You are Too Young for a Girlfriend, Mister!

Sometimes while life is passing you by, you don’t notice how much your kids are growing until something happens to remind you of it.

The other day at lunch, Logan and I had the following conversation.

Logan: I want to have a girlfriend.

Me: Oh, really? What is a girlfriend?

Logan: A wife.

Me: (Ah huh, that’s news to me. Where did he get that idea?) So why do you want a girlfriend?

Logan: So I can put my babies in her tummy. That is where babies grow, you know.

Me, trying my best not to laugh: Where did you hear about girlfriends? (And please don’t ask how the babies get out! Or how you put them in!! Dear God, he’s only six!)

Logan: “Lady and the Tramp“. Lady was his girlfriend and wife and then they had puppies.

Me: I see. (Damn you, Disney. I’m not ready for this.)

Logan: I really want a girlfriend.

Me: Oh, well maybe when you’re older you’ll get a girlfriend, okay? Now finish your lunch. (Whew, no more questions. Maybe he should stick to cartoons that don’t show marriage, relationships, dating…gee, that’s pretty much all of them. )

 

Sheesh, sometimes I wish it was as easy for humans as it is for dogs. I’ve got my hands full with preparing him to be a good boyfriend and teaching him how to treat girls right, plus ensuring no babies are put into girlfriends tummies until he is old enough to handle the responsibility. And the girlfriend is in agreement. And he has his own place. And a job. Is 40 too old?

No More T.V. – For a While

Today I did something my kids still can’t believe – I took away their daily t.v. time for an undetermined amount of time. Let me explain why.

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Logan and Lila have been getting more and more familiar with me. Anytime I ask either of them to do anything, they have a reason why they can’t obey, or an excuse, or an outright “no”. I find I’m repeating myself too many times a day, trying to get them to obey.

What’s worse, they will obey daddy wonderfully, will clean up their toys when he asks, come when he calls, etc., well, most of the time. They even told me that they would only obey daddy. That got me mad and on more than one occasion, I had to get Glad to talk to them about needing to obey me too.

We’ve tried many different discipline methods, but the only thing they seem to respond to is loss of privileges, mainly t.v. and movies. We’ve used this many times in the past, mostly to get a lesson to sink in, and it seems to work, at least for a while. During the time when they know they are missing their favorite shows, Logan will ask me why he’s missing it and we talk about what he needs to change to get to see them again.

But after today, I think it will be awhile before they get their shows back.

See, I asked them to do something they have to do every day: tidy up their bedroom. I got the dinner done early, since it is better to go out a little later when it is cooler, and they spent that time playing.  Once I was done, I asked them to pick up the mess so we could go out. No response. I asked again. Told them we needed to go outside. Nothing.

Then it started raining. Not too much, we still could have gone with raincoats, but by now they were both saying they didn’t want to clean up. No, they wouldn’t do it. Logan went as far as to tell me to never ask him to clean up again!! This stinker is not even 6 yet. That is something I expect from a teen, not him.

I’d had it at that point. Not just because they wouldn’t clean up this time, but because of all the times lately that they have not listened to me at all. I just said there would be no more daily t.v. time until they learn to obey me. That did it! The tears! No, we want to obey. Oh, really? I’ve heard that one before.

I held my ground and left the room to wash dishes so as to not yell at them any more. We didn’t go out, they played around a bit, and cried more when they realized I was serious. Then daddy came home. Of course he had to hear the tale and of course he agreed with my decision. I actually heard them talking before he came, hoping he would say something different and change the punishment or drop it. Such stinkers!

In the end, Scarlett cleaned most of the mess, while Logan and Lila did a little. Then they sat for dinner with daddy and he talked to them about obeying me. Before bed, I again had to make it clear that it was up to them how long this t.v. ban would last. I know I’ll have to discuss it again tomorrow. And probably all of next week.

I’m actually curious to see how long it will take for them to get that I mean business. I know there won’t be an overnight change, since they are in the habit of not obeying the first time, ignoring me, arguing about having to obey, etc. It’s going to take me reminding them every time I ask them to do something and they don’t do it right away. I know this is going to be rough for me as well as them, but the hope is that in the end, they will be more obedient.

