Just between you and me, I ‘ve noticed something.  Whenever I feel like there’s nothing for me to write about – whenever I feel as if my life is just simply too boring to put into words, it’s because there IS something going on, but it’s something I don’t want to talk about or that I haven’t processed enough yet.

And today is no exception.

So, let’s talk about L.B.S.

Low Blood Sugar.  In our family, we call it “libs”, and Mr. E asks me all the time if I have libs, because when I do  not eat, I become a raging raging beotch.  Like, bordering on insanity, and I do not use that term lightly.  When I am too hungry, I lose all rationality.  I am no longer myself.

This has been happening my whole life, but for some ungodly reason, my mom didn’t figure it out until I was like, sixteen.  My step father says now that he can’t figure out why mom just didn’t always have a Snickers bar in her purse, but I think that’s a whole other blog post, or ten, so I’m not really going to go into that right now, but let’s just say that my mother and I both have a long history of screwed up relationships with each other and with food and if I learned my mother had EVER in her life purchased a Snickers bar I would pass out dead of shock.

Anyway, here’s how it works.  I get hungry, but I get distracted or I’m on a diet or whatever, but I don’t eat, for whatever reason, and somehow I slip over the edge of normalcy into a scary scary place.  I lose all common sense. I lose the ability to figure out that I need to eat something.  I get so so so so so crabby and emotional I can’t think straight.  I want to kick people.  I cry.  I refuse to eat, I insist that I’m not hungry, I won’t go in restaurants, I climb into bed and pull the covers over my head and sob.   Everything is terrible, there are no solutions, life is not worth living.  And at no point am I able to figure out what’s going on and eat a Snickers bar.  Sometimes, if it’s really bad, I have to be forced to eat, with threats or cajoling or anger.  It’s the closest I’ve ever come to teetering on the edge of insanity, truly it is.  It’s a scary, crazy, horrible horrible very bad feeling.

The good news is that things are better now.  I  watch for the warning signs, I take string cheese with me in my purse. I pay more attention.  I know that when I want to kick people in Home Depot that I should tell Mr. E that I need to eat.

But I won’t lie.  There have been times so terrible that they are indelibly printed on my memory.  Me, hysterical, sobbing in the back seat of the car, insisting that I hate greek food and won’t eat it and no one can make me, my mother grabbing me and shoving me down the sidewalk, forcing me into a restaurant, ordering for me because I am crying too hard.   Or there’s a hot summer day in Chicago when Mr. E and I walk around the city a little too long, and I refuse to eat anything, and we come the closest we’ve ever come to breaking up when he almost walks away and leaves me there, and I can still remember sitting in a food court that day and finally after hours of fighting drinking one sip of the Pepsi he ordered me and eating one bite of the taco he bought me even though I told him I would not eat anything no matter what and then I can remember the light dawning as food hit my stomach and I can remember looking across the table at Mr. E and being so grateful that the black had lifted and I had made it out the other side, and being so scared that I would never be able to fix the damage I had done that day to this person who took care of me better than anyone else I had ever known.  This patient patient man.

And now I have my son.  My tiny, stubborn, pig headed son.  He is absolutely my mini me.  We joke, but lord, he got it ALL.  It’s like the cloned me into a two year old boy.  And because he is just like me, he would rather play than eat.  He wants to cuddle more than he wants to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and the wrong things hurt his stomach and he wakes up every night because he’s hungry and when he wakes up in the morning, sometimes, he’s gone too far.  And it doesn’t feel right, it doesn’t, but I look at him and I know. I know he’s hysterical because he’s hungry and I know that nothing is going to make him eat, nothing on earth, and I know because it happens to me, it happened to me my whole life, and I know you don’t come back from that place without help, and that’s why more mornings and evenings than I would like find me sitting on the kitchen floor, holding back his arms and legs, spooning yogurt into his mouth, struggling limbs and yogurt flying everywhere, and there’s me, feeling so much like a failure, feeling so lost, not knowing any other way to help this child through this mess I’ve handed down.

And every meal is a struggle and he won’t eat things he loved a minute ago and he’s in the 3rd percentile and I’m just so so tired.  So very tired.


15 Responses

  1. At least he’s not going to have to grow up without having someone there that understands what he’s going through and can support him through it, your past is going to help him.


  2. I am in the LBS club too. In what is known as “The Banana Incident”, Mr. A tried to convince me I was hungry and gave me a banana which I promptly threw directly at his head. Since then, I have tried to remember to eat snacks if I am feeling crazy. It isn’t easy though. Usually, by the time I notice, I am so far gone things are pretty ugly. Fortunately, both of my girls seem much more even tempered without food.

  3. I read a similar story about someone who has diabetes. When her blood sugar gets low, it impairs her brain so severely that she can’t figure out what she needs to do to fix the situation. All she needs to do is drink some juice, and the juice can be RIGHT THERE IN THE FRIDGE and she will instead slowly pass out on the floor.

  4. Oh wow. I have had some cases of LBS, but nothing as bad as you describe. Sounds tough! It’s true, like Raven said, little E is so lucky to have someone (two someones) who understand this. I just wish you luck getting him to eat when he needs it. That is a tough one, friend. I don’t envy it. I KNOW how difficult food issues can be.

  5. I don’t know what to say, but I do want to acknowledge how touching I found this post. Your sweet little family just brings me almost to tears.

