Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Obsess Much?

This is probably not a question you should ask the mother of a somewhat atypical child because the answer will always be, "why, yes, yes we do." Our current obsession of choice is Super Mario. I have finally lost my child to the horrific video game trance. I tried to avoid it for years but leave it to cousins (or siblings) to clean out the rubbish that is their room and turn up five Nintendo DS or DSi's. The world of Mario has invaded and it is here to stay.

But then I have to it so much the "uniqueness" of my child that brings about the ease of fixation or is it, say (for argument's sake) inherited...?? Ok, yes it is. I am a bit of an obsessive perfectionist when it comes to the creative, I admit it. But I will also highlight that I came by it rightly from either side of my collective gene pool. So blame not the tree from which the apple fell.

When I decided to not spend a small fortune on a gluten-free bakery made birthday cake for this weekend's party but rather to bake said cake myself, the obsessive part of my brain didn't hear me. The happy-go-lucky part thought, "oh this'll be easy. I'll bake a round cake and "draw" Mario's face on top and, voila!, there will be happiness! Surely there will be samples of such Baking 101 online; I'll just follow along and be done with it in a snap."

Then I Googled "Mario Cakes" and the obsessive part of my brain finally woke up...and I quickly heard a noise similar to that of an engine shutting down. Awesome.

I don't tend to overindulge in images here on Atypical Mother but, really, this I have to share. Behold...

Notice the number "4" on this cake. 4 PEOPLE!! Someone's 4 year old had a birthday cake that was maybe a hair smaller than my wedding cake!! What kind of expectation are we generating these days?

Um. Ok. You lost me at toadstool.

This is, undoubtedly, someone's actual wedding cake. Which really makes me wonder what kind of relationship did these people have that the bride relinquished creative control of her own cake? Because obviously this is the result of some serious negotiation.

I love the inset photos of the fondant work. It really makes me chuckle, having worked with fondant for his 3rd birthday cake (which was a full-sized pumpkin that took roughly 16 hours to craft). My hope was to make the stem and "some" leaves with the fondant. I made an leaf and that curly pumpkin thing on top. Fondant is for professionals. Or homicidal maniacs, I'm not sure which.

Wow. I mean, really. Wow. Obviously a wedding cake, obviously insane. Obviously I would resort to a hot glue gun which, well, probably isn't edible.

This one doesn't look so terribly complicated. In fact, it looks like maybe it was a bunch of mistakes thrown together and topped off with a giant rice krispie treat in the shape of a six. You know because there are so many rice krispie treats in Super Mario Bros.

This one made me twitch. A cake made to look just like the DS? What kind of parent put this out into the proverbial universe to make the rest of us feel inadequate??? Shame on you!

Duff? Duff? Are you there? Duff?

If I'm not mistaken, this toadstool is looking down at me in smug judgment over my lack of cake decorating expertise. What does he know anyway, he's just supporting cast.

That's just a sample of what's out there. Never in my wildest imagination did I think I would find such a catalog of baked Mario options. I would like to take this time and give a most sincere and humble shout out to the Big Man/Woman upstairs for allowing my child's internet interest to not veer outside of the Pink Panther You Tube channel, Thomas the Train, and Roary the Racing Car. Because, Dear Lord, if he discovers, I am surely done for.

Now where is that number of that bakery....

Sunday, July 18, 2010

And....I'm 36. Woot.

Greetings and salutations from the closer side to 40. As is usual, I'm behind in posts. No, I'm not having a senior moment (yet) I've just been incredibly busy. That kind of busy where you aren't entirely sure you brushed your teeth? Or put on deodorant? Yeah, that kind of busy.

A lot has happened since the last time I wrote -- I started my new job (hoorah!), my child temporarily went of his gfcfsf diet (oops), I started working out like a fiend (most days at any rate), and I turned 36 (awesome).

The job is great; I forgot how fulfilling it can be to a) work with people not in immediate need of psychiatry; b) work with people you can trust; c) have total creative license over your job; and d) with people who trust you to do all of the things (and then some) you were hired to do. It makes getting up at the lovely hour of 6:00 a.m. (to which the unemployed become grossly adjusted to NOT doing), driving down the beautiful Natchez Trace Parkway (and subsequently the somewhat ominous NTP Bridge), and working my butt off (literally I hope) absolutely worth it.

But there's so much more to it than that. My job isn't just a job, it's a connection to an entire communtiy and network of people that believe in supporting each other. In the 3 weeks since I've been there, I've met several people who are sincerely interested in helping us locate resources and provide the best support available to the little man. Bonus: there's a camp and a private school on our campus; camp is going swimmingly (despite the wicked swimmer's ear he's currently suffering from -- though not suffering so completely that he can't play Indiana Jones on his DS for hours on end) and it looks like private school may actually be an option (which is brilliant because they start later in August and as it is, the public school for which we are zoned starts when we are in Ireland -- and it is decidedly uncool to miss your child's first day of school).

Which brings me to his diet. Trying to maintain a gfcfsf diet when you are in the throes of a relocation, a new home, new job, new grocery stores, etc. defies the word challenege. So we got a little lax about it. Ok maybe a little more than a little -- especially with the dairy. Did it make a difference? Well that's kind of what we wanted to know. You see once a child's gut has had the chance to recover from that which ails it, you may be able to add dairy back into their diet.

I can say with a straight face, no crossed fingers and with out a trace of humor that my child is unequivocally, absolutely not that child. So we are back on track -- for the saftey of those around us.

Quite honestly we've gotten quite used to a gfcf life ourselves. I can't completely give up the soy because I just genuinely love (organic) tofu. But once you stop eating so much gluten and dairy (esp. gluten) your, excuse my French, ass feels a little less like a manatee floating in open waters. It's quite liberating really.

As for the other stuff...yes, the dreaded I-was-supposed-to-lose-all-this-weight-before-I-turned-36-thing-and-although-I-workout-a-lot-more-than-I-used-to-I-lost-barely-anything-but-it's-ok-because-I-decided-not-to-sweat-doing-it-on-such-a-strict-timeline-because-dieting-when-you've-just-moved-to-another-state-and-started-a-new-job-is-ever-so-slightly-masochistic thing. Yeah...that thing. I don't know if it's just that my body is in shock at the constant level of activity and therefore hanging on to all these excess fat cells in the event it thinks I'm going to up and stop feeding it and just run it all the time but nothing has moved as of yet.

I will say, however, that at the (tender) age of 36, I feel a hell of a lot better. Everything feels a little tighter although I'm not sure if that's some sort of dementia that is setting in as I get closer to 40, but I'm going with it's not and that I am actually doing something right. I'm trying something new tomorrow which I'm keeping to myself in the event that it doesn't work...but if it does, you'll probably never get me to shut up about it.

As for turning 36...what can I tell you? It actually feels kind of fabulous. 35 rocked my world (mostly because I was in a job that I hated passionately that was sedentary and ridiculous; oh, yeah, then I was unemployed for 8 months -- nothing like a little unemployment to crack the foundation of your self-confidence) but 36 feels kind of, well, like me. Maybe it's due in part to the new environs which are a step closer to what I'm looking for in life; maybe it's the physical activity; or maybe it's just that some feel a little more grounded as they get older -- a little more free to be themselves; a little more certain of who they are; and a little more certain of where they want to go.

