Ping-Pongin’ Around my Mental Parts

I hope you’re ready to ping-pong through the long and short of my mind…

Less than three weeks left of summer. It feels like it flew by and like I’ve been living it forever. I am both incredibly relieved and increasingly stressed out that it’s almost over.

My son is hurtling toward toddlerdom at breakneck speed. His new favorite word is “No” followed closely by “I want…” and/or “I don’t want…” and rounded off with “I all done.”

He suddenly loves trains and can with play them for a solid twenty minutes. He get frustrated easily but he’s already learned not to throw the cars or tracks because once I put them all away when he couldn’t stop. He hasn’t thrown one since then, though there have been plenty of times when he has had one angrily above his head.

He also suddenly hates baths and can’t abide getting his hair washed. He used to dance eagerly into the bathroom, now I have to haul him there kicking and screaming. When he’s finally in the tub and the horrible work of wetting, washing and rinsing is done, he scratches his eczema patches until the skin on his ankles is a bloody pulp. I don’t know how to make either of these problems more bearable. Now I doubly hate bath day.

Every day my daughter wakes up in a foul mood, and that foul mood continues pretty much until bedtime. Every response from her is a terse yell sound. Every conversation is an argument. I am trying SO HARD to respond with kind words, to model the tone and message I would like to hear, but it’s so fucking hard to keep it up when all I get is angry accusations and ugly whining ALL. DAY. LONG.

On Monday my daughter was in a particularly horrible mood and by the time my husband came home we were actively not speaking to each other. Of course then he got to sweep in and be the fun father and she was such a sweetheart to him until bedtime. They played fun games and joked and laughed. I was so frustrated by the unfairness of the whole thing that I kicked ass on my elliptical workout and burned 30 more calories than I usually do.

I have all but abandoned the idea of attempting a GFCF diet with my daughter, mostly because she shows none of the physical symptoms of gluten or diary sensitivity, despite subsisting almost entirely off both (and there doesn’t seem to be a way to test for food sensitivities besides abstaining and then seeing if symptoms subside). Instead I’m looking into the no-additives diet, but it’s complicated because sometimes you can’t tell from the ingredients list if the offending additives are present. I’m going to have to wait until after my spending freeze is up to invest a little money in it. In the meantime I’m thinking of ways I can wean her off of some (I’m assuming) obvious offenders, like Kid-Z bars, which she’s basically addicted (seriously, those things are kid crack). It’s going to be some rough stuff to get her to stop eating some of this shit, but that probably means we should have done it ages ago. I really hope it helps; I’m at the end of my rope.

I’m also looking into bringing her sugar intake WAY DOWN. I know suspect she is sensitive to her blood sugar getting too low, so it would make sense that she’s sensitive to sugar in general. Mostly I’m just sick of her always asking for “treats” and then having epic meltdowns when I say no. Nothing can trigger an epic meltdown faster or more intensely than saying she can’t have a second frozen yogurt push-up or Kid-Z bar. That intense, addiction-like craving is probably not the sign of a healthy relationship with sugar.

I also started my daughter on 5mL of Kid’s Clar.itin because it’s clear she suffers from generalized allergies. I know how miserable I am when I’m suffering from allergy symptoms (OMFG this year has been fucking awful for my allergies), so maybe if this alleviates some discomfort she’ll be in a better mood at least part of the time.

The day after our weekend away from the kids was an abrupt re-entry into reality. My husband was in a shit mood, probably because it was his birthday and it sucked (I would have been in a shit mood too). I spent that day trying not to despair that our reconnection wasn’t going to last through the hard second half of summer. I’m happy to report that the first day back was a low point and things (or at least our attitudes) have improved since then. I do think we’re still reaping the rewards of our time together.

The house, on the other hand, seems to have reverted to its previous state of perpetual chaos. There is little evidence of the weekend of pristine clean.

We’re heading to San Diego in a week and a half and my calendar until then is filling up fast. I’m going to need to think hard about when I’m going to get the car cleaned out and me and the kids packed. We’ll be in souther California for an entire week so this will be our longest trip as a family of four. We sure did pick a banner time to try driving 10ish hours one way with these two. We have never attempted a long car ride with my son. I don’t think it’s going to go well. Oh and did I mention I’m driving home from LA with the kids alone? Yeah, I know. I’m fucking crazy.

