Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Moin Moin Speaks

Follow the adventures of our new fuzzy friend as this sweet little lamb navigates the complicated world we live in today. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

On Children and Pamphlets

After several years of motherhood, we're used to being prepared for certain situations.  Lately, we've got you covered in ways one would never have guessed.

That's right, if you've been dying to work at the Gap, boy do we have the application for you.  Find yourself wanting nutrition information on Starbucks beyond just the calories they post? Look no further than our kitchen.  Feel like making a big donation to a synagogue, even if you may not be Jewish?  Oh, do we have the pamphlet for you, peeps.

We've got pamphlets upon pamphlets upon pamphlets.  Political pamphlets, pamphlets to help you talk about your grief, pamphlets to help you part with your money, and even pamphlets in Spanish.

Why, you ask?

Because, apparently, children go through phases and we are now in the little-documented "pamphlet phase".  After digging out of a sea of paper we set out to find out more information about this odd phase, seeing as how we can't possibly be the only parent going through this.  After finding little information online about sating your child's appetite for collecting random pamphlets, we thought we'd share for the benefit of others.

What are the signs that we're in a full-fledged pamphlet phase? Mini's face lights up whenever she finds a pamphlet.  In waiting rooms she happily walks around hoarding them, making sure she has one of everything.  Rather than avoiding those people on the street handing out paper, she flocks to them, grinning from ear to ear after she sees just how many pamphlets they have to offer.  And lest you mistakenly think she is not aware of what she is collecting, allow us the indulgence of telling you about the last time we were on line at Barnes and Noble.  Despite the fact that this mother was purchasing her three (three!) brand new books, upon seeing the membership applications at the register mini abandoned all good feelings toward the books and exclaimed "pamphlets!"  She promptly grabbed one, handed it to her mother, and said "Here, Mama, another pamphlet for us to keep for my collection" and grinned.

However, as we're told nature has a way of working things out and that children do have survival instincts, we're sure that the famous pamphlet phase will be followed by the next common phase of childhood: 

urban dwelling syndrome (noun): the sudden realization of just how shockingly small your apartment really is, and how few things you'll actually be able to fit inside.

Sorry, kid, if you want another red then something's got to go


Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Allergy Mom Back-to-School Wish List

Groan.

We know, you thought we were in for another "Back to school with food allergies" post.  No, peeps,  Though we probably should post one, truth is there has been an explosion in the amount of information available in this stuff: so much so, that anything we had to offer would be highly redundant and even more highly yawn-inducing.  The truth is, even though we've only been dealing with this managing a food allergy a few years, the changes we have seen in awareness in the past few years are HUGE.

For example, there are now so many more allergy-friendly brands to choose from - we can get cake mixes, frosting, cookies, granola bars, chips, etc. and the selection is big and growing.  Soy nut butter has become so mainstream it's in the regular supermarket.  Five years ago no one we knew (except us) had heard of that stuff, much less used it regularly.
No really, they are. See?

Other changes? Airlines are becoming more accommodating: Delta, for instance, just changed its policy from three nut-free rows forward and back to a whole nut free plane if you give them advance warning.

Food allergy awareness posters are easily visible in many New York restaurants.

States are beginning to pass laws that would allow schools to carry epinephrine to administer to students in an emergency.  This is huge as many allergic reactions in school happen to kids before they are even diagnosed.

In fact, one company is even providing free Epipens to schools in order to prevent cost from becoming a barrier to obtaining potentially life-saving medicine.  Read more about it here: http://www.EpiPen4Schools.com/

If that's not proof enough for you skeptics out there that knowledge and sensitivity to food allergies is becoming more mainstream, we have one more point for you: less eyerolls.  Yes, we still get lots, but we get significantly less "you're crazy, lady" eyerolls than we used to even three years ago.  These are statistically significant quantitative eyeroll differences, peeps.