Or maybe I'm just happy because I don't have any wrinkles!?!?!?!? (well except those squinty couple on my forehead but they are hidden by hair and so therefore do not count.)

Ok, ok, probably a combination of all of the above. Who knows? Whatever it is, I'm just happy it's here. Each day feels a little more me -- each day I am surrounded by beautiful places, beautiful people, all of the things I love; by music that defined how I thought about the world seems which seems to be following me everywhere that I go as of late; although my child has somewhat had a step back, I am lucky to have new resources, a new support system and lots of renewed hope in the treatment we've chosen for his behavioral/developmental "hiccups"; my husband is as dashing, brilliant and funny as ever; and the things we dream about seem just a little bit closer than they did before...things are quite simply good. Well, with the exception of an unexpected auto repair that cost a fortune, the aforementioned life-altering (he's a bit dramatic) swimmer's ear to which my child told me he was dying from (ahem) and the still recovering from unemployment bank account.

Sometimes you have everything you need and you don't even know it.

So I'll happily take 36; besides, in the words of Gertrude Stein, we are always the same age inside, which would make me 4 some days (dance recitals, tinkerbell and kool and the gang); 17 on others (newly found independence, shedding of the great dork factor of high school days gone by); occassionally 26 (a part of me will forever be overseas); and perpetually 72 (for my love of all things old). Does being 36 make me wiser? No, probably not. I don't feign to believe that age = wisdom or even that academics = wisdom. I think wisdom is based solely on life experiences. Of which I am not yet done having.

On that note, I'll leave you with a toast for my 36th and for your year to come: may those who love us, love us; and those who don't love us, may G-d turn their hearts; and if He doesn't turn their hearts may he turn their ankles so that we will know them by their limping.

Here's to life...L'chaim.

Monday, June 21, 2010

"They Sicken of the Calm, Who Knew the Storm"

Perhaps one of my favorite Dorothy Parker quotes of all time. It's stuck in my head today for some odd reason I can't really put my finger on. Maybe it's the doing of things long put off; or the completion of new goals birthed in spontaneity. Whatever the cause, I think it's a good one to remind myself of frequently.

I'm feeling this resurgence and necessity to accomplish a lot these days. Maybe I was sick of the calm. In the past week, I've taught my son how to swim with some assistance from my 10 year old niece; I've written a complete introduction to a story (gasp!); I've become quite acquainted with the treadmill; and I start swimming daily (I forgot how quickly I tan, it's been so many years since I've had the luxury of a club to use -- I am positively brown).

Of course, those first two are certainly the stones in my June Crown. Watching my six-year-old- ever-so-slightly-developmentally-delayed-though-beyond-his-years-brilliant child learn to swim so quickly and, to boot, swim under water today was not unlike the day he took his first steps. Yes, I might have teared up in the pool -- stranger things have happened.

And tonight, as he finished reading "Elwood and the Witch" to me and I turned out his lights, he requested Kind of Blue, making sure to tell me he was playing the "saxophone like Coltrane." The fact that he can not only play Freddie Freeloader through his "nose horn" to scale but the fact that he can actually differentiate Coltrane from Davis on the CD completely turns me inside out. If he picks out Julian "Cannonball" Atterley on alto sax, I'm calling the press. Or in the very least, Columbia Records. He also reminded me of how good he did at the pool; so our days revolve around the sun, the water and jazz. All of which seem to being doing wonders for the lot of us.

These moments, well, they astound me. As a parent, which is quite literally the hardest job I've ever loved, these magical little victories and triumphs where everything seems right in the world are how I realign my focus. Three weeks into our move to Nashville, the demon of transition finally reared its ugly head on my unsuspecting child. I think, honestly, there might have been a moment where he looked at me, turned a side eye and silently asked, "so....we're staying here?"

That's worrisome. But it's normal and we roll with it like we do everything else. We look to the little things to sustain us. Luckily we have the summer to acclimate and a wealth of resources for the hurdles here that we didn't have in Raleigh. For one, I found a biomed doctor today that takes my insurance! (Ok, I should have added that, at the very least, as number 2 of my hoorah list above.) We also have a tour for a private school for kids with unique learning styles tomorrow. Granted, I'd probably have to give up my entire inheritance times ten to pay for it, but that's what financial aid was invented for.

As for the's nice to do something other than blog. Not to say that I don't enjoy sitting here late at night, Karen Elson singing in the background, the quiet of suburbia screaming from the sidewalk, and me pouring out my thoughts from the day on to a blank screen, but there's something quite vacant about it at times. Vacant in that I'm not writing a great poem, a passionate song, or the beginnings of an intriguing story, screenplay, or novel -- you know, all of those things I swore 100 times on my Shakespeare Norton Reader I would do. So when something comes to me, like this gothic intro I've got, the overpowering need to read and write comes out of the shadows.

Removing myself from the complacency of a monotone life certainly has sparked some inspiration and for that I am ridiculously thankful. So I hope to have more than just brain fodder to put out into the dear universe some time within the next year. Not a challenge, just a hope.

For everything, lots and lots of hope.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hippie Dippy Rerun

For all my inner punk-rockstar-glamour-girl-40's-movie-starlet-urban-goddess-mother-of-oddness-ness-ism-ish, etc., in (some) of the words of Marguerite Duras, at "the heart of my essential uncertainty" I'm really just a hippie. My husband reminds me of this often. What can I tell you, my first love was a man who touted peace like breathing. G-d bless you, Mr. Lennon.

In this pursuit of getting healthy and shedding the "extra me," I have to go back to what I was raised on -- hello, Vegetarianism Revisited 7.0. Yeah, yeah, yeah I was going back to this like six months ago but chicken is so good. No, no it's not. Chickens eat each other's poop. I was really beginning to feel that "me no like" gag sensation at the consumption of chicken anyway so this should be no biggie. Just keep me away from any sort of Mexican dish with chicken in it and we are good. Beef? -- gave up months and months ago. That one was easy but oddly, this is going in reverse. I gave up chicken first when I was a die-hard vegetarian in my 20's but I often had momentary lapses of reason that involved a Cook-Out burger or a full on meat lover's pizza somewhere around 2:00 a.m. after many glasses of whatever. I'm not proud but I'll admit it. (Anyway if I don't, any number of friends or relatives will admit it for me.)

Being pregnant with Jude brought out the ravenous carnivore in me. Truly. I could have eaten the head off of..well anything. My theory is that your body wants whatever you haven't been giving it up to the point of conception. And then all hell breaks loose. I'm tempted to get pregnant again just to reverse the order.

Luckily for me, our recent move to Nashville offers a lot of options for vegetarianism and general hippie dippyness. There's a slew of restaurants (including a fully vegetarian Indian restaurant) and more than a dozen farmer's markets, organic farms, and a groovy little grocery store we discovered today in the East End called The Turnip Truck. You literally pull up to an organic garden. Yea!

