(Photo by Kai)
I've discovered by experience that Isaac is really, really sad if I eat chillies.
This is tricky in Thailand. If we're out eating at a market stall type of place and I ask for food that's not spicy, people think, "Sure, of course she wants it a little less spicy," and give me only one chili. So then I ask for no chillies at all, and somehow, there are still chillies in my food. I think it's reflexive... the hand reaches out for the chillies right after the fish sauce. The hand is putting the chillies in the pan! There's no calling the hand back!!
My new plan is to only order food that never has chillies included, ever, not ever. Food like fried rice or pad thai or stir fried kale. It means that a lot of my favorite foods are dead to me (dead to me!) at least for the time being, but it will cut out days like the horrible one this week, when Isaac couldn't stop crying and I walked the floor with him for hours.
This is what my kids are like: They had no help from me, I couldn't do many of the things we were supposed to do, they got themselves ready for bed and waited for me patiently, they dealt with my grumpiness and tiredness from walking a screaming baby, and at the end of the day they all said, "Poor Isaac," as they stroked his face and cooed to him. They don't get annoyed with him, or jealous, or frustrated because his crying is loud. "Poor Isaac," they say. "Poor, poor Isaac."
Since that bad day we haven't had any more, which is wonderful because when Isaac isn't gassy he is an angel. He is a happy, jolly boy who is growing like crazy. He smiles and drools and wriggles. To keep him ungassy, I have dropped milk, eggs, almonds, and chillies from my diet. I also haven't been drinking coffee, ever since he was born, although in the last three days I've had a cup of tea in the afternoon.
I notice immediately if I've eaten something that is bothering him. So it is mind boggling when I go to health or parenting sites and they say that it makes no difference to babies if you eat certain things while breastfeeding. ("It does!" I shout at the computer screen. "It does!") Even here, chili capital of the universe, when I told my landlady one day that Isaac's tummy was hurting, she asked if I ate chillies. And frowned at me. "Yes," I said, and begged her forgiveness.
The only problem is that I am so very forgetful these days, and I feel that I need to tattoo my diet restrictions on my hands. A while back I was at a friend's house and we were eating spicy Mama noodles. I looked at the noodles and thought, why is there something lurking at the back of my brain, telling me I shouldn't be eating these? That's silly, I love spicy food. Huh. And then I ate them, and Isaac had a hard day the next day. Doh!
This is the way my brain is with me lately. Yesterday it was almost scary, as I read through my to do list and found something that didn't make sense to me AT ALL. Right in there with things that did make sense was a line that said,
Send book to Mom.
But I have no book to send to my mom-- not even a dream of a book to send to my mom. And I couldn't figure out why it said, in my own writing, send book to Mom. What book did my subconscious brain think I have? This morning, a whole day later, it clicked. She said she would do some proofreading for me. There is no physical book to be put in the mail, Rae! You're talking about a book file! Doh!
Why is my brain standing back and withholding information from me? I can only assume that it's mad at me because I have too many things going on, as well as nursing brain. I turn thirty-three on Friday and this is too young for dementia.
On the day that Isaac was screaming I had promised the kids I would make them mango sticky rice, so, tenderhearted mother that I am, when I couldn't get him to sleep in the evening, I put him in the baby carrier and made the sticky rice with him riding around on my front, burrowing his head into my chest.
There was a box of coconut milk in the fridge-- a brand that I never felt comfortable with, as it was called "Scented Candle Coconut Milk." I believe the box appeared in the fridge at the same time I was on my retreat with Leaf. Which is to say that I didn't buy it. I didn't trust it. Really lost in translation, thought I, briskly stirring ingredients together. That name makes it seem as though the coconut milk will taste like scented candle. They need to hire a new marketing expert. But, there it was, and what better way to use it than making this coconut rice.
Oh, but Thailand never stops surprising me, because I was wrong and the marketing people were right. I tasted the sticky rice and it tasted exactly, I mean, exactly, like a candle. Because dessert that tastes like candles is a thing in Thailand. Because this is an alternate universe where people like to eat things that taste like candles. I mean, really. The coconut milk is placed over a smoking candle to infuse it with the delicate taste of smelly floral wax.
It makes total sense. Who wouldn't want that?
You know, especially after a long day of walking a sad baby, when one is lovingly trying to make a treat for one's children, one would certainly like to make it taste like the bottom of a candle holder. Of course.