An Interesting Word

We have been struggling with our 2nd daughter for some time.  Maybe struggling is not the right word.  Maybe I am using the wrong word to describe our often…difficult…relationship.

strug·gle/ˈstrəgəl/verb

gerund or present participle: struggling

1) make forceful or violent efforts to get free of restraint or constriction
2) strive to achieve or attain something in the face of difficulty or resistance
3) have difficulty handling or coping with
4) engage in conflict
5) make one’s way with difficulty
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Nope.  We have definitely been struggling with her.  We just cannot seem to understand her; nor she us.  She fights everything we try to do.  If we are ‘up her butt like a ham sandwich’ (good imagery there right?)…or we are giving her space…it never seems to be the ‘right’ thing.
And it breaks my heart.  Because I want for my child to be happy.  I understand she is going through a lot of changes right now.  We are homeschooling for the first time.  Her best friend left this past summer.  (Mine too!)  She is going through hormonal changes.  And now…we have discovered an unsettling trend.  She seems (and I am not a clinician, but all signs point to this) to have a slight eating disorder.  I mean, it either is or isn’t…close enough only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

Image courtesy of Simon Howden ‘Message’ / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I found this online and thought it was brilliant!

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This really helped us put things in perspective with regard to her and we trying to make it work.  She is not exactly a complete introvert, but there are a lot of similarities for her and it was a good talking point with her.  I showed her this chart and asked her if she thought that any of these applied to her and she nodded her head and said yes.  Okay.  We can and will work with this.

ID-10016888Now before you think I have left the eating disorder issue, I have not.  It’s just one more cog in the wheel of how this child ticks.

Through some research and observing her behaviors, my hubby and I think she has what is known as ‘Avoidance/Restrictive Eating Disorder’.  (The link it to a site we stumbled upon about Restrictive Eating Disorder)  She has been limiting things she eats and then avoids situations where she has to eat at all, particularly at a family friends house.  This has come about in the last month or so.  She has been cranky.  Lacks focus.  She has gotten skinnier than she already is.  When I hug her, I can feel her rib cage and her spine.  Mind you, she has always been on the thin side…so this is not normal.  Dark circles under the eyes.  Just a whole lot of things, that when taken separately might not mean anything, but when put all together…they produce a bigger picture that is not healthy.

Image courtesy of Idea Go ‘Corda Strappata’ / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I know, I have been there.  Oh believe, me…I have been there.

I was a figure skater in my tween/teen years and I know about restrictive eating disorders, but because I ate, I didn’t think I had an issue.  Boy, was I wrong!  Counting every calorie, limiting my intake and avoiding certain foods are all part of this cycle…but because I still ate food…I thought there was nothing wrong with me.  I exercised, ran, swam…did aerobics and skated on top of that!  All while probably only eating enough calories to get me by…but because (in my mind) I was still eating meals, there was nothing wrong.  I didn’t binge.  I didn’t purge.  I didn’t even starve myself.  But if a package said, 5 crackers was 120 calories, I would only eat 5 crackers.  It wasn’t until I was older and had my 1st child that I realized the problem I truly had with food.  And I still struggle with my weight.  (There’s that word again!)

The point is:  We are watching, monitoring and hopefully, making the best choices when it comes to her well-being.  We don’t want her to get to a breaking point.  We don’t want to get to a breaking point either.  We are trying to teach all our children that food is good for you.  That everything needs to be done in moderation.  Sigh.  Parenting is hard.

Today was a better day.  We monitored what she ate, but didn’t do it in a way that called attention to her.  Made sure she ate foods that were rich in protein and not just junk.  She ate a healthy lunch.  So it’s going to take a while, but as with everything else, I know it will be worth it.  And a light…a glimmer of good…when we prayed over our food today for lunch, she actually grabbed my hand and joined in!  Lately, she has also been rejecting prayer too.  Sigh.  I know.  Lots going on with this one.  BUT…we are prayerful and thankful that we have our Lord to guide us through this.

Book Review: Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle

Absolutely loved, loved, LOVED!!!!!!  (lots of exclamation points) this book.

Sparkly Green Earrings-Catching the Light at Every Turn by Melanie Shankle had me laughing and crying and thinking.  I loved her pull-up-a-chair-grab-a-cup-of-coffee-you’re-gonna-be-here-awhile attitude and writing style.

Mrs. Shankle writes about all the funny and slightly terrifying things that happen when  you become a M-O-M.  She writes about the ugly…and the funny.  And she writes about the heartbreak and ache we go through when a baby becomes a dream and a dream becomes a baby.  (Been there and cried while I was reading it.)

This book is great and a fun read.  And Gentle Reader, it is full of faith.  Full of love of the Lord and His goodness in our lives, through the good and the bad.