How do you handle disobedience with your children? Any tips or suggestions are welcome.

 

Update: November 2, 2013 – after one week I tried letting them have t.v. time back. Logan lost it again on the first day when he freaked out over Lila doing some small thing he didn’t like and biting her so hard he almost cut her skin. The girls aren’t into the t.v. as much as he is, so on those days when Logan wasn’t allowed it, I only put it on if they asked. Mostly they would just play and be happy on their own.

After 2 weeks, Logan is doing much better. He is listening to me more, obeying more, and he has yet to bite again. I consider this a success. So yes, they are again allowed to watch their shows. Hopefully they will remember this one for a while.

Rethinking My Writing Commitment – Doing it Right

I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since my last post. So much for my commitment to write regularly. I’ve just not been in the mood, nor did I have any ideas about what to write.

I read a lot of other blogs, mostly mommy blogs. Each one is kept up in a way that is particular to the person writing it. And that’s a good thing. What’s bad is that I’ve felt the need to be like those who post several times a week, who never miss a post, who can keep up with all the various memes and link up’s that are out there.

I tried doing that back some time ago when I had 3 separate blogs, before they all got mixed together here on this one.  My childcare/parenting one was a source of continual stress for me, which is why I eventually discontinued it. (You can find the posts from that blog on my page Mommy to Mommy and on the tabs under that page.)

But why do I feel this need to follow the crowd? My blog is my own and should be kept up for my own reasons, not anyone else’s. I think I just need to get back to the original reason why I began this blog: keeping my family up-to-date on the kids and our lives. If I write anything, it should be what I want to write, not what I think the mommy blogger community as a whole would like.

Life has kept me busy lately and that is, I think, more important than trying to come up with the perfect blog post. I’m doing better in some of my other commitments. I got more exercise this month. We are trying out new meal ideas. The house is cleaner because we finally hired a maid. The kids are learning. They love school time so much that they want it every day.

By the time I have time to sit and blog, I’m tired. I’ve tried writing tired before. It doesn’t come out that great. So this reminder is more for myself – just write what you want and leave the rest unwritten. Don’t try to keep up with anyone. Stay true to your own commitments.

The Little Boy and the Fire Truck

There is a small park near our house where the children go to play on most days. They get to meet and play with children from the neighborhood, and have made a few friends there.

Set up right on the sidewalk next to the park is an ironing cart that looks something like this one.

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That is what Tamil writing looks like, Tamil being the local language here in Tamil Nadu.

These carts are very common here. Almost every street has one. While we have an iron at home, Glad will often take his work shirts to a cart like this and have them iron a stack for the week, to save him time in the morning.

They use these types of coal irons.

For a lot of poor families, the ironing cart is their livelihood. In order to make enough money to eat that day and buy the coal, they work all day. Many have their small children running around on the sidewalk and street while they work because there is no where else for the children to go.

The family who work the cart next to our park is like that. They have two small children who I’m guessing are under 3 years old. The mother often sends them inside the park to play, which is definitely safer than having them play on the street, but of course they have no oversight.

About 2 weeks ago, the kids and I were at the park and the little boy was there. Everything was going great until he discovered a small plastic animal Logan had brought along but had left on the ground. I let him play with it, but when Logan and Lila found out that he had it, they wanted it back and he wouldn’t give it up. He raced to the low side wall where his mother was working on the other side, and cried as she forced him to give the toy back to Lila, who was standing there trying to explain.

Had Logan been in a different frame of mind, I would have suggested that he let the boy keep it since he has so many at home. But Logan was very upset. These animals are his favorites and he can’t even stand his sisters taking them unless he is in a sharing mood.

As we walked home, Logan kept talking about how naughty the boy was, how he shouldn’t take other peoples toys, etc. I explained to him that the boy wasn’t naughty, but was more likely bored. I told Logan that his family is poor and can’t afford toys (I’ve never seen the children with any) and his parents have to work very hard just so they can eat. I then suggested that perhaps the kids could share some of the toys they never use with this boy and his sister.  Logan freaked out at the idea so I dropped it.

