Autism

Fireworks, Power Outage, Smoke Alarms, and a Swollen Eye

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my.

All the kids were just settling in for bed the night before last night when the booming of fireworks launched them all out of their beds and instantly to the windows to watch. When there are fireworks locally we can usually get a good view from one side of the house or the other.

When the fireworks were over, we started the bedtime routine again. Like it wasn’t fun enough the first time (oh no, I didn’t just say that).

All the kids were settled once again, in their beds, when everything suddenly went very quiet and dark. The power was officially out. So, why does this matter at night when you are trying to get little people to sleep? Well, it gets very dark and very quiet in the house, and all the neighbours go outside to look around and make lots of noise even though it is after 10pm at night.

We used the tablet as a flashlight and dug out the candles and the butane lighter (no we don’t smoke, we use it to light birthday candles). We set up a tea light candle, in a jar of water, in the bathroom because it is very dark in there.

When we realized that the lights were not coming on anytime soon, we started the bedtime routine again. This is the third time. Oh just you wait, there’s more (seriously).

While the twins were settling, Jonah and I were quietly discussing how quiet and dark our home is without fans and computers and other household humming. We enjoyed the quiet and I spent some time reorganizing files on my laptop (offline, of course), while waiting for the snoring of the twins.

Finally the little people were all settled and asleep. Wahoo.

Daddy heads to bed and I watch some Netflix before I crash. I need time to turn off my brain, of the issues of life, before I finally shut down at night. I used to read books every night (note to self, buy a really good novel to dive into).

I am just dozing off when the smoke alarm goes lets off a blast. It was not a full alarm. Just a loud beep. I shot out of bed and called quietly to Jonah (because the kids were still all sleeping, thankfully). He had heard it too, but wasn’t sure if he was dreaming or not. We stood in the hall, confused. I was sniffing for smoke. He went and checked the other floors. All clear. We went back to bed. I was a little shaken, but I fell back to sleep.

About 40 minutes later, the smoke alarm is going off again, this time fully blaring. 2:40am to be exact. It woke all the kids except Zion. The alarm was going and going and going. By this point I am fully dressed and all the kids are wide awake, wondering if there is a fire.

In our townhouse we have 3 floors and one smoke detector on each floor. If one goes off they all go off. Jonah and I did our sniff for smoke and check all the floors for fire. When we have finished our second inspection for the night, Jonah disconnected the smoke detector on the main floor (because that was the one that was setting the other ones off – according to the flashing red light), which shut off the deafening noise. Finally. This was not a decision taken lightly. We did still have two working detectors in the house and we would investigate and or reset it in the morning (when the really loud noise wouldn’t wake up the whole neighborhood).

We started the bedtime routine again (this is the fourth time now) and Zion slept through it all. It takes awhile for Hosanna to settle (she was wide awake and so was I). When she finally drifted off to sleep, Zion came in and curled up beside me. He was happy that the power had come back on, not even realizing that the smoke detector had gone off.

I was a bit nervous and way overtired and had trouble getting back to sleep. I slept fully clothed in case the smoke alarm went off again (well, the one was unplugged, but there were still two more that could have gone off).

Elisha was feeling a bit panicky (he has Autism and ADHD), so I told him just to choose a movie on Netflix to watch (aka distraction) and try to go back to sleep (which he couldn’t, but he stayed in his room and was quiet so everyone else got to sleep). The next morning I sent him out for coffee, so he could have some quiet time to himself. Then I put in a phone call to Grandma to take Elisha out with her so he could have a quiet day.

The next morning came way too soon and I could not drag myself out of bed. Jonah brought me coffee and my laptop, so I could tend to a client appointment while I tried to wake up.

Most of the day was a blur, tending to design clients, hanging with the sleepy kids, and just when I was thinking of a nap, we had a minor crisis.

Moses had been complaining of itchy eyes for part of the day, but when he came into the living room in tears, looking like he was ready to claw his eye, he had me pretty worried. Jonah had a good look at his eye in the sunlight and it was determined that this was an emergency. I immediately gave him some Benadryl, in case it was an allergic reaction to something, and called my mom for a ride to the ER (thus ending a peaceful day for Elisha a wee bit too soon).

