Hooligan Zoo

Two Zookeepers… many Hooligans… It's always feeding time at this zoo!

Angry.

Ja and I, we have been gifted these amazing little people to raise to love the Lord.  To raise to become productive adults.  They are in our house for such a short time, really, even though oftentimes it seems like eternity.

I’ve talked about this before quite a bit, about our struggles with food.  With fitting in when we have to limit our food choices.  With so many different things.

In a nutshell, our lovely, handsome, intelligent, intense son cannot have food additives.  HFCS, MSG, food dyes, all these things cause him to react in terrible and often violent ways.  The big problem is that it’s not an allergy, per se…  and, our society?  Sees sensitivities, especially in one so young, more as an excuse on the parents’ part to explain away bad behaviour.

I’ve actually been accused of that by close friends before.  In fact, I was accused of that indirectly very recently.

Here’s my confession.  I got lazy.  I got tired of reading every.  single.  label.  Every.  Single.  Time.  It’s never easy for us.  Our lives revolve around what we’re going to eat, when we’re going to eat it, how much gets eaten.   If I’m tired of cooking?  We can’t just stop at Wendy’s, or heck, even Subway for a break.  I can’t call Ja and say, “Hey, Honey, had a rough day, can you bring home dinner?”

So, over Christmas I just kind of stopped.  We were taken out to dinner several times.  We did not take our own food with us when we went to family gatherings.  I did not police his intake when we were at gatherings.  We let him have things that we normally would direct him away from.

And oh did my precious boy pay for our lack of diligence.

I’ve known for weeks that he’s been off.  You can actually read it on his face and see it in his behaviour in little ways.  He withdraws.  He doesn’t want to play outside.  He doesn’t handle conflict well.  He doesn’t eat well when we are eating.  He hardly smiles.  He’s… well, he’s not him.

We had a birthday party, we had red cupcakes the same weekend, and then on Monday we had a blowup.  A violent blowup that I’m still sporting the bruises from.

Frankly?  I should not have to use my Non-violent Crisis Intervention techniques on my son.

A full half hour I held him down while he tried his best to injure me, injure himself, or to destroy something.  When I finally got him calm enough, got some juice into him, and held him while he sobbed in my arms, I was beaten and exhausted.  My heart breaks for him.  I don’t want his life to be this hard.

I want to stomp my feet and scream that it’s not fair.

Because you know what?  It isn’t fair.  It isn’t fair that he can’t simply go to a birthday party and have cake and icecream like the other kids without his parents planning ahead for the repercussions that that entails.

It’s not fair that he has to take a break every two hours to eat something so that he can cope with day to day regular interactions.

It’s just, it’s not fair.

I’m angry that in our society today, we can’t trust any food that you buy in a store.  I’m angry that money is so important to big companies that they manufacture fake food that is addictive.   I’m angry that it’s an issue with other people that our son can’t handle food additives.  I’m angry that because it isn’t an allergy, it isn’t treated with respect.  I’m angry that because his reaction is usually delayed, people think that we’re crazy, they think that he’s just a bad kid.

I’m angry that this situation is unfair, preventable, and that we’re judged because we’re choosing different food choices for our son so that he can be the best child he can be.

On Monday when we had friends here, one friend consoled me after the meltdown, and strongly suggested we get some behavioural counseling.

I’m feeling a little bitter about that remark.  It completely negated the fact that he hasn’t had a violent meltdown in two years since we started this food journey.  It completely negated the fact that we have worked our butts off to change our parenting styles, to change the way we do everything, all so that our precious boy can have the best chance at life possible.  Her comment was a slap in the face at all that we had done, and all that we are doing.  It screamed at me, “You are a BAD mother, you have a BAD son.”  And I hate that.  I hate that I took it that way when this friend was probably intending to help console me.

So, where does that take us?

We’re back where we started from.  No more cheating.  No more being lazy.  Planning out every meal and every snack.  Keeping on top of moods and behaviours, and reading when to attribute it to food, and when to attribute it to stubborn kid.

Feeling on edge at every moment.  Not wanting to leave the house, because when we go somewhere?  Then I have to explain.  Explain to people who don’t understand, or who don’t care.  We got a few snide comments about taking our own homemade icecream to an icecream social on Sunday.  We get comments from family and friends about how we’re depriving our kids of a childhood by “forcing” them to eat this way.

We’re making an appointment with a local naturopath to see if there are some other things we can do.  We’ve already seen a doctor and a dietitian.  We’re considering spending a heck of a lot of money on testing to see if we’ve missed something, and also to be able to have something on paper that we can show people.

