Babies Are Weird aka My Bitey Ninja

by Leila on February 6, 2015

I’ve experienced some really strange moments since I became a Mom. All babies are different and do different things. Babies all have their unique quirks, personalities and these moments where you scratch your head and wonder WTF is wrong with them.

My 8 month old? She is a little twisted. She does really odd things. She likes to bite. She bites when she is happy. She bites when she is mad. She likes to bite random objects when she is exploring them. She really likes to bite the couch. Yes, the couch.

She’s an odd one.

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Honest Newborn Tips

Parenting is a blissful process where everything runs seamlessly and we truly know everything about how life with kids is supposed to be. Right?! Not quite.

When we actually become parents we realize that we didn’t know as much as we thought we did during those naive kidless and clueless days.

Before our kids invade our existence we make a lot of assumptions. We ask for advice. We plan. We prepare. We research. We think we know everything. We don’t really realize before that bundle of joy comes home that we don’t really know what the crap to expect.

All we can do is survive those first sleepless and exhausting weeks while trying to make the most of it.

Parents are hard on themselves. Moms especially. There are a lot of things I’ve learned as a Mom that I wish I knew then. There are topics that no one likes to talk about or admit to. This is about some of those things.

Expectations are Bullshit

It doesn’t matter what Suzy WhatsHerName or Mrs WhoTheCrap experienced with their baby. Every baby is different. You are different. It’s not their life or lifestyle. What you experience with your baby is all about you and no one else matters.

Don’t compare yourself or your baby to anyone else. WHO CARES?! Why? Because if people are saying their days with their newborns were flawless, perfect and easy they are either A) Lying B) On some strong painkillers C) Forgetful or D) It does NOT matter.

Speaking of forgetful… do not expect to remember everything. No matter if you just pushed twins out of your birthing hole or you adopted a brand new human – life changes quickly. This is a time of forgetfulness. You will probably forget what you are doing often. You may forget what life was like before your baby. You are probably going to forget to shower… often. You will have moments where you forget what you should be doing or what you read in all those parenting books.

It’s okay. You will figure it out. Focus on the moment and do what feels best for you and yours.

If people offer to help then take them up on it. It’s okay to take help. It’s also okay to need it. It’s even more okay to ask for it.

Also? Screw the books. Those are vague guidelines. No one can know how to be a perfect parent from reading a damn book. If that really were the case every baby would come with a manual and parents wouldn’t spend so much time googling whatever the crap made you stumble upon these words.

Every baby is different. Every parent is different. Rinse. Repeat.

Newborns are Sleep Demons and Eat Away At Your Soul

Yes, you  won’t sleep much.

Just accept that. It’s rough.

No, no… see above where I said to not compare yourself.

A lot of people say they had these magical newborns who sleep a lot. Some people talk about how they had these amazing sleep techniques that got their newborn to sleep through the night. Simple fact is this – your newborn is going to sleep however it wants and you gotta roll with it. Just give up and accept that if your newbie human prefers to sleep on your chest it’s best you get that nap in sitting upright. Sleep survival is key. Sleep training comes later.

You are NOT failing if your baby is a sleep demon who only allows you two hours of sleepy bliss at a time.

Full disclosure – I have three biological children and all had different sleep habits as newborns. My oldest was the most horrible sleeper on the planet. I cursed my friends who said their babies slept through the night right away. I, jokingly, called all of them liars. My now seven month old started sleeping through the night right away. It happens. All you sleep deprived parents can freely hate me. It’s cool. I’ve been there. The first time Mom in me wants to kick my currently fully rested Mom me in the ass. I bring this up because there was nothing different that I did. My kids just popped out programmed with certain sleep cycles in the early days and I had to adjust accordingly.

When your kids are older these phases of frustration vanish and are replaced with new things that damage your calm. It gets better. It changes. Sometimes, it gets worse. You forget it was ever an issue and you keep moving forward. One thing I’ve learned from being a parent is that you just have to get through those hurdles and know it won’t always be rough. Laugh when you can… even if it’s that loopy, weird and sleep deprived laughter that makes you feel a little crazy.

Newborns Are Like Drunks Who Can’t Hang

Newborns puke unexpectedly.

They seem to be in a daze all the time.

