Those Doubts Are Gone. From a Mainstream Perspective, I Get Crazier by the Day

Remember my doubts about Heilkunst homeopathy?

Heilkunst is about supporting the body’s natural healing power, allowing its own return to health. I had to go through the dreadful process of enumerating, in reverse chronological order, the many insults to Martin’s immune system, from medications and illnesses to vaccines to home remodeling while I was pregnant. For eight months we’ve done a “clear” every two or three weeks, working backward through what might be hampering Martin’s recovery.

Immediately after we began the first clear, which addressed coxsackie, Martin vomited and woke the next morning with a mild coxsackie-like rash on his hands. Since then we’ve seen what appear to be “healing reactions” of all sorts. Itchy neck. Inner-ear swelling. Tired allergy eyes. More vomiting. ROOS. Ugh, ROOS.

At the same time, Martin has been getting better and better. Seriously, he’s having a homerun 2015. I’ve been “reasonably convinced” the Heilkunst is doing what it’s supposed to.

Time to scratch the “reasonably.”

Our last three clears have been MMR, the H1N1 vaccine, and antibiotics we used when addressing SIBO. The antibiotics actually should have been addressed much earlier, in terms of chronological order; I realized only recently, from reading comments in an on-line group, that antibiotics need to be cleared.

I had a hunch that H1N1 clear would be a tough one. The H1N1 vaccine—why on earth did I fall prey to the unnecessary frenzy over that illness?—was the only injection from which I saw a noticeable difference in Martin, beyond the fever-crying-and-blues we are supposed to accept in a recently vaccinated child. He received the H1N1 shot in November 2009, when he was almost 17 months old. (According to his medical records, a “second” H1N1 shot was administered in January 2010. I have no recollection of that.) The shot was not a bad one, in terms of Martin crying or acting out. Instead, he became very quiet and withdrawn, and then, the same afternoon, I noticed him engaging in repetitive behaviors: moving toddler chairs into formation, stacking them, moving them. It was the first time I’d ever noticed such behaviors. Do I know that the onset of repetitive behaviors was tied to the H1N1 vaccine, instead of coincidental? No. But the timing raises red flags. Plants a whole row of red flags.

So I went into Martin’s Heilkunst H1N1 clear with trepidation. The clear involves three wafers given over three days, and then a two-or-three-week waiting period while Martin’s system works through the effects of the H1N1 shot.

As to what happened, here is the update I sent to Martin’s Heilkunst practitioner following the H1N1 and MMR clears:

With the H1N1, Martin was crabby for more than a week. He also had trouble sleeping and reverted to some behaviors we haven’t seen in a long time, such as uncontrollable perseveration and also verbal stimming (he says “goo-HEN-duh-may” repeatedly, and tries to get others to say it also, by asking, “What did I just say?” or, “Is ‘goo-HEN-duh-may’ a word?”). One afternoon he was super crabby and tired, and at dinner he said abruptly, “Mommy, I need to throw up.” (I feel bad: I didn’t believe him, because he frequently says that when he just doesn’t want to eat, doesn’t want to go to school, &c.) Then he vomited, twice, all over the dinner table and floor. After I got him cleaned up in a bath, he seemed to be feeling much, much better. He asked if he could have dessert even though he didn’t finish dinner, and then he went to bed and slept more peacefully. No trouble after that.

I waited another week and then did the MMR. Martin did not get as crabby, but one night after I bathed him, I noticed a bright red, raised rash on one half of his backside. By morning the rash was gone. Also, one day later he was covering his ears and saying they hurt. I put some Hyland’s earache drops in them, which seemed to help.

Overall, Martin is doing very well right now, with a big increase in conversation skills and some in attention. Socialization remains tough.

I should add that the rash I saw on Martin while we were clearing MMR was a mild measles-like rash. I know, because I had measles when I was 12. (I lived in a semi-rural area where, as far as I know, vaccination rates were near 100%. I caught measles despite being initially vaccinated, and later hit with a booster shot. I’m resisting the urge to make this post about vaccines.) In regard to looking like measles, Martin’s rash was clear and distinct.