Today I finally picked up the Daiya Vegan Cheese that I couldn't find anywhere in North Carolina (except for at one restaurant). It's actually available at both Whole Foods here and the Turnip plus it's served at all the Mellow Mushroom locations with a gluten-free pie option. Sadly, my very much in need of a gfcf diet child requests only the hummus when we go to the Mushroom but maybe I can bring him over.

Anyway, I substituted regular pasta and cheese in mac 'n cheese tonight with quinoa pasta and Daiya cheddar to much aplomb from both child and husband. Oh hoorah! I can finally give my child mac again without worry. Holla for the hippies that brought us this cheese!

Unfortunately, I couldn't quite get past the pungent smell of it nor did I trust it not to disrupt my terribly cheese-or-cheese-like sensitive tummy. I opted instead for Sunshine Burgers BBQ flavor in a wrap with fresh, organic red onions and organic green leaf lettuce, all from the Turnip Truck. Sunshine Burgers are a little more pricey there but you can usually get them at Harris Teeter for under $4. I think they are the only mass-produced veggie burgers that are GMO free. They are also vegan and gluten-free. AND they are made from sunflower seeds -- topped with pineapple salsa, they are delicious. I highly recommend them, whether you are a hippie or not.

I also fell in love with scrambled egg whites mixed with salsa today. Maybe it had just been years since I'd had salsa in my eggs or maybe it was just having them at the legendary Pancake Pantry by Vanderbilt. I'm not sure, but this will certainly become a regular in my quest for weight loss and healthy eating.

Tomorrow, I'm frying okra in brown rice flour and trading out our white sugar for real maple syrup. My husband will most likely find his way down to the Breadbasket and devour a burger when I'm not looking. My child will be with him. And they will ignore my okra and beg for a trip to Sweet CeCe's, which is essentially a buffet of frozen yogurt and a plethora of topping crack. But that's ok, because this clarity, hopefully, isn't going anywhere any time soon.

Working out and swimming every day are great motivators for healthy living but there's more to it than that -- it's just an energy that Nashville has. Not that this is some super healthy mecca in the likeness of LA, though I'm sure there's plenty of that. There's just a lot of energy period. And that is somewhat intoxicating. I kind of feel my shell cracking.


p.s. in other hippie dippyness of greatness obsessions, I've been trying to lower the toxicity level in our house for over a year now. Today, I found this great website...check it out: Mighty Nest.

Friday, June 4, 2010


Well, hi there! Long time, no...type? I feel like this blog constantly calls for a screeching apology from its caretaker who sadly neglects it on a regular basis. Said caretaker always has valid excuses, however, and is pretty certain that moving to a new state warrants a break from all things web-related.

We are official Nashvillians. After many years of talk about living in Music City, we (I) finally made it. It's a relief to now enjoy the doing rather than the talking. But this wasn't just a move to satisfy an urge, it was one of necessity. Thankfully losing my job in Raleigh and its slow, albeit decaying, job market landed me exactly where I wanted to be. And luckily my new gig doesn't start for a month so I've got days and weeks to explore and figure out, well, where the hell everything is.

Unfortunately, for now (well at least for tonight), I'm couching it. In the midst of this mad move (which was decided upon on a Tuesday and executed the following Sunday), I contracted some horrid Hunta type Ebola plague from the child's school. Between the packing, the driving, the unloading and the enveloping southern heat, I've had just a little too much "fun" and my Friday night excitement looks like it will be with a bottle of Omnicef and not a bottle of Malbec.

Normally, I'm a person who likes to have the entire house arranged, unpacked, decorated and magazine worthy in less than 48 hours after a move. So you can imagine how frustrated I would be given the circumstances. But something rather significant happened as I rolled endlessly over hills and through apocalyptic thunderstorms this past week: self-revelation. I'll try not to Hallmark this moment too much as I am no stickler for the sentimental but bear with me.

Self-revelation #1: When you realize you've stopped growing, you must reroot yourself.

Now there are those people who would think moving from an otherwise adequate if not sustained and mostly fulfilling situation to be futile. Well, I needed a job. But it's not just that. We all needed a new perspective, a fresh shake, a different angle and an awakened synergy.

Having both (husband and I) been raised with a significant infestation of the "travel bug" and also moved around quite a bit as children, I think we both recognized our very real need to, well, "move around." That is not to say that we don't see ourselves planting roots but we are more of the mindset of it's not where you are, but who you are with. As long as the 3 of us are together, whatever place that may be on the map, we are home.

Raleigh had become rather impervious professionaly, socially, creatively, and mentally for both of us. Not to say that Raleigh is not a wonderful place with a lot to offer but when you've roamed its streets for a decade and change, searching and searching for that moment of discovery, never to find it, you know its time to move on. That moment had evaded both of us for quite some time. What that meant for him was leaving for China. What that meant for me was developing a horrid case of anxiety. Which brings me to...

Self-Revelation #2: It's not really textbook anxiety, so park your meds, advice and self-help books, please. I got this.

As I was driving through a thunderstorm that made all things around me completely invisible including the transfer truck in front of me, my husband's moving truck behind me, and the guardrails beside me (vomit), my immediate thought was not "oh no, something's going to happen to me" it was "oh no, something's going to happen to my child (who is sitting in the back seat telling me 'mommy, rainy days happen' like zero visibility is nothing to freak out about) because I don't trust myself enough to get out of this situation." And like that, as if 100 lightbulbs went off over my head in a single moment, I figured it out. All these post-partum years of fighting off anxiety I thought was linked directly to so many things was really only linked to this one thought: I didn't really trust myself to, well, parent. And protect. And provide. Even though I'd been doing and am doing it now. Wonderfully intriguing, how the mind works.

Even writing this now, I feel an enormous sense of relief and a little bit of "well duh" to boot. I could pinpoint exactly when and where this thought process came into play and I could easily justify to and remind myself of the fact that my child is ridiculously happy, has jumped 100 hurdles, and adores his mother to no end. And then I just kind of laughed. Oddly, all seemed right with the world.

I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but thank G-d for that horrendous downpour on the highway.

Self-revelation #3: What makes me tick.

Let's combine #1 and #2 and get to what makes me tick. Going makes me tick. Sure, I hate the leaving and the being left. That's never a good time for anybody. But the going? Boy, sign me up! I don't do well sitting still, staying in one place, being stagnant, turning in circles, running into old walls, or playing it safe. Playing it safe has just not ever really been a part of my vocabulary (please note before you get lecture-y that safe and responsible do not mean the same thing in this scenario). In this way, my husband and I are very much the same -- and also wind up being very much misunderstood. Luckily, once you hit your mid-30's, you become way less concerned with being misunderstood. Or in the very least doing anything to become understood.

However, parenthood requires that you calm the hell down for a minute, doesn't it? And in that lies the HUGE adjustment. It's not really adjusting to the new child, that part is easy, it's adjusting to the new you. And it can be kind of annoying.

