Carter is seriously the best baby I could have asked for. I know I say that a lot, but it is true. He is awesome. He has his moments, certainly, but the thing is that he's so good when you hope your baby is so good...eating, sleeping, when he needs to be patient...and he is. Knock on wood, of course, as everyone knows everything with babies is somewhat of a phase and it can change tomorrow for no apparent reason. Still, he's been such a sweet, chill baby from the beginning that I'm hoping that element of his personality is here to stay. When dealing with Jacob there's a certain element of normalcy that's missing. I don't mean that in a bad way, but let's face it--it's not normal to battle with your child for an hour about clothing or bedtime. And it happens All. The. Time. So, not normal. And I know each kid is different, yada yada yada...but sometimes you just want your kid to be like, "OK, mom." With Jacob, it's rare. With Carter, if he could talk, I think that's how he'd be. Yes, now that he's crawling and getting more mobile he's definitely getting a little fussier about staying in one spot. And when I leave the room for more than a couple minutes (or seconds, depending on his mood), he's not a happy camper. But for the most part, I think he gives us a taste of that normal that Jacob does not right now. And while it's hard to recall how Jacob was as a baby, I think he was fine...but not like this.
Anyway...the one knock on Carter at this point is obviously his eating issues. The rice intolerance is a major challenge. Given that most of the gluten-free foods we eat have some sort of rice flour in them, and that most baby foods use rice because it so rarely causes reactions, it is very hard to feed him. Either foods aren't easy enough for him to eat, or it's something we haven't tested yet, or it's a food that's not easy to make in small quantities. I'm definitely struggling, and it doesn't make me feel much better that he's not really gaining much weight right now. We had his well visit this morning and it was pretty obvious that he's not really gaining like he was. Not sure if it's just a natural growth pattern, or that he's more active now, or if the craziness of this past weekend contributed. Allow me to explain...
Friday morning Carter woke up happy as usual. I took him to daycare, left as he was starting his bottle, and went to work. As I was getting on the elevator, daycare called my cell and told me that he had just thrown up three times. I found this extra strange since he'd been normal and happy right up until I left him. When I got back there to pick him up, he was sleeping but woke up when I tried to move him to his car seat. He seemed happy and comfortable. We spent the day on the living room floor on the designated puke comforter with a bunch of towels and his toys. We played, he napped, and I tried to get stuff done. I gave him some water, which he held down no problem, then some formula. I initially started with just his usual formula just in case it was a stomach bug and he had a touch of temporary lactose intolerance. I'd actually been giving him a half scoop of sensitive formula for the previous week to see how he tolerated the dairy, and he seemed to be doing well. He held down the single ounces of formula I gave him, and I gradually increased the amount. I also gave him the dairy-laced formula again (since I had his daycare bottles sitting there ready to go). He did fine all around. He was in a good mood and kept everything down. It was definitely weird but I was also grateful he was doing so well.
This, of course, got me thinking that this was another intolerance coming out. We'd been doing Cheerios for a few days prior, and then Thursday night I gave him one Yogurt Melt (those little Gerber yogurt drops) because it's one of the few baby finger foods not made with rice. I figured since the dairy-laced bottles had been going well, that was a good next step. Everything seemed fine until Friday morning, and the way it all went down seemed eerily reminiscent of his rice reactions back in August. Projectile vomiting, fine afterward. But he'd been on oatmeal (and indirectly wheat) for a month, and dairy for a week. The only new thing in either of those snacks was corn starch in the Cheerios. Still, it seemed a little odd that he didn't vomit until three days in and the next morning to boot (rather than a couple hours later like usual). But it did take him a week to react to rice, too, so who knows?
Saturday morning I gave him a regular bottle, and I think then he spit up a bit more than I would have expected. At that point I thought maybe his belly wasn't ready for dairy, so I cut out the other formula and stuck to the Nutramigen. At lunch I gave him some squash and oatmeal. He wasn't really into it, but he eventually ate it. Later on he had another pretty significant spit-up, which got me nervous again. Still, he seemed fine aside from being super tired because our busy day (Jacob's Christmas program practice--during which we went to the mall--along with Jacob's lacrosse game and a Knighthawks preseason game) kept getting in the way of his napping. Every time he'd almost fall asleep, I'd have to move him and he'd wake up.
Sunday he was fine all day. He still didn't seem particularly eager to eat solids, but he did well with tiny pieces of banana at breakfast and drank his morning bottle relatively well. He fell asleep mid-bottle in the afternoon, probably because his lack of naps Saturday left him extra sleepy. He took a long nap and initially woke up a little cranky before conking out again for a little longer. He woke up happy from there and while he didn't finish his dinner bottle or have much interest in solids, he still seemed happy enough. As I was giving him his bedtime bottle, he stalled out with a couple ounces to go. He didn't seem uncomfortable, just distracted, and then he puked up a good amount. Not the whole bottle like he's seemingly done before, but still, quite a bit, mostly all over me. And then he was fine.
So...seeing as he hadn't had dairy but had eaten oatmeal, was it that? Or did his stomach bug take a break and decide it wasn't done? He was fine again this morning and I definitely felt like I stumped the doctor at his well visit this morning when I recalled the weekend's events. She said to continue on as normal and see if the upped dose on his one reflux med helps. I think I'm actually going to cut out the oatmeal and dairy for a couple more days, then start introducing them back in one at a time. Hopefully by then if it is a bug, it will be gone and he'll be fine. If not, I'll have to keep experimenting. That is torturous, though, because making your kid sick (and bracing for the puke) is so awful.
Oh, and to complicate matters further, he spiked a fever at daycare today. That could be the next step of a bug, or it could just be a reaction to the one immunization he got this morning. He seemed miserable when I picked him up from daycare, but after a while he seemed to feel better. His fever went away, too. Tomorrow is another day, of course!
But seriously, the questions just keep coming. It seems almost impossible to know what's going on with him right now. Sick? Intolerance? Who knows? I just want him healthy and I want to stop worrying about how skinny he is. That kid is such a source of joy that I just want to get all of this hard stuff behind us and focus on the good. We need as much of that as we can get.