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Growing

Hey Guys – We’re working on a new look at The Cohen Tribe. Until it’s perfected, I’ll have to store up the posts in the queue. Stay tuned. More fun to come very soon!!!!

Speak!

When Abraham had his 15 month well baby check up, he was given a clean bill of health and a developmental thumbs up. Oh, and no head diseases, so that was good to hear.

The one negative the doc had for me was Abe’s lack of language. He really can’t say any words at all. She recommended that I get him an evaluation by one of those state-funded early developmental intervention programs.  It’s clear that it’s her job to tell everyone that they have this option, but she clearly didn’t consider the type of mother I am. I would have assumed there was some kind of note in Abe’s file like, “Mother is a rule-based nazi” or “Mother is completely literal” or “Mother cannot separate suggestion from I-MUST-DO-THIS-RIGHT-NOW-FOR-MY-CHILD-TO-LIVE”.

So I made an appointment at the early intervention program the next day.

Between the time I made the appointment and the day we went, Abe moved closer to 1 nap a day. This mean the appointment now fell smack dab in the middle of naptime. Perfect.
A doctor brought us into a little room where Abraham began  fussing, crying, and whining. I think I uttered, “It’s naptime” about 72 times. That’s when I started trying to talk to myself.
Stop. Don’t be that mom. She’s seen it all. She works with children who have severe developmental delays. A tantrum is not going to throw her.
She began asking me questions. Do I think he has hearing problems? Has he ever been hospitalized? Does he understand brief commands? She began doing these fun little  exercises with him like put the ball in the cup, play with the car, pick up the cheerio. He did all of these things easily.
Cohen 1, Doctor 0
Then she put pretend scissors on the table. He reached for them and she said, “NO!” in a super mean tone.
WTF? Stop yelling at my baby, woman. You clearly put the scissors in front of him to taunt him and then you yelled at him Why would anyone do that??
Abe didn’t let go. He left his hand on the scissors and laid his head down on my knee. I wanted to comfort him from the nasty old woman. “I think he just doesn’t know you and isn’t sure…”
“Oh no, he responded perfectly, Erin!. He pouted. That’s just what we want to see.”

Oh, right. Shut up, Erin.

She threw him a bouncy ball and Abe immediately threw it back.
Booyah.
She called his name and pointed at something. He looked at her and then look toward where she was pointing.
Perfect baby!! Perfect 10!!
She started asking about how many words he has and that’s when my throat started to tighten. “Well, he knows mama and dada but I’m not sure he knows which one of us is which all the time…”
“Ok. Abe, where’s mama?” the doctor asked. Abe smiled. “Where’s mama, Abe?” More smiling. “Is this mama, Abe?” Playing with car. “Ok, so he doesn’t know what to call you yet.”
Oh shit, she’s writing something down. Why is she checking that box? STOP WRITING THINGS IN PEN.
“Yes, but he does know sign language.”
“Oh, really?” She stopped writing. “Abraham, can you show me ‘more’?” He signs “more”. “Can you show me ‘please’?” He signs please.
“He can do ‘hungry’, too,” I announce.
Shut up, Erin. It’s not a contest.
“Oh, wow. That’s great that he knows so many signs, Erin.”
Ok, it is a contest. And we’re winning.
“I’m noticing he is understanding a lot of words. So it’s mainly expression he’s having trouble with. I’m wondering if he has some oral motor delays.”
And we’re losing.
Abraham pushes a button on a phone and  a dog barks. Abe barks. This is getting worse. I gotta wrap this up. I came here to satiate my neuroses, not to find out my child actually has some kind of delay.
“And when I look here at his numbers, cognitive, physical, motor, coordination, he’s above average across the board.”
Ok, we can stay.
“His communication score is actually at the cutoff, which means I could refer him for services but he will likely fall right in line within the next 3 months. I will put you on the 3 month call back list. If he still has no language, we’ll see him again to determine if he qualifies for services, but I really don’t think you have anything to worry about.”
Oh, ok great. So, we’re all set then? No services?”
“That’s right! He’s just fine. We’ll call you in 3 months to check in!”