Let’s agree on this: I don’t have my doubts about Heilkunst anymore. These wafers are doing something.

Let’s follow up with this: I don’t know how Heilkunst is working, or exactly what these wafers are up to. I know that the principle is “energy medicine.” Each wafer delivers a minimized, harmless form of what insulted the immune system, to help the body recognize and expel the toxin. But how does the wafer acquire that energy? At AutismOne, out of lingering curiosity, I crashed the Homeopathy Center of Houston panel discussion and asked questions. We don’t use the Homeopathy Center of Houston, buy hey, same idea as Heilkunst, right? Or close? The lovely ladies of Houston explained about dilution and formulas and administration and many other procedures, and my little brain left the room as uncertain as ever. I may be violating my own policy of comprehending any treatment before we begin; in the case of homeopathy, I consulted as many parents as I could find and also searched online for reports of negative or adverse reactions to sequential homeopathy. Having found nothing substantial or substantiated, I proceeded.

My online searches did yield studies (and straight-up arguments) concluding that homeopathy in general is bunk, just so much ineffective snake oil peddled at high prices. I took those accusations under advisement.

And now I feel comfortable saying: They’re wrong.


Time for another dispatch about church. I write a lot of dispatches about church, because (1) we’re there once a week (or so), giving me a convenient, less-than-daily forum to mark progress; (2) I see Martin with other children, and with adults; and (3) Martin always seems to be engaging in adorable antics at church.

The scene: Pastor has called the children to the chancel for their sermonette before they head to Sunday school. The dialogue: I wasn’t recording, so I’m going to do my faithful best to recreate:

Pastor:            “Good morning, children.”

Children:        “Good morning, Pastor!”

I distinctly hear Martin’s voice amidst the half dozen children. He calls out clearly, “Good morning, Pastor!”

Pastor:            “Today’s lesson was about a mustard seed, a tiny mustard seed. Do you know how some people always think bigger is better?”

Martin:           “No, bigger isn’t better!”

The same clear voice, calling out. The entire church can hear him, I’m sure.

Pastor:            “You don’t think so, Martin?”

Martin:           “No, I don’t like bigger.”

Pastor:            “I suppose when I was your age, I also liked smaller better.”

Martin:           “I’m six years old, but I’m almost seven.”

Now he’s monopolizing children’s time, still clear as a bell.

Pastor:            “When is your birthday?”

Martin:           “It’s this month! It’s the last Tuesday of this month.”

Pastor:            “So you’ll be getting bigger, like this mustard seed.”

Martin:           “Um, look at my new shoes!”

Whoops. Nonsequitur. I suppose Martin wanted to keep the floor but didn’t know how to follow the mustard-seed thought. By now members of the congregation are tittering good-naturedly.

Pastor:            “Where did you get those?”

Martin:           “At the store.”

Pastor:            “It must have been Stride-Rite. Your shoes say ‘Stride-Rite’ on them.”

Martin:           “Yes, of course it was Stride-Rite!”

The congregation laughs. The pastor manages to squeeze in another sentence or two about the mustard seed, then dismisses the children to Sunday school. As their little procession passes down the aisle, Martin looks at me, waves, and calls out, “’Bye, Mommy! I’m going downstairs now,” to the ooohs and aahs of those around me.

After the service, as the pews are emptying and then during coffee hour, I am approached by four different parishioners, each calling Martin “adorable” or “cute.” Even better, one woman who knows Martin has autism comments on how much he’s coming out of his shell. Best of all, an older woman with whom I’ve never shared the diagnosis says, “Your son is so articulate!”

Wait. She doesn’t just say that Martin is articulate. She swoons.

Martin, articulate? My son? Glad I happen to be standing in church, because I’m doing a lot of praising God.