Two days later we were headed to the park again. I reminded my kids about the idea of giving theses kids some toys, and I assured Logan he would not have to give up his favorites. Lila was excited to give them something so together she and I found two toys that never got any use – a sturdy fire truck and a squeaky baby doll.

As soon as we got to the park, Lila wanted to give them the toys so I let her run over to the wall to pass on the toys. The mother was very grateful for the toys and gave the truck to her son right away. Within minutes he was over at the playground, racing the truck over ever surface that he could. He piled rocks and sand for it, and Lila and Scarlett joined him.

I had never see this boy smile before, but that day he had a huge smile. He looked as if he would burst from the excitement of having a toy of his own, which I’m sure he never had before.

There are many poor people here in India, way too many for even the most generous person to help. I rarely give money to those begging, simply because once you do it, they want it every time you pass, and also it is hard to know who is for real and who isn’t. (There are many who aren’t.)

But this situation was different. This is a family who works hard to make ends meet, but can only afford the most basic necessities. The children wear clothes that look like they’ve come from a trash pile, so toys wouldn’t even be on the list of important things for them. Lila sure felt the joy of giving that day. She was so happy to give the toys and see how happy they made this family.

As for me, it reminded me of how good it feels to give help when it is truly needed. It also helped me see that I need to talk about these things with my kids. They have grown up here. They see poor people all the time. They also know that they have pretty much anything they want, and it is hard for them to understand that not everyone can buy whatever they want at any time. This has led to more discussion on the topic of how not everyone is born into an equal station in life.

Their main question is, “Why not?” They don’t see rich or poor. They just see people. It can be hard to explain why some are poor and some are not, without getting into topics they are not ready for. For now, I will teach them to help whoever they can, whenever they can.

 

How do you go about teaching your children to help others?

Who is Really Stressing You Out?

Motherhood and stress – I find those words together a lot. Mothers all over the internet complain about how their children stress them out.

“My children are fighting and the noise is stressing me out.”

“Driving my children anywhere is so stressful.”

“I can’t shop with my children. Their antics stress me out.”

“Anytime I go anywhere with my child I end up stressed.”

We know that children are high-maintenance, and I’d be lying if I said I never feel stressed. But the question is, is it really the children who are stressing you out? Or are you allowing yourself to be stressed?

Yes, I said allowing. We have the power to decide whether or not to allow a situation to stress us out. We can either let the challenges of parenting get to us, or we can learn how to overcome them.

I know it is easier said than done, but for a mother to maintain her sanity, learning to avoid stress is so important.

Here are a few things I do to keep stress at bay.

1. Exercise

We all know that exercise is a stress-buster, but most of us don’t do it, for whatever reason. We allow our own health to sit on the back burner while we tend to those around us. It might seem noble to put yourself last, but it isn’t good for you.

Exercise is one of the best stress-relievers there is. If you can’t get away from your kids for it, do it with them. Dance in the living room, run at the park, go for a walk. Any exercise is better than none at all! So make time in your schedule for exercise.

2. Breathe

When your children’s antics are getting you riled, stop and breathe. Just take a minute to compose yourself by taking a deep breath, closing your eyes, and letting it out slowly. Go ahead. Try it now and see how good it makes you feel. Look out the window at nature, or step outside for a minute and breathe, and tell yourself you can handle whatever is bothering you. I promise you will feel the stress melt away.

3. Take time for yourself

Do something for yourself every day. Nap when your child does, read a book or your favorite blog, take a shower (and don’t feel bad if it takes an extra cartoon or two). Put on some makeup or brush your hair. Get dressed. Do something that will help you feel more like a woman and not just a “mom”.

I like to get up early for exercise, then take a shower and have my coffee before the kids get up. Thankfully my kids love to sleep late so early for me is up by 6. If your child is an early riser (or has to get up for school), see when else you can fit in time for you.

4. Keep a schedule

This will help you fit in numbers 1 and 3. Time for yourself is imperative so scheduling it will make it happen.