Abe slept 3 hours that afternoon, likely because he was so traumatized by that awful woman telling him NO to a toy she clearly handed him. And as I reflected on the fact that I took my 16 month old to be evaluated for speech and language, I realized a hard a fast fact. I need to have more kids if this one is ever going to survive.

 

 

 

 

Cheese and Crackers, Hold the Crackers

So it turns out a lot of PCOS patients are suffering from a large amount of inflammation in the body. Inflammation can be caused by allergies, intolerances, and auto-immune diseases. When your body is inflamed, your adrenal glands are forced to choose between making the two hormones they’re capable of shooting out: sex hormones or cortisol. Sex hormones are the ones that help your body run the way it is supposed to reproductive-wise. Cortisol is the fight or flight hormone, also known as a steriod-hormone. It makes the body go into overdrive to try and fight off whatever is attacking it. When your cortisol flows all day long, the rest of the systems in your body slow down because they get the message that, hey! Something is terribly wrong! This is no time to make a baby! Run!

This is all essentially what my nutritionist thinks is happening in my body. He believes the culprit to be gluten because apparently 70% of the population has an issue with gluten*. So that was the first bit of advice he gave me: no gluten. Which is in everything. So, he said, “Erin, no everything for the next 2 months.”

Then he handed me some supplements. First was vitamin D. Did you know that vitamin D actually turns into a hormone in your body, boosting your immune system and making stuff run right? Me neither. I thought vitamin D was a sun burn.
Next came Omega-3s. This is another way for the body to boost the immune system and reduce inflammation.
Last is Meta 1 3-C.  It is a small pill from the move Back to the Future. No, just kidding. When the adrenal glands are shooting out cortisol, your sex organs (well, my sex organs) begin making more hormones. The problem is that the only hormones they CAN make are estrogen. Too much estrogen mucks up the works, and sends your liver into overdrive trying to filter them all out. So Meta 1 3-C helps my body metabolize the estrogen so my liver doesn’t have to. Again, reducing inflammation in my body.

After 2 months of this, I actually got my cycle (for the men who are reading, and hello to both of you, that means my lady time when there’s no sexy time) twice. Two normal cycles. That has never happened to me in my ENTIRE LIFE.

Note the "Biohazard" stickers.

Now that we are narrowing in on some of the culprits, the next step is to figure out what it is I could be allergic to (if it is indeed gluten or a combo of foods) and my exact hormone levels from one end to the other. As soon as this is crystal clear we will be able to design a plan perfect for my body. Which means I have to take a spit and poop test. That is not it’s medical name. It’s medical name is Saliva and Fecal Test, but I call it the spit and poop test. Basically over the course of 3 days, after not having caffeine or cruciferous vegetables or red meat (which, incidentally, is the crux of my diet when I can’t eat gluten), I will spend an entire day spitting and pooing into the vials in the picture.

Some poor soul in a lab somewhere will then have to OPEN these vials and REMOVE THE CONTENTS in order to run the necessary tests. If I could fit it in the return box, I’d send incense.

I’ll get the results in February. Until then I will be enjoying my last few weeks of, “What? I don’t know FOR A SCIENTIFIC FACT that I can’t eat bread!”

 

 

*This is a stat I only half remember so I may have it wrong, but the reason behind it being so high is because grains are not anything close to what they were 1,000 years ago. They’re all subsidized and genetically modified. Not fit for human consumption.

Bloody Thanksgiving

We flew to California to be with our west coast family for Thanksgiving this year. It’s the second time Abe’s been to LA, but the first time he’s traveled anywhere after he could walk. (Did I mention he can walk now?) We were a little concerned about being those people on the plane. The ones with the screaming kid that everyone stares and shakes their heads at.
The first flight (only about an hour and a half) proved to be a little bit trying. Lots of screeching and squirming and crying. A woman in the row next to us CONTINUALLY asked us if we would like some Fruit Loops for him.

Approximately every 10 minutes:
“Would he like some cereal?”
“Are you sure he doesn’t want any of this?”
*Points at Toucan on box*
“Maybe he’s just hungry?”

Yes lady I don’t know on a plane, I’d like to feed my son a cereal made of pure sugar to help him calm down. You obviously have kids.