Last month at the AutismOne conference, I met this amazing Supermom from Minnesota, who is working to recover her not-yet-verbal 12-year-old son. At lunch one day with other moms, we started sharing pictures and videos of our kiddos. I called up out a particularly strong performance—a video Adrian and Martin taped from bed that morning, telling me what they planned to do with the day—and handed the Minnesota mom my iPhone.

She watched the video, handed back the phone, and said, “I don’t want to diminish the struggles I know you have, but if I watched that video without knowing more, I would think your son was typically developing.”

Right there, at Maria’s Mexican Restaurant behind the Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel, I started to cry.

Whatever Gets You Through the Night

I have coined a new syndrome: My Kid Is in Special Education But It’s Not the Same Way Your Kid Is in Special Education and Mine Isn’t Staying in Special Education So Why Bother Being Friends Syndrome, or MKISEBINSWYKISEAMISSESWBBF Syndrome. I know that’s a cumbersome, but I really think it could catch on.

I encountered MKISEBINSWYKISEAMISSESWBBF Syndrome four years ago, on Martin’s first day in a preschool for children with special needs. Half a dozen parents and caregivers were in the waiting area before school ended. Some seemed to know each other already. I saw a woman alone, as I was alone, so I introduced myself and said it was my son’s first day at the school.

The woman checked me out sideways, without facing me. She wore gigantic diamond-stud earrings, and honestly, her hair looked much better than mine. She was picking up her daughter, she said. Also first day here.

Did they live near the school? I asked. Was it a long trip like we had, coming from another borough?

The woman didn’t answer that question. Instead, maybe thinking that I wanted to follow up personally, instead of just make small-talk, she said that her daughter had spent the previous year in regular private preschool, and that really everything had been fine there and her daughter had no trouble socially or academically, and had many friends, and was now going to this school temporarily to help with some mild dyspraxia, and as she and her husband expected their daughter to return, by next year at the latest, to her regular private school, they were planning to keep her friends and social peers in that school, not this one.

Oh. Okay.

Yesterday, at Martin’s last day of gymnastics, MKISEBINSWYKISEAMISSESWBBF Syndrome struck again. Martin is one of the few kids who doesn’t participate in the JCC’s afterschool-busing program, because that program is offered only to the school district immediately surrounding the facility. He’s jealous of the kids who come directly from elementary school to the JCC by bus, with no mommies or daddies. This week he asked to bring his backpack to gymnastics class and put it with the other kids’ backpacks, I guess so he would look more like them.

“What district do you live in?” the assistant instructor asked when I explained why Martin had his backpack. We had arrived five minutes early, so we had time to chat. I told her our school district and that, right now, Martin has an out-of-district placement and attends a private school in another town. In another year or two, he might transition back to the district school, either to a self-contained special-education classroom or to a mainstream classroom with an aide.

“We’re in that district, too,” the assistant instructor replied. “Actually, my son, Andrew, is just changing schools. He went to first grade at D elementary school, but for next year they’ve just placed him into the self-contained second-grade class at G elementary school.”

This was quite a coincidence. Our district had been trying to convince us to place Martin next year into the self-contained second-grade class at G school—Adrian and I disagreed with the recommendation, thinking it is too early to pull Martin from his very successful current placement—but the district officials had abruptly stopped pushing us a couple weeks earlier, when the last spot in the G school class had been taken. Now I realized that the student who had filled that last spot was this assistant instructor’s son, Andrew.

I like the assistant instructor a lot, and she seems to have a good connection with Martin, knowing when to give him those bits of extra help that make possible his participation in a non-adapted class. I said, “Martin has friends in the self-contained class the year below him and the year ahead of him, and his mainstream friends attend S school and M school. I would love for him to know another student in the self-contained class for his year, so that he’ll have a friend if he moves into that class in third or fourth grade. Do you think Andrew would like to do a play date sometime?”

“Sure,” the assistant instructor said. “I mean, I guess. Actually, Andrew’s trouble is really just remembering what he’s been taught. Just an academic issue. He’s probably not going to be in the self-contained class for more than a year.”