5. Be mature

Remember, they are just children. They are still selfish and self-absorbed. Everything is about them. Don’t take personally anything they say or do.

 

Now it’s your turn. What do you do to keep stress out of your life? Tell us about it in the comments.

Scarlett’s Accident

(This is a backlog post. It should have gone up June 3.)

There comes a time in every child’s life when they experience something that can make a mother’s heart stop.

With Logan, it was his premature birth and 10 day hospitalization. With Lila it was the time she drank turpentine at 2 years, 1 month old. Scarlett had yet to do something to freak me out severely (other than running off in a bookstore and hiding when she was 18 months old), but that changed last week.

I will have to begin with some background.

It was Monday, a rather stressful day for me because it is grocery shopping day. I used to shop alone with Scarlett while the other two were at school, but now with the arrival of summer holidays, I have no choice but to shop with all three kids.

Logan was already fussing when we got to the mall because we were only doing grocery shopping, and he wanted to go to the arcade and toy shop. He has no patience for shopping so he was running around, touching everything – every display, every shelf, every food item. He broke candy bars, crushed bags of chips and grabbed everything he could. Normally he is fairly obedient and can manage a trip to the store without too much wildness, but this day his hyperactive nature had taken over and it was all I could do to not yell at him right there. (He has ADHD.)

He continued to be wild during lunch and rest time, and on into the afternoon. He was mean to the girls and kept making them cry. Any sort of punishment didn’t faze him at all.

I finally decided to take the kids to the playground near our house, hoping that some outdoor play could burn some of his energy and tire him out. Yet he continued to be wild. Several times I had to pull him aside from his play as he was biting and pinching the other children. He even bit his own lip when he fell as he was racing up the slide.

The whole time I was keeping half an eye on the girls as they climbed the jungle gym. They are both quite good at it, so, while I stay near them, I don’t have to be right there. At one point I had to go to Logan again, and I didn’t see Scarlett follow me, nor did I see her climb the straight metal slide (not the ladder but the slide) until she was at the top.

She learned to climb the slide some time ago (barefoot), but I’m always next to her as there are no safety rails and she hasn’t yet figured out how to turn from her climb to sitting without putting her butt over the side. I’m sure you can guess what happened next.

It was almost like seeing something in slow motion. I saw her at the top of the slide. I saw her begin to turn, and then I knew she was going to fall. I was too far away to get there in time to catch her. I left Logan and forgot his naughtiness as I ran to my baby.

The slide was about 6 feet at the highest point and she fell from the top, landing in the sand flat on her chest and tummy, hitting her lips hard on one side. Horror stories that I had heard of kids dying from falling off a slide filled my mind, and I struggled to push them away so I could focus on Scarlett. At first she cried while I carried her to a bench and tried to clean the sand off her face, but then she was quiet, scarily quiet. She just sat on my lap and looked at everything. I kept asking her questions but she wouldn’t answer. I managed to round up Logan and Lila, and we rushed home. All I could think of was getting her home, putting ice on her ever-swelling lips, and helping her recover from the shock she was in.

She wouldn’t let me put ice on her lip, nor did she want me to get the sand out of her mouth, both of which made her cry. I was afraid she had some internal injury since she was so quiet. I called Glad, who was working on the other side of town, and told him what had happened.

He asked some questions and then reassured me that she was probably fine but to keep an eye on her.  I held her close and told her how sorry I was that I hadn’t been close enough to catch her. I couldn’t do anything but rock her. After about 30 minutes (from the time she fell) she began to move around. I put a video on for her and then went to my room to cry. The guilt I felt was massive. How had I not noticed her following me? Why wasn’t I paying more attention? Why hadn’t I been right there to catch her? It was awful.

Finally I realized I had some hungry kids on my hands so I forced myself to get up and cook dinner, even though I wasn’t very hungry and could hardly stand to look at food. Surprisingly, Scarlett ate a good dinner! I thought she might just have some yogurt because she could hardly open her mouth, but she figured a way to slip the food in on the side that wasn’t sore. (Fried chicken liver, French fries, and cucumber slices.)

