I Capitulate

I think my husband and I have had our last fight about the diet.

Because I can’t argue anymore. I just can’t.

The weight of it, it’s not something we can withstand. It’s breaking us down, tearing us apart. And it’s clear that on this, we won’t find a common ground. We won’t come to an agreement. We will never see eye to eye on this, and I’m tired of fighting.

We could probably drag this out for a few more tortured months, but eventually we would reach the same conclusion. It will save us all a lot of heartache if I just capitulate now.

So I am.

I can continue shopping as I have been, but if we’re not asking others to follow our lead, and if I hand the weekend grocery shopping reigns back to my husband, things will pretty much go back to the way they were before.

I’m not going to think too much about what we’ll do if our daughter’s behavior deteriorates. We’ll cross that bridge if we come to it.

I guess those of you who suspected I’d abandon this new fad were right. I suppose this was inevitable.

I don’t feel the the relief I assumed would come from giving up, but there is a peace in it. I’m so tired of the fighting.

31 Comments

  1. I think you are being awfully hard on yourself. You held out for a very long time. The results were inconclusive (to your husband, anyway, and he matters) and the costs were high in many ways. It seems like it’s just time to move on to another strategy.

    Lots of people try these diets and don’t see significant results. Maybe your daughter is one of them.

    1. I believe we did see significant results but my husband does not attribute them to the diet. He just thinks she is becoming more mature. If she goes back to her aggressive ways it’s going to be super disappointing. She hasn’t hit or bit me once since we started the diet. If that stuff starts again I’ll be devastated. (But my husband still won’t believe it has anything to do with the diet.)

          1. No, she does not hit or bite him. Only me. But she was just generally really difficult before, so it’s not like he’s totally unaffected by a reversion in her behavior.

  2. Ugh. Well, this gives you a chance to evaluate and see if it made a difference.

    What about the diet does he object to? To me cutting dyes out seems so minor. Were you also still cutting out all those fruits? That would be harder.

    1. He doesn’t believe eating dyes actually has any adverse effects, but really for him it’s the making her not eat special treats at parties. He thinks it’s more detrimental for her to feel different or left out than it is beneficial to eat the healthier diet.

  3. I don’t think you’re abandoning a fad, I think you’ve made a conscious choice that this isn’t currently working for your family. Maybe you’ll come back to it, maybe with the money you save you can do something else that works better for you and/or her. Like z said, you’re being very hard on yourself. It’s okay.

    1. I think it could work, if we were both on board, but we’re not. Sometimes you can’t force a thing, even if you personally believe it’s best.

      1. That’s marriage for ya. And ultimately, the health of your marriage is very important to your daughter’s well-being.

        You don’t have to give up on helping her with her behavior, you just have to figure out a different strategy. I think it’s way harsh to say you’re “abandoning” a “fad”. You gave it a real trial at great personal cost. You never promised anyone that you would do it forever. Look at it the other way around: if your husband wanted to try something that was really difficult and imposed real costs on the family, and you weren’t convinced that it was working, would you feel like you had to continue forever? Or would a substantial trial period be enough?

  4. You tried.
    Your marriage is important to you.
    I hope you documented her changed behaviors and that you continue to document now she will be back to her previous diet. Because without documentation it becomes a trick of memory and that never works well, especially with people whose training teaches looking at factual reports and evidence.
    IF there is regression, I hope your husband will step up to finding a different solution; because it ought not be ok with him to have his wife battered or bitten by his child. If that is ok with him…… well, I hope that bridge doesn’t have to be met.
    Above all, this is not you failing. This is you trying a different path because you cannot unilaterally act without his agreement and support in how the children are raised.

    1. Sadly, if there is a regression, my husband won’t attribute it to going off the diet. He will believe that it was pure coincidence and that there are too many uncontrollable factors to know it what she was or wasn’t eating had anything to do with her changes in behavior. And he won’t figure something else out. He never does.

      1. You know that post where you said that you wanted a friend to tell you not to always think the worst of your husband? This is one of those cases.

        “He never” is one of those phrases that predicts divorce and doesn’t facilitate communication.

        1. Fair enough.

          The truth is, I wonder if we’re going to stay married every single day. We have some serious issues to overcome, but we don’t seem to be able to find the time or money to dedicate to overcoming them.

          I will re-phrase to say “he hasn’t ever” because that is absolutely accurate, whether it’s a predictor or divorce or not.

  5. I am sorry that the costs outweighed the benefits. That’s not you giving up – that’s being pragmatic. It sucks though that you didn’t get to see it through and come to a decision on your own terms., since you were the researcher and carrier-out-of-it.

    1. Yeah, it does suck that I’m not stopping on my own terms, but at this point the negatives do seem to outweigh the positives. I’m kind of terrified that my daughter is going to be really difficult again, but I’m trying to remind myself to cross that bridge if/when we come to it.

  6. I think it’s quite different to “abandon a fad” vs. not being supported by the adults around you on an issue you felt was of great importance to your daughter. Ugh. Makes me so frustrated for you. I hope the absence of arguing about this will be worth it for you at least. Sorry to hear this 🙁

    1. It is what it is. I’m definitely disappointed, but I just couldn’t handle the constant (and usually very heated) “conversations” we were having about it. It think if I were better able to navigate some of these difficult issues, I could manage it without us both being so upset, but I’m not that skilled in the arts of communication.

