Voyeurism, Holidays and the Guilt Factor

Posted on Wednesday 23 December 2009

I haven’t written here much lately because I’ve been busy with this and that and far too many product reviews and kids and hives and Christmas and… bunches of other stuff. The kids are playing nicely together and I have a moment so let’s see what I can do.

I was just reading a blog of someone who has gone through an experience more challenging than I can begin to imagine. I ended up there by accident, but simply couldn’t leave. I think, when I’m in a difficult situation, it’s good for me to keep things in perspective.

I’ll admit it. I’ve been dealing with some depression over the past week or two. It isn’t the hives, or the sinusitis, or LadyBug’s stomach flu or even the possibility that I may have an egg allergy. It’s the feeling that no matter how hard I try to stay upbeat and enjoy the holiday season, something else comes along to knock me down. I had big plans for this Christmas. Decorations and baking with the kids and family outings and such. Not a single one has come to pass. From Big Guy’s work to health issues to bad weather, there has been a roadblock each step of the way. And each time, I just let go and remember that there will be other special moments and experiences.

I have a mantra that I adopted in the past year, “It is what it is.” It’s my way of reminding myself that there are things that we can’t change and it’s much healthier to move on. I suppose it’s a bit like the Serenity Prayer:
“God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
The courage to change the things that I can;
And the wisdom to know the difference.”

Still, there are days when the odds feel like they’re stacked against you. And this is what I’ve been struggling with for the past week or so. When you’re tired and frustrated and you spend what feels like hours in the store trying find edible stocking stuffers that your son can eat AND you can eat, it’s not particularly Christmas-y. [By the way, novelty candy manufacturers, could maybe just a few of you make SOMETHING without a nut warning on it?]

Which brings me to the guilt. I’m feeling a bit bad that I’ve been so distracted that I haven’t made Christmas as magical as I could have for my kids. Even if we can’t do the trips or we don’t get up all the decorations, it’s my time and attention that they most need and I haven’t been as present as I could be. I’m working on that. And I’ve been rejecting the attempts that others have been flinging my way to make me feel guilty about other people’s needs. I can’t be responsible for your issues and unmet needs. I’ve got enough of my own. My primary ┬ájob is to take care of my kids, my husband and myself. Everyone else will have to manage their own needs and expectations.

Back to the voyeurism. Someone suggested to me the other day that the best parenting blogs are those that impart some sort of wisdom, like parenting tips or recipes or something. To me, the best parenting blogs are those that remind us that we’re in this together and that help us, through example rather than sermon, to get past all of the challenges and to fully embrace all of the rewards. By sharing a slice of life, it helps us connect, see our similarities and, indirectly, support one another.

I’m thankful this year for the mom blogging community, for all of the good things in my life and that my family is relatively happy and healthy. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! And, since we’re going to try celebrating for the first time as a family, Happy Kwanzaa!

Christy @ 12:53 pm
Filed under: Me
Food Allergies Revisited

Posted on Monday 14 December 2009

So, I’ve been coping with a mysterious case of hives for more than 6 months. They started small and I didn’t realize what they were. Over the past two months, the hives have gotten increasingly worse until the point where I wasn’t sleeping, barely working and stumbling through my job as a parent. Not good. Hives lasting more than 6 months are called chronic hives and, apparently, usually go undiagnosed. What? Yeah. Roughly 85% of people with chronic lives just have to suck it up.

My allergist ran a bunch of tests to rule out other underlying conditions. Contrary to popular belief, hives do not equal allergic reaction. At least, not in the typical understanding of the phrase. Could be hepatitis, liver disease, lupus, thyroid… and the list goes on. Anyway, tests for everything (including a WIDE variety of allergens) were negative. Good news and bad news. I’m glad to not have a nasty diagnosis, but also want to get rid of the hives, you know? So, after patiently trying a variety of pharmaceutical combinations to no avail, I called my allergist and insisted that it was time to pull out the big guns. He agreed and put me on a round of prednisone. In case you are lucky enough to not know, prednisone is a particularly nasty miracle drug that basically tells your immune system to take a little vacation. Great for removing hives, bad for keep you healthy.

The prednisone worked. I was blissfully hive-free for almost a week. As it wore off, I got a few hives, but nothing too bad, and I came down with a rotten cold. Better than hives. Until Friday.

Friday I decided to bake some cookies. And, since Bug is outgrowing his egg allergy, I made them with eggs. Easy recipe, by the way: box of cake mix, 2C of Cool Whip, 1 egg. Bake for 15 minutes at 350. Anyhow, I ate one of the cookies. They were ok. And then, after I put the second batch in the oven, I licked the spoon and – bam! My lip swelled up. And then my eye started to swell. I took some Benadryl as any mom-of-a-food-allergy-kid would do and then the side of my face started to swell. So… what’s that? Egg? Weird preservative? Beta carotene? Who knows.

A few days later, back to hives (they were pretty bad that night, but they’re still lurking around) and it’s all a fun mystery. I’ll be calling the allergist again tomorrow…

Christy @ 12:06 am
Filed under: Me