Months 15-18 With Caleb

May 16, 2016
What's going on with Caleb?  Hear all about his 15-18th months!  There's a crazy medical story involved!

Eighteen months old…  That’s a whole year and a half!  I can’t believe that my little man is already that old!  I just read through his birth story again today and it feels like yesterday that we were bringing him into the world but then I read through the post I wrote for his first birthday and that feels like forever ago!  The past three months were really uneventful…  Up until about a week and a half ago…  But that’s getting a little ahead of myself.

What's going on with Caleb?  Hear all about his 15-18th months!  There's a crazy medical story involved!What's going on with Caleb?  Hear all about his 15-18th months!  There's a crazy medical story involved!

Movement

Caleb’s finally walking!!!!!!  At right around 17 months Caleb took his first real steps.  It still was up to him when he wanted to walk but at least we knew he could do it.  He also began to love holding our hands and having us help him walk. (which he had stubbornly refused to do before this)  Some medical changes that happened in the past week (more on that in the Injuries/Illnesses section) perked Caleb up and now he’s walking all over the place and is doing it pretty much all the time!  It’s awesome to see him catching up with the other kiddos his age.
That’s pretty much the only change in movement for our little guy.  He’s getting more sure of himself every day and loves being out and about practicing his skills.

What's going on with Caleb?  Hear all about his 15-18th months!  There's a crazy medical story involved!What's going on with Caleb?  Hear all about his 15-18th months!  There's a crazy medical story involved!

Eating

Remember how Caleb wasn’t eating anything but carbs?  Well, unfortuantely we figured out why that was (the Injuries/Illnesses section is a doozy this time!) and, through some diet changes and medicine Caleb is taking, we’re getting his body back under control.  Now that he’s feeling better and better Caleb has gone back to his crazy eating habits where anything and everything needs to go into his little body!  It’s awesome to see him wanting to eat fruits, vegetables, meat, and eggs again.

What's going on with Caleb?  Hear all about his 15-18th months!  There's a crazy medical story involved!


 Social Skills

Caleb just loves friends!  He is such a gentle, patient little man and I’m always so proud of him!  We spent a weekend visiting my best friend and her daughter in Idaho and Caleb had a blast spending tons of time with another little person.  A group of moms from my church has begun hanging out about once a week and Caleb loves crawling after the big kids (since he can still crawl faster than he can walk) and playing with the kids his age.
Within the past three months separation anxiety has eased up a little.  He still fusses when left in the nursery at church, the gym, or MOPS but he doesn’t scream the way he used to and he quickly calms down a minute or so after I leave.  He still hates it when Nate leaves for work but, once again, doesn’t cry big fat crocodile tears.  He just fusses a little and then goes back to his day.
We left Caleb with Nate’s parents for a week while we vacationed in Mexico and he did SO WELL!  We were thrilled that he loved his time with his grandparents and it allowed us a little break from his craziness and time to reconnect with one another.

What's going on with Caleb?  Hear all about his 15-18th months!  There's a crazy medical story involved!

Personality

I don’t completely know what to write for this section since I feel like there is pre-medical diagnosis Caleb and post-medical diagnosis Caleb. (maybe you should just scroll down to the Injuries/Illnesses section and then come back and finish up the rest of the post)

Pre-Diagnosis: Caleb is CRAY-CRAY!  He’s fussy and clingy and cuddly and lackluster.  We see it now, but at the time we didn’t quite realize that he was slipping into more and more of those negative personality traits.  Since we were with him day in and day out we just thought this was his personality.  He’s always had aspects of these traits in his personality so we didn’t realize that they were taking over.

Post-Diagnosis: Caleb is fun again!!!  Caleb’s smile and giggle are back.  Caleb has so much more energy (in a good way) and is getting back to his adventurous ways.  He’s not as sober as he was for a long time and he loves waving, high fiving, and smiling at people.  He loves giving Nate and me hugs and kisses and demands that we give one another.  Yes, Caleb is still so stubborn and bosy but it’s getting back to a strong-willed version of that, not a cranky version of that.

Caleb is so sweet and (mostly) obedient.  We’re learning non physical ways of discipline that work to teach him while applying directly to the negative thing he’s doing and Caleb responds pretty well to that.

What's going on with Caleb?  Hear all about his 15-18th months!  There's a crazy medical story involved!


 Communication

Nope, Caleb’s still not talking.  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that but his pediatrician wants us to take him to see an audiologist just to ensure he hears things properly.  He repeats a ton of sounds Nate and I say so I don’t think that’s it…  He’s just slow to talk.  Since his diagnosis he’s been jabbering so much more so I think he was just too sick to want to put effort into trying to talk. (congratulations, you’ve almost made it to the Injuries/Illnesses section!)
There are a lot of non talking ways Caleb communicates with us.  He grunts and points and is able to express what he wants pretty easily.  He’s also gotten good at grabbing our hands and having us walk with him so he can show us things.  It’s rare that Nate and I can’t figure out what Caleb is trying to “say” to us…  That’s probably not helping in the trying to talk arena but it helps in the not throwing a fit because of being misunderstood arena.
Speaking of fit throwing – that has started.  It’s ridiculous.  Caleb will be told “no” and sometimes a melt down occurs.  Obviously that’s not going to fly and we’ve found that if we hold him on our laps and calmly but firmly tell him, “Crying is not ok.  We understand you’re frustrated but you can’t throw a fit.” We then explain to him why we said no – “The electrical outlet will hurt you if you touch it” or “It’s almost dinner time so you can’t have Ritz crackers right now.”  We don’t know how much of that he understands but we want to start the precedent of acknowledging and accepting his emotions while explaining where we’re coming from at a young age so that can continue as he grows up.
On the plus side, Caleb is so FUN!  He is starting to understand more and more of what we say and it’s awesome.  He love playing peek-a-boo and initiates it all the time.  He gets thrilled when we ask him to give us high fives and loves dancing with us and “singing.”

