Artificial Colors!

I managed to get a solid experiment in today to get an idea whether Henry reacts to artificial colors, which was the most logical reason he’d react to Kool-Aid and, ultimately, Country Time.  This would apparently be far from unheard of.

There is a Kool-Aid flavor, which happens to be an especially good one, that has no color at all.  They use that as a marketing coolness factor.  Maybe there are other clear flavors, but the one we’ve had is kiwi watermelon, and we had another packet.  I decided to make that the next one I made and to give the baby some, after reading the ingredients.


No.  Reaction.  Period.

If anything, he’s having an unusually calm day, except the runny nose in the morning from the diesel trains and/or honeysuckle or other growing things and/or wood smoke last night and/or dust.  He barely even got itchy as he tends to when he was ready to sleep again.  The itch sensation can cross and be confused with pain or unhappiness/discomfort, so he’ll itch, for instance, in response to tooth pain, gas pain, or emotional distress.

All he has had today has been a couple Club crackers, a piece of toast, and the clear Kool-Aid.  He’s napping at the time I’d have offered him more to eat.

He drank a large quantity, too.  When he steals Kool-Aid from the sisters, it can be little more than a sip to set him off, usually pretty quickly.  It’s gotten to where we infer he’s gotten it by his reaction.  I managed to keep theirs completely away from him, as they had the tail end of berry flavored blue Kool-Aid.

In a way, it’s onerous knowing that he reacts to at least two or three colors, but it’s also a relief to know and to be able to screen accordingly.


No Birthdays Today

Guess I’ll have to figure out what else to post.



I played with Expression Engine to WordPress migration last night.  It’s complicated.  You have to take the RSS feed, save it in a text file, import that into WordPress, and then do some other stuff if you want the comments.

It doesn’t port unpublished posts, like some redacted ones from earlier this year.  That’s fine.

The default is only 10 in the RSS.  We have, after this post, 2251.  Instead of 2249, Control Panel said we had 2030, so I used that number.  If you removed the limit from the RSS template, you get 100.  If you specify 2030, you get that, and actually the wait wasn’t that long.

A set that large hung at 349 when importing.  That means either finding a way to specify a range in an RSS template, or systematically grabbing a smaller number and then deleting posts and then grabbing the next so many, and so forth.

No pictures came through.  That may be a setting on the RSS template, allowing pictures to show in the feed.  Never had reason to look at that.

We do full feeds, but presumably partial feeds wouldn’t work for this.

Multiple categories per post aren’t handled gracefully, turning into one long string and creating a new category like “kids pictures tv” in WordPress.  Not sure there’s a way around it, but I think it might be wise to create matching categories in WP ahead of time either way.  Might be possible to do a series of queries or replaces or something.  Or just change every imported post to one category.

Apart from whatever URL customization is needed to make them match the old format, if desired, it appears to be a good idea to do the URL format setting to make them “pretty” before the import.

A small number of posts during the import, say one of every 30, claimed to have been imported previously.  I thought it was a URL building problem with duplication, but I had it at the default where they end in numbers, so it may have been the way it identified each post during import.

I’m still intrigued and would like to know just what it takes, but it may be that the better part of valor is to archive the old blog, even if it means hacking .htaccess to redirect permalinks, and starting with a fresh one.  We’d also considered that option.


Can’t Believe the Degree…

To which I have come to dislike posting here because I can’t use an offline client directly.  Definitely time for a change.



So I spent $28 we don’t have for gas to go meet with a recruiter for 15 minutes yesterday, throwing in a stop for Sadie’s birth certificate on the way.  It was kind of an obligatory thing they do because they promise their client companies that they have personally met and screened the prospects.  It mainly consisted of a get to know you slightly better and discuss what want to do.  Which, as I told him, is part of my problem, but the obvious option of project management sounds good to me.  He could get me DBA (database administrator) work with SQL Server if I were more qualified.  That’s a case of probably could, but wouldn’t be what they really want.  Trouble with me is my tremulous “probably could” is probably more capable than half the people who assertively put themselves forth as such.

I have no idea whether he’ll really come up with anything for me, and it’s got to be just one basket.  Today I need to start invoking my plan weeks in the brewing for which now it may be too late, which includes begging for work here and to a mailing list of contacts*, begging for help with the gas & electric bill, and holding a fundraising CotC most of which would also go to the gas & electric so it doesn’t get turned off before I have more income.  All of this was supposed to go hand in hand and happen a while ago, though originally I hadn’t thought of having people send money straight to the utility and the emphasis was one fundraising CotC and hello, need work.

Today I also might want to run to storage for a while.  It’s paid through the 16th, so there are 3 more days on which I can go inventory it and remove stuff before it gets overlocked pending being able to pay for it.  Or clean it out completely and put the stuff somewhere else pending sale of whatever can and should be sold.