By the time we come back there will only be one weekend before my daughter’s first day of school. My first staff day (no kids, just meetings) is that Wednesday. I haven’t done one of the things I wanted to do to prepare for the school year yet. It’s going to be here so fast. No I’m not at all sure how I feel about that.

I am listening to Ivy and Bean and the Ghost that had to Go for the FIFTH time today. It’s blaring behind my head right now, as I type. Even my son knows how to ask for Ivy and Bean by name.

I find I spend more and more time retreating into my own daydreams these days. I keep a couple of detailed stories with evolving plots going at all times, and whenever I need to escape the frustration, anger or panic of life with two kids, I just grab ahold of a storyline and lose myself in the fantasy. This probably isn’t super healthy, but it’s better than the alternative.

I had to take off my least forgiving pair of favorite jeans today because they were too tight. I guess Operation: Lose a Little Weight needs to be taken up a notch. I’m frustrated because (our staycation weekend aside) I didn’t realize I was eating enough to gain so much weight so fast. I’m not really sure how I’m going to take it off. I’ve put the kibosh on snacking after dinner, but I don’t think that will make enough difference for me to lose weight. There is so little time to work out with both kids home and no nap time… Blerg. I’m so annoyed at myself that I even have to think about this again, after I worked so hard losing all that weight last summer. I guess what they say about your metabolism in your mid-thirties (and beyond) is true. I’m going to have to really change the way I think about food now too.

I feel like I could keep writing this post forever, but it’s already crazy long so I’ll stop. If you made it to the end… I’m sorry. And thank you.

What’s ping ponging around your mental parts today?


  1. wow. good dump!
    1. many allergens are transmitted to our pillows from our hair and then we don’t change pillow cases often enough causing overnight mega exposure. Perhaps. Maybe worth trying. Waking with grumpy head might maybe be allergy related.
    2. other idea about waking grumpy: does she sleep well or might sleep study be needed? Yes, stretching.
    3. Good luck on trip home with just you and the two. Know you already have distractions planned. Do you have headphones for IvyandBean for daughter to use so you don’t hear it?
    4. When the kids snack on sugar it is very hard for parents to not join them. Maybe lots of cherry tomatoes available all the time? Yes, I’d rather have sugar too thank you very much. And yes, more sugar again~ why ever would I want tomatoes?
    5. Prep for teaching early in the summer???? Who really does that? No do not tell me. Not someone doing full-time child care I bet.
    6. maybe dropping that nightly weekday drink can wait till school starts…. though calories….. No easy answers. Lots of understanding.

    1. 1. Will definitely start washing her sheets more. Good idea!
      2. She definitely doesn’t get enoughy sleep. It takes her hours to fall asleep, she’s never out before 10:30pm, even though she doesn’t nap anymore. So she is definitely not getting enough sleep (9ish hours instead of 11), but there is nothing I can do to assure she’ll get more. Kids with SPD have a notoriously hard time falling asleep.
      3. iPads! iPads! iPads!
      4. We don’t actually eat much really sugar stuff, but I definitely snack on their leftovers throughout the day. I gotta stop that.
      5. Schools starts in three weeks! It’s not that far away!
      6. I haven’t actually been drinking during the week days for much of the summer, I’m just making a formal promise to myself not to moving forward.

  2. My son has periods (weeks at a time) when he is JUST LIKE your daughter—wakes up grumpy, every word is a whine/sneer/yell, demands treats constantly. But then he gets better for weeks, too, and i haven’t been able to pinpoint what causes the shift.
    The daydreams! Oh my god, I used to do that ALL THE TIME, but I can’t seem to be able to get back into it these days—something about getting married & older and having less ahead of me makes it hard to really give into those dreams of the drama and romance ahead of me in life. I miss it, it was a really good coping mechanism and helped me sleep at night, too.
    I’m with you on the weight, too. I lost all this weight last fall, and now its back and while there were a few things I know where contributing, changing those doesn’t seem to have made any difference. fucking aging metabolism. I know most older ladies eat very very little (like 15-25% of what I eat), maybe i have to start reconciling myself to that.