Afterwards she was perky and climbing around, even jumping! She was fine as I showered everyone and got them ready for bed. I let her lie in my bed and she went to sleep quickly.

Glad kept checking in every hour, and he was sure she didn’t have any internal injury, since she was breathing well, had eaten and didn’t throw up, nor was she complaining of any pains other than her massively swollen lip and a sore chest. I, however, was still freaking out inside.

I kept her in bed with me all night. At one point she scared me by waking up and just sitting there and staring straight ahead. After what seemed like forever, she told me she wanted water and to get up, but it was only about 4 in the morning so I convinced her to go back to sleep.

In the morning her lip looked scary. The top one on the right side was big and puffy, the bottom about half the size. Above, below, and on her lips were all the tiny scratches that had scabbed overnight. Scarlett herself was perky as ever, ate a good breakfast, had a normal bowel movement, and showed every sign of being ok internally. But just to be safe, Glad took her to the hospital for a checkup.

I didn’t feel relief until they got home. The doctor had confirmed that she had no internal injury, and her lip was going to be just fine. The swelling went down rapidly over the next two days, so fast, in fact, that we could see a difference from one hour to the next. Now, exactly one week later, all the scabs are gone and there is no evidence that she had such a bad fall.

Since that day I’ve made sure to stay right next to her at the park whenever she is climbing. She is daring, like Lila, and will climb on most anything, so I can’t let her out of my sight. She may be a good climber, but she is still a toddler and doesn’t have as good balance as Lila does.

I shudder every time I think back on that moment when she fell. I’m thankful she fell from the 6’ slide and not the higher spiral one that she so loves. I’m thankful I wasn’t far when she fell, so I could pick her up right away. I’m thankful she wasn’t seriously injured. And I’m most thankful she is still here.

What has your child done to freak you out?

35, Alive, and Truly Happy

Tomorrow is my 35th birthday.

Time has flown so fast. I feel like my childhood was only a few years ago and now I’m mid-30’s. How did that happen? Where did all those years go?

There was a time when I couldn’t imagine reaching 16. It seemed so old. Then once I was past 16, 25 seemed ancient. I remember thinking my mom was so old when she was in her late 40’s. (Sorry, mom. It’s true.) But now that I’m here, 35 feels so young.

For a long time I felt like I had wasted my best years, my 20’s, by doing so little of nothing in particular. I spent time as a nanny and preschool teacher, but I didn’t feel that was my life’s calling. I traveled, trying to find a place where I felt like … I don’t really know. I wanted to belong, to live, not just endure.

When I came to India 10 years ago, I wasn’t sure how long I’d be here. I spent a lot of time working with kids. It wasn’t bad. I know I was helping them, teaching them, caring for them, etc. Deep down the thing I wanted most at that time was my own family. I spent almost 4 years here before I met Glad. At that time I was ready to leave the country, but now I’m happy I stuck it out.

Everything changed when I started having kids. The past 6 years have been a blur – pregnancies, newborns, toddlers, diapers, feeds, messes; in short, insanity. But you know what? Exhausting as it was, I loved it! I finally felt like I had found what I was looking for.

Now that my kids are getting older, I’m realising that my best years have not been wasted; they are just beginning! The 20’s are about finding yourself, figuring out who you are and what you want out of life.  I spent most of those years worrying that I would never find a husband or someone to love me.

I never gave a thought to trying out a different line of work. I stuck with child care because I was good at it, but it wasn’t what I truly wanted to do. I’m taking time now to figure out what I really want to do. I know I want to write. And I love to create with my hands – crafts and such. With our pending move to Canada, a whole new world is opening up for me.

I feel more relaxed about the way my life is going now that I am in my 30’s. I force myself to stay positive, to stay away from worry or negative thoughts.  I exercise, make time for myself, and feel like I am truly enjoying life. I can honestly say that right now, I am the happiest I’ve ever been. I’m happy with my life the way it is.

