Category Archives: Anxious Mama

Happy Meal

For those of you who’ve followed the blog for a while, you know that I live with the pickiest eater on the planet (a.k.a. Dylan).  If you’re new to the blog, just click on “food issues” or “sensory processing disorder” in the category cloud (on the bottom left) to catch up.  (It could take a while.  Maybe you want to grab a snack.)

If there’s one thing I’ve learned along this exhausting food journey with Dylan, it’s that there’s only person who’s going to decide if Dylan eats new food, and that person is Dylan (i.e. not me).  That’s how he came to eat nibble celery, and it’s how he finally ate spaghetti (but not penne, never penne).  What I want more than anything for Dylan is for food to be a source of fun and joy.  I want every meal he eats to be happy.  I want him to have happy meals, always.

Speaking of which, on Friday evening, Dylan declared that he was going to eat a McDonald’s hamburger on Saturday afternoon and that after he ate the hamburger he was going to buy a bat cave (as a reward) at the toy store.



My kids, like most kids, love junk food.  Cake, cookies, cotton candy, movie theater popcorn, donuts, candy, etc.  For all of their picky eating, they’ll eat just about anything filled with sugar, fat, salt, and food coloring.  Last weekend at the carnival, Dylan ate salty, greasy popcorn and Riley slurped a blue raspberry snow cone.  By the time he finished, his entire face, including his teeth, were stained blue.  It was gross, but it was okay, because at home we eat wholesome (mostly) food, and we don’t eat fast food.

I grew up eating fast food occasionally.  (Didn’t we all?)  I especially loved McDonald’s breakfast.  Hotcakes with butter and syrup and a brick of Hash browns served up in a devastating-for-the-environment Styrofoam container.  I also remember having a birthday at McDonald’s.  Maybe it was my sister’s party, actually.  In any case, it was someone’s birthday and we ate happy meals and there was a Ronald McDonald cake and there were disposable metal ashtrays on all the tables.

Now, though, I have some pretty strong feelings about how food and disease are linked, how we are what we eat and all that stuff, and how McDonald’s hamburgers supposedly don’t decompose, so I don’t hit the drive-thru much…ever.  That said, the best way to describe my desperate desire for Dylan to broaden his diet is this:  If Dylan asks a McDonald’s hamburger, I’ll find a 24-hour drive-thru in the middle of the night.

On Saturday afternoon, Mike took Dylan to McDonald’s for a happy meal.  I didn’t go with them because Dylan + new food + me (Anxiety Mama) = nothing good.  In other words, it was best if I stayed home and waited nervously by my phone for text messages, pictures, and videos.

I won’t drag this out and make you wonder, Did he eat it?  He didn’t.


Not lovin’ it.

But, he did taste the hamburger before he spit it out, and that’s better than running away from the table screaming.  (FYI: Riley didn’t like it either.  In fact, he wouldn’t even taste it.)  Was the happy meal a happy meal?  No.  Yes.  Maybe.  Of course, I wish Dylan had eaten the hamburger, because eating any new food is progress, but I must admit that I’m happy he didn’t like it.  (Sorry Mickey D’s).

Do your kids like fast food?


Filed under Anxious Mama, food issues, sensory processing disorder, Uncategorized

Sometimes You Lose, Sometimes You Gain

About a year ago, I experienced a heavier than usual dose of anxiety.  It was mostly due to Dylan’s sensory processing disorder diagnosis, the guilt that engulfed me, and the chaotic schedule of therapy sessions that came after.  My world felt like it was spinning out of control, and I’m the kind of Mama who likes to feel in control, which is no easy task even on a good day!  I coped with it all by losing weight.  This was not intentional, mind you.  Some people eat when they’re stressed, some people don’t.  Historically, I’m more inclined to snack under duress, but last fall, my body had its own agenda.

I probably lost about eight pounds over the course of three months.  For a person who’d been trying to lose the last five pounds of baby weight since early 2007, it was kind of awesome…except when I thought about it for more than like a minute and surmised that I must’ve been dying from some kind of rare cancer.  You see, the whole “lose weight without even trying!” thing isn’t really my style.  No, if I want to lose weight, I have to put forth a Herculean effort, and I wasn’t trying at all, which only served to reinforce my tumor theory, make my anxiety worse, and keep the pounds coming off.

Until it stopped.  (Lose or gain, it always stops.)

There was good news and bad news.  The bad news was that slowly but surely, the weight came back.  (“Hello, five pounds.  So nice to see you again,” said no one.)  Dylan’s progress in therapy was miraculous, the therapy routine developed a rhythm, and even though my anxiety didn’t disappear completely (that will never happen), it loosened its grip.  The good news was that, as it turns out, I wasn’t wasting away due to some horrible disease.

Speaking of which, the inspiration for this blog post came because I’m feeling a lot of anxiety over the fact that one week from today – while you’re indulging in delicacies like caffeine, alcohol, and solid food – I’ll be prepping for my second colonoscopy.  (“Yeah!” said no one again.  )

Editor’s note:  If you’re new to the blog, you can catch-up on my colonoscopy adventures here and here and here.  Unless you don’t want to, which is fine if you’re easily grossed out, but not fine if you’re avoiding taking care of your own health.)

Do you remember when I saw my gastroenterologist back in March, and I told you the story of how he remembered me because of the big-ass polyp he pulled out of my colon?  (I made quite an impression!)  I was supposed to have my follow-up colonoscopy this past August, but I got mired down in Dylan’s food therapy schedule.  When we ended the program, I had no excuse not to call and schedule the procedure.

So, Tuesday, October 23rd is the big day.  How have I been handling my anxiety this time around?   I’ve been cooking and baking.  (And eating.)  Last week, I baked chocolate chip cookies.  Twice.  I also cooked panko crusted tilapia fillets for the boys one night (Riley loved it, Dylan ran away) and a delicious pasta dish with kale, white beans, and ricotta cheese for Mike another night.  Over the weekend, I made chocolate pumpkin brownie bars from scratch.  I even roasted a whole pumpkin for the recipe instead of using a can!  For Sunday dinner, I made pan seared salmon, roasted root vegetables, and farro sautéed with garlic and mushrooms for the whole family, and tonight, Dylan and I are making macaroni and cheese from scratch.  What’s next?   I’m prepping for baking a cake for my father-in-law’s birthday this weekend.

With my family history of colon cancer and my very own colon that appears to have a special knack for growing polyps, I have no choice but to be vigilant with my medical care.  I just hope the end result of all this anxiety-induced cooking and baking (and gaining) is a clean colon so I can focus my anxiety elsewhere, like on losing five pounds before my 10th anniversary getaway with Mike in December.

Sometimes you lose, sometimes you gain.

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Filed under anxiety, Anxious Mama, cancer, colonoscopy, health, Uncategorized, weight