Monday, 25 July 2016

There's Gaps in Our Diet

I hate diets.

I don't particularly like being told that I can't have certain things... it tends to make me want them more.

I don't really care for cutting out whole food groups either, it just feels kind of... not unhealthy, but unbalanced.

But things here had to change.

Lion is diagnosed Aspergers. Monkey is undiagnosed something... I feel like it's Aspergers but with different traits to Lion (since we homeschool I'm not pursuing a diagnosis, it won't get extra funding or extra help or extra anything so we'll just plod along). Dragon has an unhealthy gut, without too many details, lets just call it "Mother's intuition". Butterfly is an unknown as yet. She shows a lot of the same "quirks" as Lion and Monkey, but is much more of a mimicker than any of the others were so I'm not sure how many are naturally her and how many are learnt behaviours. Wolf has his own gut issues which I'm sure he'd rather I didn't broadcast. Then there's me... My body is currently not absorbing iron like it should which as you an imagine presents issues when I lose a lot of iron on a monthly basis. I also have nerve damage that we suspect is from B12 deficiency related to the low iron (they are buddies and do everything together, apparently) or possibly Raynauds. I have mood swings that frustrate me and I know are better when my iron/B12 is where it should be, but I'm also so incredibly forgetful that remembering to take my supplements is not happening (and they make me feel sick).

So I researched. I looked into how our diet could help at least some of our issues. I was leaning towards a paleo-ish style menu but would probably still eat those treats that I like because the occasional treat wouldn't be that bad, right?  So I researched and looked and I knew that heaps of people had successfully eased many Aspergers symptoms/traits (I have no idea what to call them) on a wheat free diet so I assumed that would be a large part of what we did, but I'd just replace those things with wheat free replacements... how hard would that be... But I kept looking and coming back to this "Gaps" diet. I researched it some more and it seemed to offer the potential relief of so many of each persons issues. But I wanted something that wasn't just some quack offering to heal everything if you spend a million dollars on all their products. I wanted something backed by science, that still contained good food and wasn't going to leave my family lacking vital nutrition. The further I looked the better it looked. Then I started to see it mentioned on one of my favourite blogs/facebook groups, Quirky Cooking.  Except I realised that I was only just really noticing something she had been talking about for a long time. Jo had even written a program that is similar to what she implemented for her family to take on the Gaps diet. And the best part yet... it wasn't a forever diet! You heal your gut and get it functioning properly, at the same time you are figuring out what foods your body doesn't like, what doesn't work well for you and then you start to add back in foods that you can tolerate and slowly increase the variety you are eating. I LOVE VARIETY!!!

"But I don't need to spend any money, I can do this." I say as I keep researching and researching and slowly become more and more overwhelmed with what I would have to do. Okay, so I spent the money.

Lamb Tagine
One of the Stage 6 recipes Jo has produced

I am so glad I did. There is so much support and help and it's step by step... seriously, how good is that!!! There's a Facebook group for those on the program to chat and help each other and to reassure each other that whatever stage you are struggling on, it will get better.

Even better than all of that... it's not a 6 month membership. It's not a 12 month membership. It's a forever membership! That means that you can take your time to wrap your head around it, go through all of Jo's helpful videos and cheat sheets and read up on what helped other people and THEN start. You can slowly build the recipes into your family's menu plan before kicking off so that it's not such a shock (both to them and their gut) and if you fall off the wagon you don't have to worry about not completing the program, you can go back as far as you need or start again from the beginning and you won't run out of time, you won't get out of sync with the others on the program, you just do it at your own speed.

So here is Clan McTavish, at the starting line of Gaps. We have introduced a few meals from the menu plans that have been met with varied responses (lets just say we have discovered a mutual dislike for a few items which are now off all menus). We haven't bought a loaf of bread for over a week (that's a long time to go without bread for these kids). We have had our last meal of pasta. We finished our last bottle of milk this morning. We are ready to start... but when.

