Sunday, 29 January 2012

When your toddler’s favorite word is ‘fart’... know that one of a number of things may be at play. It could mean that he’s growing up in a household of all boys. Big boys who think it’s hilarious when he says it. Hence the fact that he’s heard it a lot. The word. I mean. Or well...
When a 21 months old starts gleefully shouting that word hundreds of times a day I laugh. I roll my eyes a bit. I also take stock. That much farting does not signal healthy guts. That much farting is an indication that, as we say around here, "I got somethin' bad inside of me!" The holistic, slightly-crunchy mindful eater and food-intolerance aware mama in me starts to take a look at all the contributing factors. Factors like a flare up of Caid’s eczema that has left little clumps of bleeding itchy rash-patches on both legs and around his nose and mouth and won’t go away no matter what cream I put on it. Factors like raging mood swings from all three boys. What‘s that you say? Raging mood swings from Mama? No! Factors like Caid’s crying, writhing-on-the-floor fits whilst holding his belly and crying, “My WAIST! My waist!” Factors like Mama’s serious bout of depression and constantly recurring yeast infections and general feeling of malaise. Then there’s the constant farting. From all five concerned parties. Cue gleeful toddler shouting “FART! FART!”
We had already looked into some of this late this summer. Caid and I both went on an elimination diet. Eating loads of veggies and meat and a tiny bit of fruit. It started helping, but then school started and things went steadily downhill from there until voila! We found ourselves subsisting on a diet of Pamela’s cupcakes and buckwheat chocolate chip cookies. WHAT?! They’re gluten and dairy free! Okay, so I’m exaggerating a bit. However when you add in the number of Dr Peppers per week and the bi-weekly trip to Carl’s Jr. for a low-carb burger (they have lettuce instead of a bun--brilliantly gluten free!) things were perhaps a tiny bit out of control. 
The thing is, the sugar made me feel better! For about 30 minutes I’d feel like a million bucks. Then, not so much. A mama’s gotta have more than 30 minutes. So this mama was eating a lot of sugar. So apparently were my children. Because after 4 days of an elimination diet designed to heal up our guts and help us begin to identify the culprits, Bridger had a total flip out. He ran up to his room yelling, “I just need to let out some anger!” When I went to check on him he grabbed two fist fulls hair and explained wild-eyed, “It’s just that, I realized I got completely addicted to sugar. I don’t know how it happened, and I’m really mad at myself for letting it get so out of control. But when we’re having just like, meat and veggies, it’s really hard. Because all I want is sugar! And it’s REALLY hard at school because all the other kids are having all KINDS of sugar in their lunches!”  Yeah. He’s nine. Wise little man.
Asher had two days of meltdown-centrals at meals. It got so bad last Thursday (yep, same day B freaked out. They were tag-teaming that night.) that I finally put him in the bath as a last resort. Which didn’t work. So I climbed in with him. Which didn’t work. He was screaming and crying. Finally I fed him his dinner, whilst holding him, in the tub. Not so pleasant to clean up afterward, but I figure I got an avocado-skin treatment out of the deal and it did finally help him calm down. Was it withdrawals? Two-year molars? A battle of the will over what he wanted to eat and what I had to offer? No idea. But dude, I will say this: that kid puts the ‘melt’ in ‘meltdown!’ Poor Bridger asked me, “Mama, do you think that Ash is getting teeth or something? or is he kind of always going to be like this?”
we're eating a lot more of this these days
Tantrums and freak outs aside the elimination diet is going really well. It’d be faster to tell you what we CAN eat. Fish, poultry, lean beef, lamb, non-starchy and low glycemic veggies (except nightshades like peppers and tomatoes), low-glycemic fruits, coconut milk or oil, olive oil, and fermented foods like kombucha, fermented veggies, etc. We’re also taking a supplement before meals that seals up our guts and lets them heal up a bit. 
The report so far? I feel GREAT! My mood has been happier and more even than it has in MONTHS. The boys moods are evening out. The skin on Caid’s mouth looks better. Scott reports feeling more clear-headed and well than he has in months. Plus, there are definitely fewer toddler call-and-response sessions of “FART!” 
Ever done an elimination diet or cleanse yourself? With your kiddos? Any helpful tips to offer?