If this were a nut allergy, it would not be an issue.  Nuts would simply be banned, and no one would bat an eye.  Because it’s often not an instant reaction, people doubt us.  Judging from what’s been said to our face, I can only imagine what must be said behind our backs…

And yet, while I’m busy whining about spending 3/4 of my life planning and making our food, while I’m feeling discouraged that I have to doubt EVERY kind of food that isn’t made by us, while we can’t do this feed our kids thing the easy way….

This boy??
IMG_5023

He?  Is so worth it.  Worth every single second.

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Why we have a calendar

Yesterday was a bit of an unusual day.  Mostly for the reason that the sickness rages on in this here household of Hooligans.

Monday night, Ja messaged me from work.

 

Ja:  I’m not feeling so good.

Me:  Not feeling good cuz you’re trying to get out of work early?  Or really not feeling good?  (I know, I’m so supportive, right?)

Ja:  REALLY not feeling good.  My tummy is…  not good.  (he’s a man of few words.)

Me:  LALALALALALAAA I CAN’T HEEEEEEEAAAAAAR YOU!!!

 

We were having company Monday night, Ja’s cousin and her husband, good friends of ours.  Ja is sick.  They were already most of the way here.  Not good.

Ja goes into the bathroom, and my heart is pounding, waiting for the horrible noises that can come from within that space…  but, the noises never come.  I peaked in the door, and my big strong husband, the one who very very rarely gets sick, is just standing, leaning on the vanity with his head on his arms.

I sent him to bed.

So, company comes, we have a lovely time.  (soup!  wine!  Christmas debriefing!!)  Ja emerges from the bedroom for a bit, and stays far away from everyone.  It’s all good.  I had already emailed his boss telling him Ja wouldn’t be in for work the next day.

The next day is a bit odd, as it is when Ja throws off our “routine”.  We do the karate thing, Ja stays home, we run a few errands after karate, and come home right about the time to make dinner.

Make dinner (bacon and eggs, you know you were wondering), sit down, eat…  Ja is feeling much much better, but is having soup for dinner.  We JUST finish eating, and there’s a knock at the door.

We look at each other, I say, who could that be?  And Ja says, “Oh no.”*

Oh no??

Oh no??

Really?  What the heck does that mean??

I open the door, and there is one of the gentlemen from our small group.  With the young lady that we often get to babysit.

They are there to…

Take us out to dinner.

Yup.

I’m in jeans, Ja is really grubby.

We of course act all, oh, whoops, we’re running late, just give us a minute!  And commence running around like maniacs a midst the peppered questions of the children.

“Where are you guys going?”

“Whatcha doin’, Momma?”

“Why didn’t you TELL us Brittany was coming?”

Yeah.

Anyway, Ja throws on clean jeans, I put my hair up super quickly, and we call it good.

We get to the restaurant.   A lovely restaurant that we had never been to before.  Hang our coats up, and our dinner partners are dressed very nicely.  We are in jeans.  In JEANS in a FANCY restaurant.

All that being said, we really did have a lovely time.  I was so very very full after second dinner.  They are an incredible couple who are encouraging, uplifting, and have so many tales to tell.

The moral of this story?  Calendars are only good if you actually write your plans on them.

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{pretty, happy, funny, real}

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

From Like Mother, Like Daughter, what is pretty, happy, funny and real in your house?

Pretty
Spring 2011 037
A new nine year old, pleased to be out biking and soaking up the sunshine.

Happy
Spring 2011 022
A young man, thrilled to be throwing dirt clods in the garden. “I’m just helping break it up, Mama.”

Funny
Talya's sweater 007
She would only smile when told the picture was for our beloved AmyJ. Then she said, “Ask her if she likes my happy face, Mama!” ((AmyJ did like it, very much.))

Real
March 005
Laundry baskets? Totally more fun than the four trillion toys around here.

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The place of the blog.

You know, I’ve had this blog for a long long time now… since Zi was a baby, I believe.  I was at first trying out software for a friend, and then kind of got the bug.  I’ve gone through phases where I’ve shared a LOT of our lives together, and then phases where I felt incredibly censored…

Right now I’ve been thinking a lot about the balance…  at one point I consider this blog a private journal, something for recording and working out my own issues and struggles in life, and at other times, I feel too open, too raw, too “snooped” on to write what is really happening in my world.

Where’s the balance?  The balance between keeping a record of thoughts and feelings, and reaching out to others with what has or has not worked in our family.