Memory problems. Remembering what he’s been taught. Not like your kid. Not all that autism stuff.

I didn’t bother to get her number for a possible play date, and she didn’t ask for mine.

This post must sound like I’m judgmental toward those moms who suffer from MKISEBINSWYKISEAMISSESWBBF Syndrome. I’m not. Looking at the big picture, isn’t my approach to Martin’s autism a lot like MKISEBINSWYKISEAMISSESWBBF Syndrome? Even if I don’t say it to other parents, I’m constantly thinking, sure, Martin has autism now, but he won’t have it forever. Soon he’ll look more typical. Soon we won’t be in this spot.

And even if I couldn’t relate MKISEBINSWYKISEAMISSESWBBF Syndrome to my own actions, still I wouldn’t judge. As I recently wrote on a friend’s Facebook page, isn’t survival just the art of balancing what’s healthy against whatever gets you through the night? If another mom needs to think her kid isn’t the same kind of special-ed student as my kid, I’m willing to let that be her reality. Whatever gets her through this night.

If Only I Had Decent Answers

Is Martin curious?

When Martin was a toddler, when his autism had emerged but Adrian and I did not yet recognize it, I thought he was curious about mechanics. He spent hours staring at mechanical devices. I don’t mean that as hyperbole; unless someone intervened, Martin would stare without stopping, for however long we left him. If I wanted to make dinner, I could push the upright vacuum into the middle of the living room and count on Martin to remain, indefinitely, within 36 inches of the appliance, circling to see from different angles, lying down with his head by the wheels. On the street, the only time I could be confident that he wouldn’t bolt was when we had an excavator or backhoe or other piece of heavy equipment to look at. Then he would stare. Stare. Stare.

You ask, How did we not recognize autism? I answer, First-time parents. Give us a break.

After we started autism recovery, Martin stopped gazing at mechanics, and his echolalia (which had been his lone form of spoken language) eased into perseveration. At that time, I probably would not have called Martin curious. His mind got into ruts, and he asked the same question repeatedly. He seemed uninterested in what was new. How could a boy who stuck to one topic, for weeks, be called curious?

Still, we were grateful for what we’d got. At least he put together the sentences, and later questions, on which he perseverated. That’s a step up from echolalia.

Martin still perseverates today, though less. He cycles through topics of interest. We’ve spent the last couple months on street signs. He wants to know everything about street signs. Why does the sign for “playground ahead” have only a see-saw on it? What is a shoulder? Why can’t you drive on it? Mommy, slow down! There’s a speed zone ahead. Before street signs, Martin was into phases of the moon, and facts about the moon. Before that, musical instruments.

Despite the perseveration, Martin’s real, natural curiosity is starting to make itself known, through his ever-increasing language skills. In the last few weeks, I’ve heard questions like these:

In the car, as “Fire and Rain” comes on the radio: “Mommy, what is James Brown signing about?”

Upon finding out that I would be gone for four days to attend a conference (A1!) in Chicago: “What is the conference about?”

Looking around my home office, and realizing that I have portraits of three deceased cats on the wall, when in fact I’ve had not three but four pet cats who’ve died: “Why don’t you have a picture of Tiny Rachel on the wall?”

On a lazy weekend morning, after he climbed into bed with me and Adrian: “Mommy, why did you decide to marry Daddy?”

I’ve been ecstatic about each such question. I do, however, need to add a caveat: Sometimes Martin doesn’t really listen to the answer I give him. Sometimes he poses the question, then interrupts my answer to ask another question or introduce a new topic. When that happens, I wonder whether he’s actually being curious, or whether he’s just trying to control the situation (this happens) by having me answer his choice of question. Ah, well. It is what it is.