Then they turn six. And require adventure. Long for experience. Look for you to lead them. Embody all that excitement you put in park when you strapped yourself down to that desk and 401(k). It's quite invigorating, this age, and I dare say it is my favorite age thus far (ok, well except when he was a chubby, curly haired baby who only had eyes for his mama). Not only am I inspired by it, I'm reminded of who he gets it from: me. It's like a little mirror -- on steroids.

Sure I had to change things around inside myself a bit to maintain as a single parent, but there are so many parts bursting to get out from the onset of parental repression. Sounds like a mid-life crisis doesn't it? Yeah it probably does but I don't really care. I am just one of those who has to go, go, go. Not always meaning move, move, move. The journey is now ours -- not just mine -- and that is thrilling. The wanderlust is still in tact and all the hours spent on a therapist sofa could not make it more simple than that.

Self-Revelation #4: You seriously need to rework your challenges. And not everything has to be one.

What does that mean exactly? Well I'll tell you. The real challenges are the ones you encounter every day. Making sure my son understands things, teaching him right and wrong, making sure he brushes his teeth properly, uses his words, remembers his manners, respects people, animals and the earth. Making sure I am fulfilling those things we as a family need to sustain and function every day because, let's not kid ourselves, if mom/wife doesn't function, nothing does. Maybe not giving myself such a hard time because obviously I'm not perfect but there's quite a list of things I do well and I should really focus on them and -- wait for it -- limit the time suckage that is the internet.

In this I am reminded of the "oh shit, I'm turning 36" challenge. It's still on for sure, especially considering I've got about 7 personal trainers at my fingers' tips now, but I think I've reevaluated this whole "must be done by xxxx" to it "just must be done." For the record, I've only managed to shed 5 pounds but I'm still hopeful for another 15 by July 14. If it does not happen, though, I will not don a hair shirt or whip myself with a horse's tail or talk/complain about it incessantly to those around me (quel bore). Life is just too short.

By the end of self-revelation #4, I was within Nashville city limits and bordering the brink of delirium. Another 20 minutes passed and we were rolling slowly down the main street of Franklin which is quite like taking a step back in time. We went to the bank where everyone greeted us in a deep southern twang. We found our house which, while temporary, is a great "docking" spot for us until we determine our next step. Within 48 hours, we found the guitar shop, the thrift store, all of Nashville's finest vintage spots, everything "child," our new peditrician's office, our favorite cafe, all the local ghost stories, every historic site and so much more. I kind of stopped and took a deep breath of our new town and reveled in the richness that is a slower pace, a kinder smile, and, well, fields and fields of greener grass -- literally.

Obviously, though, what's most important is that the 3 of us function as we always have -- a team. That's really how we see it. Right now, the leaders of the team are dragging and very much in need of a home cooked meal loaded with veggies. The child, however, is thrilled. He's excited, he's happy, he's talking A LOT, and he's sleeping with no issue -- a great sign after a huge move. I dare say this experience, already, has been great for him. (Get back to me when we start school.)

At the end of the day, what does it all mean? Basically that sometimes you have to put yourself out there. And sometimes you have to not think too much and just do. I plan on making both of these my new mantras. I'll let you know what I turn up -- or where.


Friday, April 30, 2010

I Have Bright Red Fingernails Therefore I Am

Have you ever wanted to maim your exercise instructor? I suppose that's the sign of a good workout but ouch. I hurt. In places I didn't know I could really hurt.

We are in week two of Operation 30 -- or 20 -- for 36. Yesterday was not a good day. Today, is better. Yesterday I met with the face of disappointment -- disappointment that the scale hadn't budged an inch in 12 days. I don't think it's fair to hurt this bad and not lose one bloody pound. Of course, I welcome the pain as a friendly reminder of the ballet poster I think hung in every studio in America in the '80's that proclaimed,"No Pain, No Gain!" Yeah, yeah, yeah. I hear you, evil Russian pointe teacher, I hear you to this day.

I did myself no favors by indulging in a couple of rounds out this weekend. The part of regularly working out that triggers your appetite kicked in full throttle. Most of my choices were good ones but yesterday, I just didn't like myself. Why do we do this to ourselves I wondered? And then I started thinking of how I got here in the first place, how it affects my psyche and what on earth to do about it.

*insert flashback sequence music here*

If I remember correctly, the great gain started when I broke my foot. While I was pregnant. Six months to be exact. Technically, I gained 70 pounds while pregnant. Oink. Honestly, those last couple of months were pretty bad as I tried to waddle on crutches around a little one bedroom apartment and take care of myself. Sadly, I became really good friends with the following chain delivery boys: Papapjohn's and Steak Out. It was easier than trying to cook a meal while on crutches and fat as a house in a galley kitchen.

I was alone 99% of the time and I didn't really cook. My diet up to that point consisted of a lot of fruit, vegetarian cuisine and fish. Sadly, fish made me sick while pregnant as did most of the vegetables I had lived off of pre-gestation. I was at a culinary loss.

The broken foot didn't take too long to heal and by the next summer, I was back in 4" heels...much to the dismay of my doctor. What can I say, I'm hell bent when I want to do something. I am not a girl for comfortable shoes, I'm just not. Around this time, I became a single parent. A single, not very financially sound, parent. Dinner usually consisted of the child's non-eaten mac 'n cheese or Cheerios. Oh, yes, Cheerios and I had a tight relationship for many months and I dropped about 35 pounds without much effort at all.

Intermingled in this very frugal lifestyle I had to maintain was a very real and often debilitating issue that came on just after the Post Partum Depression had departed -- PTSD. In my case, the post traumatic stress would emotionally displace itself onto a food allergy (of which I have one -- shellfish) anxiety. I essentially became afraid to eat. No, it wasn't what I was really afraid of but it was tangible and I could justify to others a lot more easily. I dropped about another ten pounds.

Somewhere along the way, I got back to about what I weighed in high school (mind you, I was still a solid 10 in high school). Then I found love. And happiness. And security. And someone who understood my brain's very real need to attach itself to anxiety triggers that were deep rooted in some very real fears. So I ate. They don't call it fat and happy for nothin', folks.

More importantly than fat and happy, I'd like to point out the real health issue here. I was no longer afraid to eat (ok, well I still have moments if say there are only seafood restaurants available). I can't begin to explain to you the release of pressure knowing that I was "safe" once again. It was enormous (and in case I didn't thank you already for my husband, G-d, let me do it now. Tenfold.).

With all this happiness and frolicking in the tulips (as if), I gained about a total of 14 pounds -- 4 of which I lost, so we are looking at a total of 10 over what I was in high school with the all around goal being -20 to get me where I was post-study abroad.

Getting back to yesterday. Yes, I beat myself up. Why? I am a naturally/normally super confident person without the annoyance of having a huge ego (at least I think so; keep your comments to yourself). I was raised by two very confident people, I am educated and intelligent, I find beauty in everything not just in the standard, and I value people for who they are, not what they look like. So why the hair shirt?