However, the second flight was amazing. Abraham sat in his own seat for all four hours, happily playing with the little toys I brought along, eating snacks, and watching Baby Einstein. (Dear Lord, God, and Baby Jesus, thank you for Baby Einstein.) In fact, I stared knowingly at those people on the plane 3 rows behind us. I feel your pain, parents. And I’m so glad we’re not you.

It took about 3 days for the child to adjust to pacific time, but once he did it was smooth sailing. Until Thanksgiving Day.

While he took a few steps on the pavement in the backyard, he stepped on his own pant leg. Daddy, trying to be helpful, grabbed the waist of Abe’s pants to pull them up, somehow creating a perfect see-saw out of my son. His face smashed directly into the pavement, manifesting the loudest, but heartbreaking scream I’ve ever heard. I ran outside to find my husband bewildered and my son with blood pouring out of his mouth. Am I exaggerating? Not really. It was pretty much pouring out of his mouth.
And while blood poured from his mouth, there are a lot of words that came pouring from my mouth. Words I won’t type or possibly ever repeat. By the time the bleeding stopped and the now-ruined Thanksgiving Day outfit was stripped from his body, I’d spouted so much profanity and creative ways of using the lord’s name in vain that everyone in the house slowly and silently backed away from me one step at a time like I was a very small but fierce bear in the wilderness. And that little lip puffed up to the size of a manicotti shell stuff with ricotta.

It was only a day later that Abraham snuck up on one of the dogs. No, the dog didn’t bite Abe. The dog just startled and huffed. My friend quickly reacted to keep a possibly volatile situation stable by putting her hand between Abe and the dog, catching Abe’s check with her nail in the process.  Remember the heartbreaking scream? It’s back. Not as much cursing this time. I felt a little wiser as the mother of a boy bleeding twice in 3 days. Just some Neosporin and a bottle.

So here he is, fat lip and scratched face. If you’re on our Christmas card list, you may get yours a little late this year. Our family picture day has been pushed back until further notice.

Please don't call DCFS on my mommy.

 

 

Eckhart

I’m in the middle of 3 blogs right now, but when this crossed my plate for about the thousandth time this morning I decided it wasn’t enough to read it, I needed to share it.
READ IT MOMS! And then name your next child Eckhart.

Many children harbor hidden anger and resentment towards their parents and often the cause in inauthenticity in the relationship. The child has a deep longing for the parent to be there as a human being, not as a role, no matter how conscientiously that role is being played.
You may be doing all the right things and the best you can for your child, but even doing the best you can is not enough. In fact, doing is never enough if you neglect Being.
The ego knows nothing about Being but believes you will eventually be saved by doing. If you are in the grip of the ego, you believe that by doing more and more, you will eventually accumulate enough “doings” to make yourself feel complete at some point in the future. You won’t. You will only lose yourself in doing. The entire civilization is losing itself in doing that is not rooted in Being and thus becomes futile.
How do you bring Being into a busy family, into the relationship with your child? The key is to give your child attention. There are two kinds of attention. One we may call form-based attention. The other is formless attention. Form-based attention is always connected in some way with doing or evaluating, “Have you done your homework? Eat your dinner. Tidy up your room. Brush your teeth. DO this. Stop doing that. Hurry up, get ready.”
What’s the next thing we have to do? This question pretty much summarizes what family life is like in many homes. Form-based attention is of course necessary and has its place, but if that’s all there is in the relationship with your child, then the most vital dimension is missing and Being becomes directly obscured by doing, by the “cares of the world,” as Jesus puts it. Formless attention is inseparable with the dimension of Being. How does it work?
As you look at, listen to, touch, or help your child with this or that, you are alert, still, completely present, not wanting anything other than that moment as it is. In this way, you make room for Being. In that moment, if you are present, you are not a mother or father. You are the alertness, the stillness, the Presence that is listening, looking, touching, even speaking. You are the Being behind the doing.
– Eckhart Tolle

My Mom’s Potroast

Dinner: My mom’s potroast. I would give you the recipe but you wouldn’t be able to make it taste as good as she does anyway. I can’t.

The wooden spoon insisted on posing. Diva.