Hey, are you wondering why I don’t have a portrait of Tiny Rachel in my home office? Tiny Rachel was my first cat. I adopted her, all five pounds of her, just after I graduated college. She saw me through my first master’s degree, law school, a total of 13 apartments, work, cohabitation, marriage, my second graduate degree, and finally, pregnancy. Tiny Rachel was whip-smart, and full of piss and vinegar. She hated everyone but me. She died three months before Martin was born, and I think she surrendered some of her spirit to him. I’ve never really been able to admit that Tiny Rachel is gone. It’s been seven years. I need a few more before I can hang her portrait.

I See Your Napkin Hand-Off, and Raise You a Call for Pajamas

Sunday morning, I lay clothes upon Martin’s bed and told him to get dressed while I showered.

Ten minutes later, after my shower, I found Martin his room, fully dressed except for socks. “Hey, what about these?” I asked.

He grabbed the socks and scampered away.

“Wait!” I called after him.

He had left his dirty pajamas on the bed. He knows that dirty clothes belong in the blue laundry basket in his bathroom. I gathered the pajamas and stepped into the hallway. Martin was 15 feet down the hall, on the floor outside his bathroom, pulling on his socks.

“You left these dirty pajamas on the bed,” I said. I wanted him to get up, walk back to me, and take the pajamas.

Instead, he kept his butt on the hardwood floor, reached his hands toward me, and danced his fingers in the air. All the while, he kept his eyes on me.

His request was obvious. The gesture was obvious. Throw them to me, he motioned. Throw me the pajamas.

Straight-up, flat-out nonverbal communication. No doubt about it.

Right away I remembered the day four years ago—before Martin could follow eye gaze or pointing, before a nick of the chin one direction or another meant anything to him—when Martin comprehended a nonverbal cue and dropped his napkin into my hand. We were a year post-diagnosis, then, and I was so pleased that he’d understood what I wanted.

Look at him now. Sitting there (literally) and motioning for me to throw him pajamas, as if it’s nothing. As if nonverbal communication is nothing at all. Sure, we may be five years into the arduous recovery, we may have our ups and downs, we may be clawing our way out of quicksand into fog, but look at him now.

I threw the pajamas at Martin. They hit him in the face. (Catching skills? Not quite there yet.) He giggled and still didn’t get off the floor. He kind of scooted and crawled into his bathroom, dragging the pajamas, and deposited them into the blue laundry basket, then returned to the task of pulling on socks.

’Atta boy.

Martin behind Adrian, on a walk near our home. Learning, I suppose, to follow.

Martin behind Adrian, on a walk near our home. Learning, I suppose, to follow.

Autism One Take-Away II

In my last post, I enumerated my “for discussion” points from Autism One, the ideas that caught my interest but that I need to discuss with Martin’s doctor before I take any action.

In this post, I address two plans for immediate implementation: composting and EMR control.

I’ve had composting on my mind since we moved to the suburbs two years ago. Composting never made it past the good-intentions stage because I wasn’t planting. Composting may be generally beneficial, from an environmental standpoint. From a realism standpoint, I’m not going to do it unless I have a use for the compost. I mean, I’m not going to compost and donate the result. At least, not while I’m in the thick of fighting autism. Maybe someday, when Martin has recovered.

This spring, for the first time, I planted. I assembled an elevated, cedar garden box, in which my arugula, kale, and marigolds (co-planted for natural pest control) are thriving. I also started three “Grow Boxes,” which I’ve had since before we moved from the City and never used. (Trepidation. I haven’t been able to discover exactly what goes into the grow-boxes’ built-in fertilizer, and I have a bias against the boxes being plastic. So far, in any event, the crops in the cedar box are doing much better than those in the plastic grow-boxes.) All the seeds were organic, of course, and I also purchased (not cheap) organic soil.

