This is the seventh installment in the story of our family’s quest to calm our son’s tantrums and how it led to a major lifestyle makeover. (The series begins here.) In this post, I move everyone’s proverbial cheese by going all-in on a new menu plan …
As I predicted, my birthday weekend did indeed begin with my husband squawking a bit about the high cost of the groceries I’d so carefully selected (see Following the clues).
Taking my son’s doctor’s advice, I had rejected any item that contained artificial colors, artificial and natural flavors, and/or flavor enhancers. And I didn’t count the cost.
Jon’s financial concerns bounced off me like a fried egg off a ceramic-coated pan. I sang at him (with apologies to Lesley Gore):
“It’s my birthday,
I can shop if I want to,
shop if I want to,
shop if I want to-oo.
You would shop too if you knew what IIIIII knew … !”
Let him cry about the cost. I was out to change our lives.
At least that’s what I said, and that’s how I acted. Honestly, I had no idea. But at that point, if someone had told me eating gold dust would make a difference, I would have found a way to budget for it. We quite simply couldn’t continue as we were, with all the tantrums, unpredictability and chaos.
So we packed up my groceries, and our backpacks and sleeping bags, and set off on our adventure: a weekend at the Wilderness Cabin.
We had never been to my colleague’s cabin before and carefully followed her directions. They took us deeper and deeper into the woods, past taller and more densely packed trees, onto ever-quieter and narrower byways, into fresher and clearer air. Finally, we were crawling along a steep-edged logging road that would have required us to back up quite a distance if we had happened to encounter a truck coming the other way. Thankfully, we didn’t.
Then we arrived. The place was just where she had said it would be, far off the beaten track. A cabin, an outhouse and an outbuilding. And a clear, rushing river.
There was no one else in sight—or sound. The only thing we could hear was water flowing over and between rocks. No matter what happened, our noise—happy, angry or anywhere in between—would disturb no one.
We would disturb no one.
As we ambled around, exploring the property, we began to shed the pressure of living an unpredictable, noisy existence in close proximity to neighbors. We began to relax. We started to breathe more deeply.
Our days at the Wilderness Cabin were one long drink of fresh air. We walked and hiked, waded and tubed in the river, read and played games, and prepared and enjoyed the food I had so carefully chosen. The only time we went inside was to sleep.
And guess what? We experienced not one tantrum. No rages. Nothing.
For the first time in our seven years of parenting, Jon and I started to emerge from our standard state of red alert. It seemed our son did too.
For that weekend, we were just a little family hanging out at a cabin in the wilderness.
Next: Opening the window
Today’s spoonful of sugar: Homemade marshmallows! I didn’t discover these until sometime after our weekend in the woods, but future camping trips called for roasted marshmallows and … has anyone found a manufactured marshmallow that doesn’t include natural flavors, artificial flavors and/or artificial colorings like Blue 1 (because someone somewhere cares that our marshmallows have a bluish tint)?
First person to send me documentation of a pack I can purchase in Vancouver, Washington, or order on Amazon will receive an autographed copy of my Japan memoir, The Same Moon and my great gratitude.
Seriously though, if you’re a marshmallow fan, try the homemade variety. They’re a bit of work but truly delectable.