Digestive processes. Yeah, let’s go there. So really, I could have called my blog “The fart opens.” In fact, if you talk to any one person from my life, he or she would be able to tell you at least 3 weird eating habits I have, 3 digestive problems I have, and a litany of ever changing food sensitivities I have suffered from.
One friend I’ve known the longest would tell you that for 10 years, I walked through her front door and straight to her fridge, where I’d open the cheese drawer and sample its wares. Her husband would then waste no time telling you his favorite part of the story, about how, for 10 years, I’d then shuffle off to the bathroom. He adds certain details I’ll leave to the imagination, but his favorite word starts with an F and rhymes with a nocturnal woodland bird.
Let’s get back to the part where I mentioned “food sensitivities I have suffered from.” This is a crucial point, because I HATE them. I do not covet my issues, and in fact, my main coping strategy, for many years, has been, wait on it…Denial. I do well avoiding gluten, though annually I march down to The Sparrow Bakery and “just try” a croissant.
Baby Buddha they are good, and it never goes well, and like an alcoholic, I try to hide the evidence from my husband, only to have him find a greasy brown paper sack full of croissant crumbs stuffed in a completely ridiculous place. And it looks like this: “Tanya? Did you eat a croissant?” Then the lopsided grin, waving the sack at eye level between his thumb and index finger, feigning admonishment. I mean, this has happened way too many times. Sometimes it is simply, “Tanya!” He knows what comes next.
Furthermore, and daily, I find myself murmuring all of my displaced marital romance onto cheese, and then eating it. My husband hates my cheese fetish, because my response to cheese is, in the words of my almost 4-year-old, “awk-ward.” It is wholly incompatible with romance, and therefore a self-reinforcing act of marital defection. Treason by cheese!
The denial strategy has run its course. I’ve come to terms with this. It is how my body works. It might change over time; these things tend to be ever-moving targets: the practical jokester that is the immune system, the budding field of psychoneuroimmunology, and the mysteries of the wild and wacky, deep, dark intestines! Maybe some clarity will come along. Probably not.
And there are so many questions! Google this stuff. Read for days. You’ll be certain it’s a big mess, and everyone has an opinion. Who are the dirty culprits? Gluten, FODMAPS, casein, lactose, salicylates, nightshades, albumin, food dye, too much gross stuff that isn’t food at all? Or is it GMOFU corn, soy, etc? (Guess what the FU stands for.) Is it psychosomatic? Is it neurosis? Is it histrionic, as in, exaggerated or dramatic behavior designed to attract attention? (You guessed it, this is my personal favorite!)
**Actually, before I move along, I do have to address this: While bloating, nausea, dizziness, and all manner of awesome chaos, in response to cheese, beer, crossaints, pizza, mac n cheese, sandwiches, and basically everything delicious I used to eat, are cool party tricks, there are WAY better methods of getting attention. Those do not sound like: “Look I’m five months pregnant, bahahahahaha!” or “Look at her stomach, OMG, she looks five months pregnant!”**
And really, who cares? Maybe that is the question to ask – why do people care so much about telling those of us with hardworking, yet incompetent intestines, that we are weird or psychologically impaired, or wrong? (I know, some of us are. Some of you are too.) What is it that excites the research world (p.s. I love science, don’t even go there) to attempt to disprove “gluten intolerance” as a viable consideration for my inability to eat croissants without difficulty. Rub salt in the presumed-histrionic wound, why don’t you? And let’s not even talk about how I feed my children gluten free. Awk-ward! Were I feeling brazen today, and less playful, I could go on and on and on about the actual problems WITH our food. This is a deep and nasty bucket, speaking of treason.
So, this brings me to the topic of parenting with poor intestinal fortitude, and the actual inspiration for this post. Recently, my daughter skipped all the way home from a lovely day in 3rd grade. Smiling, with her perfect bangs, she shared with me that she’d informed her friends in class, “My mom farts when she eats dairy.” My response typing this now, is to start laughing, from some awesome well of funny things I’ll never forget, which will always make me shoot (insert beverage of choice) out of my nose. My reaction that day was to become a full inch taller, and shout something like, “OMG! Do not talk about my bodily functions at school. Who did you tell? Did you say it in class, like, everyone is in their desks and your teacher is standing there? OMG I start teaching yoga at your school next week! Your principal’s daughter is in your class, he does not need to know about my farting problems!”
Until…she started to cry, at which point I immediately became a full inch shorter, and rushed to comfort her, “Oh no, I overreacted, I am so sorry! It’s ok.” She was mortified. I was mortified. I started to dance around and distract her with ridiculousness. I made jokes about how the principal might use this information to the school’s benefit, it may come in really handy, etc. She started to chuckle. I wiped her tears. We hugged. We calmed down. We problem solved how I could incorporate it into my first yoga class. I assured her no one would even remember, then I told her to share some things about her dad next week.