Friday, June 26, 2009

sad face/happy face

On monday I went caffeine free for the first time since I was, what? Eight, nine years old? I was hoping that avoiding caffeine will help me get a grip on some of my moodiness (don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about). I have previously stopped eating cocoa and chocolate and have been much more even steven since. With the caffeine withdrawal, I expected the headache and some sleepiness. But caffeine detox is so terribly much more. Here is my cautionary tale.

Often my moods are reflected in the children, and theirs mirrored back on me. We tend to spiral up or down together. When I withdrawal from caffeine, the children feel it too. Monday's headache was bad, but tuesday was brutal with nausea, vomiting (no, not pregnant, thanks), and achy joints. I slept. I set Smootch up with a video and went for a nap with Birdie Boy. I felt like I was walking underwater under the influence of heavy sedatives. Smootch was drawing like mad all over the furniture (neglect and boredom, I suppose.) Here's a little example of her unhappiness.

Note all the unhappy, almost deranged expressions. Ahem.

By wednesday I lost the abilility to bend over to pick up the baby. My hips and legs were both numb and achy. I was stumbling! The going was rough enough at that point that I thought maybe I actually was coincidently coming down with the flu or some nerve destroying disease and mistakenly believing that I was being crippled by caffeine withdrawal.

To test my theory, I had a cup of tea - just tea - at about 3:00 in the afternoon. By 3:15 I was dancing - no joint pain, no numb hips - and by 3:30 I was shaking. Weird. But we all perked up and had the energy to smile once again.

Thursday I decided to have two cups of tea, one in the morning with breakfast, and one early afternoon. It was truly a fantastic day. Mind you this is significantly less than my regular 2 cups of coffee and 2 or 3 cups a tea a day, though compared to many it is laughably minor caffeine consumption.

Here's my little mood mirror, checking out her happy face:

With my little caffeine/mood experiment I learnt several things. First, the things I eat and drink everyday are sometimes more powerful than I think and their consumption should be questioned more thoughfully. No more autopilot for me with the coffee. Second, unnecessary suffering is unnecessary suffering. There is a balance with all things, and my job is to find the middle path between gluttony and starvation. Three: do not play with psychotropic drugs (caffeine and cocoa) while two small children are in my exclusive care. All of us here are on this crazy ride together, whether good or bad.


Laura said...

my sister sent me the link that led me to your post on Soule Mama. Not even sure if this was recent, but who was brilliant.
I have a HUGE love hate relationship with summed up how so many of us feel!

Robyn said...

I'm a lurker from Just tutes, popped over here b/c I enjoy your writing style. :) Just wanted to affirm I had the same experience with caffeine. I weaned down down down from 4 to 3 to 2 to 1 cup, all fine and dandy. Zero was a nightmare. I only need a small bit, but I need that small bit so much...