Monday, 23 January 2012

Releasing "The Sads"

“Anger,” Dad says, “is blocked expectations.” I notice myself listening from that deep place. The place that is filled with a little too much darkness and remembers light and longs for it. I notice the grown up girl in me that does not shy away from a father’s admonition and advice, but instead grabs hold--a rope of wisdom thrown into the pit. He says more wise and kind things. He talks about how it’s okay to not be who I was when I left 3 1/2 years ago. Permission is granted to try it out amongst those who love me. Warm hearts are promised as I work out how to be this me--not that me.
I try to believe that. This is the same man that chided me many a time in my growing up years for too high of expectations. I’ve spent a lot of denial on having them at all. Having expectations means the potential of facing disappointment. One of the most painful emotions of all. If I were to work through the “blocked” expectations I would have to admit I had them. Maybe lots of them. For the way things would be. For how I’d be. For how things wouldn’t be. For how I wouldn’t be. Wouldn’t have to be. I’d have to sort them out. Damn. 
“The problem,” a best friend writes, “with suppressing this is that this anger turns into depression and it is bloody hard to pull ourselves out of it, to be able to express how we feel and understand what is going on and be able to release it in some way. You have taken great steps to re-adjust to a lifestyle you left long ago, and also the realisation that you are no longer that person who left all that time ago. It can feel suffocating. You have changed, have grown, but now have a feeling of being forced to change again.” Then she throws a rope in too: start writing again. She reminds me how important it is. How much I work through on the page.
I am swimming in a sea of army green file folders. Three boxes and four chock-a-bloc drawers worth. Some things are kept. Cards & printed emails from Scott’s surgery. A few favorite theatre scripts. Some poetry Scott wrote. Photographs and inky prints of Bridger’s feet. Most are tossed. White Costco-sized bag after white bag. Boxes of recycling. The boys gleefully running things through the shredder. Layers and layers of relief washing over me as the receipts and bills and contracts and notes of an old life turn to confetti. “We’re breaking the ties.” Scott explains, when I ask why it feels so good. “We’re cutting loose.”
I sit in my green chair. I sit here a lot these days. Pondering all of this wisdom. What is it I am “cutting loose” from? Why do I so often feel trapped? Suffocated? What is the antidote to all of this anger? I grasp daily for gratefulness and a thankful heart and daily I feel the weight of my failure to hold on to either of these things for very long. Am I a spoiled rotten brat? That actually might be part of it. I do however, feel so acutely the need to “release it in some way.” 
Release--excellent word. It goes in and sticks. Deep in that despair place. Release. Like releasing a prisoner. Ah ha. There it is. A little clue. The way out is illuminated a further few steps. The prisoner inside all this anger is me. Releasing the anger is releasing myself. 
I posted this on facebook the other day. She talks about her little girl having “the sads” and not being able to let them out. She explains about “emotional throw up” and just letting kids let it out. I thought it was fantastic. For my kids. But here I sit with loads of my own “sads” that need to come out, and the only person not giving me permission to do so is me. 
Release, Cori. Release. 
Then maybe throw a party and toss all that confetti. 

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Bonehead moves and the damn key

“So I made a total bonehead move,” he says the second I answer my phone. “But I’ve already come up with a solution. I just realized I have the key in my pocket.” Yes, you read that right. ‘The’ key. The one key. To the car. The one car. Stupid, I know, but as it was going to cost $100 plus for another key, it just hadn’t made it to the top of the priority list. 
He was on his way to San Diego for the week, and not having a car was not an option. I could have killed him. Thankfully we have some of the best friends in the world. Steve arrived with my key about an hour and a half later after having retrieved it from the United Service desk. Bless him.
Fuming and taking deep breaths I tried to let it go and give him the benefit of the doubt. Even though that sort of bonehead move is not an unusual occurrence. He’s an amazing dad and husband, but he can be sort of an airhead. 
Unlike me. I’m so responsible and with it that I let the toddler play with the keys at my moms house. Mmm hmm. Not even two days later. What’s that thing that pride goeth before? Damn. 
After about 3 hours of searching, one towed car, and $108 to the Honda dealership later we now have three keys to the car. 

Oh, why three? Because apparently the toddler put the key in the ONE place we didn't look--under the rug in the den. Sigh.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Houses and neighbors...