While there are always improvements to make, I don’t stress over them. I’ve always been the shy type, and I spent years trying to be outgoing, just because others told me I had to. I tried to will myself to change into an outgoing person, but the stress exhausted me. Now that I’ve accepted myself as I am, and no longer listen to those who tell me I have to be someone else, I’m happy.

This year I’m looking forward to our move and getting settled in what we hope is our permanent home. I look forward to getting settled in a job I enjoy, teaching my kids about a new country (they’ve never been out of India), and seeing my family again.

What do I want for my birthday? Nothing really. There isn’t anything I need. My only desire is a happy, healthy family, and perhaps a solid nights sleep. 🙂

So 35, I’m not afraid of you. I’ll see you soon.

May Weight Check-in

It’s come round again; time to check my weight and see how I’ve done with my weight loss this past month.

April was a rather difficult month for me. Like I wrote about in this post, I struggled with unfounded fears, panic attacks, and mood swings. It isn’t easy to explain what I was feeling ’cause it was all so weird and abnormal. I’ve never had such intense fears that I couldn’t explain, nor have I ever had a panic attack in my life. Do read the above-linked post so you can understand what I’m talking about better.

Once the problem got sorted out, I slowly began to feel more like myself. My moods have balanced out, the fears are gone (though I confess a hint of them still hovers around the edges), and the panic attacks are gone. But my body has been through heavy struggles, so I found myself reducing or skipping my exercise this month. I also found myself eating more than I should, with the result that I didn’t lose as much weight as I did the previous two months.

At the April check in I weighed 75.2 kgs. (165.4 lbs.). Now I weigh 74.8 kgs. (164.5 lbs.). I only lost 400 grams, not quite half a kilo, this whole month. But I’m not viewing this as a failed month. No, I learned a little more about my body, how it reacts to being poisoned (really, read this post if you didn’t yet), and I can see where I need to change my workout program.

Now that I’m feeling much better than I was, I’ve started on a new workout plan, one that will help me improve my running. I was already running for 2 minutes at a time for 40 minutes, but it started getting too easy, to the point that is was no longer a challenge. So I was reading Women’s Health Magazine and found this plan that takes you from walking to being able to run for 30 minutes straight.

I began on week four, since I was already doing 2 minutes at a time. Week four starts from 3 minutes, and moves you up to 8 minutes by the end of the week. Today I did the second running day which was 5 minutes at a time, and I was pleasantly surprised by how I was able to do it. There are specific toning workouts they include, but many require equipment that I don’t have, so I’m sticking with my current toning workout, especially since I’m still building into it. You can see how I plan to use this running plan on My Fitness Journey page.

According to this plan, I will be able to run for 30 minutes straight in the next 3 weeks. It sounds great, and I hope it will help me trim down more as I continue with healthy eating and portion control.

What changes have you made in your health and fitness this month?

Our Healthy Diets – and Aspartame

Over the past few months, I’ve been doing my best to change the way we eat at home in order to improve our diets and make sure they are the most nutritious they can be. Since I found that I needed to change my own diet in order to lose weight, of course I wanted everyone to eat better. So I began to see how I could change my shopping list in order for this to happen.

It was a slow process, changing one or two items at a time, eliminating the less healthy options and replacing them with healthier ones. For example, I switched jam for honey. At first I thought the kids would prefer the jam, but they don’t. They love honey and pick it all the time, so now I no longer buy jam. Though I was buying the healthiest jam I could find, it was still high in white sugar, so I’m happy they love honey. I recently found a place that sells brown sugar so I was able to stop buying white sugar, too.

I also searched until I found real cheese and totally stopped buying the processed stuff. Real cheese is quite expensive here, so it took some time to find one that was in my price range, but it was worth the search.

I do most of my cooking with olive oil, and I keep on hand some sunflower oil for making baked goods, or else I use real butter. I also have a small jar of extra virgin olive oil for salads and hummus and stuff like that.

I used to buy a lot of cookies and other snacks (that I mostly ate), but now I’ve replaced them with more fruit. Good thing my kids are fruit lovers. They will eat it any time. Their preferred snacks are peanuts, raisins, dates, plain crackers (whole grain ones), chikki (a treat made from peanuts or sesame seeds and jaggery), granola, and of course, fruit.

