Eye of newt

By Mir
May 13, 2006

So it appears, from the lackluster response to the previous post, that y’all are just as underwhelmed about the whole “getting out there and meeting people” thing as I am. I was anticipating a bunch of inspiration and instead I sort of feel like… hey, so what if I die alone! Lots of people do that! And I am rather enjoying having deep discussions with my bedside lamp! It’s an excellent listener and that’s almost like having a mate!

Stop snickering at me. My lamp says you’re just jealous.

But you know, the thing that I worry about, is that I fear I’m becoming out of practice with the whole normal socialization thing. (Translation: I think I’m getting weird. Weirder than before, anyway.)

I have a lot of things on my mind, these days. There’s work, of course, and everything that goes along with that. (To simulate: Try rapid alternation between “How am I going to get all of this DONE?” and “I have GOT to get some more work in here.” If it doesn’t raise your blood pressure, try it again with FEELING.) There’s the other people in my life with whom I try to stay up-to-date and involved. There’s the kids–school, activities, chores, feeding, etc. There’s all the other STUFF that goes along with claiming to be living in a cave but really being far too available for my own good.

[Here is what happens when I’m not paying close enough attention to the words that fall out of my mouth: “Oh, yes, sure… I would LOVE to handle the PTA newsletter.” Wait, what? Crap.]

Anyway. In the midst of this, I have decided to heal my son because none of the professionals involved are taking care of things quickly enough to meet my approval. That is to say, I am fighting the internal battle of Earth Mother vs. Rational, Cautious Mother.

As Earth Mother, I believe that I should KNOW (due to maternal instinct, natch) what the problem is and how to best approach it. Much the same way as I know when one of the kids is lying, or when I’ve entered a room where something has just been broken. Earth Mothers SENSE and INTUIT and whatnot. (More on this in a minute.) As Rational, Cautious Mother, I believe I am being too impatient and I should just wait for one of these professionals to tell me what is going on and how to modify Monkey’s behavior and make him happy again.

The problem, I think, is that while grappling with something of this nature, I become rather insufferable to those very people who are supposed to be helping.

But let’s back up. I actually believe wholeheartedly in the “mothers know” thing. When I stopped just FREAKING OUT and running around telling people “OH MY GOSH THE SKY IS FALLING AND ALSO MY SON HAS CHRONIC ANTS IN THE PANTS! EEK!” and took some time to just sit with it and analyze the issues at hand and the possibilities, things started coming in to focus.

So here’s my Earth Mother prediction, and I guess I can offer to eat my blog if it turns out to be wrong: I don’t think Monkey has ADHD. I don’t think he has any sort of psychological disturbance at all, actually. I think he still has food allergies. I think this is going to turn out to be linked to his diet. This is (one could argue) excellent news, if it turns out to be true.

Rational, Cautious Mother knows that this sort of food allergy is not well understood, and in fact is the domain of woo-woo homeopaths and other questionable health practitioners. This doesn’t mean it’s not necessarily the path to a solution, for us, but it DOES mean that it might be quite difficult to find the support that we need without having to drink the Rainbows and Butterflies Vegan Kool-Aid, if you catch my meaning.

So. Back to being weird. Here I am–feeling, on the one hand, rather peaceful and relieved, because I think I’ve hit upon the explanation which makes perfect sense. It all fits. He has a history of food allergies, of gastro issues, of year-round sinus issues that never seem to resolve, of asthma, of eczema. He supposedly “outgrew” an early milk allergy, but all of those things I just listed? Symptoms of milk allergy.

On the other hand, I fear The Weirdos. I would like some professional guidance, but I am not interested in someone who will tell me to eliminate milk and oh yes, by the way, also anything other than organic spelt and millet, plus would I be interested in buying this nutritional supplement made from only the finest all-natural dried ground wood sprites?

So on Friday, when I took the kids to see the therapist, I was okay on the first round of communication. I sat in her office and said, “You know, I think this is dietary, and here’s why.” I outlined my reasoning, and she nodded and agreed that it sounded probable. “So do you know someone who specializes in this sort of thing?” I asked. No, she didn’t. She could give me the name of a nutritionist, but for non-traditional food allergies I’d probably need… a homeopath. And she wasn’t sure whom to recommend. But she had a colleague who might know someone, and she’d see if she was around to talk to me.

When this other person came out to chat with me (by then, Chickadee was back with the therapist, and Monkey was folding himself underneath my chair, declaring it to be his “cozy den”), I was okay for about the first two sentences. Then I blurted out, “But you understand, I don’t want someone who’s going to recommend tongue of bat.”

She blinked at me. I think she was trying to decide if I was having some sort of seizure.

“Uhhhhh…” I scrambled to clarify, “I mean, I just need some guidance on an intelligent way to try an elimination diet for him. But I don’t want someone who’s going to insist he needs a million herbs.” Understanding dawned on her face. I smiled in relief. But then I continued, “Do you know anyone like that to recommend? Non-traditional, but not, you know, INSANE?” She moved to the far edge of her chair. It took me a minute to realize what I’d just said. (Subtext: The people you normally recommend ARE insane, but I want one of the non-insane ones! Which you probably wouldn’t know, being as how you are all about the insane ones! TONGUE OF BAT!) In my head, a small voice inquired if I have to work hard at being a socially maladjusted dork with perpetual foot-in-mouth disease, or if it just comes naturally.

For the record, I’d like it known that I never say the wrong thing to my lamp. On the other hand, I don’t think I’ve ever managed to insult it while asking it for help, either.

(Stay tuned to find out if Milk Is Not Our Friend. I shall practice discussing it calmly and without prejudice with some sentient volunteers before trying it out here.)


  1. Deborah

    Good Luck. I hope you and your professionals get this figured out quick and Monkey is back to his happy self soon.

