Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ramblings on phobias & other quirks....

I think everyone has quirks, for lack of a better term, no one is ever 100% "normal" per se.  This became very evident to me as I was in nursing school.  During my psych nursing rotation while studying the various phsychological issues that exist you start to relate them to people you know, sometimes even yourself.  You then start to question--am I normal?  Are the people around me that I know & love "normal"?  To be diagnosed as having a phsycological disorder it generally has to have a severity enough to interfere with functioning in daily life.  Although I know there are plenty of people out there that are to that degree that aren't being diagnosed.  And of course there are plenty of people who have these issues to lesser degrees that you could probably debate forever about whether or not they deserve to be diagnosed as having a psychological problem.

As for myself, I have some OCD tendencies.  But if there's no beneficial reason for it I often will force myself to stop doing a particular thing. 

As far as phobias go, I guess I do have a real problem with bugs, especially roaches.  I once had a job that had a real roach problem.  I mean a REAL roach issue, I once went to work & there were (honest to God, I am not exaggerating) hundreds of roaches on their backs on the floor kicking at me, trying to grab on to my shoe to flip themselves over.  I actually had to step outside it freaked me out so badly.  I had to have someone else clean them all up, I couldn't handle it.  Had they been completely dead I probably could've done it, but all that wiggling & trying to escape & the possibility of them touching me was just too creepy for me. 

And I guess I do have another phobia, although it's sort of a strange one.  I have a real problem with bathtubs.  I cannot take a bath.  The issue is with germs in the tub.  And I don't care if I clean the tub first, cuz there's certainly still gonna be some germs there.  I can remember being creeped out about it as a child, cuz my mom always made me take a bath instead of a shower.  I would deal with it in the same way I deal with OCDisms that just don't make sense or there's no good reason.  I just sort of talk myself out of it. 

Although I must admit that even when I take a shower I try really hard to not touch the walls or anything else in there while I'm in there. 

It is funny to me that I don't have issues with jacuzzis & pools.  I mean the thought does cross my mind.  And I do desperately wish we could have our own jacuzzi &/or pool so we don't have to be exposed to all the germs in the community ones that we use.  But again, I talk myself out of freaking out & deal with it.  I think I just enjoy being in the water sooo much that I can't allow myself to freak out about it.  I couldn't possibly live without jacuzzis & pools.

But I suppose if somehow a shower was no longer possible & a bath was my only option (I honestly don't know how that would/could happen) I would just deal with it in the same manner & just take the bath. 

This is actually a topic I don't think much about.  But then last week I was reading somewhere (can't remember where, probably in a magazine, but maybe online) where a mother finally had a few hours to herself at home (I think her husband took the kids somewhere) & she was so excited.  She was going to take a super relaxing bubble bath.  And as I was reading it I could totally relate & was dreaming that I had the same opportunity, but I was then interrupted by thoughts of the germs in the bathtub.  Anyways, she had lit candles, had relaxing music playing, the whole nine yards.  And she happened to have a whirlpool tub.  She said she hadn't taken a BATH in over 2 years (any mother of young'ens knows exactly how that goes!).  So she got in & was sooo enjoying herself & then she turns on the whirlpool jets........which haven't been used in over 2 years.........and suddenly her bath tub is filled with greenery.  At that I had to stop reading, it was killing me, especially ME, with my phobia of germy bathtubs & all......UUUUGGGGHHHHH, why did "I" have to stumble across this article??? 

And since the day I read that last week I have not been able to get it out of my mind, especially the visual that accompanies it.  And so I felt that rambling about this topic might be therapeutic & help me to let go of what I read................that's all, I'm done rambling for now...........

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ramblings on exercise, chronic pain, diet--a whole bunch of stuff really

Alright, I've been too busy to blog lately & not really in the mood either.  But in the middle of my very stressful week (it is an EXTRA stressful week this week) I feel the need for a distraction & I've had these thoughts rolling around in my head lately & feel the need to get them out, whether anyone is interested or not.

I started working out when I was 19.  It all started for health reasons--I always have people asking me for workout advice & their questions are centered on the physical looks they want to get.  And I have to admit I'm not the person to ask about that sort of thing.  My goal is to be strong & healthy.  Sure, I do appreciate the physical benefits that come along with it, but it's not my goal or my focus. 