Oh there are many reasons, I'm sure, but one is so very recent it shines like a recently polished silver setting. I was immersed in a very unhealthy situation with a group of people who were albeit controlled by the sick neuroses of one individual. At the onset, I thought to myself, "oh, this will never get to me. I am entirely too strong!" Given what I'd just been through as a single parent I really thought I was tough as nails.

And I am. But negativity breeds contempt breeds self-doubt breeds ill will breeds...hell for lack of better terms. Amazing that this environment I put myself in, which had a borderline illegal sizeist attitude and was every thing sick and sad as far as how women treat each other and fall prey to pathetic stereotypes, still has an impact on me. But it does. And admitting to that is a step closer to getting away from it.

I looked that disappointment in the face and I Yoga Booty Balleted myself into a frenzy (I can't bend today, so I'm just hoping I don't drop anything on the floor). I ate well, I moved around, I shook off this ugly and sometimes ferocious memory of a sad individual who had nothing better to do with their day than to chip away at the sanity of others hoping it would provide her with some in the end.

Today is another day. Yes, I hurt, but it's worth it. Eventually I will get to where I want to be and that memory, with others, will drift away and matter no more. I got up this morning, I had apples and oatmeal, took my child to school, and painted my nails bright red. Now is not the time to succumb to other people's thoughts, other people's hang ups, other people period. The reason there are so many successful and confident women in the world is because they believe in themselves, the way that they are, with the skills and gifts that G-d gave them. Not because some whooha told them they were pretty or skinny. Rally on, girls, rally on!


p.s. for my GFCF readers: we finally tried Almond Breeze milk this morning and he loved it! Yea!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mother of Doom

I may rub off, in all the wrong ways...

In case there was ever any question that Jude is my child, yesterday morning would have proved it to be so. Julian gets what he calls "rhino hair." Rhino hair is a medical follicular condition that my father, myself and my son all suffer from. It occurs when our thick, coarse black hair gets anywhere within a five foot radius of a pillow. When this happens, large chunks of hair immediately stand straight up as if they've been erected with some sort of shellac. It's a somewhat frightening experience for those who have not been subjected to it before and often calls for multiple styling products, a hat, or a stylist to deal with.

Jude prefers to have "cheetah hair" (this is the state in which hair is perfect and lacks any sort of Alfalfa tendency) and when he has "rhino hair" he can get quite out of sorts about it (gene inherit from Poppy -- ok, and me). Yesterday we had the mother lode of all "rhino hair" situations. He asked me politely to fix his hair, went to the mirror and said,"um...let's try that again." He went back and forth from that mirror to the bathroom seven times before stating that he "needs a haircut before I go to school!" Ok. He didn't state it. He insisted. More like on his head, face turning blue, I'm not going anywhere with my hair like this insisted. Uh-huh. He's one of us. No doubt about it.

He wound up with more of my hair product in his hair than I use in a week. In his determination, he also landed himself in time out and with one not so happy mother. Not the best way to start the day. But he wasn't entirely wrong, he was starting to resemble a Beatle, and not in a good way. So I made him a hair appointment.

By the time we left, he had everyone hooked and wrapped. Not only was he perfectly coiffed, he was an absolute prince the entire time and ridiculously entertaining to boot. I am so done for with this child. Women, guard your daughters.

In other my-child-makes-me-completely-come-undone news, last week he reportedly called his substitute teacher, ahem, an Effing B. Excuse me? I think I felt the world tilt in the wrong direction and the cement blocks of the hallway started to melt into the floor like some kind of Dali painting as I covered my face in sheer humiliation. I know I'm no saint when it comes to watching my language around him but I can't recall going there!

After carefully listening to him all week, hoping that my mommy secret decoder ring would decipher what he really said and disprove the sub's theory, restoring my child's innocence and perfection (cough, cough), we noticed that he has taken to calling people "fussy boilers" (thank you, Thomas). When spoken really quickly and under his six year old breath, I can see where someone would be confused and think that he was saying the other. This is what I'll tell myself when I go to bed at night wondering how much more time we have left in the public school system.

However, what is up with a sub that thinks a six year old could even use that in the correct context? Interesting. Husband's two cents were: "well was she?" I'm glad I was alone that day for pick-up.

Since this is Day 5 of the Great Diet of Aught 10, it's been a nice little distraction listening to my child's every word hoping to solve the Effing B mystery. I am open to any and all kinds of distractions included to but not limited to cleaning insanely at 8 a.m., watching disturbing appetite suppressing television programming (Fatal Attraction -- the show about big cat owners who subsequently get attacked or eaten, not the movie from the 80's), and sewing just about anything that I can put my hands on to keep me from eating mass quantities of chocolate. What is it about not being able to have something that makes it so much more enticing? I swear to G-d I could have eaten husband's head off the other night if someone had covered in it Hershey's Syrup. Sorry, honey. Hopefully they won't find me at the end of this diet thing sitting on the concrete floor of the Little Debbie factory, Swiss Cake Roll bits in my hair, rocking back and forth but I really can't make any promises.

Back to Judisms because my child doesn't just distract, he fully entertains (he just got done dancing for us kind of like the white white guy Kevin Bacon is friends with in Footloose). Here are some of my favorite lines from the past week...

"Mommy, you are such a ridiculous." (As if there was any doubt.)

"Mommy, are you out of your mind?" (Why, yes, yes I am. Thank you for noticing.)

"I prefer the yellow Dyson. I like it's curvy ball thing." (Good to know.)

"Yes, I'm narrating." (No, I don't think he knows what that means.)

"Green Planet is good. Snakes are good. Duh." (Duh, in the instance in which my child uses it, has about 7 syllables. Apparently he got the South Carolina gene, too.)

"Meet my spiders: Spinerette Seven and No Teeth." (Gotta give it to him for creativity.)

"Daddy, I need your help. Because I'm sweet and kind." (Translation: "Daddy, I messed up and I'm sorry and please come help me do [whatever] because I'm so cute you can't resist me.")

"See Mommy, milk doesn't make me throw up. Nana gave me milk." (Ahem. Nana actually gave him a quart of chocolate soy milk not knowing that soy is our number one trigger for really impossible mind boggling behavior. Let me tell you how fun Sunday and Monday were. Not.)

"What store is Nana taking me to to buy me something?" (After telling him Nana was on the way -- we are all just really a means to an end at this age.)

"Is Hannah the one with necklaces on her teeth?" (She has braces, to be exact.)

To Hannah: "I certainly like you the best." (Hannah and Keira Knightly, specifically Elizabeth Swan, are his girlfriends. No, he does not understand that Hannah is, in fact, a relation.)

"Can we go to Monkey Joes where Kiki lives?" (Apparently he has a helicopter, plane or other on standby.)

"Mommy, you are letting your anger take over." (Grocery shopping will do that to a Mommy when she tows a husband and a child with her. Grocery stores should have mommy-only hours where full bars are offered in every department and jello shots are given at the door.)

"Let me get my anger under control." (Sometimes he has a moment of lucid wisdom.)

"But I'm so cute..." (Uh-huh.)