It’s not anything that is going to be life changing.

But oh, Gentle Reader, if you are a mother or a mother to be or are hoping to be a mom, here is a book that will tell you the trials and tribulations you could possibly go through.  It talks about (with much humor and humility) the never-ending poop explosion when you have a baby.  You know, the poop that seems to end up everywhere, stick to everything and still smells no matter how many times you have washed everything?  The kind that ends up in the baby’s hair AFTER it managed to creep up his/her back??  The sleepless nights, where you literally could kill for just 45 minutes of uninterrupted sleep.  The ickies your kid will bring home.  The puke you will get in your hair and catch in your hands.  Yeah, good times.  But it is oh, so worth it!  I promise!

And it will make you think about how many times you have failed as a mother and the triumphs you have also accomplished and how your life has drastically changed because of this little scrap of humanity that calls you “Mom”.  It’s nice to know that there are others, like me, who have been more worried about what the other mom’s do versus just letting my kid…be, well…a kid.  And how liberating it is to just say “Whatever,” and call it good.

I love that Mrs. Shankle has this great relationship with not only her husband but her best friend as well.  I love her honesty about motherhood, friendships and trying to compete in mom-dom.  I don’t know what her voice sounds like, but for me, Mrs. Shankle has this down-home sweet Texas drawl (she’s from Texas) that resonated within me.  She is a woman I would like to meet and have coffee with.

Sparkly Green Earrings is a great little book to sit down and enjoy.  I did just that.  I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Breaking a momma’s heart

I happened to walk outside the other day onto our patio.  I don’t know what led me out there…maybe an inkling that something was not quite right.  I didn’t hear the kids playing outside like I normally do.

That’s when I saw it.  My son.  Standing outside his friend’s house looking through the window, while the friend and another neighborhood boy were playing inside.  The crestfallen look on my boy’s face, broke this momma’s heart.

There he stood, in his hand me down Tae-kwon-Do uniform.  He likes to pretend he’s Luke SkyWalker, so he can be like the other boys and play StarWars.  He really likes to play Transformers, but one of the boys doesn’t like that, so they play what he wants to play.  My boy doesn’t care…as long as he gets to play.

“Boy!” I say.  “What are you doing?”

He turns and looks at me, his big brown eyes sad, with tears shimmering on the surface.  “Nothing.”

“Where are the other two?”  I ask.

His head drops a bit and he looks back through the window.  “Inside.”

“Why are you not inside too?”

He shrugs non-committally.  “I don’t know.”  he hangs his head again and scuffs his foot into the dirt.  “They didn’t ask me to.”

I can feel the rapid pulse in my chest and the constriction.  Ah, dear sweet boy…kids can be cruel.  I tell him to come home, but he refuses.  I cannot stand to see him there, looking forlornly through the window as the boys inside literally play right where he can see them.  I order him to come talk to me in the front of our house.

As he starts to leave, the boys try to sneak out of their house so they can run to the upstairs portion and go back inside.  My boy sees them and the tears come in earnest.  He even starts to walk to me, then walks over to the other portion of the house and looks through the window again.

“Come home, son.”  I tell him.  He’s bawling by the time he reaches me.

I hold him tenderly in my arms and tell him to stop crying.  It’s not worth crying over.  He’s only 5 years old and doesn’t get why his “friends” who are 3 years older than him, don’t want to let him play with them. 

Then I remind him to remember what “this” feels like…and to never do it to someone else.  It’s a hard lesson for him to learn.  Kids are mean.  They are rude and they don’t care…unless YOU as the parent, make them care.

The situation reminds me of my own childhood.  I was that kid standing outside my “friends” house…looking in the window, waiting for the other kids to invite me inside.  They never did.  I was good enough to play with when the other kids were not home, but I was not good enough when they did come home.

I remember my mother telling me to forget about it; to just go play by myself; to find someone else to play with.  Who?  I would think.  Who else is there?  I would hide for days in my room after my chores were done…not playing with anyone…until the vicious cycle started again.  I would ride my bike by myself…get lost in the woods and play in the creek, pretending to be a lost princess without a home or friends or family.  Yes, I learned to create something out of nothing…but I didn’t want to.

I wanted to belong…sigh…I still do.

My son is tender-hearted.  I don’t want him to lose that…but…I don’t want him to be a doormat either.  As he gets older, I want him to be empathetic, but I also want him to not compromise his faith or beliefs just to fit in.  We have certain rules…we are given certain rules by our Creator.  I think it is best said in the Wisdom of Ben Sira Chapter 6:7-8 (New American Bible)

“When you gain friends, gain them through testing, and do not be quick to trust them.  For there are friends when it suits them, but they will not be around in time of trouble.”

Oh sweet boy…you have so much to learn…as do I.