When do I share squabbles and woes within myself and my own, and how they were resolved or not resolved?  At what point do I sense that sharing those things will betray a trust?

How do I get past the fact that sharing personal issues is going to invite, in a way, criticism on how we live our lives?  On how we do things?  Criticism that may in fact, come from those we love the most.

We’ve been struggling with church issues lately, with family issues, with personal issues.  I feel censored in my writing, knowing that I will invite judgement by writing about some of these things.

It’s a tricky thing, a blog… it takes on an identity of it’s own.  Every event is tagged with the question, will I blog this?  Or won’t I?  Is this a private incident that needs to be mulled and cherished in the hearts and minds of those involved?  Or is it something that others may learn from, be entertained with?  What is the purpose of my words on the screen?  Do my words in some way, in all ways, Glorify God?

I also find it difficult because some people who read, who have known me for a long time, have a hard time seeing the changes in me as a person.  They don’t see the internal struggle, and they may or may not notice the change in character… the new convictions placed on our hearts then just seem weird.  So I don’t write about them.

Perhaps the issue is with myself, that I’m so afraid of judgement, that I so badly want people to like me, that I censor myself to appeal to the masses.  I’m working on really believing that it doesn’t matter what others think.  I KNOW that it doesn’t matter.  I know that my worth is not measured by what I do.  Feeling and knowing are two very different things.

Living up to everyone else’s expectations of who you are is never going to work.  It’s impossible to be everything to everyone all the time.

I know that first, I am a daughter of the King.  Secondly, I am a wife, and my loyalty will always lie with my husband.  We are one, him and I, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Thirdly, I am a mother.  A woman who cares deeply for her children, who wants the best for them, and who (most of the time) tries to do what is best for them.  Fourth, I am a daughter to my parents, a sibling to my sisters.  I am a friend, an aunt… I am many things.  BUT, through all that, I have to keep my eyes focused on what’s important, on who’s important.  I have to live for Him, and trust that all else will come behind once my focus is in the right place.

So, what is the point of this post?  I have no idea.  I like to write, often I NEED to write, and these things have been milling around in my head for a long time.  There are so many things that I want to write about, but that are kind of taboo subjects.  Family relationships, submission, humility, figuring out where we belong in a community of believers… all the things that I am working hard on.  Will I write about them one day?  Who knows.  In the meantime, I think I need to just wait and see where this blog is going to lead me…

… and I hope that you will join me for the ride.

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Boats. A Commentary from Ephraim.

The other day I was toodling around on the computer, chatting with AmyJ on messenger, and Eph was sitting beside me nattering away.

((((As an aside, do YOU use the word nattering?  I’ve been informed that it’s an unusual word… that some people have never heard it before…  that chattering is more common.  Help me out here, people…))))

My part of the conversation basically consisted of “mmhmm…  really?  You would?  That’s cool!”

His part went a wee bit like this…

“Maybe when I grow up, I could be a toy boat maker!”
“and you guys can come, and I would give you boats for free.”
“if I had my OWN workshop, I could make as many boats as i wanted.”
“say I had wood in there, I could make REAL boats.”
“as many as I wanted.”
“I JUST need a workshop.”
“I could make canoes, and rock boats, and even metal ones!”
“if I only had my own workshop.”
“maybe sometime when it’s spring, we could go to the beach and try the boat out.”
“people would probably be CRAZY with THAT.”

As AmyJ pointed out, he could make as many boats as he wanted, because there would be no boat police to stop him.

I love these little glimpses into how their minds work.  It’s so fascinating what comes out of their mouths when you really listen… listen without interrupting.

And now I’m off to figure out how I can give him his OWN workshop for Christmas…  Ja may have a problem with that one.

October09 264

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For some reason…

I find this strangely encouraging…

So next time “they” ask if we can have it all, they really mean “can you do it all yourself?” And the answer, my friends, is no. Behind any woman that seems to “have it all” is probably another woman doing all the dirty work.

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Balance

Wow.  I guess all two of my readers here think I've fallen off the face of the earth, hunh?  But, such is not the case.  we have been very very busy… you know, with the busyness… and the feeding, and the pulling apart of siblings, and the changing diapers, and the feeding, and the pulling apart of siblings…  and on and on.  It has, actually, eliminated my past ability to write reasonably grammatically correct sentences.  Sad, I know.