A little while later, we were headed off to the ER. I had just been there last weekend (for the lumps in my head and neck) and I was so looking forward to spending the afternoon there again instead of napping (I am being sarcastic here).

The waiting room was fairly empty when we arrived. There were two men in front of us. I have no idea what was wrong with the first man, but the second man was hearing voices and talking to the nurse about the time that someone held a gun to his head.

We saw the nurse and told her the story of his eye. They checked his temp and his pulse. Then it was over to the next chair to double check our address and get the pretty bracelet.

While Moses was waiting for his bracelet, a mother and a little boy came in. She was panicking and he was crying, but trying really hard not to. Best I could gather, he was around 6-8 and had fallen out of a loft bed and hurt his arm. The mom and the nurse both thought it might be broken. He was in so much pain. I saw the mother coming and going from the back of emergency a few more times during our visit and that little boy is still on my mind (prayers going up for him).

After Moses got his bracelet, we had to follow the green dots on the floor to get to the other waiting room. The front waiting room was nearly empty, but that inner waiting room was bursting at the seams. I think they do that to lull you into believing that it would be a very short wait. Then once you are all signed up, you stay because it is simply too much effort to go somewhere else. I could be wrong about that, but that is why we stayed even after they told us it would be two more hours.

We snuck into some chairs by the blood lab beside these three older ladies. Two daughters and their mother. They were so sweet. We are hardly there five minutes when an aide walks and older man down the hall in front of us and he peed all over the floor. Like for 6+ feet and apparently all over the bathroom. I felt really bad for him, but it was extremely humorous watching the fuss that followed. Two out of the three ladies sitting beside us, the lady that belonged to the man that had peed, and a gaggle of nurses were trying to stop people from walking in the urine and falling. I was thinking a crossing guard would have been helpful at this point. Rest assured, housekeeping was called (more than once) and came and cleaned the hallway and the bathroom.

Waiting is not very fun. Moses was tired (from the Benadryl), hungry (it was dinner time) and bored (because the television wasn’t working and I didn’t think ahead to pack a suitcase).

First we saw a nurse, then we saw a resident, and then we saw a doctor. By the time the doctor finally saw Moses, most of the swelling had gone down and the bloodshot redness was a almost a distant memory. They put dye in his eye to make sure there were no foreign bodies in there. Prognosis: severe allergic reaction to something unknown. If his eye swells up again give him more Benadryl. I am glad we went to check it out, but it was a long 4 hours and when we got home after 8pm (we left around 3pm), I was exhausted.

And then it was bedtime….

Elisha had been up since 2:30am and was a bit cranky and very overtired. Moses and Malachi went to bed well. And while I was putting the twins to bed, I fell asleep. I was asleep until someone brought me the phone (a quick phone call from my sis). Jonah was still up and I thought I would go spend some time with him. We rented a movie (which turned out to be longer than we thought) and then I wrote this post and saved it as a draft (to edit and post after I got some sleep). I fell asleep thinking about things I am thankful for.

At bedtime with the twins, we each say three things we are thankful for. Here are my three thankful things for tonight.

  1. I am thankful that Moses’ eye was something simple and easily healed.
  2. I am thankful that we only had to do bedtime once tonight.
  3. I am thankful for a bed to sleep in.

What are you thankful for?

PS – Just so you all know, Jonah hooked up the smoke detector during the day yesterday and it hasn’t gone off since. Maybe it just needed a reset after the power outage? 

Allergies, Autism, and Diet

Allergies

Gluten-free, Casein-free Diet For Autism

Before the twins, Zion and Hosanna, were born (they turn four in six days) our family went on the gluten-free, casein-free diet to help our oldest son, Elisha, who has autism, with his behavior.

The diet was challenging. The learning curve was steep. I had no idea what was really in some of our foods (and we don’t eat that many “weird” foods), until I started seriously reading labels.

