We've had health issues and discoveries on both ends of the spectrum this week. I never knew I could be in pain, yet happy all at the same time. Well, except for during childbirth I suppose!
Right before Christmas I had a cancer scare which turned out NOT to be cancer, but a milder issue. Last week the doctor ended up doing some work on my lady parts and hopefully all is now well.
If that wasn't enough, I started having some pretty major tooth pain and had to visit the dentist. He found that two of my ancient fillings needed to be replaced but, because they were so large, the two teeth would need crowns instead.
All was well for a few days after that, then suddenly I was in a lot of pain in said teeth. After several days of this, one of the glands in my neck swelled up to the size of an egg and was so sore I couldn't turn my neck. The dentist couldn't find a reason for the tooth pain but he did put me on strong antibiotics for the gland.
That was Thursday night and, as of today, I haven't had much tooth pain for 12 hours. I think I'm on the mend! Thank goodness, because we were talking root canal to figure out what the problem was.
But the very BEST NEWS EVER.... I think we discovered that Fletcher cannot have milk. I know, you're thinking "Well why would that be good news!?!?"
Fletcher has always been a difficult child. At one week old, we took him to the doctor and said "Something is wrong with him!" and we've felt that way ever since. He's an angry boy, difficult, has lots of tantrums, power struggles, he's defiant, oppositional...the list goes on. Most people say "He's a kid; that's how kids are." and I agree, but he is this way to an extreme. (And now that I have three kids, I can definitely say that this is not how they act in the least!)
I describe it to people as feeling like I'm in an emotionally abusive relationship...with a 4 year old. In my darker moments I've found myself asking him "Why do you hate me? Why are you so mean to me? Why won't you just love me and be nice to me?" through tears.
Marc and I have read book after book, tried every parenting and discipline technique that we could find. We've tried to find a label or a problem with him - ADD, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Sensory Integration problem - and while some features of each fit him, there wasn't one that we really felt described him to a T.
Last week I heard another mom describing her daughter as being moody, going from one extreme to the other in seconds, her daughter would swear at her, she was unhappy, couldn't concentrate, etc. She also worked with therapists and doctors to no avail. Then someone suggested that she remove milk from her daughters diet. She did and saw an immediate improvement.
It turns out that it's not a milk allergy, per se, but the inability to digest (or metabolize maybe?) the protein casein found in milk.
I took Fletcher off of milk the second I heard this. It's been 5 days and he hasn't had a tantrum, there have been no power struggles, he hasn't been in time out, he's been happy, he hasn't argued with me and he's had several "perfect" days (where he gets all of the stickers possible on his daily sticker chart).
He truly is a different boy. He's still a 4 year old. He still runs laps and gets into mischief when he's bored. He still pokes his brother and sister and gets into arguments with them. But he also listens to reason. He doesn't argue with me, he listens, he uses his manners, he isn't short tempered or demanding.
He's the child I always wanted.
While I'm being honest, I haven't really enjoyed parenting up until now. I mean, I love him more than anything in the world, and I wouldn't trade him for anything. But I'm exhausted and broken from 4 years of raising him. And I mad at myself for not figuring this out sooner. I feel like I missed out on what could have been a completely different baby and toddlerhood experience with him.
But regret doesn't change things, so now we move forward on a dairy-free diet with this newly discovered sweet little man. After all that's happened in the past two weeks, I feel like I have new lease on life.