My Thinking Man

Today’s lesson:

I acted terribly on Saturday. In response to many different factors of which I don’t need to list. Suffice it to say I was not proud of me. And unfortunately Teddy took the brunt of it.

He told me this AM on the bus in the middle of showing me his game and telling me how much he loves me that he hasn’t forgiven me yet for my behavior over the weekend.

I told him I understood and will do my best to make it up to him.

I was talking with my Dad just now and after he asked me how Teddy was doing I told him I was in the doghouse with him. He laughed and asked why. I told him that I acted inappropriately. And he said something surprising.

D: good for him telling you that.

Me: what do you mean?

D: that he has the understanding of what is right and wrong and he’s not afraid to hold you responsible.

M: I guess.

D: and what’s more…he knows that even though he’s mad at you he also loves you at the same time.

M: this is really deep for 9 am.

D: yeah well you got me at a good time.

Still waters….

Expectations Lead to Resentments

Managing expectations….

everyone has them. Is it our responsibility to take others’ expectations into consideration every time? Or should we be able to choose when we are open to that?

In a family someone is bound to be disappointed. Can I just shrug that off and say, one of us can be happy today, one tomorrow and Friday someone else? Is that allowed?

In my mind I have a Hierarchy of Needs. And Teddy’s basic needs (sleep, food, etc) takes precedence over a secondary need (say a hobby.)

The hierarchy is constantly running around in my mind as the day progresses. I make decisions in the instant based on them and someone else is bound to get upset.

Sometimes I’m exhausted. Sometimes I make what look like selfish decisions. Very rarely do I share my decision making process with my spouse, and ultimately that gets me into an uncomfortable position with him. Sometimes he loses out, or so it would seem…however….Sometimes he wins, especially if I’m tired.

 

 

Recycling

Teddy, my six year old, and I have been talking about recycling lately. Last night the conversation turned down a path that I was preparing myself for over the last year.

“What actually happens when we aren’t here anymore?” He asks, eyes wide, as we are reading Dr. Seuss.

“What do you mean, aren’t here?”

“You know, when we d.i.e.” He whispers that last word the way some people whisper the word cancer.

“Oh……that. Well some people like to believe we go on existing differently.” I explain.

His eyes light up, wheels turning. He loves this idea, “You mean we get recycled!!???”

It is hard not to squeeze him and laugh with glee that he so quickly grasped something I was intentionally being vague about.

“Kind of, I guess. Yes. Some people think we get recycled. Come back as someone else.”

We go back to reading for a few minutes.

“What did you come back as before?”

“I believe I was a regency gentlewoman from Bath in England.”
It would explain my proclivity towards all things British.

“That’s why you always read with that silly voice!”

“Right-O guvnah.”

Reading commences and we get to the end of the story when he looks st me again and whispers, “Who was I?”

“I think you were an Asian Indian Prince and scholar who illustrated texts for all of the children of Bombay.”

“Why?”

“Because you love Ganesha and Sita.”

“I wonder what I will be next.”

“Me too, but I know whoever you are, I will be with you too.”

“Of course. Can we read Captain Underpants now?”

Are you a sugar addict? Is it by choice?

Image

This is day four of my family’s Fed Up Challenge 10 Day Sugar Detox. I want to fess up…I have wanted sugar. In the worst way yesterday and while at Fairway, I almost convinced myself to look at the dark chocolate section. A large, addicted, conniving portion of my brain said, “…it’s dark chocolate, it doesn’t have all that sugar that milk chocolate does…it’s a superfood, a powerful antioxidant…you aren’t healthy unless you eat it.”

Then, the little sliver of sanity, whom I choose to call skinny bitch, said, “Snap out of it!” (she sounded exactly like Moonstruck Cher.) I did, and the result is a clear head on day four. 

My son, however, has been taking the brunt of it, which makes sense because he was getting the most sugar. It’s hiding in everything. There are 56 words the FDA/food processors are allowed to use when packaging their chemicalized nutrients for human consumption. 
56. Fooled me! But as George Bush says, “Fool me once, shame on them…fool me twice…and…er…well yer not gonna fool me agin. Hehe.”

Teddy has been, how should I put this? A pain in the ass. He’s cranky, 
tired, annoyed and annoying. He’s constantly hungry and a little melancholy. If it sounds familiar somehow, that’s because these are classic withdrawal signs. 

