I spent a portion of my teenage and early adult years in Colorado, near Boulder - the heart of the granola movement - but I'm not a hippie or even a nature lover. Yet...
I make almost all my own cleaners and disinfectants. What I can't make, or should say - failed - at making (as my half my wardrobe can attest to the laundry detergent debacle) I shell out the cash to buy organic and free and clear. Except for Clorox Wipes, the scientist in me just can't completely trust the sanitizing power of all natural cleaners.
I use very little plastic in my home.
I cook as much from scratch as I can possibly find the time to do, and I limit the amount of preservatives and food coloring ingested by my family.
I clean, fanatically, ceiling fans to baseboards, bed linens to curtains, twice a week.
No, I'm not trying to save the planet.
And no, I'm not OCD or trying to win any super mom awards. In fact, I would rather poke my own eye out rather than dust or do laundry and I would sell a kidney to never have to touch a dirty dish again.
However...I do it for one, very dear reason.
I do it because I love my child.
As I've previously mentioned, Miss Chatterbox has allergies. How innocuous that sounds. For 98% of the population, that means the sniffles and some watery eyes. Not for my child. For her, to come into contact with a "trigger" means an immediate, life-threatening, asthma attack. For her, there is no such thing as a little bit sick or case of the sniffles - they all end with her landing in the ER.
It quickly became clear that animals were Miss Chatterbox's most dangerous trigger. To some pet lovers, it may seem cold how quickly our two beloved dogs were given away, but to me, it was a no brainer. I didn't hesitate. How could I even consider subjecting my precious newborn to this danger just for a furry head to pet? The Firefighter wanted to consider alternatives, but it only took a 3 month old Miss Chatterbox having one "attack" for him to change his mind.
Before Miss Chatterbox was two, she couldn't be medicated with any long acting medications for either asthma or allergies. Our only option was to do our best to avoid triggers and to try keep her from getting any kind of upper respiratory infection. Yeah, it was just as hard as it sounds, considering we only knew of one trigger for certain and infants put EVERYTHING in their mouths. When The Firefighter was home, he and I took turns sleeping in her room if she was well, and staying awake if she was sick. If it was just me...well, I drank ALOT of Redbull and coffee and tried not leave the house with my clothes on inside out (yep, I've done that - more than once). We refused to go anywhere that had pets, which I know upset many people, and we minimized time spent at public places or around large groups. We didn't even start to vaccinate her until after she was two, for fear that a chemical in the serum could set her off. It took me a full year of experimenting like a mad scientist with different combinations of cleaners to determine that I simply had to go old fashioned and make them myself.
It took 14 hospitalizations, over the course of two years, for breathing difficulties, to finally convince someone there was a problem. It was disheartening and frustrating to have so many doctors, and people close to us, treating us as if we were overreacting. I don't think I can describe just how much of a relief it was when we finally found a doctor who believed us and prescribed the proper medications. Of course, nothing is perfect, and it took a bit of trial and error, but now Miss Chatterbox is the most controlled she's ever been. I don't believe, for one second, it was a coincidence that Miss Phoebe started disappearing about the same time Miss Chatterbox got medicated.
The last few months have been fun. We've been able to go to public places, go on play dates, and even brave places with pets for short periods of time. We've been able to go to large family events, without fear, and let her extended family get to know her. She even got a summer cold, and for the first time ever, didn't end up in the ER. It has been liberating to rejoin the human race!
Though, the sight and sound of your child struggling to breathe isn't something you quickly forget, nor can you ever ignore the fact that the possibility will always exist that she may STILL have a reaction to some unknown, even medicated. So until the day comes when all allergies and asthma are eradicated, I will continue to channel my inner June Cleaver, though I refuse to vaccuum in a skirt and heels.
OH the things we do for our kids!