Anyway, if the recruiter gets me work, I can expect it to pay in the 60-100k range, sounds like most likely around 80k.  I’ll believe it when I see it, but it’d be nice to be in that kind of turnaround territory.

* I tend to assume most people already know my situation – needing work, if not the about to be homeless part – but recently one of the former colleagues I am closest to, to the point of being in the group of friends I get together with periodically, chastised me because he had no idea.  So apparently I have to advertise heavily.


Not the Post I’d Planned

Have to go meet a recruiter today.  The kids are crazy.

Sadie woke crying in wee hours with apparently a sinus headache.  Which happened to Valerie 24 hours before, though she’s prone to headaches and it may not have been sinus.

Henry a little while ago drank a substantial amount of Valerie’s coffee and has gone all puffy and squinty-eyed and a little rashy, but he’s also been miserable, as has Deb. and for that matter me.  People burning?  No!  Something blooming around the corner, smells like maybe honeysuckle, so strong it can be hard to sleep.

So we’re not sure how much is the coffee and how much is that.  The coffee is about 1 part coffee, some sugar and dry creamer, and 5 parts cold water.  He’s had black coffee with sugar before and not blown up, but the non-dairy creamer has dairy in it, along with whatever else, so who knows.  At least it’s not almost pure milk as it would have been before we realized Val had a problem with the milk.

Anyway, I have to go get ready to go to the Stoughton town hall for Sadie’s birth certificate to sign up for RomneyCommunistCare and decriminalize ourselves in the eyes of the state, then the recruiter in Burlington.  And other errands.


So Last Night…

Henry got mild hives and redness on his torso from eating or dripping on himself at supper…???

Which is to say he had nothing that didn’t appear on the list I posted as a food he’s been fine with, perhaps with minimal reservations.

And he wasn’t itchy to speak of, though he’d had a recent dose of Tylenol, which helps with itching.

I’ve decided to blame that on the peas.  Specifically, juice (residual water they cooked in) from the peas, as an external action, which I have suspected before, from peas and from other things, like corn and sweet potatoes.

I’m also inclined to eliminate the lemonade completely for a while, which means we need to get some pure lime juice, or limes to produce same, and make him limeade with nothing but water, lime and sugar in it, as his only alternative to water.  Well, unless we have him drink rice milk.

I might feed him a snack of just the handful of remaining peas sometime today and watch carefully.  After the benadryl I apparently have to give him because he woke up miserable and maybe was worsened by lemonade has time to wear off.  I’ve been typing most of this while he stands holding onto my leg, crying piteously and wanting to continue being held All Day Long.

This is so frustrating.


He’s in the living room with Sadie, post-benadryl, and I realized I had more.

Supper for him last night was plain spaghetti, ingredients: wheat; leftover frozen peas; bread, ingredients: wheat, water, salt, sugar, yeast, Crisco; baked chicken, ingredients: chicken and a few seasonings on the outside, including salt, garlic powder, rosemary, savory, sage, celery, nutmeg, mostly in absurdly tiny amounts.  That was it, except I think he was drinking water at the time.

He had a big red welt on his chest where he’d have leaned on the tray, bumps lower on his belly, heaviest near the diaper line where stuff might collect, and milder bumps on his back where it contacted the chair.

I rubbed pure Ivory dish soap on his upper arm to test, no reaction, which means it’s not likely a reaction to having cleaned the chair and tray and maybe left residue.

At least part of it seemed as much about contact as about ingestion.  It was virtually gone after splashing in the tub immediately after supper.

Very strange.


Henry the Lab Rat

It’s official: Henry is allergic to dairy.

Not “sensitive,” as with the very clear salicylates thing, but break out in hives and stuff allergic at small exposure, depending which thing it is exactly.  He ate a lot of butter without it being obvious, but cheese that shouldn’t have histamines to speak of, and baby yogurt with whole milk and no flavoring, both in nothing quantities, made him rapidly and unambiguously react.  Especially the yogurt, after a day re-isolated from any dairy.

We’d given Sadie the yogurt, after she begged for it, and since we were already 99% sure of the allergy, so we would have not fed even a little of it to him as planned.  Then Valerie had to have some too.  He got into the residue of Valerie’s a while later, and voila.  I’m glad I didn’t let him taste even a smidge of baked sweet potato, so there could be no second guessing.  Plus the reaction to too much of that would be different.

The good thing is that it’s sufficiently mild that a trace in some random food is not a major concern, and it’s something that tends to fade.

The bad thing is how hard it will be to keep him from getting his hands on bits of it, as happened tonight, when he’s not supposed to have it.  If the girls were still drinking milk, we’d have to stop.

Poor kid.  He just adored butter on his rice and toast.

