The Author

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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

My Anti-Drugs

I want to thank all of you for your outcrying of support in response to my last blog, as I opened up about our struggles with Vinny over the past few months. It is not easy to admit something like that about your child. I hate labeling him, and I don't want anyone to think differently about him. He is still an amazing little man. He is so kind, compassionate, and respectful. He is a creative genius, an overall well-behaved child, and a good friend. I am lucky to have this little man as my son, and I just want to do whatever I can to help make his life easier.

Speaking of making his life easier, thank you to everyone for all of your suggestions. I finally got a mental health specialist on the phone from our insurance company, and she was very helpful in getting me a long list of people to call for therapy. We are going to go this route first. I also found some books on Amazon about parenting an OCD child. These books have great reviews, so I am hopeful. In addition, I have sent emails to the UCLA OCD specialists. Many friends whose children have similar mental health issues have suggested looking into naturopathic things like changes in diet, and since since so many parents seem to swear  by the difference in their children's behavior with different foods, I figured it was worth looking into.

The suggestions for dietary changes are diverse, but it seems that all across the board, parents with OCD children find results from limiting sugars (particularly sucrose sugars, not really fructose), banning caffeine altogether (which he rarely gets anyway), and limiting or eliminating at least simple carbohydrates (white pasta and white bread, donuts and cookies, etc.), if not eliminating gluten altogether. Since food is very much a comfort to Vinny, I don't want to make radical changes to his diet right away, but since most of this is just healthy eating, I am making the effort to make some simple changes. I planned meals for two weeks attempting to really limit the simple carbs. I bought some gluten-free cookies and treats that Vinny thought looked yummy. I bought a lot of other healthy snacks that Vinny enjoys already- like popcorn and fruit and stuff. Since he already has eaten and enjoys gluten-free waffles and cereal from Trader Joe's, I bought some of those too. Although I tend to pride myself on feeding my children relatively healthy food anyway, I guess I am just going to try to make a more consistent effort at keeping a close eye on his diet. When I think about it, it got a lot worse over the holidays, and he ate a lot of junk food over the holidays, so it does kind of make sense. I am going to remember to give him his multivitamin every day and we are going to try probiotic smoothies, a little bit each day, in hopes that, since it seems to be autoimmune related, boosting his immune system will help.

Honestly, we have had a great weekend. Vinny has been great since Friday night. Fantastic behavior and no real meltdowns. He even let Tiana play in his room for like 5 minutes while I got dressed yesterday, and that was huge for him.

People have reminded me to take care of myself, as dealing with a high strung child can be mentally taxing. I think I am actually pretty good at taking care of myself lately. I think the best way I take care of myself and my mental health is through taking time for myself. I am so lucky to have a husband who understands this and is so supportive. Yesterday morning I went to yoga with a good friend and soaked in the spa afterwards. I could not have possibly had a more relaxing morning. Then, last night, it was Mom's Night Out with The Mommy Network, a playgroup/mommy support group of sorts that I belong to. These women are a uniquely awesome bunch. Mom friends like this are not easy to find. Everyone is willing to take turns driving on these Mom's Night Out events, and everyone is laid back and into just having a good time. Plus, they are genuinely willing to try anything. We've gone go cart racing, dive bar hopping, shooting pool, bowling, dancing, you name it. Last night was no exception. You know you've had a good time when you end up running barefoot through In N Out at 1:30 in the morning. Although I could barely force my body off the couch this morning, my spirit felt renewed today. To all my mommy friends... you are my favorite anti-drug.

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