An All-Out Effort

Dear Family,

“Everything's so _completely_ not perfect!”
--M.V.

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You could call it GAPS: Take Two. The past several weeks have been a super-focused, nearly-non-stop attempt to help Ben's body get to a more sustainable place on our Great Gut Healing Adventure. During the late summer, it was getting clearer and clearer that one cannot heal Gut Dysbiosis on eggs alone. And so Jeff and I, and Ben too, have been working incredibly hard to make healing foods go down into his little stomach.

It's easy for some people to eat what they need to eat, when they need it. Without going into great detail, I can assure you that in Ben's case, it isn't easy at all. But he is very proud to report that “I am eating cow, pig, and duck!” Each time, at every meal, we are helping him remember: Don't Fear This Food. This Food Will Heal You. You Will Get Better...

And this was the first week of his life when Ben could eat meat, chew and swallow it, and realize how much his body is craving this essential nourishment. I am exhausted and challenged, but also in awe: we are learning some crazy things about the complexity of human bodies and brains, and also the simplicity: given the right foods, the ecosystem inside us can heal.

In fact, You, Dear Readers, will receive a special sneak preview this week: a second weekly update, arriving shortly in your inbox. This is a preliminary attempt of mine to create a succinct essay on GAPS and how it works. I would love to hear your feedback, criticisms, complaints, etc.

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In Other News...

--We didn't do a whole lot this week besides hunker down and heal. Jeff and I did get a date, however, thanks to the inimitable babysitting team of Graham and Otto. We went to Ailey II at the State Theatre, and it was cultural and fun.

--Also, Jeff and I took turns having some fun dates with just Jem, and just Ben. Jem is getting to be a proficient tricyclist; Ben is memorizing the instructions for every dinosaur origami model in our books. (Ben likes to do origami with Jeff and me just so that he can fold quicker than we can.)

--Jeff is taking advantage of the Power of Netflix by watching an entire season of “Firefly.” He says it's very good.

--My meat cooking repertoire is, while still limited, expanding rapidly. Check my website for some barbecue ribs and sausage recipes. :) www.lifeisapalindrome.com

--In a fairly crazy moment of weakness, I drove two and half hours south with two boys into the hills of Pennsylvania on a very rainy Thursday. Our goal: procuring 15 gallons (split between three families) of the finest Amish organic, grassfed Jersey cream. The stuff is amazing, especially right now (and again in June) when the cows are eating the fast-growing, nutrient-rich grass. I made cultured cream that tastes just like the top of the yogurt--only it's all the way down. And in a couple of days I will be making a lot of butter. (I have been wanting to do this for years!) When Jem tried the cream for the first time, he got this look of bliss on his face and then said: “Yes, _sir!_ ...It makes my eyes close...”

--I may have forgotten to mention that we've joined a very cool learning co-op downtown. http://nllchs.org/ I have no expectation that we will become very active members anytime soon, but it is a community of fun, free people that I want to cultivate for Ben and Jem. My friend Claire, who is amazing in many other ways, also _chooses voluntarily_ to lead fabulous programs for groups of six-year-olds. This would strike great terror into my heart, but Claire is just totally serene and comes up with ideas like an 8-week “Magic Schoolbus Science Class,” and has kids dissecting lamb hearts, creating life-size drawings of circulatory systems, and learning about white blood cells and antibodies while playing tag. I am grateful to have people like Claire in my life!

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Bennerisms

“There's no way that you can fall asleep if you just want to. I keep closing my eyes, but it doesn't work.”

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Jemmerisms

Thanks to a quick sing-through of the vocal score of Annie-Get-Your-Gun, Jem is now yodeling, “I can do better than yoooooo...no you caaan't, yes I can, no you caaaan't, yes I can, no you caaan't....”

“Yes, I DID bring it. I saw me!”

You better go look for your little car, Jem. You don't want to lose it. “But if I did,” Jem said, totally sad before even starting the search, “I lost the best, fastest wind-up car in the whole WORLD.” [Happy ending: he found it.]

The other day, trying to collect my patience and get myself centered, I closed my eyes and began counting to ten. “Boo!” Jem said, while kissing me on the nose.

After his haircut, I asked Jem if he'd looked in the mirror. “Yes,” he said. What did you think? I asked. The verdict: “I look like Not-Jem.”

I keep having these conversations with Jem where things start to go deep. “Can I hear your heart?” he asked me the other day. Okay, I said, just put your ear to my chest. “I hear it!” he said. “How long does your heart go for?” Our hearts beat for our _entire lives_, I told him impressively. They _never_ stop, if we're lucky, for the whole time that we're alive. Jem thought about this, and then asked, “What if we were dead with our pants on?”

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And that is all for this week--
Love,
Sarabeth