We stayed on the gluten-free, casein-free diet for about two years. We saw great improvements in our son’s behavior and everyone else’s too.

Then along came our twins and…

Allergies and Eczema

We discovered, in the first year of her life, that our daughter, Hosanna, was allergic to dairy, eggs, and nuts. She had severe eczema and other issues related to her allergies. It was an obvious choice to me that we dropped the gluten-free, casein-free diet in favor of a diet free of her allergens.

Side note: Moses is allergic to mushrooms and shellfish, so those are out too.

Okay, so are you with me so far?

We were gluten-free, casein-free, but then we turned dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, shellfish-free, and mushroom-free. Try and come up with some fun (and frugal) breakfast ideas. I dare you!

Outgrowing Allergies?

We were told that if we avoided her allergens as completely as possible for at least two years, we could attempt to bring them back in. My daughter, Hosanna, is nearing four now and we have recently added back in dairy to the whole family. She does okay if we have it in moderation, but lately she has had some strange new eczema patches. And now our oldest son, Elisha, is having behavioral issues again.

Side note: While we have tried adding in the dairy and the egg (in baked goods only), I will NOT attempt this with the peanut/nut allergy. With the nut allergy, I would rather further testing to see if she still reacts.

Gluten-free, Casein-free, Egg-free, Nut-free, Shellfish-free, and Mushroom-free (What’s For Dinner?)

My husband (Jonah) and I have been discussing our options. I am convinced that the food has something to do with Hosanna’s eczema outbreak as well as Elisha’s recent behavior. I was leaning towards going back on the gluten-free, casein-free diet, as well as staying away from all the other allergens, but the thought scares me.

Since we know that dairy (casein) is the biggest culprit for Elisha, we decided to start by eliminating that first and see how we do. The first 3-6 weeks can often be really bad if he goes through a withdrawal from those foods, so we can only pray for grace.

If we have success, we will stop there and just remain dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, mushroom-free, and shellfish-free. That is a mouthful and it’s no wonder we don’t eat out much.

Planning And Preparation

If we don’t have as much success as we would like, we will continue on and remove the gluten as well. This is a much bigger job and will require more planning and preparation on my part.

All of this means that I must be much more on top of planning meals. I must be going back through my recipes and pulling out the ones that I created based on old war recipes and new vegan ones (thank you Google). I am excited, nervous, and ready for change with our food in the hopes that we see benefits for our family.

I have discussed the changes with my husband and the two middle boys, but not Elisha. I wanted to just go ahead and quietly implement the changes at the end of the month and see if we could sneak them in without him noticing. Here’s hoping he is not a frequent reader of my blog.

If you are dealing with food allergies, feeding a large family on a tight budget, or otherwise challenged in the kitchen, I would love to hear your comments.

large family good eats

My Big Boy Turns 12 Today

I went to bed early last night and woke at a crazy hour this morning. I was trying to figure out why I couldn’t sleep (besides the twins crawling into bed and sleeping on my head) and I wonder if it is because I am deeply thinking about my big boy turning 12 today.

I can’t imagine where the last 12 years have gone!

This is our boy who:

was born 2 weeks early even though the doc was sure he would be two weeks lateElisha

crawled at 4 months

Elisha

couldn’t hold his head up on his own until after he walked at 9 months

Elisha

was talking early

Elisha

was reading early

Elisha

was diagnosed with ADHD before kindergarten

Elisha

was diagnosed with Autism during kindergarten

Elisha

kept me up late

Elisha

woke me up early

Elisha

needed WAY more tender loving care than I thought I had to give

Elisha

tried every last nerve and helped me find some more

Elisha

still needs hugs and prayers at bedtimes

Elisha

surprises me all the time

Elisha

smiled and melted my heart

Elisha

is growing into a man

Elisha

is finally old enough to take out the trash himself

Elisha

is brilliant

Elisha

will make a major mark on this world and I can’t wait to see what it is

Elisha

will always be my little boy

Happy 12th Birthday Elisha!

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