A Houseful of Mice

With the onset of rainy season, all the outdoor critters move indoors, spiders, crickets, mice . . . . and this year has been no exception. We had a couple of mice, or so we thought, and put out poison. The first mouse had bitten my foot a couple of times and when we finally caught it under an ice cream bucket, it turned out to be weirdly deformed with a giant round head. So I think it was a bit off, which is why it kept trying to eat me. Happy that we?d caught the darn thing, we went on with life. Then, two days later, I saw a mouse strolling across the floor and kicked it out the door where it hit a Tonka truck. Yes, I felt badly, but it died very quickly. Two mice, we were certain that was the end of finding our food ripped open and full of droppings.

But no.

The very next day, ANOTHER mouse came wandering out into the middle of the floor. Irving got rid of it. And today . . . well, today we had a horde of the things.

Of the earlier three mice caught, two were half size, fairly young and one was a full size mouse, so we figured the mama and her two kids. But today we got another full size mouse. And then Irving yelled around mid-morning that yet another one was under the counter. I came out just in time to see him sweep the tiniest little thing out from under the counter. This one was only about an inch long, not including it?s tail. So we apparently had three generations hanging out in our house! I knew that where there?s one baby mouse, there?s bound to be more and sure enough, another itty bitty one crept out from behind the fridge a little later. I have to admit, I felt awful for them. They must have been looking for their mother because they were far too small to be on their own. But now I think we really have gotten rid of the creatures. Even Irving said, ?I hate them because I had to throw out half our food yesterday, all of it in brand new packages . . . but one look at that teensy little face . . . stinking cute mice, making me feel bad for getting rid of them!!?

All About Diet

Back before kids, Irving and I would alternate cooking and eating out at small local diners. Then Dorian came along and we continued as normal, except that I wasn?t earning money, so pretty much everything was home cooked. It wasn?t until he had his first intestinal blockage that we realized he needed to follow a special diet, something no one had told us before.

I promptly contacted some parents of a five year old that had IA. We?d met online when Dorian was born and I knew they followed a strict diet with their son, but had always assumed that it was because he had more issues. They encouraged us to start a food journal to figure out just what affected Dorian and to keep track of bowel movements and types.

It rapidly became clear that Dorian was not doing well with the foods he was eating. He loved carbs like bread, pasta and cereal, but those were blocking him up. Milk caused problems. Refined sugar could cause him two weeks of constipation if he had too much in one sitting. And so began our diet.

It?s hard not to use bread, rice and pasta in your daily cooking! It took me a couple of years to perfect the balance. We switched Dorian to soy milk but many people told us it was horrible for little boys and could cause all sorts of hormonal issues, so I felt guilty about giving it to him. Some suggested almond milk, but that?s just not something you find in Guatemala!

Eventually, we reached a routine. Dorian could have a little milk on a regular basis, but no more than a cup a day. We encouraged him to drink more water and had drinking contests together. At one point, we would have him drink some water every half hour and while he doesn?t do that now, he still chugs water frequently throughout the day.

Keeping refined foods out of a child?s diet is tough. Who doesn?t make a quick sandwich for their kid when time is short and people are hungry? One sandwich, though, could end up causing Dorian to be blocked up for days, at least if it is made with pan frances, white bread that is often the only thing available here. I did make my own bread, but it was still difficult to get whole wheat flour and it never turned out that great, so we started buying whole grain bread from Doña Luisa, a restaurant/bakery in Antigua. Dorian LOVES their bread and it has enough fiber in it to make it a good food for him. We buy brown rice and until recently, we bought whole wheat pasta, but the stores stopped carrying it.

Sugar is still the biggest issue for Dorian. He has a sweet tooth (like his mama!) and he loves cakes and cookies. We limit them or use honey where possible. He rarely drinks sodas and if he has juice, it?s 100% fruit juice. And now he understands how diet affects him, too and he will take an active part in choosing foods that work for his body. If you offer him a flour tortilla, he will politely take a bite and give the rest to his brother. The other day, we let him have a croissant with chocolate in the middle. He ate a couple of bites and handed it to Irving, saying, ?This can?t be very good for my tummy.? If given a choice, he will almost always choose the higher fiber option and he already understands that fiber helps his stomach, protein builds muscles . . . he?s a little information gatherer, collecting all the facts, constantly asking questions about everything he is offered or takes a bite of. Then he will recite them back to you the next time he has the same food. We even did an experiment with white and brown bread, adding a few drops of water and mushing them up. The white bread formed a hard ball which we told him would happen in his intestines. Since the hospital, he has been even more careful about what he eats, even though the last surgery had nothing to do with his diet.

Overall, having to keep a careful diet for Dorian has resulted in a careful diet for everyone. We aren?t going to eat rice when he can?t have any, so we stick to healthier choices. When it comes to bread, we usually have his bread, but sometimes we eat white while he has brown and he is fine with that because he knows it won?t muck him up.