They pass out at the oddest times, in the strangest positions and wake up for apparently no damn reason.

Sometimes they crap themselves and get it over EVERYTHING.

They can make things awkward and not even realize it.

Did I mention they puke unexpectedly??

You can’t expect much out of them until this phase passes.

I don’t remember what I expected as a first time Mom with my newbie human adorable… blob. Newborns just don’t do much. I affectionately call this the blob phase. It’s a great thing that our blobby babies don’t come out walking and talking because those first weeks everyone needs to rest and bond.

Your Newbie Human is Taking it Easy… YOU Need the SAME!

No matter if you had a vaginal birth, c-section or adopted your newbie baby those first weeks should be about rest, bonding and adjusting. Becoming a parent is emotionally, physically and mentally exhausting, but it is the most rewarding thing you will ever experience. Life isn’t always pure bliss and that is okay! Those first few weeks may be the hardest adjustment you have ever experienced… but, it does get easier.

Yes, everyone says to sleep when your baby does. Just do it. Everything else can wait. Sleep exhaustion sucks and it’s a real thing. Don’t push yourself because of some cleaning.

Be selfish. You need to tell yourself it’s okay to be selfish. If you don’t really want everyone coming over then don’t. Put your foot down or totally avoid them. Just know that your needs and desires in those first days are important. If you don’t want anyone coming over so you don’t have to worry about getting dressed, being upright or sharing your baby then you do not have to.

I know that is all easier said than done.

If Your Baby Came Out of You – Your Body Will Do Weird Shit

You will bleed for around four weeks as your body sheds lochia. It can be a lot. Some women bleed more and longer than others. Blood clots feel weird. You will not be able to use tampons. Invest in the biggest and most comfortable pads out there. A lot of women use Depends those first few weeks and they prevent a lot of leakage!

Yes, depends. You’re welcome.

Stitches suck no matter where they are or how many. Take damn good care of them.

I loved my squirt bottle, sits baths and tucks medicated pads for relief. Buy a lot of them! Laying witch hazel pads inside your pads is the most soothing thing that I learned after my third labor.

It’s probably going to hurt to pee if you evacuated your baby through your vagina. Pouring warm water over your lady parts helps soothe the pain. Unless you are awesomely lucky those first poops are going to hurt. You were probably prescribed stool softeners. Love and cherish them. Try to avoid eating things that back you up.

Stock up on ice packs, wrap them in a cloth, put them on your chair/bed and sit on them often for relief.

If you are breastfeeding your boobs will turn into giant, painful and rock hard milk torpedos when your milk comes in after birth. That’s how I felt. Engorgement is a weird feeling. It will pass.

Your nipples will hurt during the first few weeks of breastfeeding. I’m not going to get into all the details in this post… but, I can say from experience that if part of your nipple falls off because of breastfeeding that it eventually grows back.

If you are formula feeding people can be judgy. Ignore them. Whatever made you decide to bottle feed is YOUR choice.

If you are nursing don’t judge formula feeders. Focus on your own boobs, please.

Some women swell up like Violet from Willy Wonka after birth. My feet never swelled during pregnancy but, they did after my last labor. I retained water, looked like I had balloon feet and it was painful at times. It went away, thankfully.

During pregnancy your body went through a lot of changes. Don’t expect it to be the same. Embrace your motherly body changes. The first time I looked at my reflection after my oldest was born I thought, “Holy shit, I look like a kangaroo!” – flabby midsections and lack of elasticity is typical as are stretch marks. Embrace those tiger marks, mamas.

Your emotions may be all over the place. Hormones can be evil. If you feel off, it’s a good idea to educate yourself and be aware of postpartum depression. I refer everyone I know to the amazing site Postpartum Progress that is a plethora of information and support. A lot of the articles on Postpartum Progress are good for anyone to know to help get over the emotional transitions of becoming a parent.

If you are adoptive parents, Dad or “The Other Mother” then just know that knowledge is power. You are welcome for all the lovely descriptions and visuals.

Finding the Silver Lining

Newborns are exhausting.

It’s a life changing event.

It is often difficult… and more difficult than most want to talk about.

You have a free pass to be a lazy mess.

You have an excuse to nap often with the best smelling snuggle buddy.

Newborns smell amazing!

You can be a creepy baby stalker and stare at your newborn while he/she sleeps and see all of their strange expressions.

Or stare just because newborns are adorable.

Enjoy the adorable clothes.

Smile, talk and make will faces at your newborn. Soon… your newborn will reciprocate.

Find the people in your life who do not suck and share all the awesomeness you can. Vent when you need to.

Make yourself a priority as much as your baby.

But, no matter what road you took to become a parent just enjoy the shit out of it. Enjoy it in your way. Embrace the things you dig and not what other people say.

Welcome to parenthood. I hope you enjoy the shit out of it.

This isn’t medical advice or anything to replace a doctor’s word. If you are concerned about your well-being or your body ALWAYS seek a doctor’s help. These opinions are my opinions and the same thing I would tell any friend sitting in the same room as me.

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WTF Did You Say

I used to think I would dread the tween and teen years. Sure, the hormones suck. Sometimes they damage my calm in ways that are unimaginable. But, there are moments I really enjoy when their innocence clashes with the world they weren’t aware of in their youth. I keep open dialog with the kids as much as I am able to. It’s important to me that they know they can talk to me about anything. Even if talking to me about anything can make me uncomfortable.

Sometimes it’s hilarious.

My Sometimes Awkward 12 Year Old Daughter – Maybe he is going to be her… loooooveerrrrr…. (does this weird eyebrow thing)

Me – Uh… what? Are you having an allergic reaction? What is making you do that eyebrow thing?!

My Innocent 12 Year Old Daughter – haha What?! You know! Lover! Like someone you love a lot.

Me – That’s not exactly the definition of lover based on the way you are saying it and how you are innocently implying something you aren’t aware of.

Her – What does it mean?! I thought it was just someone you love a lot!

Me – Well, it can be used as the lover or an object like “My daughter is a lover of books”. But, the way you are using it is more like the sexual way…

Her – The what way?!?!?!?!

Me – Like a lover can be used as being someone a person is having sex with and it used to mostly mean having sex out of marriage or in an affair way…

My Completely Embarrassed 12 Year Old – Oh. NO!! EEEEEWWWWW….

Me – So, yeah. Read your fricken dictionary!

Her – MOMMY!!! You listen to a lot of inappropriate music with that word in it!!!

Me – What?!

My Adorable Now Freaking Out 12 Year Old – And oh my gosh I used that lover thing a lot and it’s all so gross now!! I’m replaying every time my friends and I said it. We are disgusting and don’t even know it. How embarrassing!!!

Me – Well, that word you keep using. I do not think it means what you think it means…

Her – Not funny… eeeewwwwwwww… I used that word with my kittens! Like that they are my lovers!!

Me – That is gross and we wouldn’t call that lovers it’s a different word entirely …

Her – I don’t want to know. Ever. I’m ruined.

Me – I’m loving this! Use. Your. Dictionary!!

My Completely Mortified 12 Year Old – Wait… WHY IS THERE A WORD ABOUT CAT SEX?!

and I left it at that… laugh snorting so hard I couldn’t breath.

Teenagers are hysterical.

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I’m not juggling my writing and timelines well at all. It’s pretty obvious but I feel it had to be said. I’m just going to blame the baby… 

A dear friend of mine, CharlaBlue, is a freaking amazing photographer. Do you remember my blog headshots where she transformed my usual tomboy self into … someone who doesn’t quite look like me? Well, her camera magic made that happen (and the wine I had helped).

We had a newborn photo session. Yes, newborn… let’s pretend I uploaded this six months ago! Honestly, this feels like it happened yesterday. I find myself already sad that the baby phase is zipping by so quickly.

I take a lot of pics of my kids… as you may have noticed on Instagram. But, there is something special about seeing your baby through someone else’s lense. I love what Charla captured.

 Charlablue Photography - Los Angeles Newborn Photography 6

Charlablue Photography - Los Angeles Newborn Photography 6

Charlablue Photography - Los Angeles Newborn Photography 6

Charlablue Photography - Los Angeles Newborn Photography 6

Charlablue Photography - Los Angeles Newborn Photography 6

If you live in the Los Angeles or Orange County area and are in search of an amazeballs photographer then check out her work. I love seeing her work pop up on my feeds. It’s gorgeous. She does everything from newborn photo session to graduation to family pics and everything in between.

You can check out the CharlaBlue Photography portfolio

Charla Blue is also on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Thanks again, Charla… You are the best!

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Infant Food Allergies – Here We Go Again

by Leila on January 15, 2015

Infant Food Allergies

When my now twelve year old daughter was a month old she broke out in hives and had difficulty breathing after I nursed her. That was when our food allergy adventure began.

Severe allergic reactions from breastfeeding aren’t common. Typically, when an infant shows signs of a food allergy it’s when solids are introduced.

Food allergies are common in my family. I did my research and prepared myself with a system of introducing solids, with pre-printed charts and I planned to make all the baby food myself when she would turn six months. Yeah, I was one of those first time Moms.

What I didn’t expect or prepare for was to go on an elimination diet, discover that she had over twenty food allergies and discover how severe “contact” sensitivities could be starting when she was a month old. Hands had to be washed thoroughly and certain foods could not be cooked in the house.

It wasn’t easy. It was a huge adjustment. Most people who should have been supportive were being downright dicks about it. The more severe her food allergies became the more I saw a judgmental and selfish side of people that I will never understand. I refused to accept a life of isolation for her like so many often wish on kids with food allergies. Again, there are some things that I will never understand about people.

Those people are filtered out and don’t become a major part of our lives. It took me awhile but I learned to not waste time with negativity. Thankfully, over the years we have made some amazing friends that we appreciate.

All the modifications and food allergy management was challenge to figure out in the beginning. I made a lot of mistakes. That was the hardest part… knowing a mistake could potentially be life threatening. That part never gets easier. But, every mistake no matter how small helped me learn.

Now, all the ways I have modified our lifestyle to keep my daughter safe has become part of the routine. It’s our normal. It’s how we roll. It keeps her safe, alive and living an almost typical life. It is so easy now that I don’t even have to stress over the constantly evolving changes. When my now seven year old son was born his minor food allergies weren’t even a hurdle because we were already living without.

When we made the decision to try for “just one more” I knew that there was a possibility we could have another child with similar or worse health hurdles. It made me apprehensive for a long time. I took comfort in the fact knowing the hardest part is behind us because I’ve done all the research, I’m happy to live without and I know the routine to keep a child safe who has life threatening allergies.

When our baby was born, after a complicated pregnancy with bedrest, I immediately started to look for the signs. At first it seemed all was well.

Then all those familiar signs started surfacing.

It’s so hard to see your child in pain especially an infant. I’ve eliminated milks, eggs, nuts and salmon since those are major triggers for my baby girl. Her eczema and reflux is under control. I hope those are the only ones that we have to manage for her, but at only seven months old I know better than to focus on the what ifs. If the food allergy signs don’t improve then I will go on a full elimination diet.

I’ve been asked often if she is showing any signs of food allergies and how that’s going. Her nut allergy seems to be the worst of them. Despite how much food allergies suck I just don’t feel stressed about it. Maybe it’s because I’m a veteran at this and that I’m just so much more informed.

I’m not taking it lightly, but I’m not freaking out either.

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New-Years-Eve-Logo #knottsnye

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by Knotts Berry Farm

I can’t remember a lot of New Years Eve celebrations from when I was younger, but I do remember every single one I spent at Knotts Berry Farm when I was a teenager. During that transitional period of childhood to adulthood I would ring in the New Year with friends where we engorged on funnel cake and rode roller coasters that almost made said funnel cake come up.

Obviously, a lot has changed with me… I mean, now it takes me only a couple roller coasters to make me pukey. It’s so worth it.

Basically, it was a perfect time for a group or thrill seeker teens who just wanted to have fun. My friends and I had a great time running amok at Knotts Berry Farm. It was safe, fun and we felt so free.

It was all the awesomeness of Knotts Berry Farm that we loved but we could be crazy until 1am, with live entertainment, dancing and it was like a big party.

Knotts New Years Eve - #KnottsNYE

We weren’t old enough for REAL parties so this was a better time. I think my Dad knew we would get in less trouble there than anywhere else. When I think about my kids now, especially our teen and tweens, I know I where I would rather have them.

