Friday, February 1, 2008

Near Miss

Remember Scarlett of the polymorphous tummy, the organ that Freud built?

Well, she suddenly sprouted eczema: angry, itchy, bloody. I play the allopathic-naturopathic Russian Roulette and this time landed the homeopath, who strongly suspected a wheat allergy.

See this? Bread is Scarlett's Secret Boyfriend Number 1 through Infinity.

For the past few weeks, she goes maybe ten minutes without some kind of wheat product and considers that mission accomplished. But then the eczema rendered her knuckles red weepy welts at the same time the tummy aches became unbearable.

Scarlett: "I'm not going to eat wheat. Ever. Stop me if I want some."

Me (truthfully): "If you beg and cry for food, I'll give you some. I can't help it."

Scarlett: "I won't beg and cry. I really really want to try to make this go away."

Me: "If you beg and cry for food, I'll give you some. I'm your mother."

The mother is also not totally convinced of the wheat-eczema-tummy connection, given the daughter's histrionic history. If you ever feel worried about your child's mental health, just click the label Scarlett and know she is aptly named.

Ever meet a three-year-old whose decision to stop pooping had real follow through? For like a month. And then did it all over again?

Now you have.

And that drama finally ended when a very wise parenting teacher advised me to ask Scarlett who was in charge of her poop, mom or Scarlett. Well. We had that all mixed up.

So . . . Scarlett went two complete days without wheat. No tummy aches! The eczema faded pale pink. Once again, homeopathy triumphed over reason (complicated, dubious, but enduring relationship with homeopathy exists here).

Then we made the mistake of going to a brothel called Bread and Chocolate for hot cocoa and cinnamon rolls.

Should an alcoholic own a liquor store? Just popped into my mind.

Scarlett sulked and pouted over her hot cocoa. The whipped cream was unsightly and the chocolate sprinkles stunk. She scowled. When Stryker bit into his cinnamon roll--steamy, soft and dripping with icing--her moan was audible.

But no crying or begging! I had thrown down that flag and was waiting its arrival.

Damn, that girl is good. She took a more passive, darker path of small puppy whimpers, inability to make eye contact and refusal of cocoa, cream and milk.

Finally, me: "Do you really want a cinnamon roll? Even if it means a tummy ache and eczema?"

Scarlett: "YES! I DON'T CARE."

Stryker (licking icing off his plate with utter lack of irony): "Scarlett, you have no self-control."

Me: "Honey, I'll be so disappointed. You've done so well!" (Freud snickers)

A short time passes while the storm clouds quicken and swell.

Finally, me: "Scarlett?"

Daughter: "I can't have a cinnamon roll because you'll be disappointed. Maybe even angry at me."


Me: "I will have no emotion whatsoever connected with what you eat. Nothing. You are 100% in charge of what goes in and out of your body and that is not related to me. I bet you can make your own good decisions by listening to your body."

Cinnamon rolls were had by all. Make mine a double.


Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Such is the power of food. No matter how much we know that eating something is going to make us feel poorly, we often do it anyway.

Are you doing Eucerin for the eczema?

Mrs. G. said...

The Matron is a very smart woman. You are laying the groundwork for future self-governing and independent body image. Food is one power struggle you never want to engage in. Ever. You score major points for smart cookie-ness.

Laura/CenterDownHome said...

"Daughter: 'I can't have a cinnamon roll because you'll be disappointed. Maybe even angry at me.'


Oh, MM, I lay my admiration and respect at your feet! Yes! You get it -- empowering that daughter to make her own choices about food, to listen to what her body tells her about those choices.

I remember growing up when we had to drink milk with every meal and FINISH it -- oh, and eat the fat and gristle on our meat -- all in the name of "good for you". As a result, the food choices my body wants to make are totally out of sync with the food choices my brain wants me to make, leading me to drown my confusion in carbs. Slow brain AND slow body. :(

Lisa Wheeler Milton said...

It is safe to say that we don't have these things mastered in my family. My Mom and Grandma are duking it out since ever since my Grandma had a stroke. Scratch that. All my life.

You are brilliant, giving her the room to breathe and scratch and suffer.

Great post.

Anonymous said...

Oh, that poor kiddo. Good for you. You're so smart. As a direct consequence, SHE will be so smart.

(I have eczema, brought on by hot, humid weather, of all things. It's hell. But I would scratch for fresh bread which is so pathetic of me)

Lisa Wheeler Milton said...

Oh, and I can't explain homeopathic medicine but sometimes, it does work sometimes.

I feel sheepish, admitting it.

(Also, do you have an email address on your site? I couldn't find it...)

Anonymous said...

I LOVE your daughter, how complexly entertaining :)

My Denver just got up at the bench for breakfast. Everyone was eating cereal. She said, "can I have ice cream?" Sure, I got her a bowl.

Hubby was like, "What?!!?!Ice cream for breakfast!"
Me, "It's what she wants."
Him, grumble grumble.

Sheesh, tell me, what difference does it make if you eat ice cream for breakfast or dessert?