When I started working out I didn't know ANYTHING about working out.  I learned everything the hard way--ok I know it's hard to believe, but there was no internet back then, no you tube & other web sites chock full of info pouring into your home.  And looking back it is absolutely amazing to me how resilient the young body is.  I never ate an athlete's diet back then, it took me a few years to realize the importance of stretching after a workout, etc.  But as I entered my 30s I started noticing my body didn't recover & bounce back as easily after a workout.  If I got injured it didn't heal up & recover as quickly as it used to.  Now by this time I did have internet & learned about protein shakes to be used after workouts.  Somewhere in my early 30s I started the protein shakes (initially soy, but I had a bad reaction, so then I stuck with whey) & I've never been able to live without them since, at least as long as I'm working out regularly.

Last August I made the decision to return to my vegetarian ways (I had been a vegetarian from age 15-25) for a long list of reasons.  And as time passed several reasons have pushed me to make the move to a vegan diet instead.  I can't remember exactly when it happened, it was so gradual, but it's been a few months now I'd guess. Along with the vegan way of life I ditched my whey protein shakes for brown rice protein shakes.

I recently had about a month (maybe 2 months?) of horrendous neck/shoulder/upper back pain.  I went to a chiropractor, but the benefits didn't last, even though they sent me home with exercises to do (& I did them faithfully).  The pain continued & became worse & worse.  It was becoming unbearable.  Driving was becoming unsafe because I couldn't even turn my head in either direction.  I was praying for wisdom.  It seemed to me that it was more muscular pain than bone pain, so I didn't bother to rush back to the chiro right away.  (I was taught in physical therapy years back that tense muscles were the major cause of my problem at that time & that I could go to a chiro all I wanted & get adjusted again & again, but if I didn't deal with the tense muscles the tense muscles would just keep on pulling the bones out of place.)  I started wondering if I was lacking something, nutritionally speaking.  I found some info on magnesium, but it didn't sound like my issue.  I found some info on hormones, but again didn't quite sound like my issue. 

On my own (most likely God whispering my ear, I am not trying to take the credit for this myself) I started wondering about protein.  Being a vegan I couldn't return to a whey protein source.  And I had to admit that the brown rice protein shakes never really helped much after my workouts.  So I started doing some research & found a soy protein shake that I really, really like.  Now those who know me well know that I am a bit anti-soy.  It's not that I think soy is a bad thing, but I do think moderation is important & since soy (& corn) is in absolutely EVERYTHING moderation is hard to achieve.  So I do try to avoid it as much as I can.  Plus I've had a bad reaction in the past to both soy protein shakes & soy milk, so that makes me hesitant as well. 

But I was really happy to find one that is made of FERMENTED soy (and the ingredients pass my requirements!).  In my research in the past I've learned that fermented soy products (soy sauce, miso, tempeh) are much more healthy for you than non-fermented soy (tofu) is.  So to find a shake that is made from fermented soy really made me happy.  And then the day after I drank my first shake my pain was less, not gone, but less.  I've drank a shake every day & my pain decreased & decreased until it was completely gone.

So this led me to wonder about people who struggle with chronic pain.  As a nurse I've seen plenty of it, it's a huge problem in the world.  Even though I've had my own injuries & struggles with pain I have always refused to turn to pain meds, which is usually what docs want to do.  Doctors always want to start with medication &/or surgery to solve problems.  But I've seen so many people who have been on the pain meds for years & they are so addicted & depressed & still in pain because they've built up such a tolerance to the meds.  It's a really sad situation & I've seen it over & over & over & swore to myself that I wouldn't end up like that.  And I've always admired my stepfather because he lived with horrendous debilitating pain (caused from a WW2 injury) & he didn't end up like that, relying on pain meds.  And I know there are people who, if they heard my thoughts on this, would insist that they have an injury that is causing the pain, that there's no way it's diet related.  And maybe this isn't the case for EVERYONE, BUT I have to say that I have a pretty major injury myself, a couple actually (neck injury & compression fracture in my lower back).  And it is those areas in my body that seem to be weakest & when things aren't right they are the first place to hurt.  So that still leads me to wonder if people with chronic pain couldn't lessen (or eradicate completely) their pain through diet.  Maybe not everyone, but I would venture to guess that at least some of them could.

Now maybe not everyone would be needing protein (& even then if they are consuming lots of protein I'd say try different forms of protein, there's plenty out there to choose from), it could possibly be something else they are lacking nutrition-wise.  But the fact remains that our country continues on a path of being over-fed & under-nourished because so much processed food & junk food is consumed.  So it does stand to reason that that this theory could be correct, eating so much processed food & junk food could easily lead to a deficiency in any number of things that the body needs.

Anyways, that's all I have to ramble about today.......

