Happy Birthday, Maddy!

When Maddy turned seven, our family celebrated by beginning a new chapter that was be life changing, helped to raise awareness for those suffering from food allergy, and helped educate people about OIT. Now, as Maddy turns 8, and will begin the 3rd grade, so many possibilities are open to her as a child that doesn't have food allergies standing in her way!

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Check out my other blog, The Best Medicine, about my husband's battle against cancer.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

High Hopes

Anxiously awaiting the taste of PB.

 Most parents will say their children’s personality shines through early on in life. It’s pretty evident, usually, which of those qualities become their strengths - whether those traits are adopted from your spouse, picked up from you, or were crafted on their own or, rather, with the help of another influence. Our children do eventually become these little individuals somehow melding all of the above into something entirely their own. Even if half of the time we are shaking our head at them in amazement or exasperation, it is incredible to witness watching our children grow up.

At a fairly early age, it was evident to us, that Madeline was a confident little thing. She had a sense of humor that matched her father’s and a brazen attitude that our family likened to my own, a dangerous combination to say the least! Family & friends humorously called her “assertive” for her age and often joked that if at three years old she was able to tell people what to do with such authority, imagine what she would be like at my age. At one visit to the apple orchard with friends, we moseyed along, enjoying the beautiful fall day. Maddy relished each moment, the beautiful weather as she ran through the orchards with our Goddaughter, Aubrey and other pals. She really wanted to get to the pumpkins next and was eager to be sure everyone knew where we were headed. Jumping on out of the wagon, and in front of our group, she let everyone know which activity was next on the agenda. 
Lil' Miss Bossy Pants - Fall 2009

Everyone, everyone – listen!” she yelled. “We are getting pumpkins next, follow me! Self-assured, assertive, confident, you name it; this kid did not lack it. And I was proud of that. 

She had more confidence than I could imagine. And it had started much earlier than that miniature event planner at The Country Mill. The spring before that particular incident, at just three years old she amazed us all, when she told us she wanted to perform a song for our church’s Spring Fling, a show put on to demonstrate the musical talents of our church members. Maddy practiced and practiced, mostly with her Grandma Linda. Music is very special to Jason’s side of the family and most in the family either play an instrument or sing in a choir and they’ve been determined since Maddy’s birth to pass that on to her. As a result, she loves music and was quite confident the day she took the stage. It was really hard to believe and beautiful to watch as she sang each word of Frank Sinatra’s classic, “High Hopes.” I’m certain I was more nervous than she, but why would she be? She had high hopes! 

Spring 2009
My memory threw me back to this moment when ol’ blue eyes serenaded me recently driving home from work. The memory struck me and I considered the expectations we had when we began our OIT journey. At the start of the peanut allergy desensitization program we had extremely high hopes for the way it would go – Maddy would get through the entire Rush Day protocol, she would increase her dose each week, she would love and adore the taste, smell, and texture of peanuts, peanut butter and everything peanut, and then she would graduate right on time. Ta – da!
Our hopes were dashed from the start - expectations had to be renegotiated every step of the way. That is the way this program goes.

That was hard to deal with sometimes, though. 

She didn’t make it as far through Rush Day as we’d hoped, she had quite a lot of little reactions along the way, and she certainly wasn’t enjoying the peanuts. 

She was to six peanuts at this point and we had high hopes, once again, for her to love peanut butter. We hoped to just get her through until graduation with some more options for her dose. She didn’t like dry roasted peanuts and those Peanut M&M’s were great, but so filling in the morning that she wasn’t eating a nutritional breakfast. Everyone told her just how much she would love the ooey-gooey peanutty goodness they all adore themselves, and we were all excited for something new. Wrong!

Let me reiterate - Maddy had done very well at this point – in all ways she could. Her body had been desensitizing just as it should – the few reactions were pretty normal and not at all bad. She had decided her dose was just that – medicine & she would take it as such, no matter the taste. Now that we were six peanuts in, I was really hoping for the “she likes the peanuts” phase to kick in and it hadn’t, not yet. 

At this point, too, Maddy said, “the one thing I don’t like about this peanut program is that it’s forever.” 
The first taste!

For a mom who had done nothing but eat, sleep, and breathe peanut allergy desensitization program  – this one punched me right in the gut – juuust a bit. 

But -  I’m not a quitter - and neither is Maddy. 

So, we soldiered on.  She soldiered on. 

She gave up on peanut butter for some time after that first try, but like most things, she tried it again and again. And, much like everything else with Maddy, her attitude about desensitization has come around again, too. Her dose, peanut butter, Peanut M&M’s, and peanuts are becoming a regular part of her life. Like her dad, she finds the humor in everything she does, and like me, she takes each challenge on head on. And like the unique child she is growing up to be - she has high hopes; she has high apple pie in the sky hopes!

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