The kids are not keen. They aren't outright rebelling... mostly. But they aren't all for it. I kind of had this fairy land idea that when I explained to them the things that might get better with a diet change they would give up sugar and wheat and potatoes and every comfort food they've ever had on the promise of potential health benefits. Yeah, sounds stupid to me too now that I say it out loud.

So just a word of warning... I'm likely to blog our journey, maybe... that requires remembering to blog it... but it also will mean that I can go back and see how far we've come.  The blog is pretty quiet now, not many visitors still stumble past even when I do post, so it'll likely go rather unnoticed for the most part.

Another word of warning. I'm tired. Chronically tired. Posts are likely to be longish and boringish because I can barely string together two sentences, let alone a blog with cohesive thoughts. Though I'm hoping that's something that might improve. There's been many women reporting that their brain fog has lifted as they improved their diet... so lets see how we go.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Ring my bell

Butterfly is a little hard to understand most of the time. Not because her words aren't clear... it's her meaning that we have trouble figuring out.

About an hour ago we were playing a game where we were throwing this small pink frisbee inside and then when it was my turn to throw it she would leave and I would throw it and then ring the bell for her to come and pick it up for me and bring it back. It really was quite a lovely lazy game for me.

Eventually she got distracted, I didn't ring the bell and she didn't notice.

Fastforward an hour and she is in the bathroom blowing bubbles and I'm messing around on my computer when I hear a command... "RING THE BELL!"

I'm exhausted and it's time for my afternoon coffee so I ignore her and hope for the best.


*sigh* I ring the bell.

She comes running back and starts looking around on the floor, then looks at me exasperated and says "Why did you need me to come and get mine Tinkerbell frisbee right now?"

"I didn't," I reply, "you told me to ring the bell"

"Yes, I told you to ring the bell so I would come and find mine Tinkerbell frisbee for you." She counters.

"Yes, but... I... you... oh never mind."

Sunday, 6 March 2016

No Joke

Monkey read a 208 page joke book today, each double page spread had around 10 jokes on it. I'm his mother and his teacher and I am shocked by this... which I kind of feel bad about, you'd think I would know he could do this stuff.

He sounded out "Archeologist" and then struggled with a word further on and realised that because it was about an archeologist then the word must be tomb. Giraffe was the only one that really got him so stuck I had to help. Not bad for my little year one boy.

I was amazed, astounded, astonished. He even gave up some of his coveted internet time (where they get a bit of time on the weekend to watch their favourite you tubers play minecraft) to read.

But all of that aside... I'm not doing the maths right now but the number of mindless little kid jokes I heard today is somewhere between "That's a crazy lot of jokes" and "that's cruel and unusual punishment".

I'd burn that book tonight while he sleeps... except he's tucked it under his pillow.

No joke.

Monday, 29 February 2016

Old Maths Teachers Never Die...

...They just don't count any more.

Well today maths just about killed us... so just for fun I added a bit more to it.

While I sat with Dragon he took between 30 seconds and 1 minute for each problem depending on which times tables he needed to recall.

While I was busy helping other kids or getting dinner prepped for tonight he took an eternity... well, kind of.

So once he was finally finished we used the same skills he had just been doing in his maths work to figure out just how much time he wasted.

The boy is a professional time waster!

Consequently, this is where I am currently at. 

I put timers on to try to give them an awareness of the passing time and they have a meltdown because I'm "hurrying" them. I let them take as much time as they "need" and they get upset that their maths took soooooooo long. I sit with them to keep them moving and they get upset that I'm being bossy.

Can't win.

Better just drink more coffee...

Sunday, 28 February 2016

We've got the look

A week ago our homeschool group was planning a clean up day in one of the local parks. We were going to take rubbish bags and gloves and go and tidy they place up a bit. Unfortunately it was scheduled for what was supposed to be one of the hottest days of the year with an extreme UV warning...

