We had a playdate with a pair of twins and their mom, new friends from Stella's class. The KPs, I call the twins, as those are their initials. The KP's mom is a nurse. That's her, above. Her name is AC. Her initials stand for a Russian literary heroine. Her dad was into that sort of stuff. AC works the graveyard shift at the hospital on weekends. She has two older boys as well. That's four kids if you're counting at home. And the career. And she is so upbeat. This put me to shame when I first met her. A little. For most of my mom career, I've been getting my ass kicked with just two measly kids. I've been broigus. I've kvetched. Vented. Thrown tantrums. Curled up on my bedroom floor. Not every day mind you. But on and off for the past six years. Kind of like living with PTSD.
I gently interrogated AC when she came over, the way I do sometimes with people. I always hope they'll feel complimented and see it as charming, my rapid-fire questions. I muse that maybe they'll think me a journalist angling for a cover story and bask in my attention. People don't always follow my script though. Sometimes they bristle. But that's another post.
AC though, she didn't seem to mind and even let me take her picture for the blog. I was struck with how much energy she has to follow through with her kids, on things like manners, sitting properly at the table, and this little detail which I've since thrown into my own repertoire—she teaches them to ask, "How are you?" after they've been asked. I never thought to do this, but I'm starting now and it's a kick. Grown-ups break out in ear-to-ear smiles when asked how they are by a child. I'm tickled by this. A little less broigus. Which makes everyone happy in the Miller household.
Did I mention that AC's husband is deployed in Iraq? Yeah. I no longer have any complaints. And one other tiny detail. She home schools. I have been thoroughly humbled.
Usually when I meet someone who puts me to shame with their amazing attitude in the face of a huge workload or stress or strife, I become ashamed. I take their MO personally, and take to my bed sooner or later. This time though I just feel happy to know her, and inspired. It helps that she's not a critical bitch. She laughs at my humor and seems to genuinely enjoy my company.
I have more energy these days myself. That's what's up with all the baked goods. For one thing, Hamish had his birthday. (Cupcakes.) For another, I've been making these smoothies with banana and raw honey, coconut oil, raw milk and egg yolks. Freaking delicious, not that Bryan agrees, but. More for me. So I'm left with a lot of egg whites. I made some pecan meringue clouds and macaroons and sent some to work with Bryan.
I owe it all to The Vegetarian Myth. I read last night that the author, Lierre Keith was assaulted at a book fair in San Francisco as she was condemning the use of factory farms. Three guys hit her in the face with pepper spray-laced pies. Can you imagine actually doing that to someone who wrote a book you had a problem with? That's one hell of a book. The message boards are crackling out there. I bring it up to show my support because her book has woken me up about a lot of stuff. I'm making changes I never saw coming, and I thank her for that.
Like, we joined a local farm cooperative. I know, I know. There are so many people who've been doing this for years and feel no need to show off about it. Me, I just fell off the turnip truck and I'm sitting here gooning it up like I invented the concept. Forgive me please. I'm going through a wonderment phase. I'm even thinking about buying some chickens. Just last month I was thinking very seriously about buying some boots. Okay. I still want boots.
Stella helps with the cooking, now that I'm doing more of it. She's a whiz at scissoring carrot tops, peeling garlic, whipping cream and the now notorious egg whites. Hamish wanders in from time to time to ask when dinner'll be ready, but he's not as interested right now in the prep work.
My mood, and this is the most important, most life-changing aspect, is improving too, maybe healing from all that PTSD (Parenting Traumatic Stress Disorder). This latest book I'm reading, The Mood Cure, explains how what we eat can make us happy or make us into raving bitches who spiral into a shame-soaked self-loathing so black we have to hide under a blanket in a darkened bedroom.
I was eating the raving bitch diet my whole adult life until last month: soy, starch, canola, caffeine. And now I'm like, really? My FOOD impacts my mood this much? Because it's a new world out there now. I keep waiting to despise myself, waiting to see if I'll take some tiny nothing-puff and obsess it into a heaving rabid ogre. I keep waiting for a shitty moment to flower into a shitty self-image, and I keep waiting to go apeballs on my mother. I've seen her a few times, and it's been okay. It's eerie.
I marvel daily, how did I not know this? How did my three (maybe four) therapists over the past dozen years not know to ask what I was eating? Because they weren't nutritional therapists, that's why, says my most recent therapist, who didn't double over in hysterics when I told her last week that I wanted to take a break because I feel THAT much better mentally. Because of food. Whoa. I will see her again in June to check in.
So. Now I'm eating the mommy-has-enough-energy-and-patience-to-get-through-the-day-without-going-postal diet, which doesn't mean I don't lose it at my kids now and then. They are supremely irritating at times (like they tell me I am to them) but it doesn't destroy me like it did before. It hasn't anyway. But watch out, tomorrow after having posted this, I'll make a liar out of me. In the meantime, it comes down to fat, protein and vegetation. It's been almost a month. I'm supposed to get my period any day. I will be paying close attention. I'll blog you with my tail between my legs if this good mood jazz all turns out to be a weird trip down cuckoo lane. But maybe by then I'll be so far gone it won't matter.
Even the kids are starting to eat differently. Whole milk, less crap, more protein. Could that be why Hamish helped fold the laundry the other day?
Maybe, maybe not. The point is, the kid takes direction, his folding technique is second to none, and his help allows me a little extra time to marvel some more.
And how are you?