Monday, June 20, 2011

26 month updates on Lil J

Ok, so I didn't do a 25 month blog update, though I remain undecided as to officially how often to do these updates now. Last month there just wasn't really anything new to report (& I didn't even weigh or measure him). But this month I feel like there are a few changes so I decided to go ahead & post an update (& I did weigh & measure him). Perhaps I'll never come to a concrete schedule for posting them & will just post when there's changes & not post when there's not changes.

So Lil J is now 31.2 lbs (50-75%), 36" tall (50-75%), & has a head circumference of 20.5" (>95%).

He is definitely more verbal than ever before now. He tries to repeat what he hears most of the time now. It is very easy to teach him a new command word, which allows him to communicate his needs/wants much more easily, which is definitely a good thing.

Also new, when he's watching TV he is very aware of what is taking place.  Anytime something scary or sad is happening he is now very aware of it & will turn to me & start crying about it.  For example, one of his favorite things to watch right now is "Milo & Otis" & there's a scene where Milo falls off of a cliff & down into the ocean.  He always gets scared & sad about Milo's fall.  It happens with other shows too though, not just that one scene. 

About a week or two ago I started showing him letters at bedtime. It was just for fun really & he REALLY loved it & quickly started asking to see "AB" quite often. I started with A, B, & C, but soon started adding on more letters. And as of last night he now is doing the entire alphabet. What truly amazes me is that quite a few of the letters he knows just by looking at them. I mean, I have no idea at what age children are capable of learning things, but I wasn't expecting it this early. I was starting to think that maybe he's just remembering the order of the letters in the alphabet, rather than actually recognizing the letters, but after we go through each letter one by one I then let him play with them. And he starts pointing at them & naming them, in totally random orders. He likes to try to make words with them, which also amazes me. I usually pull out the letters at bedtime & naptime now. He usually doesn't want to take a nap, no matter how tired he is, so it's become an easy way to get him in his bed for naptime. He's soooo excited to see "AB" that he will go & once he's there he usually knocks out for his nap before too long.

So up next (after he's gotten really good with what we're doing right now) I'll add in the lower case alphabet & then once he's reallly good with that I'll move to colors & numbers I guess.

I can't remember if I included this in the last update or not, but for quite a while now when we pray he always says "amen" at the end with me. And when I serve him food I'm really good about praying with him for breakfast, but I'm not always so good throughout the rest of the day with him, because he eats so frequently, it's not like actual meals, like myself eating. He's more of a grazer & I want to encourage him to eat actual FOOD (rather than just drinks) so I'm not gonna try to shift him to actual meals just yet. But more & more often now when I give him food, before he eats he mumbles a little something & ends with "amen" & then starts eating. And at dinner time we've started holding hands as we pray over dinner (it was something we used to do sometimes, but not all the time) & now he really loves that. The other night hubby & my stepson were going to eat dinner (& I had already eaten & wasn't hungry, but was sitting at the table with them) & Lil J joined us at the table too. Hubby & stepson joined hands to pray over their meal & Lil J quickly grabbed my hand & bowed his head & so I bowed my head with them & at the end we all said "amen" together. It was really a cute moment.

Aside from those changes the only other one I can think of that's worth mentioning is simply that he's becoming more obedient, which is definitely a good thing. And his temper tantrums do still exist, but they aren't as bad or as frequent as they were a month or two ago. I've been under a lot of criticism for my parenting style (which I have to say I really don't appreciate--I certainly don't go around criticizing others on how they're raising their kids & these people are not in my home seeing the full story of Lil J's behavior, etc--it's honestly just people that don't like me & are constantly looking for things to justify why they don't like me so I'm not taking it seriously at all--if it was truly constructive criticism I would definitely listen & consider what they have to say, but that is not the case at all). So the fact that his behavior is improving is proof to me that I am doing a good job & I will continue in the same way regardless of what people want to say. I am accountable to God & no one else in my job as a mother. Honestly, do people have nothing better to do than sit around & think they are so high & mighty & perfect that they have the ability to judge everyone else??? IMO a child's personality & behavior dictate how they should be parented, there is no one-size-fits-all parenting in my book. And if you aren't in my home 24/7 you have no idea what I've been through with this little guy, he has definitely been a major handful & very difficult to manage.

He is now drinking less & eating more food, thank God. I was concerned about how I was going to handle potty training when he was guzzling so much liquid (rather than EATING) because he was going through diapers like crazy. It would be awfully hard to potty train when he pees that frequently. Of course that's not to say that I am ready to start potty training, but I do know that it's coming up, just waiting for signs that he is REALLY ready.

That's all the updates I have for now........until next time, whenever that may be......