Ok, but seriously.
Cover the chuck in garlic salt and pepper (COVER IT). Sear it at the bottom of a pan with onions and garlic. Cover it in wine and stock. Turn it to medium and leave it for 20 min. Add in your root veggies that take the longest to cook (celery, carrots, parsnips). Leave it for an hour-hour and a half. Add in faster cooking veggies like zucchini and peas. Turn it down to low and leave it a half an hour. Serve over egg noodles or, as I do, over rice noodles (no gluten). Abe ate about half this pot.

ENDING THE CLEANSE!

So we did it. Seven days of the cleanse!

We celebrated with wine.

At the end of it all my husband lost 10 pounds and I lost a little over 4. It was pretty nuts (no pun intended) how much food we were consuming. Of course, we were still hungry for the foods we were used to eating, but we weren’t really HUNGRY.

Before we had our supper reintroducing us into the eating world (which consisted of an amazing spinach and mushroom salad with a friend egg on top, grilled onions and a generous portion of strip steak) we decided to discuss what we learned from the cleanse. My typical reaction to eating anything with carbs or sugar is to get a little headache and to feel tired. Sometimes I feel dizzy, sometimes nauseous. This past week: NO SYMPTOMS. I felt great, so I learned that there is definitely a difference in my body between eating carbs of any kind and not eating carbs of any kind. A great example of this is my lunch yesterday. A great friend made some soup for David’s family, all from scratch. She used some flour to thicken it up but otherwise fresh meats and veggies. I had a TERRIBLE headache and almost fell asleep at my desk after I finished. Last night for supper I had fried eggs and homemade tomato sauce of fresh spinach and a big spinach salad (we had a lot of spinach left). I felt great!

Another thing I learned is I don’t need nearly as much food as I think I do.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, all that food is kind of silly if any of it is not full of nutrition and vitamins my body needs. Cheat days? Yes, please. But on a daily basis I don’t need to eat like someone could be taking all the food in the world away tomorrow. And eating good fats and lots of veggies is key to my body feeling good. Also, keep in mind I started some light exercise last week while I was eating no animal proteins and no carbs, and I felt fine. Great even.

The last thing I learned? I really love to cook and I love complex tasting food. While I could do that cleanse a few times a year, I could never live that way. I really missed the way flavors combined to create a meal that makes us feel like kings when we eat it. I don’t think I could ever give that up, but I could definitely change the ingredients I use.

So will I  keep eating meat? Yes, so long as it is organic and raised humanely. Will I keep eating carbs? Probably not. I don’t feel good when I eat them. I’m sure occasionally I’ll indulge in some treats or a nice, healthy Italian meal. And Thanksgiving will be a free-for-all.

I go back to the nutritionist to learn about the next steps of beating PCOS and diabetes: supplements!!! This part could take a while to suss out, so stay tuned!

Watch Your Mouth

Now that Abe is beginning to use some words (mostly Mama when he’s upset and Dada when he’s THRILLED), we’re having to watch what we say. Obviously he understands a lot more than he can express, but I don’t think he knows what cuss words mean yet. Right? Somebody back me up on this. I’m not too late, am I?

Anyway, as I’ve begun censoring myself I’ve started making notes of the things I’m about to say vs. the things I actually end up saying and I’ve determine I say a LOT of inappropriate things on a daily basis. So I’ve compiled a lit of “What I wanted to say” and then “What I said.” Eek. Not only am I a potty mouth, I’m not too creative. I chose some of the more tame examples for you here:

And we’re off like a prom dress!
And we’re off like a pr-etty baby.

Abe – you are crawling like a bat out of hell!
Abe – you are crawling like a bat out of… a big cave!

Shut the hell up, are you serious?
Shut the helllllman’s mayonaise, are you serious? And can you believe I just said that?

Get off my ass, dude.
Get off my aaaaabumper.

Damnit.
Damnit. (This one’s too short and I haven’t been able to catch myself in time before saying the whole word.)

What’s up, bitches?!
What’s up, bi-iiitty little people in the world?!

This list doesn’t include the time I helped my baby wiggle his rump to “I’m Bringing Sexy Back”. Have you ever really listened to the lyrics in that song? It’s borderline offensive.

Now you. What do you catch yourself saying in place of something dirty?