I am so ruined. So very, very ruined. But for all his omg-calm-down-whose-child-are-you-ness we have amazing moments of omg-you-are-so-perfect-ness. For Earth Day, we hung our birdhouse, repurposed a mail tin and spent a few hours in the yard working. As I was painting said mail tin, Jude was working on his very own canvas. He drew "Rosie's Walk" which included the mill, the beehive, the pond, the fence, the coop, and the yard for Rosie, the chicken. Rosie actually looks more like CatDog or some sort of dog/chicken combo but his handwriting was perfect and he was oh so proud of his art work. Those are the moments that erase the other know the ones where I want to pull my hair straight out of my head and go screaming into a busy street.

And speaking of pulling my hair out, I scrapped the entire new Wordpress site and started over. One day it'll be ready. I promise.

Until then, adult beverage time!

Monday, April 19, 2010

GF Update

Every now and then I get ridiculously excited about things we find that my child actually LOVES that are gluten-free. It's the little things in life, people. Sadly for us, on this day, we are getting our Girl Scout Cookie shipment. Sadly for me, I started this diet yesterday and sadly, for child, said cookies are not Gluten Free. I am considering hosting a GS Cookie Party...who's in? Bring your appetite because I am not putting one Thin Mint near these committed (commit-able?) lips.

Anyway, moving on to products! I was just sending over an email to Joyce at the Indy Weekly who has been writing articles for them of late regarding the issue not only of GF eating but focusing on allergens in general. Can I just tell you how much fun it is to fanagle a menu/restaurant option out of a shellfish allergy, a peanut allergy, and a GFCF diet? And people wonder why I'm so high strung.

In writing Joyce, I wanted to give a little spotlight to our favorite GF bread because I really feel that in doing all this mad research I do and grocery store hopping (yesterday we hit four) is completely pointless if I don't share it with other mothers. Help yourself but help others. And then it dawned on me that we've also recently found a potato chip alternative, new chocolate chip cookies, and more pancake/waffle alternatives.


Glutino Harvest Corn Gluten Free/Casein Free/Preservative Free Bread of Greatness. Finding ready made GF Bread is a challenge. And as much as I love to bake, I have little to no experience with bread making (hence the "fat" 365 Whole Foods Bread debacle of 2010). And honestly, I lack the time to Betty Crocker my way through this every week so this was a G-d send.

Found at Harmony Farms, it costs exactly $6.31 with tax. A bit pricey maybe, but having the ability to now send my child to school with a peanut butter sandwich is worth it. Worth the trip, worth the money, worth it. Thank you, Glutino.

Potato Chips

I rarely go into Trader Joe's mostly because it is always too entirely busy and too entirely annoying and because for all their GF flag waving, ours doesn't have the greatest GF selection I've ever seen. But I will hail these popped chips (particularly the BBQ ones), in all their processed glory, because my son loves them. Definitely not an "eat every day" item, but he is the same way I am about BBQ Sauce (actually, that's a family trait and we officially call this addiction to condiments "KyahKyah" -- but I digress). At $1.99 a bag and a lovely afternoon treat that keeps him in his chair and at bay from causing any sort of casualty in his South America elective, you can't beat it.


Whetstone Home Grown is a local bakery based out of Wake Forest, North Carolina. I was skeptical of the cookie (seen here to the far right) at first because we've had a lot of bad GF cookie experiences but after two, I was surely addicted. They offer baked goods as well as jams, all without corn syrup, artificial colors, preservatives or flavors. GF cookies are also available casein free by request. You can find them every Saturday at the Wake Forest Farmer's Market March-December or order them directly. I actually think I'm going to eat one right now....oh wait, diet. Nevermind. Dang it.


Maple Grove Farms of Vermont makes the best GF Pancake mix, in my humble opinion...or rather Jude's humble opinion since he's the one who eats them (I have never been a fan of the cake from pan). They are made from rice flour and they smell so scrumptious when they are cooking in the skillet! I use rice milk and sometimes toss in a little cinnamon depending on his mood. Oddly, I can only find this mix at Target of all places. Specifically, Super Target, which means a long a** drive out to North Raleigh but it's near the Saks so I mean really, who can complain?

I'll be honest, not only am I not a fan of pancakes, I am even less a fan of the frozen variety. But I couldn't help but pick these up at Trader Joe's the other day because well, multiply how much I don't like pancakes by like infinity and that's how much I don't like mornings. And the stress of not only getting child dressed, fed and his lunch packed in under an hour while feeling good about the nutrition choices I made are enough to drive a mama mad.

My child likes 3 things for breakfast: eggs, waffles and pancakes. That is it. That is all. So, we haven't actually tried these yet but I will let you know how they go over. We did, however, try these today...


...and they must have been damn good because normally my child eats breakfast like some kind of food critic working on his 5th book. It's painfulllllly slow. Today, I turned around...waffles. Turned back waffles. In a matter of minutes. Oh joy! Oh rapture! Whatever is in the TJ wheat-free toaster waffles must have been made from the same nectar as pixie dust. Child is a fan.

And whatever child is a fan of, so is mom.

More later...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

"But I'm Going to be 40." "When??" "Some day!"

Whenever it is appropriate, I like to use quotes from "When Harry Met Sally." Script-wise, it is some of the greatest dialogue ever penned. All hail Nora Ephron.

What does this particular quote have to do with this particular day? Well, I woke up this morning cranky as a recently sheered sheep and although I was somewhat sleep deprived, I couldn't quite put my finger on the pulse of my discontent.

Then it hit me. I am approximately 3 months away from my 36th birthday. And approximately 30 pounds away from my goal weight. Ok, really I'm only 20 away from where I was at my greatest shape, but I like to lop that extra 10 lbs on there just to really stress myself out and totally self-deprecate.

Now you ask, what does this have to do with Atypical Mother's main focus which is being a somewhat left of center parental unit to a somewhat atypical child? Well, I'll tell you. I kind of forgot that the equation of parenting actually includes me, ie. I need to remind myself continually that being a good parent does not just mean making sure that my child is happy -- it also includes keeping me happy. Huh. Amazing the clarity that comes with age. (Or is it dementia? I'm not entirely sure.)

But the moniker Atypical was never meant to just incorporate the behavioral and developmental challenges we experience with little man, it was also meant to incorporate the usually quirky way I go about doing things. For example, I am probably the only mother at school who looks forwards to any occasion to rock victory rolls; I just watered my flowers with a mason jar; my child sat under an art market table yesterday assisting in the sale of our wares like some gypsy waiting to get back into his caravan; I really want to sell everything we own and move to a far away land. I don't fit the mold, and I like it that way.

Let's face it, the days of the "American Ideal" where we all live in houses in the burbs with a 3.5 member family, a dog, 2 cars and a dual and steady income are basically over. Not that that was ever my goal. Don't get me wrong, I have killed myself over the years to ensure stability and a sense of security in our home, but I have always been of the mind set that home is not where you live but who you are with and where your heart resides. Call it a by-product of moving around. A lot.

