Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Gut Feelings

Good day yesterday. The weather was so nice. My afternoon walk was great: I took a different route since I'm in a new neighborhood, and talk about spectacular views! I'll have to take my camera and snap some pictures next time. I only walked about a mile, but it was a fairly steep hill and I got lots of leg work.

Mabel also got out her bicycle and rode around with the kids in our neighborhood. Yet another validation that our move was a good one -- I have a feeling this summer she'll be running around with this crew every day.

I am kind of disappointed that I'm sore this morning -- not a lot, but I can tell I exerted myself yesterday. It's amazing how quickly you start to lose it if you don't use it. But at least I am starting to use it again, so that's a good thing. This morning I worked on the upper body/arms since my lower back and thighs were a little achey. And I'm going to go for another walk this afternoon.

I'm also dealing with some bloat. This of course is partially due to my weekend excesses, but I can tell it's PMS week, too. This is month 2 of my new birth control, so it'll be interesting to see how my weight goes the next two weeks, since last month I definitely hung on to some bloat for a while.

This morning my concerns are moving away from my stomach and onto my daughter's. Mabel has this stomach thing that comes and goes, but lately it seems to be bothering her more. Because she's little and can't describe it well, I'm never quite sure what's really going on: if it's just gas, hunger pangs, or maybe even a nervous stomach. She doesn't vomit or have diarrhea, and a lot of times she gets distracted and it just goes away.

But it has increased in frequency lately, so this morning I turned the TV off and made her talk to me about it. I tried asking her pointed questions about how the pain feels, where it's located, etc. I also asked her if she thought it was brought on by feelings: being upset by something at home or school. I know she and this certain boy have been at each other throats since first grade, and a week doesn't go by that I don't hear another story of their confrontations. I'm not laying all the blame on the boy, because I know my daughter isn't an angel, but I wonder if the boy is as upset by these incidents as she often is. She did admit he bothers her.

As we headed out the door she also brought up a clique of girls at school who, she claims, get up and move when she sits down at the cafeteria table with them. I did my best not to invalidate or minimize her feelings. I told her I and probably everyone else I know had to deal with kids like this growing up, and it's hard to deal with, but unfortunately it's a common thing.

I asked her if she wanted me to call the doctor to see if there is a physical cause to these stomach complaints. I warned her that this might involve tests, including a tube down her throat to look into her stomach. I also said there might be food intolerances going on, possibly dairy or wheat, and we might have to experiment with her diet for a few weeks to see if we can pinpoint what it is. This wouldn't surprise me, because she's Vietnamese, and Asians tend to have a high rate of lactose intolerance. Although she didn't look too thrilled with the tube idea, she still wants me to call the doctor. So as soon as I'm done here I'm going to call the office and make an appointment.

I don't want to be an overly anxious mother, but this stomach thing worries me, whether it's physical or emotional. I'd like to rule out the physical causes, and if there are emotional issues going on, I want to get them addressed. If she needs a therapist, I have no qualms about taking her if it will help her get to the bottom of what's bothering her and find new ways of dealing with it.

I know where this is coming from. Because when I was her age, this is when things started falling apart for me. My family was undergoing serious problems, and to cope I turned to food. I also started getting lots of stomach problems. I even remember my mother taking me to a doctor for it. The sad thing is, even then I knew (as much as a 8-9-10 year old could) the bulk of my stomach problems were emotional, I didn't have the maturity and vocabulary to express it. Unfortunately, my mother and doctor didn't ask me the right questions to uncover it, either. It then moved on to depression, anxiety, compulsive eating, dieting and bingeing. If I can save my daughter from those things, I'll do it.

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