I’m a mother with five kids (ages six months to fifteen) and our kids have very different interests and personalities. I also happen to be like a big kid. Right now many of our family memories are made in amusement parks because it’s a great balance of funsies for everyone. After such a crazy year I can’t think of a more perfect place than Knotts Berry Farm to ring in the new year. I love seeing the park through the eyes of my kids and it’s like reliving my childhood again. I’m especially cherishing these times where all the kids want to be with us before they become teens who are too cool for family.

I hope they never get too cool for me, because I’m pretty freaking awesome. ;) Really though… I want these memories for my kids to be as rad as they were for me.

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Tis the Season to get #GiftSmart

by Leila on December 11, 2014

When my kids were all younger it was so much easier to buy them gifts. Toys are easy to pile in to the cart and the boxes everything came in added another level of funsies for the kids.

With five kids, and three being teens, shopping for the holidays isn’t as easy as it used to be. After talking to a lot of my friends we all seem to be in the same boat not knowing what to get this age range of kids. I don’t want to buy gifts just to fill presents under the tree. I don’t want it to be a bunch of junk they won’t care about in a month. I also want them to provide some kind of enrichment.

I also want to shop easily, get a good deal and not have to stress over bad customer service and all that stuff too.

Too much to ask for? Not if you are buying Gift Smart at Radio Shack.

My husband is a frequent Radio Shack shopper. Every birthday or holiday he always shops for gifts there. He’s gifted electric circuit boards, rc toys, hex bugs, more rc toys and phone accessories. He’s always building crazy stuff and usually needs to frequent Radio Shack for “just a couple parts” and comes back with a whole lot more than that. He is a kid in the candy store when it comes to Radio Shack and it’s one of the few places he really likes to shop. We can find anything for our kids no matter if it’s a selfie stick for our Instagram loving tween girls or foldable headphones for our teen son who likes to listen to music while he does chores…

Or maybe I need some new headphones so I can tune out the kids ALLTHETIME. Not really, because that would be mean… or something ;)

A few words about the bluetooth selfiestick at Radio Shack – it’s awesome. It honestly isn’t something I would have picked up because my arms are freakishly long and I’m a selfie master, but this adds to smartphone picture funsies. My kids LOVE it and I realized quickly its a rad gift for teens and tweens.

Selfie Stick - #GiftSmart

#GiftSmart - Selfie Stick

#giftsmart - Radio Shack gifts for the the holidays.jpg

Radio Shack makes me happy because I can rely on a good deal with their price match guarantee and high quality products. We happen to have one within walking distance of us but I like that it’s easy to locate a store when we are on the go. If they don’t have what you are looking for in stock then they will ship it to you for free which eliminates the hassle of shopping around.

I mostly like the idea of going into one place to pick up whatever I need and not worry about all the insanity – especially since I’ve procrastinated on gift buying and need to take care of that sooner rather than later.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. I was gifted a selfie stick and auvio headphones and paid for the sponsored content. All opinions are my own. 

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Baby Rapunzel Costume

Yeah… she is pretty stinkin cute in her baby rapunzel costume, huh?!

The week of Halloween I decided to make a Rapunzel costume. Because, making a freaking costume last minute makes a ton of sense with an infant in tow.

Anyway, I usually make our costumes or at least part of them but, the kids had their costumes handled this year. Since the baby was born time seems to be flying by so I was going to stick with something simple for her.

My seven year old son wanted to sing the music from Tangled to the baby the weekend before Halloween…

Then it hit me… I said in my very excited yelling voice, “Oh my gosh wouldn’t she look so cute as a baby rapunzel?!?!?!”

And so it began.

I made the hat first by creating a beanie with a thick yellow yarn. Then I made up the rest adding chunks of yellow yarn and attaching it. As it came together I was shocked at how adorable it was.

Baby Rapunzel Costume

Sometimes I have crap ideas. Sometimes my ideas are alright. This one was freaking amazeballs. I had NO idea what I was doing. I took some pics and then continued on with this crazy little project.

Baby Rapunzel Costume

After the hat wig thingy was complete I put together the onesie and tutu for the baby rapunzel costume. Honestly, if I had more time then I would have made the actual outfit different. I just put it together with clothes and supplies I already had. I didn’t even sew it! I just hot glued it suffering only minor injuries, as usual.