    1. My daughter used to have up and down cylces, but now I feel like it more down and downer. She has a few good days, but I feel like there are never even two of those strung together. Today was a good day. It was also her third day on Cla.ritin. I’m trying not to get too excited that the antihistamines might actually be making a difference.

      As for our fucked metabolisms, yeah, I’m thinking I have to start relearning what my serving sizes should look like. I’d be cool not eating as much, if I weren’t fucking hungry all the time. It’s so unfair. Why am I hungry if my body doesn’t need the calories?! Blerg. I’m feeling really grumpy about it right now, probably because I’m so fucking hungry.

    2. I was going to say the same thing on the weight thing! I work my ass off and nothing is coming off (I gained 7-9 pounds after weaning). I’ve tried all of my tricks that worked last summer and I’ve dropped 2 pounds… All summer. I’m getting old.

      I’m glad it’s not just me, but I hate that it’s not just me!

  3. Quick comment about your son’s eczema. Both Grey and He-Beat suffer from this too. Though I know you’re on a spending freeze, I wanted to share with you a product that has really worked with getting their eczema under control (especially after the description of him scratching and bleeding after baths . . . poor kid!). Dream Cream from Lush (,en_US,pd.html). It doesn’t work for everyone, but we’ve had a lot of luck with this stuff. May be worth checking out (and the store will give free samples to try).

  4. I just read Ask Moxie’s 31 truths about parenting – it’s so good. So encouraging. Parenting is HARD. So hard. My son reacts badly to sugar, especially with chocolate so we’ve put the kibosh on that. Hang in there… you can do it.

  5. I agree with ya on the sugar thing – they’re so sensitive to it that it makes the highs & lows and cravings & tantrums that much worse. Good luck weaning it mostly out of her diet – it will probably be miserable at first, but it sounds like it’s already pretty miserable, so the hope would be it would be improvement in the end!

  6. Oh! I can impart some food wisdom that may or may not be helpful, but I just learned it and it’s really interesting. A food sensitivity can manifest in a pattern where she’s been eating well for several days and then her volume just declines to next-to-nothing for a few days and then returns to normal. That would be her body slowly accumulating a thing that bothers her and then shutting off the intake of everything until the thing that bothers her gets back down to a manageable level for her body. Also if she has that eating pattern and it goes away or gets better on an antihistamine, that’s also a big sign of a presence of a sensitivity. For what it’s worth 🙂

    1. That is really, really interesting. I’m not sure if she cycles like that, but I’ll definitely be watching her in the next few weeks to see if I can see that happening.

  7. The treats thing is hard. In the scheme of things cliff z bars aren’t that bad–it’s not like you’re giving her Cheetos and candy bars.

    I hope your trip goes well! For us San Diego is about 7 hrs. We haven’t ever driven that far yet. I was daydreaming about visiting legoland this summer but my DH switched jobs so he couldn’t really take off that soon.We’ll be going to Yosemite later this year, 4 hrs, we’ll see how it goes.

    1. Kid-Z bars don’t really bother me for sugar content (though they aren’t great for that), but I’m sure they have whatever additives are not allowed on that elimination diet. I actually need to ask you all what a low-sugar diet looks like. We already don’t eat much with sugar, but she really fixates on the few things we offer that are sweeter.

      We’ve driven to Southern California many times with our daughter and if she has an iPad she is FINE to be in the car indefinitely. Our son is too young to be absorbed by shows for that long. We’re leaving at 4am, hoping that kids will sleep a bit in the beginning (and that we’ll miss the horrible traffic through Orange County to San Diego. I might work, but it might not. And if it doesn’t it could be a shit show. 😉

  8. One of the girls in my son’s pre-school class is very sensitive to red dye #40. When she has it, her attitude is out of control miserable. I’ve yet to pay close enough attention to see if it has an effect on my son’s behavior, but I found it interesting when her mom was telling me about it.

    1. Thank you for sharing that. I’m so intrigued by this dye/additives diet. I really hope it’s a game changer for us (or at least helpful).

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