Thursday, May 20, 2010

Allergy Update…

I know many of you know this story, but for those who don’t know us, or who can’t remember…. here’s a summary…

When the boys were newborns, Ben had a rash. It started not long after he was born. Initially, we called it a newborn “milk rash” and/or thought it was the rash newborns get when the hormone balance shifts after birth. We didn’t really know. At about 6 weeks old, he still had a rash, and this time the docs called it eczema.

After a few bad months of idiot doctors and misdiagnosis we finally found a paediatrician that specialised in allergies. We had to wait 2 months for an appointment, so at 4 months old, we decided we would do what our gut had been telling us for a while, and we took him off breast milk. We bought a tin of low allergy formula ($60 tin lasted 3 days) and fed him only that. His skin cleared in 2 days, and became the best it had been his whole life. We bought a few tins, but were lucky enough to have a “connection” who got us heaps of tins for free!!. Life became good on this new formula “Elecare”.

At 6 months old we got our specialist appointment and they did skin prick testing and diagnosed an egg allergy and salicylate intolerance. They totally agreed with our decision to give him Elecare, and we got a prescription. (Now we can officially get it government subsidised). They also gave us a dietary plan to follow as we introduced solids. Ben’s special diet was egg, dairy, soy, nut, fish and wheat free for a few months. Ethan got the same, but was allowed dairy. They basically lived on ‘milk’ (Elecare for Ben, Breastmilk for Ethan) plus potato, swede, choko, green beans, pear, chicken and rice until about 9 months old.

At the 9 month appointment, we got Ethan tested, for no other reason, than they were brothers. We were surprised to learn Ethan had an egg allergy too. So we stayed egg, nut, fish and dairy free, but introduced wheat and gave them other food challenges to see how they went. And they went well.

At 12 months, we introduced dairy and fish and that went well too. At this point, they are eating a low-medium content salicylate diet and are still egg, nut and shellfish free. Ben’s eczema is greatly improved from what it was for the first 4 months of his life.  He still got flareups in his eczema at times, but it was no where near as bad as it used to be.

At 18 months, the egg allergy is starting to decrease. The size of the reaction on skin prick testing has halved. We continue the same diet. Ben’s salicylate sensitivity is improving, and he is now tolerating a medium-high level of salicylates.

This week at their 2 year check-up we are very happy to report that their egg allergy is still decreasing. The size of the reaction is now small enough to not be considered relevant. The doctor and dietician tell us it’s now time to introduce egg!

We start with egg as an ingredient in something. So we made a cake. We gave them a nibble. Waited ten mins. All ok. So we gave them a mouthful, waited ten mins. All ok. So we gave them a whole piece. They were fine. No reaction at all!! We are so happy that they have tolerated egg in the cake….

Next step is to try straight egg. We have to wait a week before trying this. We will make some scrambled egg and start by touching it on their cheeks. If that is ok, 10 mins later we’ll touch it on their lips. If that’s ok, 10mins later they can have a nibble. If that’s ok, 10 mins later they can have a mouthful, and so on…..

We are also now allowed to introduce nuts and shellfish. Both slowly like the egg. These boys aren’t going to know themselves with the wide variety of diet they can have. Ben is also improving on his salicylate sensitivity. It’s defiantly still there, as his eczema still flares up when he eats too much, but his tolerance level is higher :)

At their check-up, they were also weighed and measured. Here’s the stats:


Height: 87.4 cm (34.4 inches)

Weight: 13.0kg (28lb, 11oz)


Height: 85.6cm (33.7 inches)

Weight: 11.2kg (24lb, 11oz)

As you may notice, Ethan is our big boy, and Ben’s still a lightweight. Even with his smaller statute, Ben’s still the dominant twin. He’s quite the chatter box, though Ethan’s speech has come along in huge leaps in the last 2 weeks. More about that in another post….

Just a few pics to finish up…

Ethan… I took these this morning as the “before” pics, just in case he had a reaction to the egg.

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Ben’s butt! I was trying to get his “before” picture, but he dived into the box!

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And some pictures from the other day….

Ben, super tired and hungry. Having an absolute meltdown because the play-doh wouldn’t do what he wanted it to do….. whatever that was, I couldn’t work it out!


Brotherly love. Ethan giving Ben a cuddle. Ben has an iPod in his hands, listening to the music.tn_P5161640 tn_P5161641

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A couple of videos…..

Little Monkeys – some random shots

I’ve had some random shots waiting to be uploaded for a while, but never seem to get the right post to include them in….. so here’s a bunch of randoms…..