It may be too early in the process to say this but, I also see a marked improvement with his focus. And his interest in other-things-than-minecraft. But it’s early stages yet. 

One of the things I hate about blogs that extol the virtues of a diet is they don’t give you an idea of what to replace the thing they want you to flush from your life with. No practicalities. I know when I want to do something I am dreading, I like a lot of info. Then I can ignore all of it, but still know it’s there for safety–in case I need it. 

So, I will tell you what I’m doing. I have upped the protein, fruit and water in our daily menu. And adding a lot more veggies. The protein and fat (like butter and cheese but also coconut oil and avocado) will help hold the sweet cravings at bay. And the veggies and fruit will stabilize your blood sugar if eaten as small meals during the day. 

This morning for breakfast I gave Teddy a hard-boiled egg, whole grain bread (w/o any sugar additive–including honey or molasses) with butter and cinnamon, rolled oatmeal (also w/cinnamon) with raisins and chopped pears (made w/salt and coconut oil) and sliced pears. 

He ate about 1/2 of it. 

I made the same oatmeal, added chia, almonds and cashews, pears, blueberries, raisins, the coconut oil, and sea salt. I am quite sated. Hmmm…who needs sugar anyway?

Career Recognition

ImageSince 2010 I have been slowly and steadily changing my career from early childhood education to special needs education and have enhanced that scope to not only include children with disabilities but the families that care for them as well. 

My career shifted after I began this work at a center that served developmentally disabled teenagers and adults.  I noticed certain habits they had with regard to their self-care and nutrition.  I saw a huge incidence of obesity and diabetes as well as food addictions.  I then started working with the early childhood population of children with special needs and saw where those diseases and habits started. 

Working with my own son, who was born 14 weeks early, I noticed that when he ate a certain way, his sensory issues were heightened.  When he ate tomatoes or other food items that contained salicylates or food with artificial colors, particularly red and orange food dyes, he grew overemotional and acted hyper-stimulated.  Then he would crash. 

Concurrently, I was, myself, very unhealthy.  The food I was eating was slowly killing me and making it hard to focus and be an active contributor to my own life.  I felt powerless to do anything about this, but a medical crisis forced me to put my health above all else and in 2012 I began a recovery process in body and mind.   After undergoing major and very necessary surgery, I began putting my health first.  I began putting me first.  The result has been wonderful.  I not only shed 75 lbs. but gained a new perspective on life and have cultivated a peace that is as precious to me as my son. 

With my new ability to see clearly, I put some of the pieces together and enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, which I will become a graduate of at the end of April 2014. 

It took me a life threatening issue and access to the underpinnings of the special education system to realize the impact food and self-care have on not only our lives but our community as well.  It is difficult to make that connection and this is one of the obstacles that I have to overcome in this line of work. I meet with families who are troubled by the severity of their children’s disabilities as well as the Autism pandemic that is occurring globally.  They project that their children’s future lives in will not be productive and full, yet they fail to see the missing piece which can decrease the symptoms and alleviate their child’s disorders.  They complain that there isn’t enough time and they are exhausted, emotionally and physically yet they put very little effort into caring for themselves, opting instead to give their children every last piece of their energy.

I love the concept of putting your mask on before helping other’s put on theirs.  This should be the mantra of new parenting.  The demands that are made of parents these days are unrealistic. And the funny thing is we are the ones placing these demands on ourselves.  We want to do everything and then wonder why we are angry or run out of time.  All parents, not only those who have children with special needs, should take the time to care for themselves because you cannot effectively care for others if you are broken.

This is not a new concept, but now more than ever, it is one that needs to be paid close attention to.  Our children are getting sicker and we are getting farther and farther away from being able to effectively help them.  For me the problem of the staggering rates of autism, add and adhd and parent burnout go hand in hand.  It did for me and I am not that unique. 

I am fueled by the conversations I have with parents, both positively and negatively.  I see more moms and dads becoming aware of how just a tweak in their child’s daily menu or a half hour at the gym effects how they feel and how their family interacts. 

I am a lifelong learner.  Everything I hear, see, and experience becomes part of my thinking and I continue to seek more information and different ways of seeing how things are.  I will not stop looking for more ways to help children with special needs and the families that love them.