Friday, October 02, 2009

Last night, an Arrowroot cookie saved my life

Okay it was this morning, and it wasn't, I guess, my life as much as my sanity.

For the past two weeks, our mornings have been a dream. Pynchon and I take turns in the shower; he gets to shave in peace, and I get to blow dry my hair and put on makeup. In the background, you might hear Munchkin singing songs to and about her My Little Ponies, or maybe the thump of her feet as she chases the cat around the house.

What you don't hear is screaming: you don't hear her screaming, you don't hear me yelling, you don't hear Pynchon slamming doors in frustration. You don't hear tantrums, screechy non-compliance, refusals to get out of bed / go pee / get dressed / come downstairs / eat breakfast / put shoes and coat on / leave the house / get in the car. You do hear playing and laughing. You hear songs. You hear reasonable conversations, accomodations and compromises on the theme of "three more minutes of 'bolleyball' and then we will put our shoes on" or "once you make your pee-pee, then I'll read you the book."

Our out of control toddler and our out of control parenting? Is suddenly ... not an issue. We are just enjoying our time together in the mornings now, and when we're late for work, it's because one of us lingered too long over playtime or family breakfast, not willing to walk away to brush our teeth or pack a lunch.

The solution?

Two Arrowroot cookies and a glass of milk.

When we pad into Munchkin's room in the morning, cooing soft greetings just like we always did, we hand her the cookies and milk. She sits on a cushion on her floor, a little groggy, and eats. Drinks. There have been no morning tantrums in the two weeks we've been doing this.

It's a miracle. A miraculous change in our day that no amount of Dr. Google's or Dr. Sears' or Dr. Karp's advice could bring about. It wasn't about discipline or routine or attachment or consequences. It was about blood sugar.

Munchkin, recall, turned three in June. She weighs 42 pounds and her size four pants are now riding up above her ankles. She's a big kid, growing like crazy since the moment she was conceived and I guess she's just really, really hungry. We missed out on this obvious point maybe because she was always throwing tantrums about NOT wanting to eat breakfast, but I think (now) that this was an artifact of desperately low blood-sugar: by the time we asked about breakfast, she was already in a frenzy that didn't feel like hunger, that felt like rage and sadness.

We are agog at the change, at the possibility 60 calories worth of baked flour offers for family harmony, for joy. After preschool, if she suddenly gets unreasonable and moody? Cookie. Saturday morning after two hours of playing picnic with plastic food, angry that the blanket won't fold right? Cookie. It's not that we're bribing her with food. It's that she's hungry. The change in her behaviour is always immediate and remarkable. Probably, the moment of calm and refocusing offered by the 2 minutes of sitting still in the kitchen to munch her snack helps too, but really. Who could have imagined the humble Arrowroot to have such awesome properties?

Not me, that's for sure.

So if your kid is an awful wreck and you've tried everything you know? Try two Arrowroot cookies and a glass of milk. There's probably a hug in it for you--I know there always is for me.


I'm big, and very hungry.


Janet said...

Sometimes the answer is so simple, isn't it? I'm glad you found a solution. I think someone needs to bring me a snack before I get up in the morning...

Beck said...

I love it when the answer just shows up. It's like magic.

Cloud said...

This makes so much sense!

My daughter's worst meltdowns are usually blood sugar related, too. But then, so are mine.

Hubby has learned when its time to steer me directly to food. (Because, yeah, even at 37, I can't always recognize it in time, and once you're in a blood sugar funk you just aren't thinking straight.) We're working on learning Pumpkin's cues in that regard.

Omaha Mama said...

Yay!!!! This post made me smile - I'm so glad that it's worked out this way. So...before the a.m. happiness and Mimi asleep at any point?

cinnamon gurl said...

Huh. I've been aware of the blood sugar meltdown in the afternoon, but it's never occurred to me that he could wake up with low blood sugar. This could explain why we've also been having peaceful mornings lately - breakfast has been the first we do the last several days. Huh.

Cheryl said...

Hi's been a while since I've visited, life has been so incredibly busy.
I'm giving you the "One Lovely Blog" award because your blog is just that...lovely. I've been following you for just about 2 yrs now...and I never tire of it. So, you have some more "bloggy bling" to show off.

Enjoy your weekend!

Debbie said...

I am so glad you found what works for you guys. Cranky, hungry, slammy mornings are no fun for anyone.

Kyla said...

You know, I feel JUST like that if it has been too long since I've eaten. I get kind of dizzy and shaky and my patience for anything is just GONE.

I'm so glad you've figured it out!!

alejna said...

That's really wonderful!

I've noticed a correlation between low blood sugar and low levels of cooperation, too. But I hadn't gone as far as bringing a morning snack up to Phoebe's room as part of the wake-up routine. Maybe I'll give it a shot!

the new girl said...

When my kid gets the freaky-screamy-crazies after nap, I will all of a sudden think to myself, 'Hmm. Maybe you need a SNACK.'

She gets to playing and we both forget the fact that it's been HOURS since she's eaten anything.

Cookies are goooood.

Jenifer said...

Do you have any answers for a previously great sleeper who now is either not going to sleep or wakes up at least once or twice a night? Oh and it could be teething related...Anything ANYTHING.

I love those cookies by the way. They are a staple in our house.

She is so big I still remember your posts about the sling and being locked out of the house and all that. Time sure marches on.