Jeans into dryer. Towels in to washer. Head upstairs and try to ignore the kitchen. Weave my way through various items of ski clothing and leftover Christmas boxes. Pair of jammies on the stairs. Move aside vacuum cleaner and deposit Ash’s clean clothes onto the dresser next to his new potty. Move bag of outgrown clothes to the banister. Put away towels, but first rearrange the closet so that they’ll fit somewhere on the shelves. Discover overturned sippy cup leaking all over clean clothes and Scott’s new magazine on the bed. Hastily put away clothes. Hang magazine over bed rail to dry. Strip sheets. Deposit pile on the landing with other various dirty items collected along the way. 
Then go and sit on the stripped bed and close the door. Close the door to the bathroom too--no one wants to see that. But open the door to the closet. Admire the neat rows of hung up clothing. Shirts, sweaters, jackets. The perfectly aligned piles of jeans and sweaters and the containers of socks and belts and scarves and bags all in their own place. It’s a small comfort, but it helps. One room--or one space rather--in this house is tidy. One. But it’s a start, and it does help. 
It’s a combo this time. A mixing together of ‘it’s been Christmas vacation and I couldn’t be bothered’ and ‘I just don’t have the capacity to do anything much about it.’ Thankfully it leans more to the Christmas vacation reasoning, but it’s been very much on the other side of things for months if I’m being honest. 
My friend Susan talks a lot about our spiritual house. That our hearts and spirits are like houses. Full of rooms. Some comfortable and open and well-used. Some full of old baggage. Some kept shiny-clean for guests. Others kept dark and locked away. 
My physical house is a good representation of my spiritual one. Every single room in disarray, but an underlying desire for tidiness and even a brave start on the process. Even if it’s only one relatively little space.
Guilt creeps in. What right do I have to feel so lost and forlorn? To have a spirit in such disarray? I have not lost a husband--as two close friends of mine have. My children are all relatively healthy--unlike another very close friend. I’m not starving or homeless. I have so very much to be thankful for. I try to remind myself with deep breaths and brave encouragement that their stories are not my story. Their nightmares are not my nightmares. Those are not my dragons to fight. I have my own dragons, and they are formidable to me in this moment in this place.
Some of the pain is old. Years-ago stuff laying strewn about in my spirit-rooms with fairly newish items. Some of it simply needing to be sorted and put in its proper place. Other needing to be purged and the area it was left in given a good cleaning and refurbishment. 
Much of it is actually from just this year. I have put on such a brave face and tried so hard to be cheerful and flexible, but I grow weary of limbo and confused about my place in the world.  

My reflections turn to a wise friend’s recent suggestion that the thing about houses is you’ve got to have neighbors to help you sort things out when they get chaotic and in disarray. I pause to consider this. Can I look beyond the lonely? I can. I locate a very genuine ‘thankful’ for neighbors today. The expected and the unexpected ones. The ones who come out of the woodwork when you’re not really looking. The ones who are always there. The ones that are developing into good friendships. 
So. Here I go. Off to sort things. In both houses. They both really need it. Perhaps I’ll even call a neighbor or two...

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

2012 'Want to' List

Not ready for resolution quite yet. I hope to get there. For now, I’m starting with what I want. Knowing that I want very much to make the journey from here to there.
I want to read. 
I want to dream.
I want to create something beautiful.
I want to write something profound.
I want to clean out the basement.
I want to make new friends. Good friends. Come over right now and drink a bottle of wine (or even tea) and eat copious amounts of chocolates and let’s make right the universe or at least avoid the laundry friends. 
I want to not live so far away from my friends who fit the above bill.
I want to catch up on the laundry.
I want to be in shape.
I even want to exercise.
I really, really want to lose 10 pounds.
(The problem is that I also) want to bake chocolate chip cookies and eat most of the batch with the boys before bed then lay in bed giggling and talking until way too late and then sleep in in the morning and make pancakes and stay in our jammies all day and do nothing.
I want to laugh more with my boys.
I want to read them more books.
I want to stop nagging them and fighting them, but I want them to start picking up their clothes and stop picking their noses (for the love) and to get along.
I want to sort out a monthly budget that will eliminate stress and worry and get us halfway to a downpayment by the end of the year. 
I want to heal my guts.
I want to embrace healing in my heart.
I want to reconnect with some old friends and be better at staying in touch.
I want to mend some broken relationships.
I want to have the courage to let some relationships go.
I want to teach my boys to do the same.
I want to know how on earth to begin...
the thing is...
I want to figure out how to get up from this damn green chair. 
I want to know why it’s so hard to put one foot in front of the other.
I want to know where in the world I lost my passion. My courage. My ability to look life in the eye and get shit done. 
I want to not feel so depressed.
What about you? What is it you’re wanting in 2012?