Posted by [email protected] on February 26, 2014 at 11:45 PM
When I was a child I I got awful tummy aches.  My mom's  remedy was a mug of warm milk.  Turns out I was lactose intolerant.  Good job, Mom!  

Now I'm the mom.

Out of my three boys, at least two of them are terribly sensitive to artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners (I know, everything)!  Of course, like my mom, it took me a while to figure this out.  Eventually I noticed that each time one of my guys had a lollipop (or some other colorful goody), he'd break out in hives.  We pulled back the treats a bit, saving them for special occasions when the kid just needed a "win."  My word.  You know, "it's been a tough day, let's stop for a slurpy on the way home from school" type of win!

As he got older I noticed this child would break out in hives and even stutter when he'd have a bag of skittles.  Horrified I clenched the empty candy wrapper in my hand, raised it to heaven and cried, "How can a child be a child without skittles, and sprinkles on cupcakes?"  Shoot, forget the sprinkles... even pre-made, white, vanilla frosting has artificial colors in it (not to mention all the other evil stuff I'm starting to learn about!)  I knew I was onto something that went deeper than Halloween and Easter candy... it was going to stretch us to the far reaches of our pantry shelves, into each classroom celebration, and half-time soccer snack.  Good-bye gatorade and fruit snacks!  The poor kid was cut off, cold-turkey,  after a terrible break out of hives after church camp last year.  he came home with five empty King-Size candy wrappers, and hives on every inch of his little person.

I knew it wasn't fair, but I the other two boys would get the good stuff when their brother wasn't around... you know, "it's just our little secret".  And then one day, totally unrelated, or so I thought, another one of my kiddos started having emotional mood swings and said such sad disparaging things about himself.  One night he cried, "I feel coo-coo on the inside of my brain."   The next day after school I did what any well-intentioned mum would do, I took him  to 7-11.  Because there's nothing a slurpy can't fix!  Never mind my four year old's observation later that night, "Look, my poo-poo's bright blue!"

I know I'm giving general symptoms, but know that these two boys had more very specific and heartbreaking physical and emotional outbreaks before I saw the correlation and took the entire family off of the artificial gunk.  (Okay, my husband still eats gummy bears!)  Baby steps!  It's been baby steps, and those of you who are really natural, organic, tree-hugging types, you'd be horrified to see what we are still eating, but I'm learning and changing the way we eat (and reward... and soothe...) here in our home.

Maybe one day I'll post about our choice to go wheat  and dairy free for at least two of us - or maybe I won't, since I'm no nutritionist.  But the point is this, we're doing the best we can.  Aren't we?  Ladies?  Mamas?  Aren't we?

One area I fail desperately is in the Vegetable Patch!  Okay, figuratively not literally!  Because it's what parenting really comes down to, right? The glorious green bar, measuring if we're good enough... because we're getting enough good stuff in them, in this artificial, neon colored, chemical laden world.

As a person who doesn't love vegetables (okay, I abhor most) this isn't easy for me.  However, I've found one way to get more fruits and veggies in my kids than most traditional veggie-eating families today.  I serve them RAW!  A serving at lunch and then another two or three either with their dinner (or in a baggie before - sort of like an appetizer.)  This above picture is of tonight's tri-colored plate.  I added a side of meat before taking it to the table.  Sometimes I feel guilty that I'm not serving them "grown up vegetables", but then I remember that it's okay if I'm me!  Me doing the best I can do for my kids is absolutely more than alright.  They get cooked veggies at dinner time a couple times a week, (most weeks) but this is the way I can do it... and do it in big servings, and do it often.  And when we go out to eat, guess what my kids get in the car?  A baggie of peppers and snap peas, or apples and carrots... then, once we arrive at Islands or Panera or Rubios, they can have their burgers and fries, sandwich and chocolate milk, or quesadilla and chips.

Let's get RAW here, friends:  I said it before, I fail in many ways.  Many ways, many days... but I'm learning, however slow it comes, and I'm accepting that I'm okay as I learn.  Love covers a multitude of sons, and sins, and growing up days, and debauckeled tuck ins, and mismatched Sunday mornings.  And it's all alright.  

Sometimes I soothe my mothering-self as I pack veggie baggies instead of sauteing Harry Coveirs green beans, by singing the old Amy Grant song "All I ever have to be is what you've made me.  Any more or less would be a step out of your plan.  As you daily recreate me help me always keep in mind, that I only have to do what I can find... All I ever have to be is what you've made me."

Keeping it RAW here tonight before I head to bed.  Never guessed I'd right about veggies.

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1 Comment

Reply Tammy
2:52 PM on March 3, 2014 
I love this! Of course, you knew ahead of time that I would! :)
You are a wonderful mom who is willing to make personal sacrifices for the benefit of your children. They know you aren't perfect. That actually works to our advantage. They grow as they see us learn from our mistakes and learn how to overcome them. One thing that we learned from Stephen's teachers recently is that we need to remember to involve him in more decision making processes. This can work with our food choices. With your boys, you can say, "Hey, boys! We need to prepare a healthy colorful snack before we head out the door to soccer practice. Who has some good ideas on what we should make?" This gets them in the habit of making healthy decisions of their own. Skills they'll remember and take with them as they go off on their own some day. Lord willing!