So when I think about my pipe dreams, I am caught somewhere between longing and determination. See, I haven't given up on those pipe dreams. I don't believe in giving up on pipe dreams. Regardless of your age, your financial situation, or how many you have hanging on your apron strings, I firmly believe, in the infallible words of Eleanor Roosevelt, you are never to old to be what you were going to be.

Being relentlessly predisposed to dramatic overtures and lots of time under bright lights on a stage, I still have the want for the following: to sing with my husband, cut a record with my husband, be in a play and dance in a musical, with a group, with children...wherever. I want my son surrounded by music, creativity and plenty of interpretation.

Still what does this have to do with my age and, subsequently, my weight goals? Well, all this recent talk of body image (from my beloved cauldron gals: Kitschen Bitsch and Shades of Gray) and from the fashion world (which I covered ever so lightly back in February on Frock Paper Scissors), got me thinking about my own body image. There is nothing more motivating than positive reinforcement and negative proof, as much as we may hate to admit it.

Weight has always "stood in my way." No, I've never been a skinny girl. I was on my first diet in the first grade -- seriously. It was an 1800 calorie a day diet and it allowed me no sweets but one scoop of vanilla ice cream at the end of the day. To drink, I was only allowed water and a lovey water/sweet tea blend which consisted of 3/4 a cup of water with a 1/4 (or less) cup of sweet tea (honestly, I still do this because I love sweet tea but it doth make me fat).

The struggle would continue, well, permanently. Or at least in my mind. When I got to high school, I was dancing every day and very active. I rode my bike every afternoon; I ate tuna out of can with no bread and no mayonnaise. I thought I was enormous. Recent photos of me from high school proved me wrong. No, I wasn't Sally Stick or Bonnie Bulimia Ballerina (like most people expect when you say you are a dancer) but I wasn't as large as I was in my head.

When I hit about 27, I was in the greatest shape of my life. Somehow shedding the preconceptions of high school and discovering my femininity and drive did wonders for me in my 20's. And for all those people who may say that I'm not dedicated to being fit, I dare you to dance for 2-3 hours 3 times a week in a dance club and tell me it's not a work out.

Between doing that and walking the streets of England, I somehow wound up being thinner than ever...keep in mind that thin for me still meant a size 8. And let me clarify, I have never been ridiculous enough to think that:
A) my self-worth is based on my dress size or that
B) all of these curves will ever fit nicely into anything smaller than an 8.

And that, I can honestly say, I am A-ok with.

So new goals. Because in my mind, in this world where every day is either a huge hurdle jumped with our atypical child -- who is making excellent progress -- or a major step backwards, and where I want to be an example to him of what you can be, how to pursue your dreams, and not shoving yourself into everyone's vision of what life should be, I can't be strong mentally if I'm not strong physically. And if that level of confidence isn't there, those dreams will remain mountains in the distance that never come into focus.

In an effort to keep myself in line, I'm going to journal this here. We'll call it "30 -- or 20 -- for 36." No, I'm not going to write a long winded list of 36 things I want to do before 36 because, honestly, I don't need that kind of pressure and by this age, your list is much shorter -- which it should be. But I've only got 3 bloody months!!! For the purposes of this experiment, I am only going to have 1 thing on said list:

1) Lose 30 or 20 for 36. I'm putting it out there like that because I don't think I need to lose 30 pounds, and the doctor said 15, so I'm going with 20. 20 is my cup cake. 30 is my icing. Or rather 20 is my rice cake and 30 is my soy peanut butter? Yeah. That works.

And spare me the lecture of "that's too much in a short amount of time." It's called muscle memory and willpower. I've worked this body enough in the past 35 years that it will remember what it's supposed to do or I will whip it into submission!! (Starting with the 2 most treacherous hills in our neighborhood which I conquered this morning...almost threw up...but conquered nonetheless.)

I think if I can get my son past the hurdle of barely speaking to "OH MY G-D STOP TALKING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" I should be able to accomplish this. And then hopefully, my top will just pop off and all that, excuse my language, shit I've been holding in for 8 years will just burst out in all of its creative splendor. Or I will just be hungry and cranky.

I'll keep you posted, either way.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

GFCF Happiness Borders on Insanity

It's been over a month since I've posted here and, as I stated in Frock Paper Scissors, I'm working on moving this blog and my French Teacup blog over to Wordpress. Until then, I felt the need to address my Atypical Mother-ness; I so often ignore her. I struggle with the fear of sensationalizing a very personal struggle for me, my child and my husband and also don't want to be thrown into the "exploitative mother" category. So, this blog and see, we have issues. It's not at all an easy thing to talk about. So there may be more revamping than just relocation.

As far as diet, this week has provided some renewed happiness with the Gluten-Free Casein-Free diet we've been in heavy pursuit of for Jude for the past few months. Between the holidays and various bouts of malaise, we haven't had a full steady week or more of both; one, but not both.

One thing we have definitely discovered is that there's yet another FREE we have to add on to our GFCF: SF. Soy. It's in everything and chances are, in the forms we/you are eating it, unless stated otherwise, it's a GMO (genetically modified organism). There's nothing healthy about that and I certainly don't want it going into my child. Not only that, behaviorally speaking, soy is a trigger for bad behavior. We have since discovered its presence in our rice milk, his supplements and even our turkey bacon. So we've had to reevaluate a lot more than just our bread and pasta choices.

Speaking of bread and pasta, I found two really great "subs" this month. One is the Whole Foods' 365 brand gluten free sandwich bread mix. (I wish I could tell you that I have the time to mix five different kinds of gluten free flour with the right amount of xantham gum to make my own bread from scratch, but that kind of time is just not in my cards right now.) Anyway, this bread was easy to make, came with its own live active yeast and had a decent texture for GF bread. If you've tried store bought GF bread before you know that it a) tastes like wet cardboard and b) falls apart if you breath on it. This did neither. Oh hoorah!

We were lucky enough to actually find two GF pastas that Jude likes. Hodgson Mill Brown Rice Angel Hair and DeBole's Multi-Grain Angel Hair (or Penne). DeBole's is a combination of rice, quinoa, and amaranth. DeBole's also makes a rice pasta that tastes kind of like melted glue so we were very hesitant to try the multi-grain but it's really quite yummy. Monday night, we made the DeBole's penne with sauteed asparagus and lemon juice; tonight, we tried the angel hair with caramelized onion and roasted garlic tomato sauce and ground beef.

And speaking of ground beef and eating healthy, though protein and good, lean meats are a very important part of Jude's GFCFSF diet, they are no longer a part of mine. Today is day three of me going back to being a vegetarian, which I have been most of my life (thank you, pregnancy, for making me a carnivore). It's all about finding what works for your body and one thing I know for sure, for me, is that meat and I do not click.

I wish I could say the same of chocolate. Let me tell you how fun it is to tell your six year old that they can't have Oreos because of dairy and gluten. Yeah, that goes over like a lead balloon. You can't have a bag of M&M's, you have to skip over Baskin Robbins, and for the most part, all things kid have to be "skipped." It's kind of heartbreaking, really, because all kids love to eat "fun things" and finding alternatives especially when your baking/cooking skills are not on par with Martha and your time is certainly not that of June Cleaver, is a major challenge.