Since I last wrote, we've had Christmas.  We stayed pretty low key this year, and yet it was still a bit overwhelming.  I don't really feel like I was totally there… in an odd way, and yet I did experience it.  I didn't get dressed all day Christmas day, and we all had a nap in the afternoon.

This having three kids thing is tough.  They outnumber us now.  We're playing that, okay, who gets my attention first game, and let me tell you, they're all battling for first place.

It probably takes us a good two hours to get out the door to get anywhere.  Which, of course, means that spur of the moment trips don't happen very well.  There needs to be planning!  And finding of shoes the night before!  And naps!  There should be lots of naps!

So, we are working on the balance thing.  The kids are getting used to having a baby around.  (Even though we had an entire conversation about how God makes girls girls and they stay girls… their penises don't grow in later on.)  (Don't ask.)  We are not getting used to being the parents of three, but in a strange way we adore it.

And now, to conclude a rambling, incoherent post, a cute baby picture.

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GRRRRR…

So.

Those of you who blog know about comment spam.  The little trolls that go around and post multiple comments, making you think you're all popular!!  But no, really they want to en* la rge your… well… you know what I mean.

I dealt with comment spam by making everyone have to sign up for a ((FREE!!)) account to be able to comment on my blog.  Probably the comments have suffered because of that, but at least the spam is gone!

I have noticed a seeming increase in spam with a few of the blogs I read.  Mandajuice in particular.  I was all like, “oh that so sucks.  The spamming.  The closing of the comments.  etc, etc.”

Until I cruised by my own blog this morning (I don't know why I do that.  I just do.)  I was all wow, trackbacks!  I haven't been writing anything too exciting, but trackbacks are totally cool!!  Until I looked at the linkage.  And now it's trackback spam!!  You have GOT to be kidding me!  I had about 60 or so scattered through various posts. 

Now, now, there are no trackbacks on this blog.  There is also no counting of any urls in the Google county thingy.

Hopefully that will do it.  Otherwise I may have to get the pellet gun and some cat poo.

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So random in it's randomness.

Okay, so I haven't updated in a while.  Why?  BECAUSE I AM KNOCKED UP, YOU FOOLS!  And I have two children under the age of five already!  And I'm stinking tired!

ahem.

So, what we've been up to in list form…

  1. Taking pics at my good friend's brother's wedding.  It was actually kind of fun!  Other than the whole being pregnant and huge and waddling bit, of course.
  2. I love and kind of want to french kiss my chiropractor.  He made my pubic bone troubles soooo much better.  They were really bad… like I couldn't walk without stabbing pain bad.  Now I'm a bit achey, but so much better.  Climbing the stairs doesn't make me want to scream out in agonizing pain while contemplating murdering the one who did this to me…
  3. Ephraim had his first dentist appointment last week.  He was a champ.  Held his mouth wide open and actually stopped talking for ten minutes.  It was beautiful.
  4. Keyzia AND Ephraim started their first ballet class of the year on Friday.  They were great.  Fabulous even.  Ephraim barely stopped talking the whole time, but the cuteness… it could kill you.  Not to mention that he was beaming with joy the entire time.  Keyz was obviously the pro, we're hoping to get her in the next class up, but we'll have to see.
  5. We also got full funding from the city for ballet today!  Hooray!  That's a huge help for us right now.  Especially with me not pulling in any money right now.  We're doing okay, God is very good to us, there simply isn't any extra.

I'm sure there's more, but I really can't think of it right now.  Not to mention that I'm tired and need a nap.  Naps are important.  My life revolves around the naps.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….

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So much to say…

I've been planning a few posts in my head for about a week now.  It started with this package of soap I got in the mail from my fabulous online buddy, Robynn.  Seriously, go to the Ferguson Heritage Soap Factory.  The soap is so amazing (more on that another day). 

Then we found out that a cousin of mine had died in a car accident on his nineteenth birthday.

Then I had a very close call in the van myself.

So, I was thinking, why don't I just post the email that I sent to a good friend of mine instead?  And that's what this is…

Oh Bev… 

What a few days it's been!  A few days that were nutty enough to warrant a whole new email!!

So, because I get sore so easily now, we decided to kind of do one last trip down to my parents and join it up with a visit to Jason's friend who lives just down the road from my parents.  That was fine.  It was a nice visit, got to see my nieces, Ephraim fed some cows.  The men took the kids out on the Gator to see the cows so I had a lovely visit with the wife of the friend.  All good.  The weather was kind of sucky, as you know, but it was still lovely.