In one of his A1 presentations, Dr. Zach Bush talked about the introduction of nitrogen fertilizer after World War II, the more recent introduction of glyphosate and other pesticides and herbicides, and the resulting loss of soil biome. I think a lot about human biome, especially since Martin was born by unplanned Caesarian-section and then given antibiotics. I’ve never really thought before now about the soil biome. During his presentation on The TDOS Syndrome, Peter Greenlaw argued that food, as we have altered it, is not longer “enough” to nourish us. Tomatoes have less lycopene, spinach has less iron, carrots have fewer vitamins, and so forth. We eat all the calories and then, still missing nutrients, we crave more, leading to obesity. These ideas clicked. Since I’m growing vegetables on the homefront now—I’m about to step outside and harvest a salad for dinner—I ought to insert as much nutrition into them as possible. Won’t my organic vegetable waste make ideal compost for that purpose? Plus, the very cool plumber who came recently to fix a burst pipe told me that my township offers outdoor composting kits to residents for just $50. Composting, here I come.

As to EMR, we have taken precautions already. EMR, or EMF’s, were a primary concern when we decided to move out of New York City. In our old apartment, in the city, when I ordered my computer to search for wi-fi, it routinely found two or three dozen networks. Two or three dozen! That means Martin, at home, playing, or sleeping, was bombarded by wireless frequencies. And when you live in a building with seven other families, surrounded by more buildings with more families, those signals come through pretty strong. We resorted to draping a tent of EMF-blocking fabric around Martin’s bed, with yards of the same fabric under his bed. Also, his bedroom was so tiny that his bed fit only against a wall with electrical outlets near his head and feet, or else alongside a floor-level window through which came the room’s highest EMF levels. We covered the window with clear EMF-shielding film and put the bed there. That was the best we could do.

In our new (not so new anymore) suburban homestead, we are less constrained. We have more than an acre, on a shoreline. As a result, when my computer searches for wi-fi, it finds only two networks, ours and the weak signal of one neighbor. Before we moved in, our contractor—who is the husband of Martin’s nanny, Samara, and knows why we do the things we do—applied grounded, EMF-shielding paint underneath the regular paint and even the floorboards (basement modem) in Martin’s bedroom. That bedroom is large enough that we can situate his bed away from wall outlets. We bought this house, instead of another we considered, after an environmental review of each showed the winning house to harbor lower EMR. (The other house was near a water tower; EMR travels along water pipes, and higher pressure means more EMR. Also, the main water line into that house ran diagonally under most of the main floor, creating an unavoidable field.) Along with those precautions, we don’t have cordless phones at home. So we’re off to a good start.

Here’s what more I can do:

* I never had Martin’s current bedroom windows coated with clear EMF-blocking film, even though we still have a supply of the product. I suppose I haven’t wanted to mess with his room’s view of our yard. Well, tough. For the time being, recovery trumps view.

* We have one basement water main that our consultant recommended wrapping to offset EMR transmission. With the other renovations and general chaos of moving, that never happened. It’s time.

* Adrian loves giant televisions. He is, after all, a guy. In our family room is a 65” LED television that gets turned on, maybe, twice a week, for Adrian to watch news or historical documentaries. (With my hockey and soccer and tennis and football, I am the bigger TV-watcher. I watch mainly in the kitchen, while I cook.) Once upon a time, back in the City, I turned off the power strip that fed our TV, cable, and stereo system, trying to cut ambient radiation when the devices weren’t in use. Then I discovered that if you cut power to a cable box, it takes five minutes or more to reset when you reconnect the power. On those rare occasions when Adrian wanted to watch TV, he faced a frustrating delay. So I devised a system by which everything except the cable box was fed by one power strip, and cut that power strip unless we were using the TV or stereo. Now we have “Smart TV” in our family room. I need to experiment and find the best way to cut power when not in use, without much delay upon restarting. Bonus: Savings on our electric bill.