But there are alternatives -- we tried one tonight! On a recent trip to Teeter, we purchased Betty Crocker's GF Brownie mix and Bob's Red Mill GF Chocolate Cake mix. We tried the Betty Crocker brownies tonight and I can tell you, if you can get past the fact that they smell somewhat like horse feed, they are quite tasty. Jude was a big fan (luckily he's not spent as much time in a stable as his mama, so the horse feed thing wouldn't be a total deterrent.)

So the big question is: is all this working? Well I can say that when we didn't know that soy was a trigger, I was really beginning to wonder if all of this was worth it because we had about one solid, hardcore month of questionable behavior at school. But once we yanked the soy out, things started to level out some. Dairy, I know for sure, has to stay out of his diet. He is only allowed rice milk (he really likes Rice Dream) and only drinks that rarely. No cheese, no ice cream, no butter (I use olive oil). There is a new dairy-free cheese that's getting rave reviews called Daiya but we have not tried it yet.

Gluten? I'm not entirely convinced the gluten is a trigger for him but we are still experimenting.

What I do know is that dairy is gross in and of itself. Soy is rarely not a GMO. And gluten is not good for you in any way. So, whether it works to curb his behavioral issues or not, eliminating these things from his diet (from our diet) is worth it. The ultimate goal is GFCFSF with no/low sugar, and no preservatives, dyes, etc. The evidence that supports these things interfering with the development of a developmentally delayed child, a child with ADHD or Autism, or any other behavioral issue is stacking up. And stacking up quickly.

It doesn't make grocery shopping fun. You almost always have to grocery hop and you can be guaranteed that you are 9 times out of 10 going to spend quite a bit of money. It's overwhelming when you first start and there is so much information out there. My suggestion for anyone starting this diet is to read the revised ADHD/Autism Cookbook and just remember to eat simply; eat locally; eat organically; and, most importantly, read every ingredient label of every product you buy (organic does not always mean healthy!) Experiment with your child one meal at a time and don't be afraid to make something that sounds totally off the wall (I just made my own "soda").

Oh, and don't forget the chocolate. Definitely, don't forget the chocolate.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Happy Sunday

My poor man is a volcano. Of vomit. And has been since about 6:00 this morning. I hate it when he's sick, like any mom, and that overwhelming since of not being able to fix it takes over and you find yourself offering things that make no sense (can I hold your hair? oh, wait, you are a boy...maybe not).

Let's just all pray that the Great GI bug of 2010:
a) goes away as quickly as it came;
b) has agreed to cease and desist for the day (I seriously don't think my house could smell anymore uninviting; and
c) that it does not make its way from child to mommy to daddy (because mommy has a date with Chris Botti Tuesday night and I will go whether I am full on Linda Blair or not. I will, I tell you).

Now, mommy and daddy swear that they have some super gene that protects them from contracting the usual stomach bugs but as soon as we think that, one of us is sure to be lying naked on the bathroom floor because "it's cold, I just need to be cold." (What is it exactly about the bathroom floor that makes you feel better anyway...if you think about it, do you want to be cheek-pressed on the bathroom floor? In a bathroom your leaky, CDC children use? Yeah, no).

I've not touched food nor water all day hoping that if I deprive said bug of substance it will move on to another host. Which of course means I will be binge eating in less than an hour. But for now, eating in this house is right up there with eating in a hospital, a bus stop or a bathroom at the fairgrounds -- ain't gonna happen. (Yes, I liken those things to each other because they all skeeve me out in their own very special way.)

At what age do kids start voluntarily making it to the bathroom before losing their lunch anyway? Because I'd like to give myself and my husband that glimmer of hope at the end of the vile tunnel. Little people throw up anywhere. And everywhere unfortunately. Ugh. I feel like I need to be Silkwood-ed or HAZMT-ed or something. Boiled? No?

We are quiet inside, he's finally asleep on the sofa, our lovely black sailcloth curtains are keeping out all the light and I'm sure our neighbors think we are having a Boo Radley day. Let's just hope it works to recuperate the wild thing that is my child and return him to his normal state.

Fingers crossed and candles lit. (Oh, lots of candles lit...especially of the aromatherapy variety.)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Well that seemed to work

I recently read several blogs and articles about Jenny McCarthy getting quite a bit of grief from parents who have tried biomed treatments on their children with no results. Well, I'd like to say, in her defense, she was and has always been very up front about the fact that it works for some children. And I think people are missing the point, she is not advocating for no vaccines, she's advocating for GREEN vaccines. Whenever there is a herald for a cause that's controversial, that person usually, historically, gets burned for the wrong reasons.

Ok, I had to have a soap box moment there for Jenny. She's revolutionized the way we approach this subject and I salute her.

We are still in the experimental phase of all of this. But I can attest to something, supplements seem to make a huge impact on my child. Last week, we ran out of his multi with extra B's and magnesium. So I thought, hey, maybe I'll take a "break break" and see if his behavior changes being off the supplement. I would like to apologize at this point to my son's school for this past week. I am surprised there was not breaking news on the local tv station "Local Boy Takes Over School and Holds Everyone Hostage in Library." I mean, really. Difference? Like you would not believe.

Now, I'm not 100% certain that it's just the lack of B vitamins and magnesium (said to calm children with ADD, ADHD, ASD, etc.) but I am very confident it played a big hand in him having three red choices today, three red choices yesterday. Big fat red sticker in his folder. Oy. But, hey, at least now I know. He went back on B and magnesium supplements yesterday, a Superfood "scooby snack" (this is what we call them to get him to consume the darn things) with even more B vitamins. Hopefully his teacher will resume talking to me next week. I can't be sure. I imagine she has my photo on a dart board at home.

The great thing (the difficult thing) is that even though he was a little more all over the place and somewhat belligerent, ahem, it's so hard to not smile and/or laugh when he comes in from school and tells me, in detail, what he did and why he did it. When you have a child who really couldn't tell you "because...." a year ago and now he is giving you the reason he threw a fit in the library and says, "i'll never be happy again" because he didn't get the book he wanted, it's pretty hard to cough back a chuckle and be happy. But still, he gets time out like every other child on earth. If he can explain to me why he's being a buttukus, he can very much decide to make green choices! (Still, "I'll never be happy again..." hilarious.)

The point of the matter is supplements and diet do work for some children. I'm so excited to see the changes and progress with Jude it's impossible for me to say that these tactics do not work. Do I think they'll work for everyone? No. Do I think every tactic will work with him? No, I don't. But what I do know is when your child is dangling in some gray area that you can pull him out of by at least trying something, it's worth it. And if it doesn't work, like everything else in life, you pick yourself up, dust yourself, and try all over again. If Jenny McCarthy has taught us mothers of atypical children anything, it's to never lose hope. Hope will get you through just about any situation, no matter how difficult or trying. And, really, that's half the battle.