...I sort of feel like I'm not being given any real choices, here. And if I'm being railroaded into this, everyone else is going down with me. Since at least one of my girls is going to be extremely unhappy about these changes (possibly even more unhappy than me), I'm going to leave them this little letter here (and, I guess I should leave some sort of explanation below it for the rest of you, huh?):
My dearest girls,
Let me start by reminding you, because you probably don't remember this right now: I love you. Completely and truly. So does your father. We are totally in love with both of you, and we are only trying to do what's best for all of us. I know you're upset by these changes we're asking of you, and you probably don't believe that right now, but we truly do love you both.
We wouldn't be doing this if we didn't love you and want you both to be happy and healthy, to live long and prosper. Believe me, I'm sure I don't like these changes any more than you do...
I was pretty sure they were going to be necessary, eventually. These last several weeks have more than proved that to me. But, I wanted to do this a lot more gradually and gently. I knew that it would be much easier for you both. And for me. Unfortunately, circumstances don't seem to be allowing for gradual or gentle.
I know that your daddy and I are asking a lot of you. We want and need your cooperation for this, if it's going to be as painless a change as possible. But I know it won't be easy. Not for any of us. Well... Okay, your daddy thinks it's going to be great, and he's very overly enthusiastic about it, in my opinion. We'll all do our best to try to forgive him for that as we all suffer through these next weeks- or years.
Yes, my dears, I said years. I know. I didn't say it would be easy. It's not. Especially for me. You are both going to have a lot of bad habits to unlearn, and a lot of adjustments to make here, but me? I have a lot more years of bad habits to break, and a lot of learning to do- as quickly as possible, in the hopes of us all getting over the roughest parts of this as soon as we can. That's a very steep learning curve for all of us, but forgive me if I think that I actually have the worst of it. I understand that you will both be rather unhappy, and that you will have to do a lot of learning, and that we are asking you to give us a lot of cooperation. And that's hard, I know, especially as young (and stubborn) as you both are. But, please keep in mind that I have to do all of that with the extra handicap of having (one or more) screaming-until-you-puke-munchkins hanging off of my legs, being constantly in danger of having you pull my clothes right off me every time I try to move...
Yeah, I think I have the worst end of it.
Once upon a time, way back in the dark ages (you know, before dirt was actually invented and I was still in school...), I had a science class where we had a little discussion about life. I don't remember what the actual topic was, possibly it was just that the teacher had a new shirt and needed to make sure we all noticed it. But, however it came up, it was brought to our attention that, in life, there are basically three options: you can adapt, you can migrate, or you can die.
At your tender ages, I do not think that you will manage to find anyone with the authority who is willing to let you migrate, especially when they hear what your actual complaint is. This limits your choices somewhat. (If it makes you feel any better, there isn't really anywhere we could migrate to, anyway. I've done a little checking around.)
Your father and I would also like to point out that no one is going to let you choose the other option there, either. (Trying that would involve all sorts of unpleasantness for all of us. Don't go there.)
Basically, what I'm trying to say, my loves, is this: None of us really have any choice in this matter anymore. Do what I have to do and just suck it up and deal. Please? It's time to adapt a little, whether we like it or not. Let's just get through this as quickly and painlessly as possible, okay?
Thank you for your cooperation in this matter, voluntary or otherwise. (And remember, this sucks a lot worse for me than it does for you. You should find that somewhat comforting. Eventually.)
Not sure they'll be any happier after having all of that explained to them, but then, I'm not very happy either. I'm sure they'll live through this. Actually, I'm sort of counting on it. That is, basically, the entire reason for it.
So, what am I talking about? Well... Remember, back at the end of August and the beginning of September, my family did that whole 10 Day Pledge? Yeah, that was challenging. But, we made it through and we saw a few beneficial changes happening for some of us. In the end, we decided we would be making some permanent, much-needed changes to our family's eating habits, but my husband was adamant that we had to finish off all of the junk, processed stuff we already had in the house before we could replace it with real foods.
What this has meant for us is that we've been back on pretty much the exact same foods that we were eating before we did the challenge. And I've been noticing the difference. And, for a change, so has my husband now that he's back to being stuck in a motel room with no way of cooking or buying/storing real foods... (That's a big deal, because for the entire 10 days, he kept insisting that he wasn't seeing any changes at all in the way he was feeling. He claimed it was because his eating habits were so much better than ours were to begin with... Turns out, he was just suffering from the same thing we were, I guess.)
See, here's the thing. When we started the challenge, the only thing I really noticed for the first few days was my severe craving for sweets. After a few days, I started to notice other things, though. The most obvious was the dry skin on my hands. It wasn't actually dry anymore. Then I noticed that I was sleeping better. And that the girls were sleeping better, not so many nightmares or whatever it is that wakes one of them up so much.
And only a day or so after the challenge ended, I was already noticing that my skin was drying out again. Things have only gone downhill since then... Which stinks.
Here's the thing, though. Before the challenge, we figured these things are just life, you know? Nothing you can do about them but deal with it. Buy lots of lotion, make sure the baby gets plenty of juice to help her move things along smoothly, deal with losing sleep to get up and check on people 1-3 times a night, several times a week... What are you gonna do, right? Well, during the challenge, all of those things went away totally, or at least improved dramatically. (I think the nightmare thing happened maybe three times during those 10 days, all during the first half of the challenge...)
Now, having been back on our normal diets for a couple of weeks, all of those things are back. But worse. Or, at least, I'm noticing them more. And so is my husband, for a change. I think it took those things going away, not being the norm, before we truly realized how awful they were... My dry skin is terrible. He says his is dry, too, now. (That never happens.) The girls are complaining about dry skin again. (Doctor's been telling me for years that they both have a touch of eczema. Not one complaint from them during the last half of the challenge, if not sooner...) Both my husband and I are having an awful time sleeping. Usually he claims that he sleeps "fine" and that it's only me that has such a time with it. He blames the girls' every little noise for waking me up... Both of the girls are starting to wake at night again, for whatever their various reasons. The list is just getting longer and longer. It's terrible.
So, the short version of this story is: I don't think my plan to make these changes gradual and gentle for the girls is going to work out for me. Or them. And I hate that. For all of us, but especially for me. I feel like I'm sort of being railroaded into this by the entire universe. But, I also know that if I don't manage to get all of us a decent night's sleep in the very near future, bad things will happen to my sanity... I think I'm going to be forced to jump headfirst off of an incredibly steep learning curve here and just hope that I can learn quickly enough to keep us all afloat. And, boy, do I wish my husband was here to help with that right now. Because this is going to be a very rough ride, and I could sure use the backup...
I think I do finally have him convinced that it would be a good idea to just go ahead and clear out all the rest of the processed junk in the house- donate it or give it away or whatever- instead of forcing us to use it all up. Him noticing all the changes in himself has really helped me there, I think. I'm really hoping he'll be back home in a few days so we can start the purge. And the all important re-stocking and cooking. In the meantime, I'm trying to find a few simple, and most importantly, real foods that are a quick and easy fix to get me through the next couple of days, until I can get a proper menu plan together...
Wish me luck. I think I'm gonna need it...