Sunday, May 18, 2014

Road to Sobriety

First, a disclaimer:
I'm not trying to compare my struggles to those of alcoholics or drug addicts. By no means am I trying to minimize what they go through or elevate my experiences to theirs. No, I'm just trying to highlight how dependent I became on sugar - that it was my drug of choice. And trying to break the addiction has been very hard for me. 

I've been sober for 3 weeks now. I decided that my relationship with sugar was an unhealthy one, and that I needed to part ways. I needed to give up on sweets - chocolate, baked goods, candy.  They were my crutch when I was unhappy, bored, or hungry. And I didn't want to be dependent on them anymore. So I gave up added sugar. Fruit and dairy sugars were fine. They weren't what my body craved, and they had lots of healthy things attached to them. But cane sugar? I declared it my enemy. 

The first week of detox was hard. I paced and cried. I was in serious withdrawal. My body itched for sugar. I was miserable. 

The second week was easier. I felt a little better, and was encouraged by this change. It convinced me that I was doing the right thing. 

The third week was even better. My taste buds are changing, re calibrating. Things that didn't used to taste sweet now do. Things that used to taste bland now have more flavor. I'm developing an appreciation for sourdough bread. And coffe with cream instead of milk and sugar. 

Last night I went to a grown up birthday party. (Happy Birthday Debbie!) A beautiful Oreo ice cream cake was served. Previously, I would have found a way to justify having a second piece. But now, it didn't seem as appetizing. I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything by not having any. This is a huge change for me. Huge. 

So I'll keep going. 

I must admit that I haven't avoided all extra sugar. It sneaks in through odd doors: pita, crackers, veggie dip, mustard, vanilla yogurt, multigrain bread. Avoiding it completely requires that I make everything from scratch. And while I generally cook a lot, making my own ketchup and mayo are a bit further than I'd like to take this. 

But I'll keep going. At some point, I'll start eating natural sugars, such as honey and syrup. I'm not sure when. Maybe when I've stopped losing weight? I'm still 10 lbs above my ideal. And giving up sugar has reduced that from 13. Maybe by then, I will have morphed into one of my little old ladies at the hospital who bites into a piece of fruit and declares, "Ooh, too sweet!" 

One can hope. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

At the Grocery Store

A great deal of my parenting has occurred at grocery stores. This makes sense, as we shop at least weekly, and the girls generally get dragged along. There's the store far away that has a gas station, is cheap, and is our destination for stocking up on basic supplies. There's the store close by that has super-cheap produce and middle eastern baked goods, like pita and spinach triangles. Then there's the store in-between that's on the way to the gym, has some good sales, and is frequented by half of the little old ladies in Boston. 

The latter of the three is where LittleDebbie and I headed this afternoon to take advantage of a super deal on milk. The customer service is always good; the cashiers are guaranteed to make eye contact and maybe a bit of small talk. This is not something to take for granted around here. And we always need milk. Did I mention that the place is Mecca for old ladies?

LittleDebbie is old enough to sit in the cart, instead of being in the car seat in the cart. She loves sitting there. She can look around and smile at people. Occasionally she'll utter a loud and recognizable "HIIIIII!" Oh, she's a charmer, and few can resist her in your average setting. But at this grocery store, she has everyone in the palm of her tiny little hand. 

Frequently on my online mommy forum, there are discussions about strangers touching babies and giving them germs. Why on earth would a sane person touch a strange baby's face? Or hands? Those germs are going straight into that baby's mouth. They could catch a cold! Or MRSA! Or MERS!!!

Now, I realize that there is a group of immune-compromised children in this world for whom this is a serious danger. Their lives literally could depend on strange germy people keeping their hands off of them. But my child is not one of these children. She grazes the floor scraps of our house - paper, stickers, dust-bunnies - like a little catfish. And she has 2 adoring dogs that love to share "kisses" and tastes of whatever she has on her hands. And she's a third child. I generally don't worry too much about it. 

But as I was contemplating the sugar content of Boston Baked Beans vs. Original Recipe, one of the many little old ladies stopped to chat with LittleDebbie. And LittleDebbie was happy to engage. The exchange was verbal to start. But then the lady started getting a bit touchy. She touched LD's nose. Then her cheek. Then she rubbed her head. And started holding her hand. And I started getting a bit uncomfortable. Because of germs. And a strange lady was touching my baby's face. I expect a touch on the arm or the foot. But she was crossing the line. And LD was enjoying it immensely. 

"She's so so beautiful. So beautiful."
"Thank you...." (how do I politely ask her to stop touching?!)
"I love babies so much..."
(obviously! can you back off just a bit?)
"I always wanted a child. But I had 6 miscarriages. The oldest was 4 months along..."
"Oh wow, I'm so sorry." (oh. wow.)
"She's just so beautiful. Bless you child." And she made the sign of the cross over her head.
"LD, can you give her a high five?" LD giggled as I pushed her hand to touch the woman's hand. We did a long series of high and low fives. The two of them laughed with each one. And then it was time for both of us to move on.
"Bless you my dear. Enjoy your day."
"Thank you. You too."
And I heard her sigh heavily as she started her way down the aisle. I'm not sure if she had tears in her eyes, but I had tears in mine. What are a few germs in the face of such loss? I'd take my chances and let her kiss LD's face if I thought it would help. 

There are days that I wish I could have said something when I didn't. And today I'm thankful I didn't say something when I could have. Because I'm not sure if spending a few minutes with LD brought her joy, but I know that shooing her off would not have. 

A Louse-y Day

Yesterday was a louse-y day. Not a lousy day. No, it was actually pretty enjoyable. Except for the louse-y part. 

Tuesday night at bedtime, HeyMama suddenly noticed something on her pillow. "What kind of bug is this?" I pretty much knew the answer without looking, and my suspicion was verified by Dr. Google. 

Lice have been running rampant in the kindergarten classrooms for a few weeks now. HeyMama reported that 6 people were out yesterday because of them. It's a big problem. 

Are you itching yet? Just thinking about them makes me itch. But if a school full of middle and upper-middle class kids is crawling with lice, certainly they're normal. I feel no shame in admitting that they made their way into our home. And they're certainly preferable to fleas, those little nasties that jump around and make themselves at home in your household textiles. And have equal affection for the dogs' and the girls' beds. (shudder) But shameful or nasty or not, the little buggers must DIE!

So that's what we worked on yesterday. Although neither MeToo nor I had any signs of infestation, all 3 of us washed our hair in a toxic solution. Then we put on Frozen for the umpteenth time, I strapped on a headlamp, and I starting combing with our trusty flea comb. In the past, I looked at other children with thick full heads of hair a bit wistfully. But yesterday, I thanked God that my children have fine (and slightly sparse) hair. Combing was not the ordeal that some of our friends have and are enduring. But it must be done frequently. I'm happy to do it daily, if needed. The buggers must die. 

HeyMama was a bit sad that she couldn't go to school and see her friends. But now she was like her friends; she too had The Lice. She enjoyed sleeping in (so did I!!!) and snuggling on the couch. She made the best of it. I was proud of her. And today she came back from school aware that she was not the only kid out yesterday. 

We made it this long without a lice encounter. I'll consider myself lucky. And I stocked up on that expensive herbal lice-repellent conditioning spray today. Because luck only lasts for so long.

Saturday, May 3, 2014


"Wow, you have 2 shelties. They must shed a lot!"
Yes, they do. They definitely do.