Those that know me well know that I'm frequently at odds with the neediness of my kids. I feel like half my Facebook updates are something to the effect of, "OMG, why can't these kids stop crying and give me a break?"
It's not that I'm a bad mother (although I've been told in not-so-tactful ways that I make bad choices where my family is concerned). It's as if something is a little "off" with my kids, specifically Boo. We've consulted his pediatrician, an old-school kind of guy who's apparently seen everything there is to see and can boil it all down to a discipline problem. We've had a consult with a child psychologist who ultimately said he's not autistic but he's highly anxious, and if we feel like it's still a problem later we can come see her again.
I've wrestled with the idea of going back to work so I can stick the kids in daycare part of the day, with the objective of a more structured environment settling some of the behavior issues. At the very least, it would give me a break from the screaming and crying. But I feel like I'd be throwing them to the wolves if I did that. These kids are sensitive. They need constant reassurance, hand-holding, pats on the back. But it always has to come from me, and I'm exhausted.
People tell me, "we all have those days," and "this, too, shall pass." But I don't believe it. No one has gone through a day at our house and seen the range of emotions, the levels of aggression, the bizarre way a child can go from playing quietly to full-blown tantrum at the drop of a hat.
Most of my internet time goes toward perusing boards and support groups for food allergies and FPIES. Other moms have some crazy issues, too, although not exactly the same as what I'm going through. But a common theme of speculation is, what did we do during pregnancy, or what happened in the first months of life, that triggered this stuff. So many things seem to run in families: allergies, GI issues, sensory-processing disorders, ADHD, depression, anxiety. But then there are environmental factors like exposure to GMO foods, antibiotics, vaccines, or other medications.
Everyone has a theory and often those theories do not agree (co-sleeping or Ferberizing, for example). The only thing anyone can seem to agree on is that there's no one-size-fits-all cure for any children's health issue.
For a long time now, my most common search words have been: allergies, intolerance, sensitivity, anxiety, eczema, baby sleep problems, toddler discipline, behavior. I think I've exhausted every book that's come up under these terms in the Hennepin County Library system. So I've expanded. Now I'm skimming a pile of books on autism, ADHD, sugar addiction, and gluten sensitivity. And slowly but surely, the clues are starting to emerge. Even though autism and ADHD haven't been diagnosed (and I'm pretty sure won't be), learning about how they are treated is getting me, in a roundabout way, to look at the role nutrition could play in all of this.
To be continued...