Popping in (but hopefully not out again)

I realize that I struggle to come back here after short absences because I feel weird just jumping in with some random post about, say, minimalism, when I haven’t been posting regularly. I want to fill in the holes about what has happened while I was “away,” but then every post would be an “update,” and no one wants a string of those. Or I end up writing, or wanting to write, a post similar to something I just put up, because I’m circling the same issues over and over and don’t have much else to say. And yet, I can’t seem to stop myself… and so this will be a bullet pointed post about what’s been swirling around my head lately. I’m sorry. I do hope to write again soon enough to put down something of substance. In the meantime, I just got to get this stuff out of my head.

{I’m also behind on responding to comments, especially all the amazing comments from Purple and Rose summarizing the book Overwhelm, which I may just need to respond to in an actual post. The ideas in that really got me thinking… about so many things.}

My son turns two in a week. IN A WEEK. This is insanity. He is so cute right now. Everything out of his mouth makes me swoon. I adore him. I want him to be like this for a long, long time. And yet I know 2.5 is coming and with him I suspect it’s going to be a doozy. I’m trying to savor every adorable moment with him now, while I can.

Also, he starts daycare in a week a half (the Monday after he turns two). I know it’s going to be a rough transition for all of us. I’m not looking forward to it. Ugh. And yet, I’ll be so relieved when we no longer owe my husband’s parents this insane debt of gratitude for watching him every day.

Additionally, daycare is a major expense that I’ve gotten in the habit of NOT paying. It also costs significantly more than when my daughter was attending. I HAVE to get back on my budget wagon or I’m going to run my whole bank account into a deep, muddy ditch.

Did I mention our tenant is leaving? She already paid her last month’s rent so we’re not getting that income for October and we still don’t have someone lined up to rent the space, so probably not November either. And we owe her her security deposit. Blerg. I hate money. I hate being a landlord. I hate owning a home. (We’re also having some issues with our house.)

Things with my daughter and the diet are better. She had a few rough weeks, but I pulled a few foods I had recently introduced and things are better again. I’m so thankful things are improving. It’s hard to follow the diet when I’m seeing results, but it’s almost impossible to dedicate so much time and money to it when she’s acting like she used to. I’m back on board now that the positive results have returned. We still have a ways to go, but I hope we can eventually get there.

My husband and I are still at odds about the diet. This endeavor has inspired some surprising, and even troubling, conversations. I just had no idea he felt the way he does about so many things. And I’m seeing a real “privileged white male” mentality running deep through so much of his thinking. I just never thought of my husband as someone who let himself be so blinded his privileged place in the world, but it’s clear that he does. In the end I just wish I had a partner in this journey, because doing it myself is really fucking hard.

But I’m not doing it entirely by myself. I rely heavily on the kind and supportive women who also follow the diet and frequent the closed FB page dedicated to this life that I visit on the reg. I have a post written (well it’s mostly written) about the pros and cons of that space. I hope to clean it up and publish it soon.

I’m also considering taking my daughter to a naturopath or maybe a homeopathic doctor, not because I think she needs more or different therapies/treatments, but because I’d love to have someone else to consult with about all this. Without my husband on board, the closed FB group is my primary sounding board on all things my daughter/her behavior/the diet and I’d LOVE to have someone else who knows us both well and can help guide us on this journey. I’m constantly wondering if there is more I can or should do for my daughter–it’s clear she’s still struggling, even with the improvements–and I’d love to have an informed opinion to guide me. It’s exhausting to do all of this myself; I just want someone to tell me when I can let something go and when I should pursue it further… Of course seeing someone requires time, and a significant amount of money. I’d love to see an MD who specializes in integrative medicine–I think my husband would be most easily swayed by someone with those letters behind his or her name, but I haven’t found anyone in the city, let alone our side of the city, that practices integrative medicine. An MD would also be way more expensive than an ND… and honestly, I don’t care what letters are behind the name, and I’d be the one working with him or her.

I’m also considering following the diet completely myself. The idea has been on my periphery since I started but I didn’t have the wherewithal to commit. Then I noticed, on two separate occasions, what an arbitrarily shitty mood I was in after eating M&Ms (just a mini-bag each time, snagged from the bowl by the bathrooms at school) which are a heinous candy when it comes to artificial dyes. Making that connection has me more interested in following the diet closely and tracking what I eat and how I feel. I have always been someone who suffers from severe highs and lows, frequent foul moods and maddening malaises that seem to descend from nowhere. I’ve always attributed my unstable moods to my messed up brain chemistry but now I’m wondering if they are tied to what I eat. I really do believe the diet it helping my daughter, and I see so much of myself in her, it would be shortsighted and, well, lazy, not to give it a try. If it improves my quality of life, I can decide if it’s worth maintaining.

