Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Some good news

We're in the throes of a heatwave here in Vancouver. For those of you reading this who live out of the area, we have a silly little practice here when it comes to weather. Our "official" temperature is taken at Vancouver International Airport, which is right on the waterfront. During the winter months it can be several degrees colder inland where most of the people live, and during the summer (sigh), it can be hotter. So, today's official high is supposed to be 31°C...last night on our back deck it was 38°C. That's right around 100°F. Now I know that's "not hot" for some parts of this little blue-green marble we all live on, but Vancouver isn't really set up for a week of really hot (like this) or really cold (-10°C/15°F). We don't have AC in most of our homes, and when it's 2:30 and the temp is still in the high 20's/80+ we really don't sleep that well. After a few days, traffic gets...well....grumpy.

So, on a more positive note, I had to go out and buy another epipen for Andrew. Not because we'd used one, but another one expired. That's good. I like expired epipens because expired epipens are unused epipens. I got to the pharmacy and discovered they didn't have any more left on his prescription, so we had to go to the doctor to get a prescription. It's kind of weird taking two perfectly healthy children (and one healthy father -- me) to the doctor, but there we were. We got the prescription and went to the pharmacy. The nice lady behind the counter handed me the box and told me how much I owed. I looked at the box and told her "Sept 2009" was a little early for the expiry date.

"It's still good. What's your concern?"

You know those little conversations you have with yourself in your head? Kind of like that scene from "Terminator" where the guy in the bar says something to Arnie's character, and the machine brings up a list of possible responses. The list reads something like:

- No thank you
- Pardon me sir
- That's not going to happen
- the one I can't print in a family blog, and that the Terminator actually selects

I had one of those conversations...without the profanity of course. I chose the helpful reply of "We only use these in emergencies...would you buy a fire extinguisher that expired in 2 months? I'd like you to order me a new one please."

"Sigh, we'll call you when it's here". A few days later my September 2010 expiry prescription was filled.

So, no reactions for quite a while now. YEAH!!

We're next scheduled to see the pediatric allergist in March 2010 for tests to see if the kids are outgrowing any of their allergies. Apparently we neglected to share that information with one of our mothers...I won't say which one because my Mom would rather remain anonymous.

Ooops...anyway, she has this fantastic idea for feeding the boys at summer BBQs. She gets dinner rolls and pre-cooked sausage rounds, cooks them on the grill and they have kid-sized hamburgers. For some reason the boys don't like hamburgers or beef patties, but they'll devour these mini-burgers with the sausuage like there's no tomorrow. The catch comes when you read the ingredients on the buns...there's whey in there, and Andrew's allergic to dairy. Or at least he was...he didn't have any reaction. We were reading the ingredients a few days after he'd eaten them.

That situation got us thinking he might have outgrown his dairy reaction. So the next time we went grocery shopping, I picked up a package of goldfish crackers. I love these things almost as much as I love nuts, and was crushed when I couldn't blame my excessive consumption of them on my kids. Okay, maybe that's overstating the situation, but I really do like them. I picked a day where we had nothing to do that afternoon, and I could watch them...and gave them a quarter of a fish cracker each.

Nothing. Well not "nothing" there were loud (and I do mean LOUD) demands for more.

I waited an hour...still nothing.

We went out to play in the back yard...for 3 hours...still nothing.

We came back inside for a drink and a snack, and a WHOLE goldfish cracker.

Over the course of the next week, we worked our way up to 5 crackers at a sitting. Personally, I'm up to many more than that, but that's an unrelated post. Neither of them has a visible reaction to a cracker that lists both "cheese" and "milk" as ingredients.


So what do we do now?

For the immediate future, I don't really plan to change our practice much...I just don't have to panic when something "may contain" or it lists milk/whey/cassein/modified milk ingredients as a minor ingredient. We're not heading out for cheesecake and a big glass of milk any time soon. I'm a little lactose intolerant, and I think that would...ahem...make me unpleasant company...if you catch my drift. Besides, they don't need to eat cheesecake anyway. This discovery/development just simplifies our lives a little.

And we can all use a little simpler life right now.

So, happy summer to you, stay cool and hydated while you play outside, and remember the sunblock.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Bad (Rice) Dreams

Dear Hain Celestial Group, makers of Rice Dream:

I really like your product because it's safe for my dairy-allergic children and contains all the calcium and vitamin D that they need. And they like it too.

But I really wish that you had a bit better quality control over your product, at least in this 2-litre carton size. To explain a little better, here's a photo of the tea that I made this afternoon.

When I opened the carton, the milk was separated, and the liquid on top was clear. I shook it up to try to turn it back into a suspension, but totally failed, as you can see from what it did in my cup of tea.

There's no way I can serve this to my kids. They're picky eaters as it is, and to have their milk be lumpy and, dare I say, textured, might turn them off milk altogether. Really, milk should pour and splatter, but it shouldn't plop down in chunks.

I could go for the soy alternatives, but I'm not fond of putting too much soy into their diets, as this story will explain. They're little boys; I don't need to be putting too much estrogen into their systems and possibly screwing up their reproductive organs.

And they do drink calcium-enriched orange juice, but there is such a thing as too much juice. As well, I dream of a day when they can drink regular milk, and eat cheese for the calcium, so I do want them to keep drinking something that looks like milk.

I'm blogging this petty incident because this isn't the first carton of milk to do this to me. There was a run of bad milk for about a month last summer. Then last week, we returned three cartons to the grocery store. Tomorrow, I'll be taking two more back to the store. (To answer additional questions -- the expiry date is August 24, as you can see in the photo -- and I know that my husband bought the milk and brought it home right away, because he also bought ice cream in the same trip, and it didn't melt.)

As you all know, taking a 6- and a 3-year old to the grocery store isn't a simple chore. The 6-year-old is better now, but they both get bored, they both get annoying, and they both beg for every single candy and treat on the shelves. Taking them to the store and lining up to return *milk* is a form of parental torture.

So this is my plea -- whatever is broken over the summer months, please fix it so that I don't dread opening up your next carton of milk because I don't know that it will be drinkable. I don't like the taste of your competitors' product, but I also don't like feeling like a hostage to your poor quality control.