been a target, nor did we ever think we would be using our safe room (all squished into our tiny laundry eating burgers on a picnic rug (good thing our picnic set and beer fridge are in the laundry!)).

Holiday time!!

It has been a long time since my last entry! You can say I’ve been busy, but that woulc be an understatment. In the last six weeks, I have had a minor car accident (everyone is fine, but it shook me and I lost a lot of confidence driving).  Joel went away for one week, during which Cami decided it would be a fantastic time to have a seizure thing. He was admitted to hospital for three days whilst they ran heart and brain tests.  All tests were perfect, so the seizure remains unexplained and will hopefully never happen again.  We have also all been sick with tummy bugs, and I also had a kidney infection.  A week after things settled down, the Nanny and Pa show has arrived in Jerusalem. We are all very excited to have the stay in our mansion of chaos.

We are all having a ball showing them around own new home, city and school.  We are currently taking a road trip up north to Nablus and Galilee.  It’s all spectacular and it’s awesome  travelling through the places, seeing for ourselvses where the Biblical stories took place.  Today, the boys were so excited to be lighting a candle and saying a prayer in John the Baptist’s tomb, it was a really beautiful experience for,all of us.

At the moment, when I’m not traveling throughout the beautiful countryside and gorgeous little Arab towns, Im spending my time studying Arabic and doing short photography courses online which I’m loving.  Joel is enjoying his work, and his understanding of the conflict and historical knowledge of Israel continues to grow and truly amazes me (he is teaching me so much).  Max has FINALLY settled into the school term after experiencing much anxiety and anger on a daily basis, and kindly choosing to release this at home with me.  Everyday Maxi’s kind heartedness grows which is gorgeous.  James is still as cute as ever.  When he is not role playing Tom from Fireman Sam, he is busily re enacting Buzz Lightyear ‘to infinity and beyond’ around the house.  All cute stuff.  Cami is stable on his legs, confidently following in his big brothers’ tracks no matter how challenging those tracks are.

Its been interesting watching a lot of the kids play in Israel.  They are way, way too comfortable with guns and the shooting stance replicates those of real soldiers.  It’s frightening! And this brings me to the soldiers in this country.  Firstly, I’m quickly learning that expecting 18yr old Israelis to serve in the army is ridiculous.  What’s worse? They are not taught how to respect weapons, or maybe they are, but this respect is not enforced.  Firstly, I was shocked to see while swimming in a reserve, three 18yr old army dudes arrive, sit their assault rifles on the rocks close to the pool, get undressed and go swimming.  One guy did stay with their gear, but why one earth were they allowed to bring their guns down to the swimming hole? Secondly, the other day whilst I was shopping in the mall, two 18yr old Army chicks were shopping too.  In one hand, they were carrying their shopping bags, on their other shoulder hung their rifles.  Last encounter, the kids were playing in a market square, whilst a soldier was sitting down hanging with his mates.  The problem was, he had his rifle laying ACROSS his lap, POINTING at people.  It was sitting there like it was just another piece of clothing.  He had no respect for such a powerful weapon.  Max happened to run straight past it.  Sadly, I then had to teach our 4 year old to never run in front of a gun.  I understand the chance of it firing off was low, but stilL, accidents happen!!  Anyway, so I have quickly learnt my passion for correct and respectful treatment of weapons!!

Im going to stop now because I’m typing on my iPad and my wrists are getting annoyed at the idea.  Be assured though that we are all doing well, are safe and happy.  We are truly enjoying our time and experiences in Israel. We are especially thrilled that we not only got to go to an AFL grand final breakfast (complete with bacon, something we’re really missing)but we got to watch the Swans win! So awesome!!