I’m finally done administering, and scoring, the big test for English language learners at my school. The final push required seven hours of work in my classroom last Sunday but it’s such a relief to have it done. I also got a bunch of papers graded and entered, plus I finished some translation work that was hanging over my head. Without all those obligations weighing me down I feel almost buoyant.

My daughter continues to be really hot and cold about Kindergarten. One day she’s telling me how much fun she had and how much she learned, the next she says she hates it and it’s boring. I have a feeling this will be the routine for the foreseeable future, and while it’s disappointing that she doesn’t have mostly positive feelings about school, I’m coming to terms with our messy, confusing reality.

For the past few months I’ve been able to tell when I’m ovulating because I have copious amounts of EWCM and then my boobs actually get tender during the second half of my cycle. Neither of these things EVER happened when I was trying, except for when I was on the super restrictive TCM diet, going to weekly (or twice weekly acupuncture) and taking Chinese herbs. Even then it was hit or miss. The fact that my body is just doing this shit now, of its own accord, is fucking frustrating. (And I know it doesn’t mean I’m any more “fertile” — my cycles are still a measly 20 days long–but still, I’m NOT impressed.)

Oh, and while we’re down there, I’ve had to start wearing my pessary again to manage my prolapsed organ issues. Again, not impressed. Busted lady business is NEVER discussed, which is a shame because it happens to people, and for some it’s an ongoing, upsetting, sometimes chronically painful thing. And I think it should be part of the “vaginal birth is ecstatically miraculous and beautiful” rhetoric that we’re so fond of, because for those of us who have to deal with the repercussions of that birth for the rest of our adult lives, it can feel a lot like we were lied to. /endrant: I’ll get off my soap box now.

And with that I’ve written a short novel about nothing in particular, so I think I’ll spare you all and stop. If you made it this far, I’m sorry. And thank you. I promise to put up a post of some substance soon.

21 Comments

  1. I’m so glad you are finding positive changes in your daughter. Don’t worry about 2.5—who knows, he may be an easy 2.5! If you feel comfortable with it, I’d like more insight into why your husband isn’t on board with the diet & how you are navigating that. Not being on the same page with parenting is a HUGE relationship stress. And I can’t see immediately how it relates to white privilege (?)
    I don’t know about the ND/homeopath thing (and I’m putting aside a LOT of my own bias to try to see this objectively). What if the provider you find keeps recommended more & more changes/testing or whatever. I feel like the majority of the diet stuff is simply trial and error, and you need to figure it out with your specific child, and it wouldn’t matter a bit what anyone says except to potentially cause more stress (maybe I SHOULD be doing more, like they recommend) or maybe they tell you to stop it…would you? If you don’t see yourself really changing anything based on what someone told you, then why muddy the picture? I get that it’d be nice to have support, but I wouldn’t consider a health care provider a support—unless you were going in with no idea what to do, and willing to try whatever they recommend. If you are already on a path, a support group of fellow parents sounds like the best bet.

    1. I see what you mean about the healthcare provider. That was my husband’s concern as well, that they would keep recommending we try more and more things. For my husband consistency is really important with our kids, and I totally understand and appreciate that. I think really what I’m looking for is someone to tell me that I don’t have to try eliminating anything else. On the FB group everyone tries additional eliminations and the general recommendation is if you think your daughter is still struggling with something, then trying an additional illumination is the next step. But there are literally endless things you can eliminate, and I’m just never sure if her symptoms and behavior issues warrant trying to take something else out. I wish so badly there was an actual test you could run to know if your child is sensitive to something instead of just using trial and error and burdensome eliminations to figure it out.
      As for the white male privilege aspect of my husband’s mentality, he seems to be very much a go with the status quo, even if it doesn’t seem to work in your particular situation. He even believes that giving ADHD medication to young kids is preferable to making dietary changes that have a similar effect, if making those dietary changes is too burdensome. Blindly following the status quo without questioning it feels like something that people are successful in the status quo would think to do, because the status quo was invented by and for them. As a healthy white upper-middle-class mail, my husband has not had to advocate for himself in ways that others have to. I just thought he would still be aware of the necessity of advocating for oneself, when the system isn’t necessarily set up with everyone’s best interest in mind.