  6. dude, what raven said.
    he’s so lucky to have someone who gets it.
    also, i’d say that’s kind of the opposite of being a failure.

    funny/sad parallel:
    d was helping me make dinner tonight. i was measuring, she was dumping. she missed the bowl and flour went everywhere.

    she went straight to panic and crying and backing away because it was ON HER and also ON THE FLOOR and she couldn’t PICK IT UP and it was HORRIBLE.

    talk about mini me – oh my heart just broke for that kid.

    BUT instead of being frustrated the way my mom would have – or worse walking away! – we talked about how it’s okay and blah de blah and everyone spills and hugs and so forth.

    then we cleaned it up and totally enjoyed the satisfaction of a clean floor together. 🙂

  7. We have termed it the disease in our house. My sisters and I all have it to varying degrees. My oldest sister is by far the worst. I lived with her for three years, and I just made it a habit of bringing food with me whenever I picked her up from a trip, or to have food waiting for her at the table when she came home from work. It was better for both of us.

    It is sometimes hard to remember when a person is in a low-blood sugar frenzy and they are angry and attacking you, that it isn’t personal. It is just them not thinking straight and once they get food in them, this anger and hostility will all disappear.

    And I know very well the feeling of needing to eat but NOTHING sounds good. And in the back recesses of your brain, you know you are being unreasonable, but that just makes you even more crazy. Yeah. Not fun.

    The good news is that you understand what is going on and can help your son to understand.

  8. Oh, libs. I didn’t know your nickname, but I know your evil ways.

    Elizabeth, I get mean, too. Really mean and crabby. And add to that, shaking like a leaf and passing out occasionally, and I totally feel your pain, my friend.

    Sounds like Eli’s got it bad. There is nothing more distressing than knowing your child needs to eat, and he won’t, and you have to shove it in his face. I have a kid like that, not because of libs, but because he’s so thin and so very, very stubborn. The children and eating combination is one of the most stressful things you can go through. Hugs to you, and to Eli.

  9. I feel your pain.

    I am Type 1 diabetic and it is the same thing. In the past it used to happen all the time. Yesterday I slipped bad for the first time in almost a year during a meeting at work, but I’ve always made it a point not to tell coworkers that anything is wrong with me, so nobody knew why I was acting a fool. Thankfully, between tears back at my desk, I had a flash of sanity and forced myself to eat some jelly beans.

    My biggest fear is that I’ve passed this onto my daughter.

    So again, I feel your pain. *hugs*

  10. I get this, too, and guess what? SO DOES MY HUSBAND. Suffice it to say that the ONLY time we are cranky with one another is when we are hungry. I now keep nuts and granola bars in our glove compartment boxes, because we are the exact type to “forget” we are hungry until it’s too late. And you can forget about bringing it up once we hit the brink! I’ll say, “Honey, are you hungry” when I notice he’s getting a bit snippy, and by that point, he’ll be all, “NO I’M NOT!” Haha! Thankfully we understand the source, and as others already said above, thank God you understand this in Eli, so you can try to read the signs before it’s too late. In Eli’s case, if you put out little snacks for him in bowls around the house to nibble on throughout the day (before he gets hungry), would that help? As with my husband, it’s important to make it seem like it’s HIS IDEA that he wants to eat. 😉 But bless your heart for going through this your entire life, and bless your husband’s heart for loving you and helping you though it!

  11. I get the low blood sugar crazies, too, but not severely enough that I no longer realize I NEED to eat. That sucks! I just get incredibly shaky and lightheaded and sweaty and start alerting everyone that I need food NOW and someone had better produce some FOOD people, or I am going to FALL DOWN AND DIE.
    It’s a good thing I don’t live in some famine-prone country in Africa. I’d be one of the weak ones who’d have died off by now for sure.

  12. Same way. We call it Angry Hungry.

  13. Ugh. My husband has this SO BAD! We call it the food crazies. He gets angry, irrational and really freaking stupid (seriously who throws 7-up at their wives when they are hungry?). What is worse is he will NOT fix it himself. The Food Fairy (ME) has to guess exactly what the freak is his problem and what the right food combo is to fix it.

    I now have small quick to make home made frozen snacks/meals in the freezer to remedy this situation. Total lifesaver. Now I don’t have to kick his ass on a regular basis. 🙂

    Sadly, my son has inherited this same issue, and since I figured that out last month, the terrible twos have not been so terrible at all (and once I continuously fed the kid he potty trained himself in 2 days PHEW!).

  14. Our feeding issue has nothing to do with LBS, but you know I’m right there with you with all of it. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with in my life and it’s ongoing. Every day, three or more times a day. And then there’s the worry about weight gain, or loss. It can make you crazy.

    I think about you guys a lot especially when I’m dealing with my own little guy who just doesn’t ever seem hungry and who doesn’t eat enough to maintain weight without a lot of help from me.

    I know you’re tired. Itl’s exhausting. Don’t feel guilty about being sick of it or not wanting to face another meal. Sometimes all I can do is put food in front of Myles and hope he eats and if he doesn’t, I don’t have the strength to force him.

    You’re doing a great job with him Elizabeth, no matter what percentile he’s in. He looks healthy and he’s meeting developmental milestones and that’s what matters most.

    I’m always, always just an e-mail away.

  15. I definitely have some of this. We now try not to talk if I’m LBS because of the RIDICULOUS day-wrecking arguments in which I lack all logic (though I am normally a very logical person). I carry snacks with me everywhere. My mother is like this too, so thankfully I learned early. And it took us a very small amount of time to figure this out in our marriage, which is good or we’d be on serious rocks.

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