Then my dad called us early Sunday morning.  Turns out that my cousin Nathan had died in a car accident Saturday night.  It was his 19th birthday.  This is the second child that this family has lost.  We weren't close to him, but still family is family.  I didn't think they were church goers or saved or anything like that.  So we went to the Wake in Stirling on Tuesday night.  My sister Glenna even bussed in from Kitchener to go, which meant all four of us were there for the wake.  It was quite heartbreaking.  I did really well until we came across the oldest brother, who I did grow up with.  Then him and I both kind of lost it.  However, my aunt was completely thrilled that all four of us had made the effort to come down.  I was really glad about that. 

ANYWAY, this is the amazing part.  I was feeling pretty lost because I don't really know how to grieve for someone who isn't saved…  BUT, JASON'S cousin Julie was at the wake too.  We couldn't figure out the linkage, how they would know each other, that kind of thing.  Not from the same small town, didn't go to the same school…  and Julie is quite a bit older.  It turns out that Nathan was going to their (Julie and her now husband's) youth group.  Les, Julie's husband, and Julie knew him very well, and also knew that he was saved!!  Oh Bev, I was so glad to hear that.  It changed the whole situation somehow, you know?  I felt instant peace.  And I was so thankful that God had put Julie at the Wake, in a spot where we would see her (it was PACKED) at the same time we were there so that we could know.  It was truly truly amazing.

So that was the weekend.

Then, (my goodness, this is a novel!!) yesterday I went to Port Hope to help my friend Jen out by watching her little guy for her.  She just started a new job and was only stuck for this week with no sitter.  No problem, just hung out at her house with her little guy and my two.  My parents were going to be coming into Peterborough yesterday to drop my sister Glenna back off at the bus stop. 

I was coming home with the kidlets down 28, and was just outside of Bewdley when I felt something in the van pop and I lost all control.  The wheel did nothing, it was completely loose.  I felt the van pulling into the oncoming lane, and new I just had to not let that happen.  This was after five, so the highway was really busy….  but, the stretch where this happened there were no cars terribly near me (praise number 3 billion).  I skidded off the highway and onto the shoulder where it was like we stopped abruptly.  I KNOW that it was only the hand of God that got us stopped, that there were no cars to collide with, AND that we didn't roll down the very steep embankment there.  When I got out to see what was going on, the wheels were pointed toward each other…  not a good sign at all!!  I shut the van down, and we were maybe two inches from the embankment.  If that.  Another second or two, and we would have gone over.  If we had have gone into the ditch, we would have wrote off the van, not to mention it was very very likely that we would have rolled it.

SO….  nobody stopped for us.  Even the people that saw it happen.  Until a man pulled in front when he saw me walking with the kids, we hadn't made it very far at all.  He asked me if I needed help, a cell phone, a ride…  I was shaking, so I was probably pretty white too.  I called Jason at work, etc, etc…  This man, all I know is his name is Cam (why didn't I ask him his last name?????)  Was truly amazing and truly sent by God just for me.  He got me completely calmed down, got the kids carseats into his car…  He would have driven us all the way home, but I was trying not to be a bother.  He was going to home depot, so I got him to take us there.  Bev, he stayed with us the entire time we were waiting to be picked up.  About half an hour, to make sure that we were safe.  I kept telling him we were okay and thanks very much, and he insisted that he was going to make sure we were safe.  What a wonderful man.  I was so thankful that he came by.  I didn't have any hesitation about taking a ride from him either…. went with my gut there. 

Jason managed to find my parents and my dad came down and got us from the depot.  The Ja and my dad went to look at the van after dropping us here.  I was really thankful that my mom was here too… after that adrenaline rush, I completely lost it.  I do think I am the main cause for flooding in Peterborough!!!  It turns out that a tie rod (sp??) broke, and that's how I lost control.  Nothing I could have done about it.  Jason was pretty shaken up after he saw how close the van was to the edge too.  My dad managed to rig it together just to get it to a church parking lot or something.  He's going to be able to come up tonight or on the weekend to fix it for us.

I tell ya, though, my faith????  Has increased a hundred fold.  I am so thankful.  If the van had to break down, we couldn't have had a better outcome.  It happened where no cars were around, an awesome guy stopped for us.  My parents just “happened” to be in town that day, my sister took the early bus which meant we could find them.  My cousin is, as we speak, having a feast at the Good Lord's table…  whew! 

And that's my story.

Love,
jamie

 

My faith has really taken a booster shot right in the behind.  And?  Cost to fix the van?  $34.  My dad is great.  My God is an awesome God.

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