      1. so with my peripheral experience with naturopathic doctors, the general thing is to keep doing more & more. I know that may not be true, but that’s more what I’m worried about. And then if its from the ND, it would cause even MORE stress if you couldn’t/wouldn’t do it. If you want someone to just say “yes, what you’re doing is right”, I’m not sure who will tell you that, other than other parents in the group. I sort of see what you are saying about your husband…I need to think about that some more…

        1. I didn’t realize that was the way natural doctors worked, to keep doing more and more. If that is the case then I am not interested. I just wish I could find someone who would validate my concerns and not just blow them off. It’s hard to think my pediatrician has my daughter’s best interest in mind when she is always half way out the door and her answer to everything is, “she’s smart,” or “she’ll just grow out of it.” Kaiser’s pediatric mental health/behavior department is a joke. I saw a 23 yo intern who basically said my daughter didn’t need services in the same breath he told me they didn’t offer any services for kids her age anyway. So useless. I just wish I could find someone who would be an advocate for me and my daughter, and to take my concerns seriously. I don’t think I’m going to find that at Kaiser. And I doubt I can afford taking her to another MD without insurance coverage to help mitigate the expense.

  2. Thank you for your kindness re my comments on Overwhelm. I felt lots of frustrations with the book because so much seemed to be about the lack of equality between men and women in our culture. I think your husband is fairly normative for white men of his educational level… and he is also hugely different from what the book describes as normative in Denmark. Denmark is also a VERY different country and population than we face in our country. The author is very clear on that which is important. our population has grown up in very different situations from today’s Danes.
    About Diet: I am wondering if you have looked at FODMAPS specifically the research out of Australia and Stanford Hospital. Look on line for FODMAPS and those sources. Gastroenterologists (docs who work with gut issues) seem to be saying today’s foods are creating leaky guts and problems, and that today’s medicines (especially antibiotic use) are changing the microflora in our gut and creating problems for us. And there are simple breath tests where they can measure the chemicals in our exhales to see if there are ‘overgrowths’ of the wrong internal bacteria creating problems. This is measurable and there is real positive science behind it which might be easier for your husband to accept.
    Irritable Bowel Syndrome experts seem to be excited about this and finding it helps LOTS of people. I think because you are dealing with a child you should have professional advice on such a diet rather than just winging it. AND, so far it is pretty clear to me that while they want about a 4 week austerity diet they then totally want to start add backs determining exactly which element in the larger world is creating problems. This is building on understandings that we have added elements into our foods (HFCSs for example) and genetically modified foods (Wheat and corn) faster than our bodies have perhaps adapted to the changes. Read about it. Then ask questions and see if your doctor is knowledgeable on the subject and ask about referral to dietitian who is. They are saying that the FODMAPS diet does impact behaviors…..
    Your in-laws will miss him. He will miss them but will probably enjoy “SO MANY CHILDREN TO PLAY WITH” direct quote from a first time school attendee. His adjustment will be different than his sister’s because they are different people and his two year old testings will happen in different ways. Some children do navigate different maturity levels in relatively easy ways……(though not your daughter).
    Hopefully SF’s really tight housing market will make it easier to find a new tenant. And I strongly encourage you to look at what the equivalent market rate is for a unit the size you have to offer. Everything I have read says the rent should be skyrocketingly higher than anything you have been getting. Know there is rent control and not sure quite how much you can jack the asking rent for a new tenant but …. Look and know. It could make a difference in your budgets.
    Super good wishes to you all. If I were a fairy godmother I would be waving my wand all over this world making changes til my arm dropped off. Wish I could.

    1. I will look into the FOODMAPS stuff. I’ve heard of it, but don’t know much about it. We already have a few friends of friends who are interested in the unit. It is definitely easy to find a renter when you’re asking under market rate (which we do–we’re not trying to take advantage of the insanity of SF’s renting market right now, we only rent our place at a price we feel is fair, which is WAY under what we could get). I definitely want to write more about Overwhelm, and I may read it (though you recommended I didn’t, which I take to heart). Some interesting topics discussed, even if you didn’t appreciate the ultimate findings on those topics. I think we all need to move to Denmark, STAT.

      1. I may be overstepping boundaries here, but I strongly encourage you to increase the rent of your apartment. I think you may be shooting yourself in the foot here.

      2. Yes, we do all need to move towards an equalitarian country in all ways. Are we going to find that here today? Well. Some people do. But look at the current political scene, remember the entire country not just a small liberal environment…. and hope goes bleak. Fingers crossed the younger generations flex liberal muscles and change happens.