Baby Rapunzel Costume

I’ve been asked a lot if I would sell baby rapunzel costume hats. Anything is possible and I’ve considered opening up my Etsy shop again. If you are interested then send me an email and we can discuss it. I like making stuff when I am binge watching something!

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This is the first holiday season that I have stressed what to get our kids. With a 7 year old son, two 12 year old girls, 15 year old son and our almost 5 month old daughter our gift buying is all over the place. I’m big on family time so gifts have always had a lot to do with bringing us all together. That is getting harder to do as each year ticks away, but we can always enjoy family funsies at an amusement park. It’s become part of our family holiday traditions to hit up Knotts Berry Farm when it is transformed into “Knotts Merry Farm” to see the decorations, enjoy the holiday cheer and enjoy the cooler weather.

Well, it should be cooler but Southern California still hasn’t realized it’s not summer anymore.

Anyway… we love Knotts and especially when it’s Knotts Merry Farm.

Santa and Snoopy

Knotts Berry Farm is a family favorite because it has a wide range of rides for the whole family. My thrillseeker kids love the giant roller coasters while my more mellow 15 year old stepson likes the middle of the road rides. We can also ride the train, run amok in Camp Snoopy, play games and grab some delicious grub as a family. My kids also look forward to when their baby sister is old enough to start riding rides so they can show her their favorites. We always catch the ice skating shows which I highly recommend.

Knotts Berry Farm passes are a great investment and I bring that up here, to friends and family every chance I get. When you have younger kids it’s wonderful to hop on over to Knotts, ride some rides and grab some food for a few hours or the whole day. I love that most of the time the park isn’t insanely chaotic and we can easily enjoy a few hours of fun. The lack of chaos and ease of the park makes it more enjoyable with an infant!

With our teens, it’s a big hit with them and their friends. I saw more pictures of their friends enjoying the summer at Knotts Berry Farm or Soak City on Instagram than I saw feet in the sand beach pictures. My teens are at the age where I can trust them to go off on their own, or with friends and meet up with them later while I take the younger kiddos around. Thankfully, they don’t usually want to ditch me… yet. I’m still ranking high in the “cool Mom” category! I remember being dropped off at opening and picked up at closing when I was a teenager and those being the best times of my life. I used to say that I could live at Knotts when I was their age and I still feel that way.

Peanuts Characters

Each year we have one “big item” gift for x-mas for the kids and this year it will be Gold Passes to Knotts Berry Farm.

If my older kids happen to be reading this DO NOT TELL YOUR LITTLE BROTHER or no Merry Farm funsies for you!

I type that in the most loving crazy Mommy way possible ;)

Knotts Berry Farm passes introduced a new add-on for meals! The dining pass includes a lunch and dinner each time you are at Knotts. This. Is. Brilliant. All I could think of was how much that saves parents when their kids are going to Knotts at least once a week over the summer or on weekends. It’s also great to not have to worry about them losing their food money like I did when I was a teenager.

Okay, I didn’t actually lose my money I just spent it all on funnel cake.

And if you haven’t had funnel cake then I insist that you clear your plans this weekend and go to Knotts!

Disclaimer: I was invited to enjoy a day at Knotts with my family as a thank you for writing this post. I’m not buying passes because of my relationship with Knotts but because I sincerely feel it’s the best gift ever. All opinions and thoughts are my own especially about the funnel cake. Seriously. Funnel cake is amazing and so is Knotts. 

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halloween

I just love this Halloween pic from a few years back – Can you guess the theme!?

When my now twelve year old daughter was one month old she had her first severe allergic reaction after breastfeeding. The first year was all about figuring out all of her allergies and modifying my life to keep her safe. The hardest part wasn’t all the food changes but figuring out what triggers her reactions. When my seven year old was born and was diagnosed with a few allergies it was easier to manage because we were pros at that point. Our home is our allergy friendly place and managing food allergies is our responsibility.

I quickly realized that the world outside of our home would be harder to take on because most of the world out there revolves around food in some way. Thankfully, I like a good challenge.