But a step in the right direction isn't enough, is it?  So, we present our food allergy wish list, brought to you by one crazy mother in New York.  We predict that all of these will be true 10 years from now.

Top Ten Eleven Predictions for Food Allergies in Ten Years

Top of the Wish List? A cure for food allergies

1.  "Nut free" or "gluten free" meals will become standard options for all airlines.  Yes, we'll all probably be paying $39.99 for airline meals at that point, but the allergy options will be standard.  Nuts will no longer be distributed on any flight.

2.  School and college cafeterias will have standard "allergen free" sections as routine part of meal preparation.  Knowledge of safety and cross-contamination will be an automatic part of any kitchen safety training.  

3.  Ingredient lists will be readily available; all will clearly label the possible presence or contamination of allergens.

4.  All MLB stadiums will have nut free sections.

5. Much like the "first aid for choking signs", all restaurants and public places that have food will have "first aid for anaphylaxis" signs.  In addition,  Epinephrine will be standard issue as part of any first-aid kit for schools, libraries, restaurants, camps, etc.  All Red Cross first aid classes will automatically include training on anaphylaxis.

6. Allergy-friendly Halloween candy.  'Nuff said.

7. Getting allergy-friendly food and an adult to take responsibility of epinephrine at a drop-off birthday party will become standard. 

8. Gap, Old Navy, Children's Place or some mainstream brand of children's clothing will make cargo pants with a special epinephrine pocket.

9. Auto-injectors will talk to you, reducing human error in training.  Oh wait, that already happened last week.

10. There will be a vaccine to prevent food allergies, or a treatment to prevent them from being life-threatening.

11. "Anaphylaxis" will become a standard term in spell-check.




Thursday, August 9, 2012

How Do You Safely Set up an Entire School Cafeteria???

We are in unchartered territory.

Rather than being in the position of asking an existing cafeteria for their policy, we are entering a brand new school in a brand new building who is building an entire cafeteria from scratch.

The best part? They're looking for input from parents of children with multiple food allergies on how to safely feed them.

The worst part? Ignorance and disorganization.

Can anyone point us to any documents, training organizations, or general information that we can use to help set up a kitchen in a way to safely feed children with multiple food allergies?  This is a dairy-only kitchen that would also prefer to make as much from scratch as possible, and is balking at the suggestion of baking with Ener-G egg replacer instead of eggs, because they want to avoid using processed foods.

We are working together with parents, school administrators, the catering company, and the nurses, however we feel we will end up with a poor and disorganized process if we do not help with specific steps, training, structure.  We need to make it as easy as possible for them or we fear they'll take be less likely to take steps to make things safer.  We'll happily report on the process, progress, lessons learned when school opens in September.

Any and all information is welcome. Please share with others who may have experience managing food allergies as this will impact 600+ children.

Thank you!

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Weekend in Vegas, Screenplay-Style

Rather than a diary, it was suggested we convey the excitement that is a girls' weekend in Las Vegas through dialogue.  As a bona fide delusional aspiring screenwriter we thought we'd give it a try.

EXT. VEGAS POOL - DAY

Two chicks sit by the pool in their sunglasses, sipping drinks.

Cabanas by the pool that they enjoyed in their dreams.

[K-girl]
This is so relaxing...

[Poker Chick]
I know! By the way, just curious, why is your underwear still hanging up in the bathroom?

[K-girl]
Huh? That's not my underwear. I thought it was yours.

[Poker Chick]
No way! I thought it was yours!

Sudden looks of realization and disgust.

[Both]
Eeeeeeeewwwwwwww!

We shudder wondering where these might have been


INT. POKER ROOM - DAY

2pm.  K-girl is the only woman in a poker table full of men.  The dealer deals her two cards, face down.  K-girl takes a peek, carefully guarding them out of sight.  She gets up and shoves all her chips in the center of the table.  The man to her right immediately calls.  She gets up and flips over an Ace King.  He looks at her smugly and flips over two aces.  The dealer deals five cards face up in the middle of the table, and shoves all the chips towards the man.