* That stupid microwave. Years ago I stopped microwaving. Since then I’ve read conflicting information on whether microwaving really affects food properties. But nutritional value notwithstanding, microwaves emit EMR’s. I’ve still got one in my kitchen. It’s a built-in model that will leave a hole if removed. Mostly, I use it as a timer, because its timer feature is more convenient than my oven’s. Occasionally, I give in to temptation and nuke food: lentil stew for Adrian to take to the office, a vegetarian sausage for me to when the others are eating fish, even Martin’s broth when he’s let it go cold and the fat has coagulated. Why? No good reason. I’m going to find a way to unplug the thing. I will leave it in the custom cabinet, or ask our handyman if he could convert the space to something useful and attractive.

Ÿ* Get this: More often than not, I leave my computer on overnight. At some point in the evening, I abandon my laptop in order to attend to something else, like preparing meatballs or Adrian’s lunch, or driving home from the pub where I blog. (Ahem.) I think, I’m not going to shut down. Maybe I will want to use my computer later and accomplish many amazing feats. Which I never do. I go to bed, and my laptop sits unmolested, shooting and receiving EMF’s. Nice.

Ÿ* Did you think that was bad? My computer? Wait for it: Adrian leaves his iPhone—charging—powered on—next to his pillow. Just like that, he earns infamy as worst household EMF offender. He likes to use the iPhone as an alarm. He likes to be completely up-to-date on work email if he checks during the night or first thing in the morning. He likes to melt our brains. This doesn’t affect Martin, at least not as much as other household wi-fi crimes. But still. I’ve got some needling to do.

Ÿ* Overall, I may be able to make the biggest difference in Martin’s classroom. As luck would have it, two other mothers from Martin’s class—he attends a school for children with speech and language delays, many of whom also have autism—were with me at A1 and share this sentiment: We need to convince the school to do better with wi-fi. The entire school is wi-fi enabled, and every classroom has a SMART board. We probably can’t change either of those facts. Maybe we could fundraise and get EMF filters into the classrooms, or implement a policy for teachers and assistants to shut off mobile phones while inside.

We also considered trying to get the school to do better with food, but that seems more challenging. Because so many kids have food allergies, students may eat only what they bring from home, except during parties and special events. During parties and special events, no home-baked goods or even fruits are allowed. The choices are plain pizza (which I like to call “one dish with everything an ASD kid shouldn’t eat, plus almost no nutrition whatsoever”) or items from the “Snack Safely Guide” (“sugar-laden processed crap”). Ergo, during parties and special events, Martin and the other boys whose moms were at A1 have to bring their own snacks. We would love to convince the school to let us bring healthy treats for all the students. We’ve tried before. Regrettably (in my opinion), paranoia over food allergies wins the day.

Referring to “paranoia” over food allergies is in no way meant to minimize the challenges faced by our friends in that community. I know that we need to take precautions to ensure the safety of those who risk anaphylactic shock from accidental ingestion of allergens. On the other hand, it appears sometimes that, rather than doing the hard work of tailoring policies, schools prefer to blanket the food supply. Not one student in Martin’s class has an allergy to peanuts or nuts, and because of the lunchroom’s small size, his class eats together with only one other class. Yet I cannot send sprouted almonds as a snack, because the entire school is nut-free. I would much rather work with the school to devise a plan that meets the students’ actual needs, and addresses the non-nut allergies that some of them do have.

How about turning our own wi-fi system off at night? That’s usually the first step holistic doctors and EMF consultants suggest. Yet it would be the hardest for me to take. Adrian works long hours. Now that we live outside the City, we wanted to make provision for Adrian to work some days from home. He hired a network expert to enable his home office, complete with phone tied to his Manhattan office line, cable phone, and wi-fi portals. The system is so complex that it doesn’t lend itself to being shut off without significant warm-up time upon restarting, along with the chance for snafus. It’s becoming a pick-your-battles issue for me. The EMF-blocking paint in Martin’s bedroom helps. What trace EMF’s still hit him at night are offset by Adrian’s ability to work conveniently from home.

Gotta go. Lots to do.

Martin doing his thing at a playground. I look at this big, big kid and think, "Is he really mine?"

Martin doing his thing at a playground. I look at this big, big kid and think, “Is he really mine?”