While I used to buy certain items because they made meal prep easier with small kids, now that my kids are older I do make some other things since it is healthier, and often cheaper, than buying them already made. For example, I began making peanut butter this week to cut the cost of what we were spending on it. Logan loves peanut butter and will eat it every day if I let him. But the one I was getting kept going up in price and for one small jar of 460 gr. I was paying the same as for a kilo of chicken. It was way too much. I found that I could buy 1/2 a kilo of plain peanuts for less than half of what I was spending on peanut butter, and it only took me about 10 minutes to whip it up in my blender.

I have one of those blender sets that comes with different cups and blades, and one is specially for grinding. I just put half the peanuts in with a little salt, then slowly worked the blender until it came to a spreadable consistency. It is lighter than the store bought stuff and not sweet, but the kids eat it with honey anyway so why keep buying something that has extra sugar and is breaking the bank when I can make it for less than half the price, and it is healthier to boot!

I still make my own yogurt because it is cheaper, and I make granola for that reason as well. The plus is that I can make the granola how we like it and it is very healthy.

Learning to like veggies is a little harder since they are not sweet like fruit, but my kids are slowly progressing. Logan was stuck on only having carrot sticks for a long time. They had to be raw (he never ate them cooked) and the only other veggie he sometimes had was cucumber. He is slowly coming around and is trying new things here and there. He now claims to like lettuce, and wants to eat green veggies in order to turn into the Hulk. (Who says superheroes can’t do anything for kids?)

Lila and Scarlett will try more veggies. Lila loves most raw veggies that I serve, including spinach, but tends to pick out cooked ones. Oh, the other day I made a carrot and cabbage coleslaw, with the cabbage being finely grated instead of chopped. Logan only saw the carrots and raisins, and claimed he loved it. Big win!

It is great to see them eating better, and I am feeling better knowing we are on our way to healthier lives through eating better.

Now onto what I really wanted to write about today.

Despite making all the above-mentioned changes, along with getting more exercise, I was still not feeling as good as I should have been. I really can’t explain exactly how I was feeling, but it was a general “could there be something wrong with me” feeling. At the end of each day I felt blah. I would feel better in the morning but by evening I felt weird again. To top it off, I began having fears I’d never had before, fears of instant death, fears of leaving the house, leaving my kids, being alone in the house when Glad was gone, constant thoughts of “you’re going to die right now”, etc. It was really weird.

Then one night I had something happen that had never happened before – I had a panic attack. I tried to go to bed, but every time I laid down I was sure that was it for me, that I was going to stop breathing. I kept getting up and lying back down, and each time I laid down it would hit me again. I prayed hard and the feeling finally went away.

It continued to happen several times after that. I never knew when it would hit, and I couldn’t figure out what could be the cause. I was beginning to wonder if I was seriously sick or something. I spent a lot of time praying just to get rid of the fear and it helped some but not completely. I also found myself getting upset with the kids more easily, losing my temper and yelling, screaming really, at them for minor things, which was really odd. I’ve never been one to get upset so easily over such small things.

Since I didn’t understand what was happening, I didn’t tell Glad what I was feeling until about 10 days ago when I began to feel this odd pressure in my nose and forehead. We talked about how maybe I should have a medical check up  but the more I thought about it, the more I became convinced there really wasn’t anything physically wrong.

The day after we talked, I was on Facebook and happened on a picture of diet sodas that had a list of the side effects of Aspartame, and one of them was – get this – panic (anxiety) attacks. Now, I don’t drink any soda at all, and have never touched a diet soda in my life, and with all the mostly fresh, natural food I was eating, how could I possibly be getting Aspartame in my diet?

Then I remembered the gum I was using. I like to have some when running to keep my mouth moist, plus I would have one when out with the kids, or at the park, etc. I was chewing two to three pieces of this sugar-free gum daily. So I checked it and, sure enough, the sweetener was Aspartame. I had used this gum for months but was only recently hit with these odd things, so my guess is that it took time to build to danger levels in my body since I wasn’t getting it any other way.