What's going on with Caleb?  Hear all about his 15-18th months!  There's a crazy medical story involved!


 Injuries/Illnesses

You made it!  You can finally find out what happened to Caleb!!!!!
Ok, let me start out by saying – just three days before the doctor’s appointment from Hades (as I’m affectionately calling it) I was thinking to myself that this 18 month update was coming up.  I was so excited because, for once, there hadn’t been any major injuries or illnesses that happened in the last three months.  Of course, I jinxed it.
Two weeks before TDAFH (remember, (T)he (D)octor’s (A)ppointment (F)rom (H)ades) Caleb’s eyes started swelling.  Every time he’d wake up in the morning or from a nap he’d have huge swollen eyes – sometimes swollen shut.  There are allergies on both sides of our families so Nate and I figured Caleb probably had a pollen allergy or something and thought it would go away on its own.  After two weeks it hadn’t gone away and, honestly, was getting worse.  He had his 18 month checkup scheduled for the 17th (it would have been tomorrow!) but I thought he probably should be seen sooner – especially since Nate had googled Caleb’s symptoms and had found out that it could possibly be a kidney issue.  His pediatrician (who we had never seen before) agreed that it probably was an environmental allergy but that he should be seen sooner just to be sure.  We moved his 18 month checkup about two weeks sooner and they’d look at his eyes then.
So on May 4th we get up in the morning and head to TDAFH.  The appointment went the way you expect most normal checkups to go.  I filled out some paperwork letting them know where he was developmentally, got checked out by the nurse, and got all his vitals.  
Then the doctor came in.  After introducing herself her next words were “Well, we’ve got a lot to talk about today” and then, as she looked at Caleb followed quickly with “Oh my, those are swollen eyes!” said in a way that let me know that she no longer thought it was environmental allergies.
The first thing we talked about was his development.  He was behind in pretty much every category.  She suggested we see an early childhood development specialist to get checked out to make sure there isn’t a need for Occupational Therapy.  (We saw her and she thinks he’s well on his way to catching up.  The reason he’s behind is probably what we found out later in the week…)  The only positive she saw in what I filled out was that he doesn’t score anywhere on the Autism spectrum…  Something we were already well aware of.
Next we talked about his speech.  Like I said before, she’s recommending we see an audiologist to make sure he’s hearing properly.  Obviously he can hear but she said there’s a possibility he hears sounds incorrectly and that’s why he’s not talking.  Nate and I doubt it but we’re taking him just to be sure.
Finally we get to the real issue – his eyes.  She let me know that there’s a huge possibility that it was the kidney issue Nate had found out about online.  She also told us that his iron levels were incredibly low – the lower range of normal is 11 and he was at 6.4 – he was incredibly anemic.  She also found out that we had never been told (or had never processed) that he was only supposed to have up to 20 ounces a day.  We were giving him probably three times that amount.  She let us know that the anemia was probably from too much milk consumption so we needed to cut him back.  She also told us to go to the hospital to get bloodwork done.  A urine sample was also collected to check out his kidneys.
We went over to get bloodwork taken and, unfortunately, it took four separate visits, seven pokes, and two days to get the blood needed for the labwork.  In that time we did find out that the protein in his urine was what it was supposed to be – his kidneys were fine but obviously something else was wrong.
When the blood work finally came back it confirmed that his iron levels were horribly low and the protein levels in his blood were super low as well.  A stool sample was ordered and blood was found in his stool.  We were told to take him completely off all dairy – including bread that has milk baked into it and things like that.
After tons of appointments including the four blood draw tries, the nutritionist, a follow up blood draw (that only took ONE TRY since we were giving him iron and had changed his diet), and a GI Specialist here’s what we found out…
Thankfully the things it could have been – kidney problems, liver problems, or bone marrow problems – were ruled out.
It turns out that Caleb has an allergy to milk proteins.  Since he was drinking more milk than is recommended for his age the allergy was exasperated and the follicles in his small intestines that absorbs iron and protein shrunk – making him get rid of the protein in his stool (hence the blood and low iron levels).  The swelling was being caused by all his levels being off.  The exhaustion from being majorly anemic was causing Caleb to not want to put energy into things like walking or jabbering.
So…  Caleb’s off dairy.  All forms of dairy.  Cheese, milk, yogurt, and anything with dairy cooked into it is off the table.  There’s a lot of label reading going on at my house.  He’s drinking a special toddler milk formula that is going to help his intestines and body heal quicker and is allowed plant based milks as well.  It’s a learning curve but we’re figuring out how to get him fed even with his new diet.  We’re thankful that they told us we’ll probably be able to start reintroducing dairy into his diet in about six months!!!  He’ll probably never be able to have a ton but it won’t always be such an extreme diet!
All in all, we’re thankful it’s not as bad as it could have been and it’s been so wonderful to see that even in a week Caleb’s turned into a new little boy!

What's going on with Caleb?  Hear all about his 15-18th months!  There's a crazy medical story involved!


 Sleep

No changes in the sleep department.  Still great at night (8-6:30ish) and not as great two naps during the day.  It IS nice that he can manage to stay up later if need be so we can actually get out and about and do things in the evening sometimes.  It’s still not increadibly often but usually about once a week Caleb’s not in bed until 9 or 9:30 but he hasn’t lost it. #success

Your Turn:
What were your kids up to between 15 and 18 months?
Anyone have any dairy free recipes to share with me?

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