Mummy McT: "The park activity has been cancelled because it's too dangerous to have all the kids out in the sun cleaning up the park."
Boys: "Awww, it's okay, we would just drink lots of water and we'd be fine"
Mummy McT: "Time to hang out the washing, boys"
Boys: "But mum, it's too dangerous to be outside doing stuff like that because it's so hot"
Mummy McT: *stares them in the eyes* "drink some water"

They know the Mummy Stare... unfortunately some of them have adopted it into their own repertoire of smart-a**ery and can deliver a killer comeback with a deadpan face and eyes locked on their target.

I'm sure it was passed on by genetics and is not a learned behaviour... nope, that one just couldn't be helped... now lets just pray they use it for good and not evil.

Monkey knows the power of a well timed look

Saturday, 27 February 2016

"I don't like writing"

Monkey resists writing as much as possible. The funny thing is he so often writes in his own time. He's actually really enjoying having a way to express himself and it helps us to understand his emotions instead of just having a meltdown.

I'm wondering if these are admissible as writing examples to submit with our homeschooling report...

"Never believe your parents"

"Do not disturb me"

I wish I could remember what I did to deserve these beautifully written signs getting placed around my house... probably something horrible like asking him to do a little more writing for his school work.  But I can't remember, we had our cuddles, we did some exercises to let his body download the drama and we moved on.


If you didn't laugh you'd cry.

All week it was nothing but pain to get even one sentence from him. Then, at 3:30 on Friday afternoon, he decided to write a book. Yes, a book. Just in case you weren't sure the definition of a book is "lots and lots of sentences one after the other" I had to double check with him that we both had the same definition because I honestly couldn't believe it.

I don't know if I should cheer, cry, or tear my hair out.  Maybe I should just write about it.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Do as I say, not as I do.

Going through my draft posts (there's a lot) and found this from March last year.

I'm finding myself in a situation that is all too familiar for one or two of my kids. I've had my confidence knocked... hard.

I've talked all the boys through it at times, even Butterfly in her own little way has been encouraged to "just keep trying" which I guess is much the same thing. I know what I tell them to do, I know I say it because it really is the best advice for the situation. I know that if you believe that what you are doing is right then you need to stand up for yourself. Assess the criticism (which may not even be criticism, but just feels like it), see if it holds merit, decide if you need to change what you are doing or your opinion, then act on your decision. At this point you either stay the same or you change.

Right now I'm at the assessing stage... the more I assess the more I am convincing myself that it's a personal attack... yet somewhere inside I know it's not...


So... nearly a year on... it's kind of still hurting. I spoke to those with knowledge in the field and established that I SHOULD keep going. I saw the problem from both perspectives, I sought more views from the opposing perspective to make sure I understood. I came to the decision that I SHOULD stick to my guns and although in this situation neither party was exactly wrong, they were just different approaches to the same thing, I knew that the answer I had to give to those questioning me was a "your way" or "my way" answer.

But "shoulds" are one thing, next I had to decide if this was a sword I was willing to fall on. Would I step back, allow the requested changes to be made or would I stand firm, believing that it wasn't just "but we've always done it this way" it was actually what was currently the right way to do it?

I stood.

I don't feel like it's a win.

I feel like I'm constantly scrutinised to see if I made the wrong decision... but I also feel like that's stupid and of course I'm not.

Why is it so easy to dish out advice to our kids but to act on it ourselves takes courage that we forget we, and our kids, possess.

I recently told my sweet Monkey to "Just keep doing what you are doing, hopefully you will see the change in your friendship" when he was telling me about a friendship struggle he's having. "I don't want you to talk to X's mum, so maybe it's best if I'm just not friends with X any more." I answered him "well, it's just one part of an otherwise great friendship... stick with it, you'll be glad you did". He's not so sure, but with courage he's going to try. Friendships take a lot of courage. Sticking with a friendship through the hard times takes HUGE amounts of courage.

There's really not much point to this... just a reminder, sent out into the great big internet land, to take courage. What an example we can be to our kids when we really can be proud if they do what we do.