Ben asleep at nap time. See all the things in his cot…. He has about 5 dummies (pacifiers to my American friends), a few soft toys, a doll and of course his blankie that his Nana made for him. In this photo there’s even a hat in the bed. Each day the boys like to take different things to bed. At the moment, the favourite thing is the baseball that they got sent from America (see later pics in this post about the baseballs).tn_P3161339

Ethan. He also has a few soft toys and a blankie. See the pink under his right leg, he’s sleeping on a doll!tn_P3161340

Ethan again. This time from the side. See how his bottom’s up in the air. These boys get themselves into some interesting positions!tn_P3161341

Ethan eating corntn_P4181446

Ben eating corn. tn_P4181445

Ben in blue, Ethan in red….. making some cookies.tn_P4251489 tn_P4251470 tn_P4251481 tn_P4251484 

Our back fence. See the snake that decided it was a good spot to sunbake?tn_P4131438tn_P4131442 

A few days after their birthday the boys got a package from our wonderful friends in America. They each got given a baseball, a baseball bat and a baseball cap. Both boys LOVE this present, and want to take it to bed with them every day. We allow them to take the soft baseball, but not the bat!

Ben with his baseball cap and bat. – new favourite word “baseball”tn_P5071610

Ethan with his cap, bat and ball.tn_P5071608

Ethan hitting his Wiggles balloon with the bat. That was the favourite thing to do as soon as they got their present. The Wiggles balloon came from the Wiggles concert that we took them to, just before their birthday. I didn’t blog about it, because we didn’t take any pictures, but both boys had a great time at the concert.tn_P5071609

Ben – being a clown!tn_P5131619

Ben. Trying to listen to music with the iPod headphones. They aren’t plugged into anything, but this picture is cool, because it looks like they are plugged into the guitar.

Also, that guitar on the ground is the inspiration for their guitar birthday cake.


Ha ha……mummy’s laptop!!! Time for some mischief!tn_P5131634 Yessssss, we got in!tn_P5131633Working quietlytn_P5131629 tn_P5131630 See that Ben, that’s how you do it…tn_P5131631 tn_P5131632   Sweet and innocent!tn_P5131627My darling boys!tn_P5131635

Monday, May 3, 2010


We’ve been making a sandpit for the boys for MONTHS!!! We actually started it not long after we moved into our house, about 6 months ago. Before we moved into this house, the area that is now a sandpit used to be a pond.


It looked great when we saw the house at a viewing. During negotiations, the man owning the house asked us if we were planning to keep it that way. We said no (bit dangerous for the boys) so he asked if it was ok if he took some of it with him. Ok by us….. but the problem was that he left it a terrible mess :(

See the size of the pond….. it’s actually a large corrugated metal tank buried in the ground. He left the tank, and threw all the rocks into it. We had a MONSTER job, pulling out all the rocks, then digging the large metal tank out of the ground. To make matters worse, he’s cemented the bottom of the tank, and it was buried in very solid clay soil. HARD WORK!

Unfortunately we did not think to take pictures of the beginning part of this adventure. We removed the mini corrugated metal fence around the pond area, dug out the tank, pulled out all the plants and weeds,  flattened the soil and started to build the sandpit.

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See the wooden frame. We bought the wood from Bunnings (local hardware megastore), and the brackets and cut it to size. Placed it in the ground – it was a LOT harder than you’d think to make sure it was level.tn_PC110406

Then the weed mat went down, and another frame on top. Now we have a structure for the sandpit…tn_PC140416

Sandpit by the shed. See how big it is! It is 2m along the shed, and 3m along the fence. Massive pile of dirt we had to remove!tn_PC140418 

Now the fun (awful!!!) job of getting the sand into the sandpit. We live on a sloped block. We got almost 2tonne of sand delivered to our driveway. We had to carry it up to the sandpit. Up 15 steps!tn_PC140422

Bucket by bucket. It was too heavy to carry in a bigger bucket, and the stairs are too steep to use a wheelbarrow. It just tips out.tn_PC140423 

Tracie, going back for another load.tn_PC140424

The boys got very excited when we finally got some sand in the sandpit.

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Sal, raking out the sandtn_PC140429

Ethantn_PC140430 tn_PC140433  tn_PC140435 tn_PC140437 tn_PC140438 tn_PC140439 tn_PC140440 tn_PC140441 tn_PC140442 tn_PC140443 tn_PC140444

Fast forward a couple of months, and all the sand is in the sandpit and we have made a large wooden lid to cover the sandpit when not in use. See it resting against the fence behind Sal? The boys love playing in their sandpit, but at this stage it’s still not finished!tn_P1090618

See behind Ethan – there is still ugly dirt and weeds between the sandpit and the shed & fence. And the lid is not secured to anything.tn_P1090615 tn_P1090617 

Fast forward a few more months and our sandpit is FINALLY finished!!!

The lid is now on hinges, and now is chained to the fence when open, to prevent it blowing closed in the wind. We have also painted the inside with blackboard paint. The boys love their sandpit. The like to drive their trucks in the sand and jump on Mummy’s sandcastles. We have also put some rocks around the rear borders of the sandpit – just so it looks better than dirt and weeds!


Now we only need to wait to the surrounding grass to recover and grow back. Hopefully by next summer it will be looking good.

Stay tuned – next project is a shade cloth to cover the sandpit. On a sunny day it’s VERY HOT in the sandpit.