Life Well Spent

At about 3am the other night, I awoke to what felt like my husband repeatedly smacking me on the arm. When I opened my one eye it turned out that, yes, my husband was repeatedly smacking me on the arm.
I opened my other eye with a scowl and snapped, “WHAT?” Then I thought of the baby. My face immediately changedand I begged, “WHAT?” He put his hand on my mouth Dumb and Dumber style.

“Shh. Listen. Do you hear that?”‘ he asked.
“What?! No! What? What do I hear?”
“It sounds like someone is upstairs.”
Now, for those of you who have never been to my house (and if you haven’t, please, I make a mean marinara), my son’s room is upstairs. So when someone wakes you from a dead sleep by smacking your arm and tells you that your child is alone upstairs with potentially Hitler, or worse…
“WHAT THE F&#K? WHAT IS UPSTAIRS?”
My husband jumped up and I jumped up after him. I do not remember leaving the bedroom but after a few miliseconds I found myself in the middle of the living room, all lights on, dogs completely freaking out. No bra.
“Go up there!”
My husband just stood there. I was squinting and jumping and completely losing my mind using all of my extremities.
“GO UP THERE!!!”
We both stood there staring at each other for another 10 seconds or so. It then became clear that something was scurrying across the roof. Likely one of the 8200 cats that we share a neighborhood with because NO ONE LISTENED TO BOB BARKER.
“That’s a cat. On the roof. Isn’t it,” my husband sighed.
“Yep. That’s a cat.”

The next morning I was making breakfast when my husband decided to suddenly ignore the fact that I am not and never will be a morning person and started talking about our finances.
“You know, babe, we still haven’t spent our tax return. And I was thinking about…”

Lawn-Ruiners

“Adding the gate to the fence on the back porch?” I’ve been begging him to call the fence guy back and put a gate up in the back yard. We live on a postage stamp and it became apparent shortly after buying our home that two Boxers on a postage stamp does not a Better Homes and Gardens Cover Story make. After briefly discussing astroturf, we decided to paver the back yard almost entirely and create an outdoor living space.
“Oh. Yeah, we could do that.” It was obvious that he wanted something for himself that I was clearly going to hate and immediately veto.
“What, David. What do you want…” They were statements. Not questions.
“Well, after last night I went to sleep thinking that I can’t really defend this family if someone were to break in.”
“So you want to take tai kwan do?”
“No, no.”
“You want to be more consistent with setting the house alarm?”
“No. I want to…”
“Don’t say it. No.”
“I want to buy a…”
“NO. MAMA SAYS NO.”
“I want to buy a gun.”
“BECAUSE YOU WOULD HAVE GONE OUTSIDE AND SHOT THE CAT OFF THE ROOF LAST NIGHT IF ONLY YOU HAD A GUN???”
“No, because I want to be able to protect us from intruders.” He stood his ground like a 5 year old with a really good explanation of how he “accidentally” peed on the guest pillows.
“Who the hell is going to protect us from David with a gun, then, huh????” I asked.
He didn’t answer that.
That tax refund was still sitting in the account because neither of us could agree on what to do with it. I wanted a gate. He wanted a gun. And isn’t that the ultimate male/female battle? Gate vs. Gun?

Later that day I was putting dishes away and I realized that we are really lucky. When I was little we had more plates than I could count. All the same color and size. A set. We could host a party with 30 people and all eat off of the good plates. As I grew older I learned that Target only sells plates in sets of 4 (and even older when I found out they sold plates at Bloomingdales). It wasn’t until I purchased my second set from Target that I started understanding the magnitude of owning that many plates. It means you’d made it. You were a grown up. Living with only 4 plates was so The Twenties. Living with enough plates to feed all of your friends without a touch of Dixie was very Thirties.

“Why don’t we get both?” I asked my husband that night at dinner while eating grass-fed beef on the good plates. “I mean, it’s not that much money either way and it sure would solve the problem of spending that refund. ”
“That’s not a bad idea. We could probably swing that if we look at the finances. And if you want, I could get you some classes over at the range.”
“One thing at a time, Sir Shoots the Cats. One thing at a time.”

FYI, we still have neither a gun nor a gate. I did buy some more plates the other day, though.

 

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