I do not expect the world to bend to accommodate my daughter’s life threatening multiple food allergies, but I do hope that she finds more compassion. We opt out of a lot of birthday parties, family gatherings and play dates or we bring our own allergy safe foods and figure out how to politely excuse ourselves. I host most sleepovers, play dates and gatherings because it’s just easier to do it all rather than put the pressure on anyone to make it work. My kids don’t complain because it’s not the end of the world if we can’t participate in everything.

That’s how we roll. That is how it’s been. Halloween is no exception.

Halloween is our favorite holiday even if it’s all about the candy that, at one point, my daughter could have none of and my son had little options. Dressing up in costumes is a fun time. We like to act silly. We love an excuse to hang out with friends. If my kids didn’t have food allergies the candy still wouldn’t be the main focus.

We trick or treat even if 90% of the candy we get is not allergy friendly. We can trick or treat for HOURS! A friend asked me once why we even bother and I said, “Uh… because it’s a really fun time to run around dressed up??”

We introduced the “Halloween Fairy” into our homes many years ago. I found out last year that some call this the “Switch Witch”. We trade out candy the kids can’t have or the surplus of what the kids shouldn’t eat and the Halloween Fairy brings better goodies instead.

Last year the kids left out a little bit to the Halloween Fairy and donated the rest to a local women’s shelter. They initiated that suggestion and I was proud.

We are always super safe when we trick or treat. My daughter carriers her “emergency bag” filled with all medications she needs including her epi-pen and I have extras on hand. I sort out the candy first making sure nothing is open that contains her contact allergies. It’s a process but it’s so routine that no one feels weird about it.

I’ve been asked before if my kids ever get upset that they can’t eat all the candy they collect and it’s honestly never been an issue. It simply is what it is and I try to not focus on the CAN’T and focus on the FUN.

When they were younger I would see the enthusiasm on their faces when they went to a house that had a non-candy treat or a piece of candy they could have. My son still does a little dance and yells “Yes!” when this happens. Yes, it would be nice if this could happen more often but we would never expect or want a fully “allergy friendly” Halloween.

Why wouldn’t I want a fully “allergy friendly” Halloween? Because A) it would never happen B) It doesn’t mean our fun times would be better because we do just fine as is and C) The Halloween Fairy does like the chocolate bonus hehehe – But, in all reality you can’t have perfection so why would I expect that for my kids? Nah, perfection is boring. I’d rather learn from the small bumps in the road and imperfections and have fun anyway.

Every year I’ve seen a little more non candy treats when the kids unload their Halloween loot. The kids, allergies or not, love these. The increase of non-candy goodies may have to do with food allergies, or other dietary restrictions or maybe being over the amount of junk food the kids get. No matter what the reason we really do dig it.

But, just because Halloween won’t be completely allergy friendly doesn’t mean we all can’t try a little. For those of you who want to try check out the Teal Pumpkin Project by F.A.R.E. – Teal is the color for allergy awareness AND it’s my daughter’s favorite color.

The-Teal-Pumpkin-Project-2

The concept is simple… Paint a pumpkin teal, print a flyer to raise awareness and have food allergy friendly treats available for Halloween. Kids who have food allergies will be able to see what houses have allergy friendly treats with no tricks for them. When you are out shopping for Halloween goodies why not look at those stickers, glow sticks, plastic rings, pencils or non-food items too? Don’t want to replace all your candy? That’s cool… why not have candy and a bowl for kids who can’t have candy?

The Teal Pumpkin Project is something that gives people the idea of offering non food treats only or having a separate bowl for those with food allergies. It isn’t about replacing all candy but creating more awareness and inclusion. No, food allergy parents across the world are not expecting EVERYONE to do this and eliminate candy and the new Halloween color to be teal instead of orange. But, it may make a handful of kids feel special and included. Where is the harm in that?

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We are going to paint some mini pumpkins teal, give them to neighbors, teachers, family and friends with information on the Teal Pumpkin Project. If people choose to offer up some stickers, glow sticks or bookmarks in addition to (or instead of) their candy, then RAD!

If not… then we are still gonna have fun.

If you decide to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project as a result of this please let me know! If you post a picture on Instagram I would love to see it and so would my kids. We are hoping to encourage a lot of people to jump in on this and see more teal pumpkins around.

 

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