  3. I’m sorry everything is so hard right now. I personally think being a landlord would really suck, gah.

    Trying not to be judgmental, but really, homeopathy = quackery. Sorry. Naturopathy is more than that, but the qualifications required are not that impressive. Maybe an OD? At least they have met substantial requirements and are a little more alt med friendly than MDs.

    1. You are not the only one who is not impressed by homeopathy. I guess I won’t go down that road. I don’t know what an OD is. I might just try to email some of the Kaiser doctors and see if I can find one who doesn’t give me the blanket, “She’s fine, she’ll grow out of it line,” that my current pediatrician loves. Appointments there are so rushed, I can never even voice my concerns, let alone have them truly heard. I guess I just want someone who will take some time to listen to me and take my concerns seriously. It’s hard to have so little professional validation from the people who are supposed to be helping me.

      1. I prefer for our docs to be ODs. They have always, for me, had a better bedside manner than MDs and don’t seem as rushed. I have found that MDs like to brush m most alternatives under the table, and ODs will talk then out with you. My OB, RN, and pediatrician are all OBs and fully support things like diet modifications (“it’s worth a shot, we know gluten is tired to ADHD”), eastern medicine, and herbal supplements. Our previous MD pediatrician wouldn’t even discuss spreading out vaccines with us (“we’re the professionals and if you don’t do our schedule, you’re dismissed from our practice”). I fired them that instant, and found a ped who would TALK to me and we still did the standard vaccine schedule.

        Finding an OD is a great start.

        The comments dismissing homeopathy and naturopathy are narrow minded and offensive. Not necessarily what they say, but how they say it. They sound like your husband. They believe it to be quackery, so they must be correct (presenting it as fact and not their opinion). And this is coming from me, who is pretty traditional in my medical approach to most things.

        1. I think natural remedies such as herbs, etc can be great.

          Homeopathy is based on the theory of the least possible “dose.” A homeopathic remedy is basically entirely water. The relief you may feel from, for example, homeopathic teething remedies comes from the sugar which is a pain reliever.

          But, as I said, naturopathy is different.

  4. Homeopathy is really just sugar water. Don’t go that route. A naturopath may also be a waste of money too. Would you consider going back to therapy?

    Speaking of money, I may not be fully understanding this diet, but why is it costing you so much money?

    1. At this point I don’t think therapy with my daughter is really necessary. At least, it’s not worth the huge cost for me right now. The main reason we were taking her was to stop the aggression toward self, others and me, and with the diet the aggression has disappeared. She still has some issues I’m concerned about though, and I wonder if further eliminations would help.

      There is no specific cost with the diet, it’s just that “healthier” versions of all these things are more expensive, so my grocery bill has gone up considerably. At the beginning we were trying lots of new things to sub in for old favorites and it was costing us even more, because we had to try a lot of things before we found an alternative the kids liked. Now that we’ve fallen into more of a rhythm, it’s not as bad. But a week’s worth of groceries at Whole Foods is a lot more expensive than a week’s worth at TJs or Safeway.

      1. If the aggression has subsided, that’s huge!

        I know it is a pain, but can’t you buy some stuff at Whole Foods and everything else at TJs or Safeway? Or just buy some snacks at Whole Foods which should theoretically last a lot longer than a week and then do weekly shopping (milk, eggs, fruits, vegetables, grains, cheese, etc.) at a cheaper store?

  5. I think doctor (MD or OD – osteopathic doctor, it’s like med school but more holistic, equal legal standing but different approaches) shopping is worthwhile. When we have found a good doctor (or actually physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner, we have had rather few actual doctors in the last decade for primary care) it has been wonderful and life-changing in terms of getting good treatment and appropriate specialists. So keep looking. Here we have many doctors not in groups or clinic systems and the lack of shared information is hard but the longer visits mean better care (sometimes).

    I’m glad the diet is working. Keep shopping for the best deals on what you need if you need to crunch your budget. Ugh money is the pits. Hang in there. Also, list posts are totally legit. Whatever works for you is enough. No novel needed, unless you need to write one!

  6. My older sister had busted lady parts, and butt parts, after the birth of her first. She had to have surgery 7-8 years later to fix her up. Witnessing her ordeal made me very grateful for the planned c sections for my kids. That shit is serious!

    Oh the husband, what ever should we do with him? They are very judgmental creatures, and so confident in their own OPINIONS. I’m frequently frustrated by Brian’s “everyone else is wrong” attitude, from politics to general feelings. If he doesn’t see it someone else’s way, then their way is bunk. Gawd.

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