K-girl walks over to the next table, where Poker Chick is sitting at an otherwise all-male table.  She looks down at a sad "stack" of chips in front of her girlfriend.

[K-girl]
Looks like you'll be out soon, huh?

[Poker Chick]
Sure looks that way.

[K-girl]
Ok, come find me at blackjack when you're done.

[Poker Chick]
(not looking up)
K. See you soon.

1 hour later......

K-girl walks back into the room and eyes a huge stack of chips in front of her friend.

[K-girl]
Looks like you'll be here a while, huh?

[Poker Chick]
Looks that way.

[K-girl]
Ok, come find me at the blackjack table when you're done.

INT. CASINO - DAY - 2 HOURS LATER

K-girl sits in front of a blackjack table.  Poker Chick walks up.

[K-girl]
So?

[Poker Chick]
8th.  Only top 3 pay out.  Still, 8th!!

She takes out $100 and sits down next to her friend.  Many giggles and high five's ensue over the course of the next few hours.  Finally, the two chicks walk away, each carrying about $250 in chips.

[Poker Chick]
Sigh.  I love gambling.

[K-girl]
(enthusiastically)
Me, too!!!

INT. CASINO - NEXT DAY

The two friends sit at a table with sign that reads "Switch Blackjack".

[Poker Girl]
What do I do? Am I switching these?

[K-girl]
Yes. And then double your 11!

[Poker Chick]
Gulp. More money on the table?  Okay, this is my last $30 after I put back the $100 I started with. When that's gone I'm done.

1 hour later....

[Poker Chick]
Last hand for real this time.

Ahhhh.....Blackjack Switch.  A brilliant maneuver by casinos to take your money twice as fast.

INT. CASINO CASHIER - 1 hour later

Poker Chick and K-girl walk away laughing as PC holds a crisp $500 bill.  A burly man at the cashier looks K-girl up and down.

[Burly man]
Young lady, can I see some ID?

[K-girl]
I love gambling.

[Poker Chick]
Me too!





 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The 30,000 Foot Update

We're on our way to Vegas to meet up with K-girl, and things are looking promising.

Arrived at the airport with enough time for an iced coffee.  Laughed silently at the man in line behind buying a beer at 9:40am. Found a 10-minute manicure station right in front of our gate.  This brought back memories of years past when we flew weekly for work, when we'd travel with our work buddies A&A and used the frequent delays in Indiana to get a margarita, chips and guac bring it next door to consume over pedicures.  (We have yet to find a better way to survive an airport delay!)  Sadly, the manicure lady, herself a mother of four grown girls took it upon herself to lecture us on divorce. She clearly is among the "you stay together no matter what" camp.  It took everything we had to bite our tongue.  Seriously, lady not all ladies traveling to Vegas are totally-immoral-gambling-degenerates.  No really, it's true!  Look up "totally immoral gambling degenerate" in the dictionary and you will not find mommies from NYC who like manis and pedis.  We swear.

Now, anyone who's ever taken the NYC-Vegas morning flight will be used to the number of sleeping passengers.  While it seems counterintuitive to sleep like that in the middle of the day, the sight of all those people clearly gearing up for a long night is rather amusing when you consider it in that context.

However, yours truly is working, not sleeping.  Working on a deck for work (please tell me most of you know what that means?)  After over an hour of sitting with the fasten seatbelt sign - apparently due to heavy turbulence we have yet to feel - we decided we needed a stretch and lavatory visit.  After passing the flight crew despite the safety lecture from them, we went back to them, tail down, with a broken lock on the door that fell off in our hand.  Clearly clumsiness knows no bounds. 

However all this aside -- the part of our travels thus far? Winning the "lucky seat" game and getting free wifi.  So y'all have Delta to thank for this boring and uneventful lovely update.

And who said airlines don't give anything for free anymore?