  2. Gillian

    I think you are right to trust your instincts. Boring as it sounds, I think the first thing you need to do is start journaling what Monkey eats and what his behavior is like. An expert can give you a ‘don’t give him anything but rice cakes for three days and then add things one at time’ advice, but it still comes down to you. As one of the allergic masses, it is about what is new or different first. But that is not always the answer because one can develop new allergies. The real work involves documenting everything and then looking for patterns.

    MY lamp is sullen and never has much to say. sigh.

  3. Em

    How about finding a homeopath affiliated with a hospital? I think some of the Boston hospitals (I’m thinking Mass General specifically) have such things. My theory is that if they are working with “real doctors”, they probably have to walk a line and not stray too far toward the rainbows and butterflies.

    And I bet they wear shoes.

  4. Mom

    Shoes? You mean sandals with socks?

  5. paige

    I’ve got a kid with milk allergy issues that he had supposedly outgrown. He’s also cross-allergic to soy. Or was.

    Food allergies can be very tricky to pin down. Try to find a Registered Dietician. The ones I’ve worked with are incredibly knowledgeable and deal with “real world” eating issues. No tongue of bat. Ours was extremely helpful with the food issues and elimination diets. As a plus, we didn’t feel deprived on the elimination diet.

    Good luck!

  6. hollygee

    Good for you! I think that you are on the right track and I like Paige’s idea about a registered dietician. I wish you luck without too much elimination discomfort in your search for the allergies.

  7. Bob

    Cracks me up, girl!

    You know, you just might have given this lady a wiff of a notion that you think there are a few extremists in homeopathy. I know I am all about helping people when the first thing out of their mouth is “you people are frickin’ nuts, but I am willing try anything to help my son”. Just sayin’

  8. Cele

    First off, you won’t die alone, we will be hear to read all about it when you blog.

    Second off, I think Paige had an excellent idea, I do like the registered dietician answer.

    Third done. I did the elimination diet at the age of 30 – whoa so long ago. But it was for a similar reason to Monkey – PMS, both physical but even more psychological. My triggers changed over time. It helped to eliminate
    and put back in to find the causes.

    Good luck Mir.

  9. Beverlee

    At the risk of being annoying, I am again going to mention the Celiac disease thing (which I mentioned in the earlier post). It is quite common for Celiacs to have lactose intolerance as well.
    I think you’re on the right track anyway!

  10. Kym

    Im confused…. what do you need a professioinal for? Just eliminate things one at a time… You are smart and have access to the internet. :)

    Am I missing the point?

    I didn’t try to write you a personal ad because I couldn’t be witty. ::shrug::

  11. Mary Tsao

    I know what you mean — it’s hard to do certain things in our society (like adhere to a certain kind of diet) without completely embracing whatever *lifestyle* happens to be associated with it.

    I’m with a pp, I would try a book maybe? Although I think it might be easier to persuade your son (and the world) that you’re doing the right thing if you have a doctor to back you up.

    Crap, I wanted to write something witty about online dating but the kids are screaming and it’s just not a funny atmosphere here.

    Happy Mother’s Day!

  12. foodmomiac

    Have you heard of NAET? My friend is a practitioner in L.A. (I know, not close enough to help you.) Anyway, it is an alternative therapy that seeks to eliminate allergies through acupressure. I do not understand it at ALL, but I’ve seen the positive effects. Feel free to email me for more information. You can also go to http://www.naet.com. Good luck!!

  13. Kira

    Mmm…dried ground wood sprite…

  14. Velma

    I think with a little judicious editing you may have just written yourself a personal ad! Substitute “anal sex” for “tongue of bat” and “open relationship” for “million herbs,” and voila! The phrase “non-traditional, but not INSANE” could be your new mantra!

  15. Brenda

    Try substituting almond milk, vanilla flavored works great on cereal and for general drinking purposes. The chocolate is excellent! I don’t care for just plain almond milk, but some people really like it.

    Don’t put him on soy. Soy is difficult to digest and could make him worse.

    My older son and I are gluten intolerant (like Celiac disease), which is related to our mild Asperger’s Syndrome. People with AS also often cut casein out of their diets, but we’ve managed to function without that (giving up wheat, oats, barley and rye are hard enough).

  16. Juliet

    There’s something called MSA testing that I got done on my daughter last summer (need to repeat now, but that’s a story for another, very boring time). Anyway, it identifies the food sensitivities that a regular allergist just laughs at you for suspecting. We took my daughter off of wheat, barley, rye after the testing and it cleared up a lot of her, em, digestion issues. Incidentally spelt and millet were her two more severe allergies, but she wasn’t eating those regularly anyway…

    I don’t know how you would find someone who does MSA testing where you are. I’m in Chicago and got it through HomeFirst Health, the local sandals-with-socks homebirth family practice.

    Good luck.

  17. Lesley

    On allergies and internet dating, I got nothing. The registered dietician struck me as an excellent idea. As for dying alone, twould be a shame. You are so damn funny with “Tongue of Bat!”

  18. Jenn2

    Purely anecdotal evidence, but I have a student whose academic life has been pockmarked by med changes, behavior contracts, etc. When Mom found a registered dietician and began changing his diet, everything fell into place.

    I think you’re on the right track, Mir. My fingers are crossed.

  19. Angel

    I have to admit, when I read that post, my first thought was “food allergies”, but only because my son has them (milk, eggs, nuts).

    The food diary and dietician are excellent ideas, as well as an allergist (we *heart* ours). And honestly, the only regular supplements we have our son on are probiotics, Omega 3’s, and a chewable vitamin–but those are mostly for his eczema.

    We’re just in the process of switching to rice milk from soy.

    Feel free to email anytime–I hope you find some answers soon! And good for you for trusting your instincts!

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