Guess we can move on to the next test, after he’s had a couple days to recover.  Not even sure what the next test will be.  I don’t remember if we’d planned past the dairy, or were itching to try something else.  Probably a good idea to rule in more of the obviously no problem stuff, like barley, just to expand the yes list.  The guidance out there on what’s high in salicylates has been reliable so far, but individuals vary.  I don’t want to try eggs or peanut butter/peanuts until a year old or more.  Ditto any other nuts.

I’m relieved all the grains except corn-as-grain have been fine so far.  Corn-as-vegetable seems okay in limited quantities (which is the story with a lot of things).  He can have crackers, bread, cookies, etc. that don’t have other offending ingredients.  He can have any of the primary, non-smoked or spiced meats (won’t even try ham, sausage or hot dogs for a long time) so far.  He can have iceberg lettuce, as implied by the salicylates guides and it not being a common allergen.

Actually, I tried to do a list last week that I then forgot to take to my grandmother’s with me.  Foods Henry has eaten successfully and can have, or can/should be able to have if limited in this first list:

Canned pears in heavy syrup

Peeled ripe pears

Golden delicious apple (peeled)

Lemon in Country Time lemonade

Pinto beans

Black beans


Iceberg lettuce


White potatoes (peeled)

Green beans





Sweet corn

White sugar


Soy oil

Cottonseed oil








Rice milk

Brown sugar

Corn syrup (seems OK as ingredient in foods)

Potato chips, unflavored

Oat O cereal

Standard pasta that doesn’t contain corn as “whole wheat” pasta does

Keebler Club crackers and presumably anything similarly limited to OK ingredients

Wal-Mart store brand vanilla wafer cookies

Rice cakes (unflavored)

Bread that doesn’t contain dairy, usually served as toast

Flour tortillas

Can’t have, or must be really limited, based on experience:

Bananas (apparent allergy, not salicylates)

Pear juice

Apple juice

Grape juice

Any flavor Kool-Aid brand drink mix

Most apples




Sweet potato (probably OK if limited)

Dairy, notably cheese, milk, yogurt even plain (allergy, not salicylates, apparently caused the infamous ambulance ride)

Corn meal or flour, including corn tortilla chips specifically

Popcorn (seemed OK to have a small bit but not in quantity) (unbuttered)

Herbs, spices and other remarks

There are a mess of herbs and spices considered high in salicylates, many of which he has had in limited quantity derived from flavoring foods, to no ill effect that was clear.  I got the impression sometime early in this that black pepper especially bothered him, and perhaps red, so I avoid black and limit or avoid red in anything he might eat.  He can eat garlic and onion and salt freely.  Sometimes I cook him something plain alongside our spiced, or remove some plain or lightly seasoned and then finish.  For instance, we might have chili, while he has a burger or some steak.  I might spice beans for chili or burritos, but pull some plain after they are cooked, which he can eat for a couple days, then spice the rest.  When I made garlic and rosemary (and salt) fries recently, he ate them with us and was fine.  Thought they were awesome.  If a piece of meat is heavily spiced on the outside, I might give him only inner parts.  I’ve been worrying some about spices, but not a lot due to quantities involved, just holding back some.

He seems to have issues with some flavors or preservatives or colors, as evident especially with the Kool-Aid.  He has had a couple tastes of Jell-O and seemed fine, but it was little, and I hesitate to declare him safe for that, or safe if it’s X flavor.  Lemonade is a good one because lemons and even more so limes should be safe for him.  Well, lemon is moderate, same as a red delicious apple, peeled, or mango (which I didn’t test on him when we had one, as he had other issues at the time), but most fruits are high or very high.

It’s probable he’s having some environmental sensitivities unrelated to food.  Nothing so unambiguous that you can put him near a feather pillow and he sickens, take it away and he clears, or touch him to screen printing on a shirt and he breaks out and itches, or whatever.  Since an allergy to banana, which is possible enough we’ll test with caution, but something else may have been happening when he seemed to react to banana, can be related to a latex allergy, and since he obviously has hay fever, not much would be surprising.

While we haven’t officially given him peanut butter, initially because he’s young for it and ultimately because he has too much trouble to risk it yet, he’s clearly gotten good tastes of it a couple times from his sister and had no overt reaction.  We’re hopeful.  We might have to disown him if he were fully allergic to that.

That’s a much bigger update than I’d intended.  There are some veggies he can try sooner rather than later, but most fruits will be off-limits, especially dried or in jams or as juices.  If there is a banana allergy, that sucks because it’s one of the safest fruits he could eat otherwise.  And he loves it enough after all this time to ask for it by name.  I want to have him try summer squash.  Cauliflower should be very safe.  Asparagus should be safe.  Beets should be safe.  Fresh, not pickled.  Nothing pickled.  Caution with things canned.  We never eat it, but cabbage should be one of his safest foods.  He should be able to have pure maple syrup, which we are out of long since.  I’d tend not to give him the stuff that’s flavored corn syrup.  Corn syrup is the only thing listed as “high” under baking supplies, and one of only a couple things that isn’t listed as “negligible.”