I stopped using it immediately, and now, roughly 10 days since my last piece, I feel better. I can’t prove 100% that the Aspartame was the culprit, but I can say that I am beginning to feel like myself again. The fears are slowly going, since they kind of got stuck in my mind, but now I find it easier to fight them off. I am also no longer having panic attacks. And yes, I’m not yelling at the kids like I was.

I am now becoming a label-reader in the store. I check the ingredients listed in any new item I pick up to be sure there is no artificial sweetener of any kind. I buy very few pre-packaged items these days, so it isn’t too hard to avoid. It’s so sad, though, that the general public is subjected to these types of dangerous food ingredients, all for the sake of skimping on calories.

What is your home diet like? Do you avoid junk and eat healthy? Have you had any problems from using artificial sweeteners?

Life Lessons Can Be Found Anywhere

Last Sunday, Glad took the kids to a sports park that is not far from home. It has tennis courts, basketball courts, a roller rink, a path circling the entire park for walking, and lots of grass to run in. We have been there many times before but this time, Logan had a request.

Ever since he saw Twice Upon A Christmas and watched Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck skate with ease, Logan has wanted to skate. In his mind it was effortless fun, and after watching the more experienced children zip around the rink, Logan asked to learn to skate. Of course, Lila asked to learn too. She loves skating and was happy to get skates for her last birthday, but has not learned to use them properly. After some thought, Glad decided we should go for it.

The next day, we met at the park and signed the kids up for the class. They provided a basic kit for each of them – skates that attach to your shoes, elbow and knee pads, hand guards, and a soft helmet. Once dressed, they both got in line for their first class.

Logan immediately realized that skating wasn’t as easy as he had imagined. He wanted to go fast like the other kids and was upset to find he couldn’t. Logan has balance issues and trips easily, so our hope is that learning to skate will help improve his balance. But more than that, Logan needs to learn perseverance.

After the first lesson, he didn’t want to go back. The next day when I took them for their second class, Logan cried to whole time. He refused to join his group or even try to walk on the skates, which is what the other beginners were doing. It was one of those embarrassing moments in a parents’ life – your child is throwing a fit and you are just praying to keep your composure and at the same time not give in to the tantrum. Since they were just starting out, I had promised them a small treat for doing a good job, but since Logan made such a fuss, he missed his treat and his video time. He didn’t even seem to care that Lila got a treat.

The next day (day 3 of classes) we discussed why he wasn’t yet able to skate fast or backwards like he wanted to. I told him it would take time and effort on his part and that he couldn’t just quit. This isn’t the first time we’ve had this kind of discussion. I also told him that if he threw another fit at class, he would miss our special outing to the mall. I needed to do something to get him to stop saying he couldn’t do it and agree to at least try.

Just before the class started, I asked him what would happen if he threw a fit again. He said he’d miss his treat, video, and mall outing. 🙂  Kids can be so much harder on themselves than we are. Anyway, he did great. Not only did he make good effort, he was happy and smiling the whole time, and he did get a treat this time, plus of course the promised mall outing. We used the outing to take a break from skating class, since classes are on daily but they only need to come as often as we want them to.

Getting Logan to persevere at something has never been easy. It takes loads of persuasion, encouragement, discussion, and simply saying “You can do it.” Once he learns how to do whatever it is, then he’s fine, but until he learns it, he wears me out with how hard he has convinced himself that he can’t do it.

It isn’t a new lesson, but perseverance is an important one. Sometimes I don’t have the patience to teach him something, like buttoning his shirt. I did it for him forever until daddy asked why. With some effort on daddy’s part, Logan learned to do buttons himself. I’d probably still be doing them for him if daddy hadn’t pushed him. I pushed him with learning to write,  among other things, but I foresee this will be a lifelong lesson for Logan. He wants to quit kindergarten now, so I encourage him by telling him the school year is almost over and that he will get a long break. (School lets out in April here.)

I guess the title of this post is its point – life lessons can be found anywhere – even on the roller rink.

My little skaters.

My little skaters.

 

You can see more pics from the skating here on Facebook.

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