Monday, September 22, 2008

What was I thinking?! 3 year old high on dye part 2

It started off so innocently. We went out to lunch to CiCi's. We all had salad and pizza. That should be safe, right? They used to have a nice salad bar with lots to choose from. Now all they had was a premixed Italian salad or a Bacon ranch one. We've learned to avoid any kind of bacon bits-always red#40. The Italian looked OK at first. Then I realized it was loaded up with banana peppers.

I've learned my lesson about banana peppers. Several months ago at the very same CiCi's Ben asked for banana peppers for his salad. He ate a whole plate of them. Needless to say it was the worst tantrum of his whole entire life and it went on for hours the next day. That was when I realized they soak banana peppers and pickles in yellow dye.

But back to this story, I picked out all the banana peppers and put them on my plate. Alex and Lindsey both ate the salad. Alex even had 2 plates full. It was like half of my brain said, "You know it's contaminated and soaked in dye so don't let them have it." but the other half was in denial and having fun "Oh, it'll be fine, you can't even see any yellow." The logical smart side commented to my husband, Ed "You know we'll probably pay for this." He said, Yea, I know, we'll wait and see." Ben was the smart one. He didn't eat any of it. I can't believe how stupid I was, I ate all the extra ones on my salad. I even thought to myself, "I hope I don't get grumpy."

Things seemed fine for the rest of Saturday. The kids were excited to have a sitter coming so I attributed the bounciness to that. Then Sunday morning hit. Alex and Lindsey kicking each other on the couch until I snapped off the TV. Alex running around not getting dressed for church, Lindsey being loud and demanding and fussy. That's the part that is hard to explain to people. This stuff sometimes takes 24 hours to kick in and then really goes into high gear 24-48 hours later.

After church, Lindsey didn't want to take her nap. She got up at least 4-5 times loosing TV and various items each time. At one point she came out of her room and threw her nightlight at me, then sobbed for 15 minutes that I took it from her. I got angrier and angrier and considered spanking her. I only consider that option when I've had dye. I took a moment of self reflection about how my parenting breaks down when the I have dye and that I need to find some calm strength somewhere. After a quick prayer for patience I decided not to spank and bribed her that I'd give the nightlight back after a good nap. It worked and she finally went to sleep.

I almost took a picture of the fussy crying mess that emerged 2 hours later, but decided she might hold it against me someday. Bedtime was not quite as crazy but Lindsey was pretty demanding and fussy. Alex was wild and had tossed a slipper on top of the plant shelf and wanted it down. I breathed a sigh of relief when all three were in bed. But wait, it's not done yet.

Around 3 am Lindsey was up. She came in my room and announced it was dark. She started screaming all the way back to her room. Put her back to bed and explained the dark is good for her and helps her her body sleep. 3:38 she's up again--needs to pee. 3:57 Alex is now up and announces it is too dark. Sent him back to bed. Alex was up 2 more times to pee and complain about the dark between 4 and 4:30. Ed realized the night light in their bathroom wasn't on and got up to fix it. I love my husband. Thank God Ben didn't wake up too. What a night. My kids are rarely up at night. They know I always take a whole day of TV away and they don't like that.

Now that I'm writing regularly about all this, it is so much easier to see the pattern. The last time Lindsey was up screaming at 2 am was the last time I knew for sure she had yellow dye. Here's what I posted that time

I don't think this is coincidence. People might say I look for excuses and blame it on the dye. Well, I was getting ready to write about the nice week we've had and how great all 3 kids were being all week. Good manners, good behavior, good compliance, peaceful home. Add a little tiny bit of yellow dye and it all breaks down for a few days.

Now that I'm "baring it all" for everyone to see, I'm trying to make sure I keep my parenting is consistent and positive so that is not contributing to any problems. I like Dr. Kevin Leman's book "Have a New Kid by Friday. " I've tried to keep his strategies in place even when behaviors are breaking down: More action than words. "B won't happen until A is complete." It really does help. But keeping them off dye helps the most.

I think I used to write many things off as, "Oh he's just 3, or boys will be boys, that type of stuff that we all say to get through the trials of parenting. Well, food dyes make it all worse. Maybe I'll follow up later with an email to CiCi's. Then again, maybe I'll just take a nap.

No comments: