What I’m Into: April 2016

painting

April was emotionally taxing. (I won’t get into it here, but it involved many blessings and victories and also SO MUCH PUKE. From everyone, but especially from me. So much puke, you guys. There were illnesses, a surgery, and ongoing explorations of different therapies and treatments. Lots of good stuff, but like I said, it’s been taxing.)

The weather has mostly sucked, too.

To deal with all of these, I read a lot of books and created some art.

Here you go.

(PS: I REALLY WANT TO BLOG. I really, really do. I just have not had the time or energy. I have so many drafts of posts started that I’m itching to finish. I just . . . can’t right now. I will get back into the swing of things. I just need to not be cleaning up toddler diarrhea at 2 am every morning. It will happen.)

Books

books

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. READ THIS BOOK, YOU GUYS. It’s spectacular. It totally lives up to the hype. This book vibrates with life. I haven’t been this excited to be a human in a long time.

Gut And Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia by Natasha Campbell-McBride. Somehow I managed to devour this dense tome in two or three days. It has given me so much hope. I am anxious to start Felix on this dietary program as soon as possible. His poor gut has been completely massacred during his short time on earth so far. I’ve heard some really inspiring testimonials that fill me with hope for healing.

Move Your DNA: Restore Your Health Through Natural Movement by Katie Bowman. I’ve been obsessed with Bowman’s blog and podcast the last few months and finally decided to buy the book. It’s fantastic. Bowman is majestically articulate and engaging, able to explain complex and foreign concepts in easy-to-understand terms. She’s funny and memorable, too. And her ideas are revolutionary and exciting. Some of the most interesting highlights for me have been:

  • the difference between exercise and movement (and how we need more of the latter in our lives)
  • the difference between fitness and health (“fit” people can be just as susceptible to illness and injury as anyone)
  • her radical suggestion that you don’t have to add exercise to your busy schedule. Just change the ways you move in your everyday life to become stronger, more capable and less prone to injury. In a word, healthier.

Children’s Read-Aloud Books

 

The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White. I think I’m alone here but I thought this book (by the author of Charlotte’s Web) was stupid. (Lydia liked it well enough. I guess that’s what’s important).  It starts like a realistic nature story, but quickly becomes an absurd tale of a swan who goes to (human) school and learns to read, write, and play the trumpet to make up for the fact that he has no voice. And in the end he “donates” some of his children to a zoo to pay off a debt. WHAAAAAAT. Also, it’s so long it took us a whole month to finish.

Picture Books

children's books - april

Imogene’s Antlers by David Small. Lydia’s favourite this month. (She’s four.) She weirdly loves stories about children who inexplicably wake up with bizarre changes to their bodies. (Others in this category include George Shrinks and A Bad Case of Stripes.)

Snow White by Paul Heins and Trina Schart Hyman. Absolutely captivating illustrations to a powerful classic. (Read ahead of time, though, and be prepared to maybe change the words to the very last page, wherein the evil queen — without any foreshadowing — is given a pair of red-hot iron shoes she must wear as she dances to her death. ?! The punishment is as morbid and arbitrary as it is unexpected.)

The Wild Swans by Amy Ehrlich and Susan Jeffers. The most beautiful illustrations you will ever see. A very interesting fairy tale, too, which has the fortune of never having been Disneyfied. (Warning: this and the above stories are very anti-feminist, with kings who decide to marry the beautiful maidens with almost no indication of any volition on the woman’s part. I still liked ’em.)

Adelita: A Mexican Cinderella Story by Tomie dePaulo. A familiar old tale gets new life in this Mexican setting. Everything about it is lovely. There’s lots of Spanish mixed in which adds to the atmosphere but was tricky to read out loud since I don’t know the language at all.

* * *

We didn’t really watch any TV or movies this month.

And that’s what I’ve been into!

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Comments

  1. That Snow White version is a current favorite in our house. (Although, yeah, that last page… ? They kept asking me why she had to wear the shoes).
    Will have to check out The Wild Swan, since I’m always trying to find non-Disneyfied fairy tales.

