There is a reason I have been unable to keep up with blogging, and it is this:
PARENTING IS HARD!!!!
And I am exhausted. Even with two babies 11 1/2 months apart, even with the second one being extremely collicky and difficult for the first year of his life, even with two moves in our household all before anyone turned the age of three, I am just now really experiencing how hard parenting is.
I was feeling a little down recently because I thought life was supposed to get easier, not harder. And someone reminded me , "Well you do have a 2 & 3 year old!!!" Probably the hardest ages to deal with at the same time!
What makes it a little more difficult right now, is the fact that we have been dealing with Eli and issues that seem to be a little more than just typical two year old issues. My mother-in-law recognized them as behaviors she saw in Craig's oldest brother when he was that age. Tantrums and screaming fits, happy one minute then falling on the floor in a tantrum the next, battling everything from getting out of bed, to getting dressed, to eating breakfast, etc., waking in the night screaming and inconsolable, and contradictory behavior such as wanting something, but hitting it away over and over.
Grandma to the rescue! She introduced me to the Feingold Diet, which did wonders for them over 30 years ago! The Feingold Diet eliminates artificial colors, artificial flavors, preservatives, and salicylates found in a lot of common fruits and vegetables like tomatoes and berries. Dr. Feingold developed the diet in the 1970's after much research on the link between behaviors in children, specifically hyperactivity, and the foods they eat.
After taking away Eli's paci in February we found that his difficult behaviors were much more apparent, and getting worse. At first I thought it was just coping without paci, but I realized that those behaviors had just been masked by the paci all this time.
Almost two weeks ago we decided to take the plunge and become a Feingold family. I was so overwhelmed with the idea of preparing almost everything from scratch, from bread to ketchup. I called my MIL in tears and practically begged her to come and help me get started. She came without batting an eyelash two days later. We got started shopping at the health food store and then cooking up a storm, and within a few days, Eli's behavior started to change. I didn't know what to expect, but I surely did not expect immediate results! Amazing.
I can now say that Eli is a happy, cheerful, normal two year old again! We can communicate and "get through to him" now, such as encouraging him to "eat three more bites" so he can have a snack later. That never worked before, and now he eats the food on his plate! He understands consequences. I have witnessed firsthand what a difference food makes. What a difference the right food makes. It is incredible.
I no longer cook with sugar, I replace it with honey, and I prepare all of our meals from scratch. I love the fact that we are all eating healthier! The hardest part is not being able to drive through McDonald's anymore or pop in a frozen pizza. This initial stage of the diet we're in is very strict, but eventually I can bring back foods and monitor their effect on Eli. I plan on cutting out sugar as much as possible indefinitely, although I think ketchup is going to be one of the first things we try to bring back! There is just no good replacement for store-bought ketchup!
Changing your entire way of cooking and eating is not easy. In fact, it's a lot of work and sacrifice. But God is teaching me that not everything is supposed to be easy, as much as I want it to be. I'm seeing my precious little Eli smile, laugh, and giggle all the time now! And in those long hugs and cuddles I get, it's as if he is saying, "Thank you, Mama, for fighting for me!" That makes it all worth it.