It's been a roller-coaster of a week. I feel like I'm teetering on the edge of a vast, dark, unknown chasm that might be amazing once I step off the edge, or might be disorienting and wrong.
I have almond milk in my fridge.
Let me explain. While I have been embracing the idea of eating healthier over the last few years, I never thought I would be the type to buy almond milk. I like cow's milk. I like white bread for french toast. I like chocolate bars. I like to eat healthy, but I also like to eat foods that many strict diets gape in horror at.
But today I have almond milk in my fridge.
I have a toddler who has a temper that won't quit, and a 4 year old who is irrationally defiant. And the more I think about it, the more I'm linking it with the foods they have in them.
This week I also ventured into a naturopath's office. She gave Juliette a muscle based allergy test through me that much of modern medicine would not acknowledge. I hardly know what to think myself; I was there, I experienced it personally, and yet I second guess myself constantly. I feel so far out of my element. Medicine is an area in which I have no experience or knowledge. The people in this field stand so far apart, so staunchly critical of each other, that I feel that someone must be lying, or at least not giving quarter to other possibilities.
Juliette is getting harder and harder to manage. She sleeps little, broken. She screams and yells and throws tantrums and bangs her head really hard. It's so reminiscent of Caleb it's eerie. Colin too, to a lesser degree. Maybe it does run in the family after all - Juliette just has the most severe case.
And now, for at least two weeks, I've moved to eating the same diet as Juliette - fruits, vegetables and meat - to see if taking it out of the breast milk will improve her behaviour at all. Diet and behaviour have been linked in many different situations, and it's possible that she is lashing out because her gut is constantly in pain. I know that if I have a migraine, or I'm tired, or sick, or hurting, I get cranky and irritable and short tempered. So right now I'm literally walking in my daughter's shoes, and it is really, really hard. I don't like meat very much, but I'm trying to eat more because I'm so very hungry. I cut it all out cold turkey Wednesday morning after the doctor's meeting, and while I haven't physically broken down and eaten something, it's hard not to eat my evening bowl of cereal or a toasted egg sandwich or a rice stir fry.
I'm hungry and I'm tired and I'm worn from hanging around a toddler who screams all day and a 4 year old who is wreaking havoc around the house with everyone around him. I feel like maybe, maybe I could manage Juliette, or Benjamin, or the boys, or the house, but not all of them - not even two of them.
These are the times as mothers that it takes it out of you.
These are the times I am driven to my knees in a hazy mixture of rest and prayer.
These are the times I feel like the walls of our house are a little too small.
These are the times that push me farther than I have been before, that make my heart beat faster and my lungs ache and my legs wobble and my muscles burn, and yet it is only through this test of endurance that I can achieve progress.
This will be one of those times, short term and long term. In a string of coincidences, I will have to do 21 days with the kids in a row, without the much needed weekend break. I will need some emotional strength to get through that. And while I felt a glimmer of hope with the naturopath, it is still too early to know if this course of action will change anything for Juliette. There is nothing on the horizon yet that speaks of change.
With God's grace, and only His grace, I will move forward.