  2. P.S. I think you mentioned a while back about hoping the Disney stage was something they grew out of? (maybe?). Anyway in regards to Snow White, my daughter (6) told me today that she doesn’t like the disney version of that story (Yay!!!)

    Still sending you all prayers!
    Ruth Anne recently posted..Lovely Tidbits {2}My Profile

  3. Coriander says:

    I hope this month involves significantly fewer bodily fluids being spewn at your house.

    I’m glad to hear your thoughts on The Trumpet of the Swan, I flipped through it and thought similar things. We read Stuart Little, thoroughly enjoying roughly the first half or so, but then the story and Stuart’s behavior took a dive and never recovered, and in fact, only got worse as the story went on. I’m wondering if this is a regular pattern in E. B. White’s books.

  4. Elyse B. says:

    I LOVE Katy Bowman! After reading her books, my husband and I wear minimal footwear, sleep on a minimalist bed (read: futon mattress) and replaced our couch with Japanese meditation cushions. Our home is so much more fun and flexible now–and so are we!!

    We did GAPS protocol for a while as well. The results are staggering. (Pro-tip: do perpetual broth in a slow-cooker to save time and sanity: http://nourishedkitchen.com/perpetual-soup-the-easiest-bone-broth-youll-make/) Dr. McBride is THE nutritional authority on the gut/emotion spectrum. There are so many resources online, too. (And there are even more resources online for Whole30, too.)

    I have to say that of the two, we found Whole30 more sustainable–eating nothing but broth and boiled meat for two weeks was. so. hard. But the research and information in the GAPS book are just invaluable. (And you gotta love the corny illustrations of the life cycle of intestinal cells!)

    Good strength to you on this journey!

    • Thank you so much for your input! I was thinking the Whole 30 seemed more sustainable, too. Since Felix’s palate is extremely limited right now anyway, I figure starting him on broths and boiled meats isn’t too much of a stretch; but when we branch off from there it will probably look more paleo than GAPS.

  5. I wasn’t sure whether or not to post this, and maybe you know it already, but I have been through so much of your journey with Felix through reading your blog that I felt like I had to say something.

    I have read a fair bit about the GAPS diet – some of it, as you say, testimonials to its amazing healing power. But a lot of it about how the unproven, scientifically inexplicable claims it makes gives people the hope that they can cure what is an incurable, lifetime problem. Not everything that works is recognised by the scientific community, but I am personally very sceptical about the GAPS diet and how it claims to work. I would not presume to tell people who have seen changes that they are imagining them, and I would not tell you not to try it (you never know unless you try!), but I would counsel you against putting too much hope and expectation on it. I would not want you to be devastated if it has no effect.

    Felix’s many problems in his short life have been hard to read about, but I am sure that you know as well as anyone that a medical problem (even if it means being confined to a hospital for months or being in isolation at home) doesn’t mean you can’t live a full and wonderful life. Autism is not easy, but nor does it mean a lesser life. It brings gifts of great happiness along with its hardships, much as any young life does.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that you should certainly give it a go, as you have nothing to lose, but while hoping for the best also prepare for disappointment. And make sure to make the most of any social and occupational therapy you are offered!

    • Hi Betty! I appreciate your input. I’m trying to have a balanced perspective on this. I don’t want to put too much stock in something that’s not scientifically proven, but I also want to remain hopeful.

      Part of the issue here is that throughout Felix’s treatment, I was constantly heartbroken to know that he was being being injected with things that I knew were devastating his gut flora (formula, antibiotics, antivirals, chemo, etc). I worried that he couldn’t possibly be healed of that damage — ever. This was upsetting regardless of whether autism was part of the equation. I just know that a healthy micriobiome plays a vital role in one’s health, and felt horrible that we were destroying that for him.

      This book at least gives me hope that he can be healed from that damage. Even if it doesn’t address any or all of the symptoms I hope it might address, I’m still hopeful that it can help improve his overall health and well-being. I just have to feel like I’m doing something, you know? And I plan to continue using all available resources as they seem fit, from drugs to diet to chiropractic care to therapy.

      Thanks again for your thoughts!

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