  7. This all sounds so final.

    Your husband may be right that there is an omitted variable (something that is related to both the food change and the behavior change), which could be kindergarten, could be time, etc. You may be right that food is what is causing it.

    Arguing about it isn’t a way to figure out who is “right” and who is “wrong”. Nobody wants to restrict a kid unnecessarily. That’s just a bizarre way of torture and control. Nobody wants to feed a kid food that is making her unhappy either. That’s also torture. It really is an empirical question, and one that you two can test.

    What we would do would be to try to keep things healthy at home, and then use instances (such as birthday parties, etc.) as ways to test the hypothesis that it’s the food. This is what we did when we couldn’t figure out what was making me throw up during pregnancy and what was giving DC2 eczema break-outs. This is what we’re doing with our cat who has IBS right now.

    That way she’s still eating healthily most of the time. She doesn’t get left out at parties. And, with you guys keeping track of what she eats at these parties, you can better nail down exactly what food, if any, is causing the problems. If he thinks that it’s the party itself causing bad behavior, then you can try giving her the bad food when it’s not a party and see what happens.

    Because really, the best case scenario is that your husband was right all along. Your daughter was just going through a phase, and no food restrictions are necessary. That’s the ideal.

    I would suggest bringing this up with your husband again not as a who is right thing, but in terms of seeing if red dye or whatever is the problem. Because nobody wants to deprive a child unnecessarily, but nobody wants to hurt a child’s body either. It’s important to actually know what’s going on. More information is necessary.

    1. This is good advice. I was going to ask what it would take for your husband to accept that the diet is worth doing because you said a major regression in behavior after adding these foods in wouldn’t be enough. Maybe you can approach it together as an experiment, unless he thinks it is NEVER worth it and that a few kicks and bruises is worth it if she feels included in parties.

    2. If this were a simple issue of parties or special occasions I would just let her eat what she wants at those events, but the big deal breaker is after care, where they hand out shit food all afternoon, every afternoon. Right now she has her own snacks for that time, but they are always handing out cookies and popsicles and other stuff and then she gets upset that she can’t have any (understandably). So if we aren’t asking others to help us follow the diet outside of the house, she will be getting off-diet food consistently throughout the week.

      You’re right that the best case scenario is that she doesn’t need to be on the diet. Maybe the magnesium was what made the difference and we can easily keep giving that to her. I honestly hope that is the case. I don’t want to be “right” on this, I just don’t want her to go back to being the super difficult, upset, aggressive kid she was before. If she can not be that and eat all the junk everyone else eats at aftercare, that is great.

  8. I don’t think this is a failure. I think its a re-prioritization of what is important to you, and right now, your marriage is more important to you. Its also a good test to see if maybe your husband is right—if she HAS matured out of those behaviors, then stopping the diet won’t result in bad behavior. If she suddenly reverts back to that, will he really refuse to see the correlation? It seems like it has to be an “all or nothing” thing, right? You can’t just do the diet during the week and have an exception every once in a while for a special party? Honestly, I don’t think kids feel THAT left out if they are still at the party doing all the activities and have to have another treat. Both of my kids were in daycare with kids with several food restrictions. One little guy with L can’t have wheat or dairy or nuts, so his mom brings “pizza” and “cake” to birthday parties for him, and he eats them, and from age 2-4 (so far) seems to be OK with it. I’m sure at FIRST its really hard for her to not get the treats she’s used to getting, but kids get used to things. I know I know I’m preaching to the choir, you already know this, and it sounds like your husband just won’t come around.

    1. I have been trying to stress with my daughter the idea of the experience being the fun thing, not the food, because honestly, I don’t want her to associate food with happiness–that, to me, is a recipe for eating issues later on. If she could realize now that what you are doing at a party is more important than what you are eating, she will enjoy life a lot more than I did.

  9. Just sending hugs and hopes and good wishes.
    Go outside and take a deep breath of air and admire the rain washed plants near your school or home.
    Look around until you see some beautiful line created by nature.
    Time will pass and things will change.
    LOTS of hugs, hopes, cheers and wishes for joy!

  10. I’m sorry you and your husband weren’t able to come to an agreement about this, and that you felt you had to give in to stop the fighting. I also hope that your daughter’s behavior does not return to where it was (but that if it does, maybe it helps him see that the diet made a difference).

    You hear all the time about kids who willing turn down foods because they know they’re allergic. and I was reading a blog recently where a 5-year-old boy unprompted (!!) went through all his Halloween candy and took out the ones with red dye in them, because he knew it made him sick. but I think this is a kid whose meals all come from his mom, not aftercare or school etc.

    Anyway, I have a feeling we’re not hearing the last of this. Please keep us all updated.

    1. I don’t think my daughter ever had an acute enough reaction to make the connection between the food and feeling bad. I think for her it’s more that it builds up in her system and she just starts feeling generally shitty (emotionally) and is just in a foul mood all the time. It’s hard to say, “maybe you feel angry all the time because of what you are eating,” you know? Especially when you husband absolutely forbids I even suggest stuff like that.

  11. You’ve had some excellent advice. I particularly like the one about documenting evidence. A fad? Definitely not. It’s been absolutely worth trying. I still remember you saying your daughter commented that she felt better. That’s why you were doing this, after all.

    1. Yeah. It breaks my heart to think she’ll go back to being angry and miserable all the time. I really, really hope that doesn’t happen.

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